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Orsolya Heinrich-Tamáska · Niklot Krohn

Sebastian Ristow

Christianisierung Europas
Entstehung, Entwicklung und Konsolidierung
im archäologischen Befund

Christianisation of Europe:
Archaeological evidence for it‘s creation,
development and consolidation

Internationale Tagung im Dezember 2010


in Bergisch-Gladbach
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1. Auflage 2012
© 2012 Verlag Schnell & Steiner GmbH, Leibnizstraße 13, 93055 Regensburg
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Inhalt

Vorwort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Raghnall Ó Floinn
A review of Early Christianity in Ireland based on the most current
archaeological research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Achim Arbeiter
Frühe monumentale Zeugnisse des Christentums auf der iberischen Halbinsel . . . 37

Laurent Verslype
The development and consolidation of Christianity in Belgium
and adjacent regions – An elementary overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

Sebastian Ristow
Frühes Christentum in Gallien und Germanien – Nachhaltige
und unterbrochene Christianisierung in Spätantike und Frühmittelalter . . . . . . . . . 73

Niklot Krohn
Von Heiden, Christen und Synkretisten. Begrifflichkeiten und Befundansprachen
im Kontext der Erforschung des Christentums bei Alamannen, Bajuwaren
und Thüringern – Zusammenfassung . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95

Guido Faccani
Die Anfänge des Christentums auf dem Gebiet der heutigen Schweiz
bis ins 4. Jahrhundert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97

Franz Glaser
Kontinuität und Diskontinuität der Christianisierung des Ostalpenraumes . . . . . . . 121

Sible de Blaauw
Erinnerungen als Zeugnisse der Christianisierung Roms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141

Yuri A. Marano
The Christianisation of Towns of Northern Italy (4th–6th century A.D.) . . . . . . . . . . 161
6  ·  Inhalt

Branka Migotti
Early Christian Archaeology of Dalmatia: The State of Research
and Selected Problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185

Orsolya Heinrich-Tamáska
Fortleben, Abbruch und Neuanfang: Spuren des Christentums in Pannonien
im 4.–9. Jahrhundert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213

Hana Chorvatova
Forschungsstand und neue archäologische Funde zur Christianisierung
der Slowakei . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239

Petr Sommer
Der frühe böhmische Staat und die Christianisierung seiner Gesellschaft . . . . . . . . 261

Mihailo Milinković
Verbreitung des Christentums im zentralen Balkanraum von den Anfängen
bis zum 11. Jahrhundert anhand der archäologischen Funde  –
Forschungsgeschichte und Resultate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275

Uwe Fiedler
Der archäologische Niederschlag der Christianisierung des donaubulgarischen
Reiches (864/65) – Zusammenfassung . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 297

Alexandru Madgearu
The Significance of the Early Christian Artefacts in Post-Roman Dacia . . . . . . . . . . 299

Efthymios Rizos
The Making of a Christian Society in the Late Antique Civil Diocese of
Macedonia – Archaeological Evidence on Christianisation from Modern Greece . 319

Annegret Plontke-Lüning
Christianisierung am Rande des Imperiums: Die Krim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 343

Marko Kiessel
Zum frühen Christentum in Zypern (4.–6. Jahrhundert).
Forschungsüberblick und Überlegungen zur Chronologie der Kirchenbauten
auf Grundlage ihrer Kapitellplastik . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 363
Inhalt  ·  7

Axel Pollex
Christianisierung im nordwestslawischen Raum. Aspekte der Übergangsphase . . . 383

Sunhild Kleingärtner
Nachweisbarkeit christlicher Institutionalisierung
Dänemarks aufgrund archäologischer Belege . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 403

Bertil Nilsson
Birka – Sigtuna – Uppsala. Probleme der Christianisierung im Gebiet
des Mälartals, Schweden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 417

Göran Tagesson
Vreta Kloster – manor, convent and an (im)possible baptistery.
A contribution to the history of Christianisation and the making of a
Christian kingdom in Sweden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 435

Aneta Bukowska
Why do we use architectural remains rather than single artefacts as fundamental
archaeological evidence for the Christianisation of Poland? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 449

Przemysław Sikora
Das Phänomen „Grabhügel“ im Prozess der Christianisierung der Ostslawen.
Bemerkungen zu einigen Befunden mit sepulkralem Charakter – aus
archäologischer Perspektive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 469

Marcus Wüst
Westliche Einflüsse auf den Verlauf der Christianisierung in Livland . . . . . . . . . . . . 483

Alexander Musin
The Christianisation of Eastern Europe in the Archaeological Perspective . . . . . . . . 497
Vorwort

Das vorliegende Buch veröffentlicht die Ergebnisse einer Tagung, die im Dezember 2010
in Bergisch Gladbach bei Köln stattfand. Es umfasst Themen aus den Ländern weiter
Teile Europas und soll Anregung geben zu einem umspannenden internationalen P ­ rojekt,
das die hier vorgelegten Forschungsfragen in Zukunft detailliert in den einzelnen Regio-
nen untersuchen kann. Dass im Rahmen des Umfangs eines Buches nicht alle Länder
berücksichtigt werden konnten und auch nicht alle Beiträge vollkommen gleich struktu-
riert sind, nimmt nicht wunder. Die Herausgeber können weder auf die Hilfe eines schon
bestehenden Forschungsprojektes oder -instituts zum Thema zurückgreifen, noch ein
mehrbändiges Handbuch vorlegen. Gleichwohl glauben wir, mit den vorliegenden Bei-
trägen die Fragen der vergleichbaren und unterschiedlichen Szenarien der Christianisie-
rung in den einzelnen Teilen Europas deutlich vor Augen zu führen. Und obwohl die
Erforschung des Christentums nach einer interdisziplinären Herangehensweise verlangt,
haben wir uns im Rahmen der Tagung und diese Bandes bewusst auf die archäologische
Quellen und auf die Methode der Archäologie konzentriert, um über unsere fachlichen
Grenzen und Möglichkeiten einen Überblick zu gewinnen.
Als grundsätzlich bedeutsames Ergebnis erscheint die Tatsache, dass sich zu ganz un-
terschiedlichen Zeiten unter ähnlichen Voraussetzungen dieselben Muster der Ausbrei-
tung des christlichen Glaubens abgespielt haben, sei es durch Mission Einzelner, gewis-
sermaßen durch langsames Einsickern, durch die gezielt beeinflusste Konversion ganzer
Bevölkerungsteile oder durch die politisch gezielt und manchmal auch mit Waffengewalt
durchgeführte Mission. Es zeigen sich ähnliche und unterschiedliche Szenarien der
­Erkennbarkeit von Christianisierungsprozessen in den archäologischen Funden und
­Befunden und den historischen Quellen. Oft müssen die Quellengattungen sich gegen-
seitig stützen und Lücken im jeweiligen Überlieferungsbild ausfüllen. Methodisch muss
dies mit Umsicht geschehen. Dabei zeigt sich, dass dieselben Fragestellungen in den
­unterschiedlichen Regionen mit ähnlichen Mitteln interpretiert werden müssen. Die
weitere Verfeinerung der hier versammelten Forschungsansätze und Quellen muss
­künftigen Forschungen vorbehalten bleiben.
Überraschend ist möglicherweise für den einen oder anderen Leser, dass sich der Pro-
zess, in dem Europa christlich wurde, über mehr als 1000 Jahre hinzog. Er verläuft im
Groben von West nach Ost und von Süd nach Nord, zeigt aber auch immer wieder Brüche
und Kontinuitäten. Keineswegs ist es aber ein glatter Weg, den die Ausbreitung des neuen
Glaubens ging. Umso spannender erscheint es, die gewaltige Menge des Materials einer
länderweisen Ordnung zu unterziehen. Die Vorgehensweise der Bündelung nach moder-
nen Ländergrenzen trägt der momentanen europäischen Forschungslandschaft Rechnung
und kann vielleicht in Zukunft durch länderübergreifende Zusammenarbeit noch zu
­stärkerer Synthese geführt werden.
Branka Migotti

Early Christian Archaeology of Dalmatia:


