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date: 27 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews the archaeological evidence for different forms of Christian use and reception of statues in the period between the third and the seventh centuries. Previous scholarship has primarily been based on the heavily biased Christian literary tradition (notably hagiographies), whereas archaeology in recent years has begun to uncover a whole range of complex ways in which Christians negotiated the sculptural landscape of Late Antiquity. This landscape consisted of both new and old statues set up in temples, public buildings, and private residences. In turn, the chapter addresses newly erected statues, “residual” statues, the practices of marking crosses and carving Christian inscriptions on the heads and bodies of pagan statues, the destruction of statues, and the recycling of statues.

Keywords: sculpture, statues, Christian visual culture, iconoclasm, Christian responses, recycling, cross-marking

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