WORKING DRAFT. DO NOT CITE WITHOUT AUTHOR’S PERMISSION © 2011
THE AMBIVALENT LANDSCAPE OF CHRISTIAN CORINTH:THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF PLACE, THEOLOGY, AND POLITICS IN A LATEANTIQUE CITY
The political, economic, and ecclesiastical position of Corinth during the middle decadesof the 6th century created an environment with the potential for dynamic contrastsbetween Corinthian residents and imperial authority. Corinth and its territory representeda liminal zone between the more prosperous east and the less stable west, stood amidstconflicting political and ecclesiastical jurisdictions during shifts in the nature of imperialauthority, and endured a systematic campaign of external investment by the ambitiousand expansionistic emperor Justinian I (527-565) who sought not only to expand imperialpower institutionally, but symbolically as well.This chapter argues that the textual and archaeological evidence for imperialinvolvement in the Corinthia provides faint traces of what Elsner has called “internalfriction” in the manifestation of imperial and Corinthian authority in the region.
ForElsner, internal friction represented a cultural response to the presence of Romanness atthe periphery of the empire. While Corinth is rarely regarded as a peripheral region, thepolitical situation in the 6th century placed it at the limits of imperial control over
Elsner 2007, 255.