The State of Research and Selected Problems

Dalmatia, as discussed here, comprises the Croatian portion of the Roman province of
Dalmatia, or, in terms of modern geography, the regions of the Croatian littoral in the
North-West and Dalmatia itself in the South-East. It is a coastal area, measuring around
22 000 km2 and numbering some 200 proven or very probable early Christian sites, and
many more potential ones (fig. 1). In this paper I shall address two issues of importance
for the understanding of the institutionalisation of Christianity in this region: chrono­
logy and the archaeological context of early Christian sites. The syntagm “early Christian
period” is widely used in Croatian archaeological literature to denote the time span from
the 3rd/4th to the 6th/7th centuries. Given its complexity, this question cannot be discussed
at any lengths here. Nevertheless, while the existence of early Christian archaeology
should not be questioned on any grounds, the above-mentioned time span should rather
be labelled as Late Antique period, with early Christianity as one of its components1. This
would, among other things, help to avoid the labelling of late Roman cemeteries as Chris­
tian just on account of the chronology, as sometimes happens in Croatian archaeology2.
Problematic chronologies of early Christian architecture are a classic issue throughout
the Christian world3. Yet, in Dalmatia this issue is reflected in a particular manner, which

  1 On early Christian vs. Late Antique archaeology and early Christian Pannonia]. In: B. Migotti et
see N.  Cambi, XIII. Međunarodni kongres za al. (ed.), Accede ad Certissiam. Antički i rano­
starokršćansku arheologiju Split, Poreč 1994 go­ kršćanski horizont arheološkog nalazišta Štrbinci
dine i starokršćanska arheologija na području kod Đakova [The Archaeological Site of Štrbinci
Hrvatske. The 13th International Congress of near Đakovo in the Roman and Early Christian
Early Christian Archaeology Split, Poreč 1994 Periods] (Zagreb 1998) 89–115 here 89–90.
and Early Christian Archaeology in Croatia. Dia­  3 See B. Migotti, Zusatz zur Datierung der außer­
dora 15, 1993, 14  f.; V.  Saxer, Cent ans städtischen frühchristlichen Architektur des
d’archéologie chrétienne. La contribution des ar­ breiteren salonitanischen Bereiches. Arh. Vest­
chéologues romains à l`élaboration d`une sci­ nik, 43, 1992, 111–133 here 111; G.  Cuscito,
ence autonome. In: Acta Congressus internation­ Cristianizzazione e modifiche dell’ambiente ur­
alis archaeologiae cristianae 13,2 = Stud. An­ bano e rurale in Istria fra II e V secolo. In: G.
tichità Cristiana 54 (Città del Vaticano 1998) Bandelli (ed.), Aquileia romana e cristiana fra II e
115–162. V secolo. Antichità Altoadriatiche 47, 2000, 439–
  2 On the issue of early Christian vs. late Roman 469 here 443; G. C. Wataghin, Christian Topog­
cemeteries, see: B. Migotti, Vrednovanje arheo­ raphy in the Late Antique Town: Recent Results
loške građe u svjetlu rimskodobnog i rano­ and Open Questions. In: L.  Lavan/W.  Bowden
kršćanskog horizonta Panonije [Evaluation of the (eds), Theory and Practice in Late Antique Ar­
archaeological material in the context of Roman chaeology (Leiden 2003) 224–256 here 245.
186 · Branka Migotti
Early Christian Archaeology of Dalmatia: The State of Research and Selected Problems · 187

1  Early Christian sites


in Dalmatia. –
Map: M. Mađerić.
188 · Branka Migotti

2  Salona, cathedral complex. – After Migotti 1991 (note 55).

affects the overall perception of the early Christianity of the area. The first and so far only
chronological typology of early Christian architecture of Dalmatia was produced by
Nenad Cambi in 1978. Its only two firm chronological cornerstones were two churches of
the Salonitan cathedral complex, dated on epigraphic grounds to the early 5th (northern
church) and the 1st half of the 6th century (southern church) (fig. 2). Apart from this, the
chronology on the whole was based on comparative typology, decorated furniture and
historical periods. On the basis of historical considerations and architectural typology,
3 periods of church building were established. The first peak of building activity presum­
ably occurred from the mid-4th to the later 5th century, concerning mostly the major
­cities. A certain standstill should have ensued during the period of the Ostrogothic rule
in Dalmatia (490–535), while the third period encompassed a new and the last peak of
Early Christian Archaeology of Dalmatia: The State of Research and Selected Problems · 189

3  Chronological typology of early Christian churches of Dalmatia. – After


Cambi 1978 (note  4); Chevalier 1995 (note  5); Uglešić 2002 and 2005 (notes
25, 55).

church building from the mid- to the later 6th century, during the rule of Justinian I,
­affecting mostly the country architecture. A corresponding typological–chronological
scheme of early Christian architecture was drafted by Nenad Cambi4. It has been used as
the basis for a renewed and updated chronological typology (figs. 3–4), worked out for
the needs of this publication by including architecture researched or published in the
meantime as well as the so-called complex churches (fig. 3,III), not considered in Cambi’s

 4 N. Cambi, Starokršćanska crkvena arhitektura na Metropolis]. Arh. Vestnik 29, 1978, 606–625; see
području salonitanske metropolije [Early Chris­ also: id., L ’âge de Justinien en Dalmatie et en Is­
tian Architecture in the Region of the Salonitan trie. Acta 1998 (note 1) 933–958.
190 · Branka Migotti

4  Chronological typology of early Christian churches of Dalmatia. – After


Cambi 1978 (note 4); Jeličić–Radonić et al. 1994 (note 33); Vežić 2005 (note 5).

t­ ypology5. It should be noted, however, that new finds mostly fit into the given frame, the
church from Gata (fig. 4,6) being the only example of the ground plan not known previ­
ously. The scheme unfolds in four chronological steps, in an expected development from
simple to more elaborate types and from longitudinal to centralised ground plans
(fig. 3–4). The so-called complex churches (fig. 3,III), typical of the country architecture,
and usually built in two chronological stages, are in the literature dated to the 6th century

  5 On complex churches, see: N. Cambi, Arhitektu­ Ecclesiae Dalmatiae, Salona 2,2. Coll. de l’École
ra Narone i njezina teritorija u kasnoj antici [The Française de Rome 194,2 (Rome 1995) 68. – The
Architecture of Narona and its Territory in Late architecture researched in the last 2 or 3 decades
Antiquity]. Radovi. Razdio povijesnih znanosti. mostly concerns Zadar (Iader) and its wider area:
Filozofski fakultet – Zadar 24,11, 1985, 42–44; P.  Vežić, Zadar na pragu kršćanstva [Zadar on
Migotti 1992 (note  3) 115–118; P.  Chevalier, the Threshold of Christianity] (Zadar 2005).
Early Christian Archaeology of Dalmatia: The State of Research and Selected Problems · 191

rather than the 5th, irrespective of the chronological stratification, suggested by subse­
quent additions of new parts (like a narthex or a baptistery) and replacements of the
furniture and decoration6. A similar uncertainty is related to the churches featuring a
cross transept and taking a T-shaped ground plan (fig. 4,8); the authors waver between
the 5th and the 6th centuries7.
Despite some chronological ambiguities, the above typological-chronological scheme
is simplified enough to leave the impression of being fairly clear and neat. In practice,
however, it is less effective, especially if applied to country sites, but not only to them;
both country and urban sites have been faced with a variety of obstacles to a more precise
dating. Firstly, the majority of the churches or presumed churches have not been fully
explored. Secondly, quite a few of them were excavated at the turn of the 19th and 20th
centuries, in the period of a pronounced interest for medieval monuments and a com­
plete neglect of those of Roman Christianity8. Thirdly, at that time the excavation tech­
niques and interpretive capacities of archaeology were by far poorer than today. Finally,
most often the churches were built in chronological stages, featuring consequently indi­
vidual variants and combinations of basic formal types. Even though, the ground plans of
quite a few of partly excavated and inadequately interpreted buildings had been hypo­
thetically reconstructed and have been used ever since in discussions of typology and
chronology of Dalmatian early Christian architecture9. Expectedly, revision and reassess­
ment excavations of previously researched sites have been constantly updating the archi­
tectural typology and/or chronology, and the archaeological context as a whole, offering
a framework for possible reinterpretations.
There are examples of both urban and country sites, whose recent reinterpretations
have shown a precarious state of knowledge of early Christian architecture in Dalmatia,
bringing home an urgent need for further reassessments. Until recently the so called ora­
tory A in the Episcopal quarter of Salona had been considered as the only 3rd century
Early Christian building in Dalmatia, a kind of a domestic chapel or domus ecclesiae,

