In the first half of the fourth century Bishop Porphyrius donated a mosaic floor for the “Basilica of Paul” at Philippi’s city center. What can we know about Christians in Philippi in the three and a half centuries between Paul’s correspondence with Philippi and the founding of Porphyrius’ Church? To answer this question, this article describes the earliest archaeological data, summarize the information derived from Paul’s correspondence, the mission-narratives in three Acts of Apostles as well as the Letter of Polycarp and some indications of the reception of the letter to the Philippians. While historical Christians remain almost invisible at Philippi, there is ample evidence that Philippians was read as a becoming martyrs farewell address to his beloved community and that Philippi became one (among other) important pilgrimage sides at which the Paul’s martyrdom was remembered.
This chapter examines excavations to the east of the Roman Forum and the Octagon complex, and focuses on the buildings in two insulae demarcated by the surrounding streets. Insula 4 was originally a grand Roman domus built during the 4th century CE. During the 5th century, Insula 4 was divided into two domestic units, but in the 6th century the installation of a wine press and the expansion of storage indicated that a good portion of the buildings was given over to wine production. Partial excavation of Insula 5 reveals three units that seem to be designed for autonomous activities in workshops and simple dwellings.
This paper uses Fredric Jameson’s work to locate the Philippian stories of Acts 16 within History that hurts; i.e., the catalogue of failed liberatory struggles that define “the inexorable limits of individual and corporate praxis.” The literary features in Acts 16 identify mainstream society’s hostility toward the apostles as the social contradiction that the narrative tries to resolve. The class conflicts manifest in the attempted resolution show that the implied author’s sympathies lie primarily with the upper middle bourgeoisie – the merchants, the jailers, the householders, in short, the relatively powerful class fraction that made a living off the labor of others but did not dominate city, region, or empire. While the text is a failed revolution in the sense that it also participates in multiple forms of alienation of Roman imperial life (e.g., slavery, household, patriarchy, commodity, and prison), the ephemeral reconciliation of the imprisoned apostles with their captor provides a fleeting glimpse of the text’s impossible vision for the shape of social life beyond alienation.
This paper traces the intertwining of economic and theological language in Paul’s mid-first century CE Letter to the Philippians. It seeks to reconstruct the possible reactions of the ekklēsia in Christ at Philippi to the first reception of Paul’s letter to them. The letter’s rhetoric of economics and theology – and cost and abundance – is interpreted in the context of contemporaneous epigraphic and archaeological data from the city and environs. We conclude that the early followers of Christ use of financial language in various ways to consider not only their business and patron-client relationships with one another, but also to think with and through their relationship the divine and indeed the very worth of Christ.
Weaving together textual, historical, archaeological, and epigraphic evidence this essay proposes that the apostle Paul’s term “praetorium” in Phil 1:13 referred to a provincial, administrative building in Roman Asia – not to the Praetorian Guard in Rome. The essay incorporates architectural and topographical plans showing several types of praetorium buildings; it describes their variations and flexibility in function; and it explains the implications for Paul’s civic and social context when writing to the Philippians.
The Roman colonists settled in the Hellenistic city of Philippi without modifying its organization. In the middle of the 1st century A.D., they built a forum whose monuments extended in two terraces on either side of the decumanus maximus (via Egnatia), which crossed in the middle. The whole was completely rebuilt under the emperor Marcus Aurelius. From the beginning, monumental gates could interrupt the traffic on the decumanus maximus, isolating this complex from the rest of the city. During the proto-Byzantine period, several churches were built around the lower part of the Forum, which became a passageway between the two main streets of the city.
This chapter looks at how Philippians were connected via various kinds of networks to other parts of the Mediterranean. This attention to a Philippian social geography allows us to ask different questions about the networks of early Christians who lived in and connected to Philippi.
This chapter situates networks of Roman tradespeople along the Via Egnatia alongside studies of the enslaved and freedpersons that worked within Roman Philippi. Such combined analyses can allow us to better trace the ways in which Philippi – and many other Roman cities – relied upon both free and servile traders, financial planners, and state-owned laborers in order to manage the day-to-day economic administration of the city. The contribution of civic enslaved persons owned by a city to local and regional economies in the eastern Mediterranean is often overlooked in the study of labor both at Philippi and elsewhere in the Roman world. The epigraphic evidence for tradespeople, enslaved persons, and liberti (freedpersons) active within Philippi, considered collectively, indicates that the presence of these individuals was an integral but quotidian part of the economic and physical environment of Philippi.
The chapter focuses on the findings of a rescue excavation on the southern slope of the acropolis in Philippi, where the Archeological Museum of Philippi is located. The ruins of Roman buildings came to light, alongside an unknown, to that time, cardo of Via Egnatia. Both the architectural remnants, including floors, ducts and pipelines, water reservoirs, wells etc., as well as the road’s pavement itself suffered posterior transformations and additions, in parts with mud-built walls. According to findings such as depots, storage vessels, marble pieces and rough handmade pottery that coexists with ceramics of advanced technique, the dating of the various contexts spans from the Late Roman era and the so called “dark ages” to the Late Byzantine period, marking the transition from the roman colonia to the byzantine city of Philippi.