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characterised, first of all, by the large number of monumental churches that were built in towns and in the countryside. Religious building became the symbol of the church's power in much the same way that temples and fora had represented the Roman empire. They were the meeting places and, when fortified, also defensive buildings in which the population could take refuge in danger.66 At the same time, the wealth of the Catholic Church would be conspicuously advertised by the rich mosaics and decoration.

To that end, Justinian initiated a building programme with the aim of reorganizing and re-decorating numerous North African cities with rich and monumental churches. The scale of this activity was such that Procopius dedicated the whole of his De aedificiis 6 to Africa.67 Procopius wrote that book to celebrate Justinian's accomplishments as a 'restorer of the state through victory; builder of cities, supporter of the true faith, codifier of the laws, bringer of internal harmony and external peace, strengthener of frontiers'.68 The African material record gives credence to that description. Procopius offers detailed information of the building activity carried on in Carthage.69 In particular, he refers to a church dedicated to the Virgin Theotokos constructed in the proconsular palace and a fortified monastery called the Mandracium. In both cases the identification of the buildings is dubious.70 In addition to details about those churches, Procopius gives information about the building of baths named after the empress Theodora, the restoration of the city wall and the building of a ditch. The city of Carthage was, in other words, deeply re-organised during the Byzantine restoration and it is reasonable to think that more activities were carried out in the Justinian period. Procopius' description of Carthage can be contrasted to what he wrote about Justinian's building programme in Lepcis Magna, in Tripolitania.71 In the case of Lepcis, he specifically emphasises churches because his aim is to highlight Justinian's divine inspiration. The construction of religious buildings can be seen as an attempt to promote orthodoxy.72

66 D. Pringle, The defence of Byzantine North Africa.

67 The book is probably unfinished and the sources used are of different qualities and reliability (Averil Cameron, 'Byzantine Africa - The literary evidence', 33).

68 Procopius, Aed. 1.1.6-11, trans. from Averil Cameron, Procopius and the sixth century, 86-7. The building activity resulted not only in religious complexes, but also in forts (see further Pringle, The defence of Byzantine North Africa).

70 See Ennabli, Carthage and Duval, 'L'état actuel des recherches archéologiques sur Carthage chrétienne'; on the Mandracium, see H. Hurst, The sanctuary ofTanit at Carthage in the Roman period.

72 See Cameron, 'Byzantine Africa - The literary evidence', 34.

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