 6 On the subsequent additions of new liturgical Alemannischen Inst. Freiburg i. Br. 76 (Darm­
structures to already existing buildings: Migotti stadt 2010) 91–112 here 102. – A bizarre situa-
1991 (note 3) 116; Chevalier 1995 (note 5) 95. tion occurred in relation to ‚Oratory A’ in Salona,
 7 Cambi 1978 (note  4) 607 f., 616, Type I.1.3; which was discussed by Henri Leclercq as if pro­
Chevalier 1995,2 (note 5) 456; I. Fisković, Jesu vided by a door in the eastern wall: H. Leclercq,
li Polače na Mljetu bile sijelo vladara Dalmacije? Salona. In: Dict. Arch. Chrétienne et de Liturgie
[Were Polače on the Island of Mljet the Seat of XV,1 (Paris 1950) cols. 602–624 here col. 605. –
the Rulers of Dalmatia?]. Prilozi 13–14, 1999, The door was actually a misinterpreted passage
70–73. made during excavations to facilitate the clearing
 8 Migotti 1992 (note 3) 130 note 5. of the site: B. Gabričević, O počecima kršćan­
  9 A similar problem was noted by: O. Heinrich– stva u Saloni [On the Beginnings of Christianity
Tamaska, Sakral- oder Profanbauten? Zur Funk­ in Salona]. In: D. Šimunđa (ed.), Počeci hrvat­
tion und Datierung der „Kirchen“ von Keszt­ skog kršćanskog i društvenog života od VII. do
hely–Fenékpuszta (Komitat Zala, Ungarn). In: kraja IX. stoljeća. Biblioteka “Crkve u svijetu”.
N. Krohn (ed.), Kirchenarchäologie heute. Frag­ Knjiga 20 (Split 1990) 71–85 here 73 note 12.
estellungen – Methoden – Ergebnisse. Veröff. des
192 · Branka Migotti

5  Salona, oratory A. – After Migotti 1991 (note 55).

adapted in the baths of a private house. This building was essential in any discussion of
the beginnings of Christianity in Dalmatia and its architectural typology10 (fig. 5). How­
ever, the excavations in 2000–2004, unfortunately not completed, proved that the Chris­
tian adaptation of that building only happened in the 5th century11. These excavations
therefore deprived Dalmatian early Christian archaeology of its only 3rd century building.
The sore issue of inadequately documented and approximately reconstructed ground
plans will be further illustrated by several examples of updated formal typology, ­produced
on the basis of re-excavations on previously known sites. The basilica of the eastern
­Salonitan cemetery (fig. 1,107), originally reconstructed as a longitudinal building of a
T-shaped ground plan, proved to be a variant of the Greek cross, that is, a centralised
building12 (fig.  6a–b). The church in Zmijavci (fig.  1,181) proved not to be an isleless

10 E.  Dyggve, History of Salonitan Christianity 12 Cambi 1998 (note 4) 936; M. Zekan, Lokalitet:
(Oslo 1951) 23 fig. II,7; G. Koch, Early Christian Solin – krunidbena bazilika kralja Zvonimira
Art and Architecture. An Introduction (London [The Site: Solin – The Coronation Church of the
1996) 17 fig. 2. King Zvonimir]. Hrvatski Arh. God. 1, 2004,
11 J. Mardešić, Lokalitet: Salona – Oratorij A [The 240–243.
Site: Salona – Oratory A]. Hrvatski arh. god. 1,
2004, 238–240.
Early Christian Archaeology of Dalmatia: The State of Research and Selected Problems · 193

6  Salona, cemetery church – a: old ground-plan, b: new ground-plan. – After Dyggve 1951 (note 10) and
Zekan 2004 (note 12).
194 · Branka Migotti

7 Zmijavci, church – a: old ground-plan, b: new ground-plan. – After Cambi/Gamulin/Tonković 1999


(note 13).
Early Christian Archaeology of Dalmatia: The State of Research and Selected Problems · 195

8  Narona, church – a: old ground-plan, b: new ground-plan. – After Chevalier 1995 (note 5) and Marin
2002 (note 14).
196 · Branka Migotti

9  Proložac, church – old ground-plan. – After Chevalier 1995 (note 5).

t­ wo-apse building, but a three-aisle one and with a baptistery on the north side13 (fig. 7a–b).
One of the churches of Roman Narona (no. 167) was, after the completed excavations,
reconstructed as a simple longitudinal building. Only after a re-examination of the exca­
vation records, was the church reconstructed featuring a T-shaped ground plan14 (fig. 8).
Until recently, the church in Proložac (fig. 1,96) had been known as a small building of a
very simple ground plan (fig. 9). With new (small-scale) excavations, the overall ground
plan still remained unknown, but it was established beyond doubt that the church was of
a much more complex type, with adjacencies on three sides, including a narthex and a
baptistery15. The last example, Klapavice (fig. 1,49) is significant not only in terms of ty­

13 N.  Cambi/A.  Gamulin/S.  Tonković, Staro­ [Erešove bare, a 3rd century Villa Suburbana and
kršćanska bazilika u Zmijavcima [The Early a 7th century Christian Church]. Vjesnik Arh.
Christian Basilica in Zmijavci]. Knjižnica Hist. Dalmatinsku 94, 2002, 9–80 here 80 sl. 45.
Zbornika «Kačić» 31 (Split 1999) 15, 28. 15 Chevalier 1995,2 (note 5) Pl. XL,4; L. Gudelj,
14 Chevalier 1995,2 (note  5) Pl. LXVI:2; E.  Ma­ Od svetišta Mitre do crkve sv. Mihovila [From
rin, Erešove bare, villa suburbana iz 3. stoljeća i Mithras’ Sanctuary to the Church of St. Michael].
starokršćanska crkva iz 7. stoljeća u Naroni Kat. i Monogr. 16 (Split 2006) 28.
Early Christian Archaeology of Dalmatia: The State of Research and Selected Problems · 197

10  Klapavice, church – old ground-plan. – After Migotti 1991 (note 55).

pology, but also chronology. After a partial excavation in 1907 the building was inter­
preted as a 6th century one-nave monastery church, with adjacencies on the south side
(fig. 10). Presumably, it had been installed in the house of the military crew, as suggested
by several soldier inscriptions found there as spolia. The chronology was based on the
architectural decoration, and was subsequently substantiated by Pascale Chevalier on the
basis of a votive inscription to Silvanus and nymphs, built into the presbytery floor. Such
conclusion was based on the presumption that a pagan temple would not have been
turned into a Christian church before the 6th century16. Recent small-scale protective
excavations did not reveal the full ground plan of the complex, but they proved that the
church was laid out on a much grander scale than previously presumed, including a bap­
tistery and other adjacencies on the south side. Furthermore, chronological stages were
established on the basis of both architecture and small finds, starting in the 5th century17.

16 Chevalier 1995,1 (note 5) 206–209; II: Pl. XX­ 17 H.  Gjurašin, Lokalitet: Klapavice – Crkvina
XIV,2. [The Site: Klapavice-Crkvina]. Hrvatski Arh.
God. 3, 2006, 406 f.
198 · Branka Migotti

