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Regular version of the site

Student
Title
Supervisor
Faculty
Educational Programme
Final Grade
Year of Graduation
Nikita Bogachev
Legionaries and Martyrs: the Transformation of Family in Roman Egypt under the Later Empire
History
(Bachelor’s programme)
2018
How were the structures of the common living changed in the Mediterranean with the rise of the Christianity? Which images of the family life were formed in the early christian texts? These are the main problems of this paper.

The main sources of this work are Fayum and Oxyrhynchus papyri published at the turn of the XIX and XX centuries by the archaeologists of the Oxford University. Primarily, this research concentrates on the so-called Gemellus’ archive. This collection of texts presents a huge amount of private letters with tasks. Through this correspondence a retired legionary Lucius Bellenus Gemellus organised the life and household of his familia. The everyday life of this traditional Roman family of I and II centuries AD is reconstructed in this paper with a help of these sources and through the methodological approach of microhistory. It is necessary to understand how the structure which Christianity started to change from the II century AD looked like.

Beyond this, this research focuses on the analysis of the texts of the III and V century martyrologies. The first one tells a story about Perpetua and others martyred with her in Carthage in the year of 203 AD. In its turn, the second one tells about the life of Saint Eustace.

These martyrologies show how Christianity changed the perception of the family life. From far too radical denial of other social roles of a christian beyond martyr’s (in the spirit of Tertullian) to the new spiritual sensitivity formed thanks to the influence of John’s Chrysostom ideas, the incarnation of which were the images of Saint Eustace and his family.

To conclude, this paper shows how through the transformation of the mediterranean spiritual life the complete rethinking of the structures of common living, types of sensitivity and formation of the new family images occurred.

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