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Penelope J. Goodman

Literary sources emphasise the role of Christian iconoclasts and churchbuilders in the demise of Gaul’s pagan temples. But the picture from archaeology is different, since excavated remains suggest that the main story is one of voluntary abandonment from the late 3rd c. A.D. onwards. This may be linked with the military upheavals of the period, but indirectly, due to factors such as financial difficulties and the changing priorities of the elite. Meanwhile, the imperial adoption of Christianity and the beginnings of official hostility towards pagan religion had little impact, because by the time they came into effect, the heyday of pagan sacred architecture in Gaul had passed.