In 1995, prior to those and other recent excavations, Chevalier produced the first and
so far the only complete topography of early Christian architecture in the Roman province
of Dalmatia, the city of Salona excluded18. Of 166 churches in the Croatian part of Dalma­
tia, as many as 40 were dated to the 5th or 6th centuries, but such dating is inadequate,
given that the majority of early Christian churches in Dalmatia were built either in the 5th
or in the 6th century. Only 25 buildings were dated to the 5th century. On the other hand,
as many as 69 churches were dated to the 6th century. The dates of the remainder 32 were
either inconclusive or they comprised a broad chronological span of the 4th to 6th/7th cen­
turies. Significantly, only three churches from the 4th century figure in the last group.
Straightforwardly, this chronology seems to be problematic in three points: the lack of 4th
century buildings, too many of them dated to the 6th century as compared to those from
the 5th, and too many churches dated vaguely to the 5th and/or 6th century. The proposed
dates were in line with a general tendency of Croatian early Christian archaeology of the
time to ascribe the majority of churches in Dalmatia, especially in the country, to the pe­
riod of the emperor Justinian I. (527–565)19. However, such view can be questioned on
several theoretical and practical grounds. Firstly, it would be unexpected for Salona, a
thriving Mediterranean metropolitan see and one with a history of martyrdom, to wait for
two centuries to introduce Christianity in its wider territory, especially in view of its own
first peak of building activity in the 1st half of the 5th century20. Secondly, the creation of
new sees, as established by the acts of the council held in Salona in 533, testifies that the
country in the wider Salonitan region was well Christianised at least by the beginning of
the 6th century21. Thirdly, the emperor Justinian’s Christianising projects and accompany­
ing building activities mostly relate to remote and backward areas22. It is common knowl­
edge that Justinian’s building programme comprised typologically well-defined and clear-
cut church forms. On the other hand, the main characteristic of the church building
during his rule in general is adaptations, rearrangements and subsequent annexing of new
structures, as witnessed in Constantinople itself and in the rest of the Christian world. In
other words, earlier buildings were quite often in the 6th century just reconstructed, rebuilt
or adapted23. Admittedly, this is also very typical of Dalmatia, whose churches as a rule
reveal later additions, such as a narthex and/or a baptistery24. Finally, typological variety
also speaks in favour of an earlier chronology for Dalmatian churches. Had they all been
built in the same period, they would probably be more uniform in ground plans. Dating
to the 6th century was often the result of considering isolated church features, such as a
polygonal apse or a piece of furniture or decoration, and neglecting the whole of the

18 Chevalier 1995,1 (note 5). pography of the Area between the Rivers Krka
19 Migotti 1992 (note 3) 112. and Cetina]. Monogr. 2 (Zagreb 1990) 59.
20 Cambi 1978 (note  4) 615; E.  Marin, Civitas 22 Migotti 1992 (note 3) 112.
splendida Salona. In: Id. (ed.), Salona Christiana 23 Ibid. 115 note  21; A.  Gattiglia, Architettura
(Split 1994) 38–40; Migotti 1992 (note 3) 111 f. simbolica di età giustinianea nei Balcani: la
21 B. Migotti, Ranokršćanska topografija na pod- trichora. In: Acta 1998 (note 1) 189–206 here 189.
ručju između Krke i Cetine [Early Christian To­ 24 See note 6.
Early Christian Archaeology of Dalmatia: The State of Research and Selected Problems · 199

­complex in its potential chronological stages. Therefore, one of the desiderata of Croatian
Early Christian archaeology is to reassess the presumption of a too late institutionalisation
of Christianity, as reflected in church building25. This, on the other hand, is no simple task,
since both the period and the ways of the penetration of Christianity into remoter country
areas is still a controversial historical and archaeological issue in general26.

Early Christian sites yielding remains of churches in Dalmatia

Archaeological context, that is, the relationship between the early Christian church and
the earlier structures on the site is another essential precondition for the understanding
of the institutionalisation of Christianity27. In addressing this subject I considered 188
early Christian sites yielding remains of churches (see the list below), although the num­
ber of potential sites is much larger. Regrettably, few sites have been excavated thorough­
ly, in a way to reveal their immediate archaeological context and a possible building­
reuse. As was already mentioned, in old excavations of medieval churches, Roman and
early Christian finds were usually neglected28. Residues of such frame of mind could be
traced as late as the second half of the 20th century29. The same problem persists, though

25 I argued for such approach some 25 years ago: L.  Villa, Aspetti e tendenze della prima diffu­
Migotti 1992 (note 3), but it seems to be pene­ sione del cristianesimo nel territorio aquileiese
trating the minds of the commentators only in alla luce dei dati archeologici. In: Bandelli 2000
the last decade or so; see: R. Starac, Sulla sco­ (note 3) 391–437 here 391–397.
perta di un’altra chiesa paleocristiana nell’isola di 27 This subject seems to be gaining in popularity re­
Krk (Veglia). Hrvatski Arh. God. 2, 1996, 140 f.; cently, as the best way towards a holistic insight
Fisković 1999 (note  7); M.  Zorić, Rano into the institutionalising of Christianity within
kršćanstvo na širem području grada Šibenika the context of its Roman substratum and its Late
[Early Christianity in the Territory of the Town Antique surroundings: Villa 2000 (note  26)
of Šibenik]. Unpublished MA-thesis (Šibenik 391–436; L.  Peloschek, Tradition und Neuin­
2001) 92; A.  Uglešić, Ranokršćanska arhitek-­ terpretation. Konträre Verfahrensweisen mit an­
tura na području današnje zadarske biskupije tiker Bausubstanz in der griechischen Antike
[Early Christian Architecture of the Territory of und im frühen Christentum in Attika und auf der
the Today’s Zadar Bishopric]. Monogr. 3 (Zadar Peloponnes. Mitt. Christl. Arch. 16, 2010, 9–28.
2002) 118  f.; Vežić 2005 (note  5) 80; J. Zani­ 28 Very symptomatic in this respect is the statement
nović, Lokalitet: Trbounje – Crkvina [The Site: of the founder of the Croatian Archaeological So­
Trbounje – Crkvina]. Hrvatski Arh. God. 4, 2007, ciety, father Lujo Marun, who in 1898 wrote
435 f.; L. Bekić/J. Višnjić, Južni dio antičke nek­ down that it was better to collect Roman finds on
ropole na položaju Sveti Marko – Baška [South­ medieval sites than leave them to ignorant peas­
ern part of the Roman necropolis on the Saint ants, but that only if a combination of a great suc­
Marcus – Baška Site]. Vjesnik Arh. Muz. Zagreb cess and an insignificant effort (sic!) could be an­
41, 2008, 209–257 here 233. ticipated: L. Marun, Izvješće XI glavne skupštine
26 L. C. Ruggini, Religiosità e chiese nelle Venezie Hrvatskoga starinarskoga družtva u Kninu [The
(II–V secolo). In: Bandelli 2000 (note 3) 17–42 Report of the 11th Assembly of the Croatian Ar­
here 33; L. Pietri, La Prosopographie de l’Italie chaeological Society in Knin]. Starohrvatska
chrétienne: un instrument pour l’histoire des Prosvjeta, 4, 1898, 182–188 here 184.
communautés chrétiennes de l’Antiquité Tardive. 29 In 1948 the excavations at Nisko (no. 72) were
In: Bandelli 2000 (note  3) 133–143 here 140; undertaken, but on realising that the architecture
200 · Branka Migotti

on a different level, even in more recent excavations. While there is no doubt that modern
excavators were and have been paying due attention to pre-Christian layers, the finds are
just not adequately represented in publications. At times one can only learn about the
pre–Christian structures on an early Christian site from the ground plans, while there is
no mention of them in the discussion. Given all, the crucial question – whether the previ­
ous architecture was completely ruined and ignored, or at least partly adapted – in most
cases remained unanswered30. Authors dealing with some of the sites discussed here have
specifically postulated such uncertainty31. Although the excavation techniques and meth­
odologies have been much improved recently, the problem still persists.
Despite all shortcomings and uncertainties, I have drafted an approximate statistical
overview of the archaeological contexts on the published early Christian sites, as follows.

I No data (26)
11, 20, 30, 34, 36, 37, 39, 42, 62, 68, 69, 72, 100, 101, 116, 125, 132, 134, 135, 144, 145, 157,
158, 172, 174, 181.

II No earlier architecture below (48)


1 Earlier architecture in the immediate vicinity (24):
3, 7, 8, 13, 57, 64, 65, 76, 77, 83, 84, 87, 89, 90, 93, 95, 98, 123, 139, 148, 149, 167, 168, 171.
2 No earlier architecture whatsoever (24):
2, 12, 16, 21, 25, 29, 31, 51, 52, 53, 54, 58, 59, 61, 78, 80, 99, 126, 150, 152, 154, 155,
161,173.
2.a Late Roman fortresses (14):
2, 12, 16, 21, 25, 31, 51, 52, 53, 54, 61, 80, 155,161, 173.
2.b Other (10):
29, 58, 59, 67, 78, 99, 126, 150, 152, 154.

