Abstract: Copy it and they will come: the role of architectural copies in cultivating Christian Pilgrimage


According to the 6thcentury court historian, Procopius, the extensive building campaign of the emperor Justinian included the complete rebuilding of the Church of St. John at Ephesos (De Aedificiis 5.1.4-6).  Moreover, he claimed that the new building was a copy of the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople.  An examination of the political and religious circumstances at the time of the rebuilding at Ephesos as well as the building’s broader architectural context suggests another scenario, one in which the rebuilt church was used—locally and internationally—to reestablish the power and prestige of the diminished see of Ephesos.  As a result, the church of St. John at Ephesos was not a slavish copy of a single church but deliberately designed as a hybrid of architectural influences from the East and West, thereby expanding our understanding of the concept of architectural copying.  This lecture moves beyond the Church of St. John at Ephesos to consider other architectural copies that played a similar role in cultivating Christian pilgrimage in the early Byzantine period.

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