Thesis Defense Announcement
College of Arts and Sciences announces the Final Thesis Defense of
for the Degree of Master of Arts
March 29, 2019 at 1:00 PM in Mitchell Hall, Room 100 A
Advisor: Benjamin Graham
Emperors, bishops, and capitals in the late antique roman west
ABSTRACT: The soft currents of the river Moselle, the towering heights of the silvery Alps, the pungent smell of dank marshlands, and the seven rolling hills flanking the Tiber-- these were the four distinct settings of the imperial capitals in which resided the late Roman western emperors. The presence and power of the emperors strengthened the martial, economic, and political aspects of their regions. Bishops, senators, and inhabitants of the western peripheral capitals of Trier, Milan, and Ravenna, along with the ancient capital of Rome, competed over the residency of the emperors in the 4th and early 5th centuries CE. In this thesis, I will examine how the location of imperial seats (sedes imperii) coalesced with the power of the imperial person. This symbiosis not only stood as a bulwark against the teeming invasions of Germanic tribes and as a deterrent against usurpers, but also shaped how these areas were Christianized due to ecclesiastical leaders competing over imperial favor. This comparative approach will give us a new perspective on the relationship between imperial power, location, and Christianization in Late Antiquity.