III With earlier architecture below


1 Indeterminable (26):
4, 15, 18, 35, 40, 63, 71, 75, 79, 86, 94, 110, 112, 129, 131, 136, 137, 140, 159, 160, 164, 170,
175, 178, 179, 182.
2 Hypothetically determined:
2.1 Residential (32): 5, 10, 23, 26, 27, 33, 38, 44, 46, 50, 66, 73, 81, 82, 88, 103, 106, 124,
127, 128, 130, 141, 146, 147, 151, 153, 156, 162, 166, 186, 187, 188.
2.2 Residential with funerary and sacral elements (votive and funerary stones, with
­occasional architecture) (13): 6, 9, 14, 45, 48, 49, 60, 91, 96, 97, 105, 111, 183.
2.3 Cemeteries, with occasional undetermined (sacral?) architecture and votive stones
(23): 1, 17, 19, 24, 28, 32, 36, 41, 56, 70, 74, 104, 108, 115, 118, 119,120, 143, 165, 169, 176,
184, 185.
Early Christian Archaeology of Dalmatia: The State of Research and Selected Problems · 201

2.4 Baths with occasional funerary and votive spolia (9): 22, 55, 92, 102, 109, 113, 114,
117, 121.
2.5 Sacral architecture (12): 28, 32, 43, 47, 85, 107, 122, 123, 133, 142, 163, 177.
2.6 Other (2): 180 – the forum tabernae; 138– fortification architecture.

Notwithstanding that some sites should have a question mark attached, the categories
themselves are interchangeable and/or overlapping due to the insufficient research and the
limitations of the archaeological record. For instance, category II.1 comprises sites with no
Roman architecture but with spolia in early Christian structures, while it is not certain that
pre-Christian architecture is indeed non-existent and that the site does not belong to group
III. The same is true of categories III.2.1 and III.2.4, as well as those III.2.2–III.2.5. While of
necessity remaining hypothetical and inconclusive, the above statistics still gives some
­insight into the procedures and patterns of the spread of Christianity in Dalmatia.
26 (I) of a total of 188 sites lack any published data on the archaeological context. Of
48 sites with no traces of pre-Christian substratum architecture (II), 24 (II.1) yielded such
architecture, presumed villas, in the immediate vicinity of the churches32. Apart from
these 24 sites, additional 24 (II.2) failed to yield architectural substrata either on the spot
or in the immediate vicinity; on the 14 of them (II.2.a) late Roman fortresses were identi­
fied, with remains of standing architecture, including churches, but none was even
­remotely researched. However, earlier Roman spolia in the fortification and/or sacral
buildings on the majority of such sites testify to some connection between the later
­fortresses and the nearby earlier Roman sites. Nevertheless, given historical circumstanc­
es, there is a possibility that the former indeed represent the sole type of settlement that
only began life in Late Antiquity. Of the remaining 10 sites (II.2.b) none has been
­researched enough to prove beyond doubt that they lack earlier Roman finds. Most prob­

was early Christian and not medieval, the excava­ 1993, 175–204 here 201; no. 124: K.  Mucić/
tor left the site. Later on, family vaults were built K.  Galinović, Lokalitet: Slano – k. č. 2357/4
on the site, rendering it lost for archaeology: Mi­ [The Site: Slano], Hrvatski Arh. God. 4, 2007,
gotti 1990 (note 21) 48. 583; no. 166: M. Tomasović, Rimske gradnje u
30 Admittedly, this is one of the most controversial Makarskom primorju [Stanje istraženosti i pri­
issues in any excavation, even those modern and jedlozi za dataciju. Roman Buildings on the Ma­
meticulously conducted: Cf. Chevalier 1995,2 karska Littoral. The State of Research and At­
(note 5) 31 f.; Villa 2000 (note 26) 400; Ph. Dix­ tempts at Chronology]. Histria Antiqua 18,2,
on, The Beginning of Lincoln Cathedral. Athena 2009, 194–231 here 220; no. 169: Marin 2002
Review. Quarterly Journal of Arch., Hist. and Ex­ (note  14) 23; no. 170: F.  Oreb, Archaeological
ploration 4,4, 2007, 16–23 here 22; G.  P.  Bro­ Excavations in the Eastern Part of Ancient Salona
giolo/A.  Chavarría Arnau, Chiese, territorio in 1979. Vjesnik Arh. Hist. Dalmatinsku 77,
e dinamiche del popolamento nelle campagne tra 1984, 25–35 here 31. – See also Chevalier
tardoantico e altomedioevo. Hortus Artium Med. 1995,2 (note 5) 32.
14, 2008, 7–29 here 8; Peloschek 2010 (note 27) 32 Clearly, this concerns only country sites, as some
12–20. architectural context is in itself presumed in ur­
31 For example no. 102: N. Novak, Starokršćanska ban surroundings.
Tarsatica [Early Christian Tarsatica]. Diadora 15,
202 · Branka Migotti

ably these sites started in the early Roman period, but only flourished in Late Antiquity,
as can be presumed from comparison with two examples of early Christian churches and
the accompanying late Roman agricultural villas. Both sites are customarily referred to in
the literature as exclusively late Roman sites. On the first one (no. 29), the sacral architec­
ture was completely excavated and studied, while the same is not true for the partly inves­
tigated contemporary agricultural establishment on its northern side33. The latter’s origin
therefore remains inconclusive. On an island site no. 67 (fig. 11) a sumptuous early Chris­
tian complex, comprising a basilica, a funerary chapel and a mausoleum, was situated in
the vicinity of a contemporary villa. However, some early Roman finds are mentioned in
the excavation record34. Therefore, it can be reasonably presumed that on these two sites,
and, by implication, on many others, inconspicuous early rural settlements expanded in
time and gained in importance owing exactly to the spread of Christianity. So far, how­
ever, there is no evidence in Dalmatia for a settlement that would be created owing exclu­
sively to a Christian precursor. In other words, on the majority of sites (138, that is, 73 %
of the total of 188) Christian churches were erected on earlier architecture or in its
­immediate vicinity, or within pre-Christian cemeteries. Given the state of research, this
statistics show that Christianity was institutionalised mostly through the network of al­
ready existing settlements, as expected. Unfortunately, the crucial point of the nature of
such sites remains mostly unanswered, due to the limitations of the archaeological record
or the lack of published documentary evidence. The issue in question is whether the
topical continuation was thoroughly practical, or whether it had religious overtones, and
if so, whether positive or negative. In order to address this issue, I have drafted a broad
statistical overview of the kinds of architectural precursors of early Christian churches in
Dalmatia (see above). Again, it is highly inconclusive for the reasons mentioned earlier,
and is mostly based on scarce remains of walls, grave monuments and votive inscriptions
or reliefs; the overlapping categories are inevitable here. Of a total of 91 sites (III.2.1–
III.2.6) that offered some clues to the nature of the previous architectural setting, the
most numerous are inconclusive examples (III.1) and those featuring residential archi­
tecture (III.2.1). Of the latter, sub-category III.2.2 seems to be particularly revealing, as
the sites in it yielded remains of presumably residential architecture associated with
­funerary and religious surroundings. The latter were evidenced by votive inscriptions or
reliefs, or even partially preserved architecture. One such site is Kašić/Manastirine
(fig.  1,45,   12), which offers some insight into the association between a pagan and a
Christian domestic sanctuary within a funerary setting. In a Roman villa settlement sev­
eral rooms were established as a funerary and religious complex, as witnessed by archi­
tectural fragments and parts of funerary and votive altars. Two fragments of early Chris­

33 J. Jeličić–Radonić et al., Gata, crkva Justinija­ 34 M.  Suić, Arheološka istraživanja u Mulinama
nova doba [Gata, a Church from Justinian’s na otoku Ugljanu [Archaeological Investigations
Time]. Posebna izdanja, knjiga 4 (Split 1994). on the Island of Ugljan]. Ljetopis Jugoslavenske
Akad. Znanosti, 64, 1960, 230–270.
Early Christian Archaeology of Dalmatia: The State of Research and Selected Problems · 203

11  Muline, early Christian complex. – After Vežić 2005 (note 5).


204 · Branka Migotti

tian furniture gave rise to the suggestion that one of the rooms, previously arranged as a
domestic fanum, was in Late Antiquity rearranged in a small chapel, later to be overbuilt
by a medieval church35. Some examples in category III.2.2 are potentially interchangeable
with those in III.2.3; both reflect a complexity of the life in country surroundings. A
similar doubt is attached to a mingling of different components in urban cemeteries, leav­
ing unresolved the true nature of the architecture in question: a temple, a villa, or a village
in the suburbs. In other words, it remains an open question whether a cemetery spread
over the earlier architecture in the suburb, or whether the latter developed into a separate
settlement with its own funerary place and a church36. Still within category III.2.3, more
recent excavations or re-evaluations of the excavation record disproved a long-main­
tained presumption that the major Salonitan Christian cemeteries started within private
estates; in fact they developed as a continuation of earlier public cemeteries, as was com­
mon elsewhere in the Roman world37.
Votive stones, often found in Roman cemeteries, bring home the fact that the inter­
mingling of the funerary and religious components figures as a natural ideological sub­
stratum for the later blend of graves and Christian basilicas38. This, in turn, connotes the
relationship between Roman religious cults and Christianity. Regrettably, there is no
proof for the immediate association between a Roman sanctuary and a Christian church
in Dalmatia, even though such settings are suggested on many sites through the presence
of conjectural temple architecture and votive inscriptions or reliefs (see III.2.5). A long
time ago Richard Krautheimer argued that in the West, Roman temples were not turned
into churches before the 2nd half of the 6th century39. This assumption was readily a­ ccepted
in Croatian early Christian archaeology, as was its presumed background of hostility40.
However, the starting point of Krautheimer’s well-argue postulation was Rome. On the
other hand, the same presumption cannot be safely applied to the whole of the western
part of the Empire. Firstly, western and eastern Christianity cannot be neatly divided into
two different societies in terms of spiritual and religious attitudes, given the cosmopoli­

35 Curiously, the above observations were not made 37 Marin 1994 (note 20) 47; Ž. Miletić, Sjeverna
by the excavator, but were contrived later by Ve­ salonitanska nekropola [Northern Salonitan Ne­
drana Delonga on the basis of a re-examination cropolises]. Radovi. Razdio povijesnih znanosti.
of the excavation record from the 1950s: V. De­ Filozofski fakultet – Zadar 16, 1989–1990, 163–
longa, Starohrvatska crkva na Mastirinama u 194 here 192.
Kašiću kod Zadra [An Early Medieval Church at 38 Cf. B.  Migotti, Antičko–srednjovjekovni sak-
the Site of Manastirine in the Village of Kašić ralni kontinuitet na području Dalmacije [The Re­
near Zadar]. Starohrvatska Prosvjeta, 18, 1990, ligious Continuity from the Roman Period to the
57–61. Middle Ages in Dalmatia]. Opuscula Arch. 16,
36 For example nos. 17, 70, 73, 74, 143: Chevalier 1992, 225–249.
1995,1 (note  5) 471, 86  f., 68, 70, 448; no. 103: 39 R. Krautheimer, Early Christian and Byzantine
Novak 1993 (note  31) 196–199; nos. 33, 115: Architecture (Harmondsworth 1973) 19.
Migotti 1990 (note  21) 19, 41–42. – Such un­ 40 Migotti 1992 (note 38) 231 note 44; Chevalier
certainty is common in early Christian sur­ 1995,1 (note 5) 135, 208. – Again, this issue is not
roundings. Cf. Cuscito 2000 (note 3) 443; Villa confined to Croatian early Christian archaeolo­
2000 (note 26) 403 note 37. gy: Cf. Cuscito 2000 (note 3) 442 f.; Villa 2000
(note 26) 397; Peloschek 2010 (note 27) 12–19.
Early Christian Archaeology of Dalmatia: The State of Research and Selected Problems · 205

12  Kašić – Mastirine, ground-plan of the early medieval church, with early Christian find-spots marked
by circles. – Modified after Delonga 1990 (note 35).

tan nature of the Roman Empire and the mingling of its population41. While even the
legislation on the Christian attitude towards pagan shrines contains different, unsystem­
atic and even contradictory points, the archaeological evidence reveals an even more
variegated picture of modalities of conversion across the Empire42. On balance, Kraut­
heimer’s axiom seems to be too general and simplified and therefore negligent of possible
local variation and individual attitudes43. The frequency of spoliation instead of the

41 Orientals were very numerous in Late Antique (Oxford 2004) 26–31. – Miroslav Jeremić questi­
Dalmatian towns, and they must have brought ons the preconceived conception of hostility in
some of their religious attitudes to their new sur­ conversion, dating such conversions in Sirmium
roundings: Cf. Migotti 1990 (note  21) 58; to the 5th century: M. Jeremić, Les temples pa­
Chevalier 1995,2 (note 5) 20. yens de Sirmium. Starinar 56, 2006, 167–200
42 Cf. L.  Lavan, What killed the Ancient City? here 193; see also M. Milinković in this book p.
Chronology, Causation, and Traces of Continuity 275 ff.
(review article). Journal Roman Arch. 22,2, 2009, 43 This, of course, does not mean that the existence
811; R. Bayliss, Provincial Cilicia and the Archa­ of pagan – Christian hostility should be ques­
eology of Temple Conversion. BAR Int. Ser. 1281 tioned in itself, as it was recorded in written
206 · Branka Migotti

­ estruction of votive inscriptions and reliefs on Christian sites in Dalmatia speaks in


d
­itself for an active psychological relationship, which cannot in and of itself be labelled as
­hostile44. Significantly, most often the deities that gave place to Christian worship were
Silvanus and Mithras45. Silvanus, as an indigenous Dalmatian god, can in such context be
considered as a genius loci rather than a hostile deity, while Mithraic – Christian associa­
tions are well known. On balance, there is a need for a more subtle approach to the issue
of temple conversion and for the reassessment of the practise of dating Christian sites to
the 6th century just on account of the traces of Roman religious cults on them. Some of
the sites in categories III.2.2–2.4 are especially illustrative of this issue. One of them is
Kašić – Mastirine (no. 45), which seems to be testifying a smooth religious transition in
domestic surroundings; it was mentioned above in connection with the domestic sub­
stratum of early Christian sites. In nearby Kašić – Banjevci (no. 43), on the site of a pre­
sumed Roman villa, which was completely destroyed by construction machinery, without
ever being archaeologically researched, several relief stones were found. Among them
was a fragment of a Mithras’ relief and parts of Christian furniture, which gave rise to a
sound assumption that a Mithraeum there was turned into a Christian chapel46. There is
no need to presume a destruction of the Mithraic cultic panel in the course of adaptation,
as Christian pieces were also destroyed, rather by modern machinery than by Christian
fury. In Klapavice (no. 49), a votive inscription to Jupiter, Silvanus and to other gods
(Consentium deorum) was built in the floor of the presbytery of the Christian church,
with the text exposed47. Supposedly, such action was not left to the discretion of the
craftsmen or even unskilled workers, but was the responsibility of the more or less edu­
cated clergy. Therefore, the idea behind such act should be a symbolic sign of acceptance
rather than hostility towards pagan gods. The same is suggested by other sites in category
III.2.2, as violent conversions in domestic surroundings are not likely. In Proložac
(fig. 1,97) a completely preserved Mithraic panel was reused in a late Roman masonry
tomb48. Finally, the Episcopal complex of Jader (fig. 1,180) was established right on the
forum, starting with an oratory adapted in the tabernae in the course of the 4th century,
when the near–by temple of the Capitoline triad was still in use49.

sources and evidenced archaeologically: Bayliss 43, 97, 105, 121), Jupiter (6, 22, 28, 118, 123), Ky­
2004 (note 42) 16–26; P. Noelke, Bilderstürmer bele (118, 122, 159), Liber (28, 85, 118), Nemesis
in Germanien – Barbaren oder Christen? In: Th. (107), Consentio deorum (49), Here (163), Venus
Otten/S. Ristow (Red.), Von den Göttern zu Gott. (91), Terra Stabilitas (111), Mars (111) and an
Frühes Christentum in Rheinland. Cat. Bonn unknown one (45).
(Tübingen 2006) 58; J. S. McKenzie, The Serape­ 46 J. Medini, Mitrički reljef iz Banjevaca [A Mith­
um of Alexandria: its Destruction and Reconst­ raic Relief from Banjevci]. Diadora, 8, 1975, 39–
ruction (review article). Journal Roman Arch. 42, 83.
22,2, 2009, 773–782. 47 Chevalier 1995,1 (note  5); Migotti 1990
44 Votive spolia were established on sites 6, 7, 9, 14, (note 21) 47.
22, 28, 43, 45, 49, 83, 85, 91, 96, 97, 105, 107, 111, 48 Gudelj 2006 (note 15) 89, G 14.
118, 121, 159, 163, 183. 49 Vežić 2002 (note 5) 17–23.
45 The following deities were recorded: Silvanus (7,
14, 22, 28, 47, 49, 83, 96, 111), Mithras (6, 9, 22,
Early Christian Archaeology of Dalmatia: The State of Research and Selected Problems · 207

The adaptation of early Christian churches in Roman baths was perhaps the most pop­
ular practice of making use of the existing architecture50. Practical considerations were
certainly important, but symbolic and religious connotations related to water should also
be taken into account. Also, quite a number of thermal facilities remained in function in
Late Antiquity and were often owned by the Church51. This makes the issue of the con­
nection between the churches and the residue of baths on early Christian sites even more
complex and worthy of research. The remains of thermal structures (III.2.4) under the
churches or in their near vicinity on Christian sites in Dalmatia is customarily explained
by presuming that the church was built above the baths after their complete destruction.
Only one (fig. 1,109) of the 4 Salonitan examples (fig. 1,109, 113, 114, 117) was inter­
preted as the chapel adapted in the baths, while for the remainder the commentators
presumed a complete destruction of the thermal architecture52. A similar interpretation
was offered in the literature for other sites in category III.2.4. However, the relationship
between thermal structures and early Christian architecture was presumably a more
complex issue and should be examined individually, as is well illustrated by one of the
Salonitan examples. Revision excavations of site 114, initially researched long ago, showed
that the basilica used some of the baths’ walls, and the excavator suggested that the unex­
cavated part of the baths possibly remained in use contemporary with the basilica53. The
accuracy of this suggestion is supported by another example from Salona – the big public
baths in the vicinity of the Episcopal quarter (fig. 1,121). One of the two compartments
of the caldarium was in the 4th or 5th century furnished with two early Christian pilasters,
while the baths remained in use (fig. 13a). Curiously, in the other caldarium compart­
ment a completely preserved Mithraic cultic panel was found54 (fig. 13 b). This, therefore,
can be interpreted as a sequence of events displaying a non- violent Christianisation of a
civic and sacred architecture – baths and a Mithraeum.

50 E.  Stommel, Christliche Taufriten und antike Caterina Annese e Pasquale Favia, Terme e
Badesitten. Jahrb. Ant. u. Christentum 2, 1959, complessi religiosi paleocristiani. Il caso di San
5–15; Krautheimer 1973 (note  39) 8; J.  Vaes, Giusto. In: M. Guérin-Beau­vois/J.-M. Martin,
«Nova construere sed amplius vetusta servare»: le Bains curatifs et bains hygiéniques en Italie de
réutilisation chrétienne d’édifices antiques (en l’Antiquité au moyen âge. Collection de l’École
Italie). Acta Congressus internationalis archaeo­ Française de Rome 383 (Rome 2007) 217–261
logiae cristianae 9,1 = Stud. Antichità Cristiana here 252.
32 (Città del Vaticano 1989) 299–319 here 31; 52 109: Dyggve 1951 (note  10) 23, 25  f., 57;
Bayliss 2004 (note 42) 33; W. Schmitz, Der Nie­ D. Rendić-Miočević, Question de la chronolo­
dergang der römischen Hochzivilisation – Weg­ gie de développement des basiliques doubles de
bereiter für eine neue Religion? In: Otten/Ris­ Salone. Vjesnik Arh. Hist. Dalmatinsku 77, Dis­
tow 2006 (note 43) 22–29 here 25. putationes Salonitanae 2 (Split 1984) 175–186
51 Krautheimer 1973 (note  39) 73; F.  Yegül, here 176; Migotti 1990 (note 21) 15–22.
Baths and Bathing in Classical Antiquity, Cam­ 53 Oreb 1979 (note 31).
bridge/Mass (London 1992) 317–322; R.  Coa­ 54 S. Piplović, Pregradnje u «velikim termama» u
tes-Stephens, The Walls and Aqueducts of Saloni. Transformation of the public baths in Sa­
Rome in the Early Middle Ages. Journal Roman lona. Vjesnik Arh. Hist. Dalmatinsku 74, 1980,
Stud. 88, 1998, 166–178 here 177  f.; G.  Volpe, 92–103.
208 · Branka Migotti

13a  Salona, baths, ground-plan with Mithraic (circle) and early Christian (arrow) finds marked. – Modi-
fied after Piplović 1980 (note 54).
Early Christian Archaeology of Dalmatia: The State of Research and Selected Problems · 209

13b  Salona, baths, entrance to the caldarium. – After Piplović 1980 (note 54).

To sum up: the available evidence, although inadequate and inconclusive, points to the
presumption that the spread of Christianity in Dalmatia occurred during the 4th and 5th
centuries than the second half of the 6th, and using mostly the existing architectural set­
tings and ­affecting the material, social and religious life mostly in a non-violent manner.

The list of sites

As stated previously, Dalmatia has some 200 proven or potential sites, of which 188 are
listed below55. They mostly feature proven early Christian architecture, either completely
or partially researched. Nevertheless, some 20 % of them are sites on which archaeologi­
cal excavations have never been conducted, or were of very limited scope, leaving the
presence of early Christian architecture inconclusive. One of the main reasons for such
uncertainties lies in the fact that Late Antique layers are more often than not hidden

55 The literature for each site in this list has not been pography of the Area between the Rivers Zrman­
quoted individually, as this would bring an un­ ja and Cetina]. Unpublished PhD-Thesis (Zagreb
necessary burden to the text. Apart from the lit­ 1991); Uglešić 2002 (note  25); Vežić 2005
erature quoted in the previous notes in relation (note 5); A. Uglešić, Ranokršćanska arhitektura
with individual sites, the data for all of them were na području današnje šibenske biskupije [Early
sourced from several monographs: Chevalier Christian Architecture of the Territory of the To­
1995 (note 5); Migotti 1990 (note 21); B. Mig­ day’s Šibenik Bishopric] (Drniš 2006), as well as
otti, Ranokršćanska topogafija na području in 5 volumes of the Hrvatski Arh. Godišnjak (1–
između Zrmanje i Cetine [Early Christian To­ 5, 2004–2008).
210 · Branka Migotti

within or covered by medieval or modern church walls. Even though, such sites have
been taken into consideration due to a high probability that Christian buildings did exist
there, as suggested by a few indicators: context, ground plans of later churches and parts
of Roman walls in them, patrons of existing churches and, finally, fragments of decorated
church furniture and architectural decoration used as spolia or found on the spot. The
inclusion of such sites may be in discrepancy with the basic research starting point of the
organisers of the conference “Christianisation of Europe: Archaeological evidence for its
creation, development and consolidation”, although in a slightly different contextual
framework. In a circular to the participants, it was namely cautioned against the ten­
dency to proclaim each building under the later church to be Christian. While this is
certainly a prudent and safe research axiom, the practice of early Christian archaeology
in Dalmatia has shown time and again that potential early Christian sites as described
above ultimately proved to be such. They have been included here mostly for the sake of
substantiating the basis for the exploration of the overall archaeological context of early
Christian architecture in Dalmatia. On balance, what is at issue in addressing possibilities
and probabilities of interpretation is to be sure to point out the difference between a prob­
ability and a proven fact56.

1. Baćina; 2. Barbat; 3. Baška – Mire; 4. Baška – St. Lucy; 5. Baška – St. Marcus; 6. Bijaći;
7. Bilice; 8. Biograd; 9. Biskupija – Stupovi; 10. Biskupija – Katića Bajami; 11. Blizna; 12.
Bol; 13. Brbinj; 14. Brnaze; 15. Brzet; 16. Budim; 17. Cavtat; 18. Cecela; 19. Cista Velika;
20. Čepikuće; 21. Čiovo; 22. Danilo Gornje; 23. Donje Selo; 24. Donji Humac; 25. Du­
brovnik; 26. Fumija; 27. Gala; 28. Galovac; 29. Gata; 30. Grabovac; 31. Grbavac; 32. Gro­
hote; 33. Grušine; 34. Gubavac; 35. Hvar – St. Mary; 36. Hvar – St. Cyprian; 37. Hvar –
The Holy Spirit; 38. Ivinj; 39. Jadriščica; 40. Jesenice – Supetar ; 41. Jesenice – Sustjepan;
42. Kalifront; 43. Kašić – Banjevci; 44. Kašić – Begovača; 45. Kašić – Mastirine (fig. 12);
46. Kaštel Gomilica; 47. Kaštel Sućurac – Kozjak; 48. Kaštel Sućurac – Putalj; 49. Klapa­
vice (fig. 10); 50. Korlat; 51. Korintija – Bosar (1); 52. Korintija – Bosar (2); 53. Korintija
(hillfort); 54. Kornat; 55. Krk – cathedral; 56. Krk – cemetery; 57. Lovrečina; 58. Lovreški;
59. Lučnjak; 60. Majsan; 61. Makarska; 62. Martinščica; 63. Mokro Polje – Čuker; 64.
Mokro Polje – Sučevići; 65. Mokro Polje – Vagići; 66. Muć; 67. Muline (fig.  11); 68.
Nerežišća; 69. Neviđane; 70. Nin – St. Mary; 71. Nin – St. Anselmus; 72. Nisko; 73. No­
valja – Gaj; 74. Novalja – Jaz; 75. Novalja – St. Mary; 76. Novalja – Mirić; 77. Novalja –
Miri; 78. Ogrul; 79. Omiš; 80. Osinj; 81. Osor; 82. Ošljak; 83. Otišić; 84. Otok; 85.
Podgrađe (Benkovac); 86. Podgrađe (Omiš); 87. Podvršje; 88. Polača; 89. Polače (1); 90.
Polače (2); 91. Postira; 92. Potravlje; 93. Povlja; 94. Premuda; 95. Pridraga – St. Martin;
96. Pridraga – St. Michael; 97. Proložac (fig. 9); 98. Pučišća; 99. Punat; 100. Rab – St. John;

56 The fact that in 311 the emperor Galerius allowed [Paris 2007] 200), does call for scrutiny of previ­
the Christians to rebuild their meeting places ous architectural layers on early Christian sites.
(G.  Goyau, Chronologie de l’Empire romain
Early Christian Archaeology of Dalmatia: The State of Research and Selected Problems · 211

101. Rab – St. Mary; 102. Rijeka – St. Mary; 103. Rijeka – St. Andrew; 104. Rijeka – St.
Lawrence; 105. Rupotine; 106. Sali; 107–121: Salona (107. amphitheatre; 108. eastern
cemetery [fig. 6]; 109. oratorium A [fig. 5]; 110. Porta Caesarea; 111. Ilinac; 112. “Arian
church”; 113. “iuxta portum”; 114. urbs orientalis; 115. Gradina; 116. urbs occidentalis;
117. cathedral; 118. Manastirine; 119. Marusinac; 120. Kapljuč; 121. thermae (fig. 13a–b);
122. Senj; 123. Sepen; 124. Slano; 125. Spilan; 126. Spliska; 127–138: Split (127. Sustjepan;
128. Lovret; 129. Trstenik; 130. Špinut; 131. St. Euphemia; 132. St. Michael; 133. cathe­
dral; 134. St. Felix; 135. St. Dominic; 136. St. John the Evangelist; 137. Bazilija; 138. St.
Martin); 139. Srima; 140. Stari Grad; 141. Stipanska; 142. Stobreč; 143 –146: Ston (143. St.
Magdalene; 144. St. Peter; 145. St. John the Evangelist; 146. St. Stephen); 147. Studenčić;
148. Supetar – St. Peter; 149. Supetar – cemetery; 150. Supetar – Mirje; 151. Sustipanac;
152. Sušac; 153. Sutivan; 154. Sutvara; 155. Sveti Marko; 156. Sveti Vid; 157. Šćedro;
158. Šipan; 159. Škrip; 160. Tepljuh; 161. Tkon; 162. Trbounje; 163. Trogir – cathedral;
164. Trogir – St. Mary; 165. Trogir – St. Barbara; 166. Tučepi; 167. Ubli; 168. Uzdolje; 169.
Vid – Erešove bare; 170. Vid – cathedral: 171 Vid – St. Vitus; 172. Vinjani; 173. Vrgada;
174. Vrisnik; 175. Zablaće; 176 – 180: Zadar (176. cemetery; 177. St. Stephen; 178. St.
Thomas; 179. SS.  Andrew and Peter; 180. cathedral); 181. Zaglavac; 182. Zaton; 183.
­Zmijavci (fig. 7); 184. Žažvić; 185. Ždrapanj; 186. Lepuri; 187. Biševo; 188. Rižinice.

Summary

In this paper two issues of importance for the understanding of the institutionalisation of
Christianity in the coastal region of the Roman province of Dalmatia have been ad­
dressed: chronology, and the archaeological context of early Christian sites (the relation­
ship between the early Christian church and the earlier structures on the site). Both cat­
egories are equally important for an insight into the procedures and patterns of the spread
of Christianity. The time span comprised is from the 3rd/4th to the 6th/7th centuries, while
statistic-based research has been conducted on 188 sites. They mostly feature proven
early Christian architecture, while some 20 % of them are sites on which archaeological
excavations have never been conducted, or were of very limited scope, leaving the pres­
ence of early Christian architecture inconclusive, but highly probable. Until recently, a
general tendency of Croatian early Christian archaeology was to ascribe the majority of
churches in Dalmatia, especially in the countryside, to the period of the Emperor Justin­
ian I. (527–565). It has been postulated in this paper that the main period of the church
building must have predated the 2nd half of the 6th century, based on several arguments,
but mostly by the fact that the majority of the churches developed through multiple phas­
es and renovations. As for the archaeological context, it was mostly neglected in older
excavations, while it was given less prominence in the publications of more recent ones;
some commentators postulated that the transition from classical cults to Christianity was
often accompanied by violence. The main aim of this paper was to show that available
212 · Branka Migotti

evidence, although inadequate and inconclusive, points to the presumption that the
spread of Christianity in Dalmatia occurred during the 4th and 5th centuries rather than
the 6th, and using mostly the existing architectural settings and affecting the material,
social and religious life mostly in a non-aggressive manner.

Zusammenfassung

Frühchristliche Archäologie Dalmatiens: Forschungsstand und exemplarische Probleme

Der Beitrag beschäftigt sich mit zwei Aspekten, die für das Verständnis der Institutio­
nalisierung des Christentums in der Küstenregion der römischen Provinz Dalmatien
von Bedeutung sind: die Chronologie und der archäologische Kontext an den frühchrist­
lichen Fundorten, also das Verhältnis zwischen Kirchen und älteren Bauten. Beide
Gesichtspunkte sind für einen Einblick in den Ablauf und die Strukturen der Ausbrei­
tung des Christentums in gleichem Maße wichtig. Die statistische Untersuchung um­
fasst 188 Fundplätze mit Denkmälern aus dem 3./4. bis 6./7. Jahrhundert. Die Mehrzahl
besitzt eine eindeutig nachgewiesene frühchristliche Architektur, bei etwa 20 % handelt
es sich um Orte, an denen noch nie oder nur in sehr begrenztem Umfang archäologi­
sche Ausgrabungen stattgefunden haben, sodass das Vorhandensein frühchristlicher
Architektur hier zwar nicht gesichert aber sehr wahrscheinlich ist. Bis vor kurzem herr­
schte in der kroatischen christlichen Archäologie die Tendenz, die Mehrheit der Kir­
chen in Dalmatien, besonders auf dem Land, in die Regierungszeit Kaiser Justinians I.
(527–565) zu datieren. Die meisten Kirchen sind jedoch erst in der 2. Hälfte des 6. Jahr­
hunderts entstanden und besitzen mehrere Umbau- und Renovierungsphasen. Ge­rade
bei älteren Ausgrabungen ist oft der Aspekt vernachlässigt, dass der Religionswechsel
zum Christentum häufig von Gewalt begleitet wurde. Die Ausbreitung des Christen­
tums in Dalmatien setzte im 6. Jahrhundert ein und nicht bereits während des 4./5. Jahr­
hunderts. Dabei wurden die bestehenden architektonischen Gegebenheiten genutzt
und auf materielle, s­ oziale und religiöse Aspekte des Lebens in einer zumeist g­ ewaltfreien
Form eingewirkt.

Dr. Branka Migotti


The Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts
The Archaeological Department
Ante Kovačića 5
HR-10000 Zagreb
branka.migotti@zg.t-com.hr