Info

Rather, at Aquileia donors are recorded only within the family unit, either as a couple or as the heads ofhouseholds. This, more conservative, familial pattern of Christian patronage may reflect the relatively limited means of this city's provincial, municipal upper class; it may also reflect the more conservative society of the provinces.

Aquileia's municipal elite did not have the autonomy and tradition of independence of Rome's senatorial elite. Rather, Aquileia's notables relied on wealthier, more powerful persons of senatorial rank for patronage and favours. A number of these powerful senatorial aristocracies active in this area were Christian. We know, for instance, that the Anicii, one of the most influential, Christian senatorial families of Rome, played a prominent role in Aquileia, acting as patrons for this city and holding property there; one member of this family, the fifth-century Anicia Ulfina, was likely honoured by being buried in this city.40 The fourth-century governor of Venetia, Parecorius Apollinaris, built what has been identified as a Basilica of the Apostles in Aquileia.41 The Petronii, another influential Christian senatorial family of Rome, were also active in Aquileia and its environs as office holders and patrons,42 as were the Christian Eusebii; a tomb of a child from this family with a cache of inscribed silver spoons and jewellery was uncovered on what has been identified as family property. This funerary monument suggests one way in which urban Christian elites spread their religion in the area around Aquileia.43 Indeed, it was widely assumed that the wealthy landowner was responsible for the religiosity of the rural population living on his estates.44 In rural areas, as in cities like Aquileia, the Christian senatorial class modelled behaviour and represented Christianity as a high-status option, factors which likely contributed to making the municipal elite of Aquileia more open to Christianity.

By the fifth and sixth centuries senators who held the rank of clarissimus are attested as patrons of Christianity in the region of Aquileia. So, at Vicenza a church was dedicated to SS. Felix and Fortunatus with the support of a senatorial clarissimus by the name of Felix, along with the support of two

40 Sotinel, Identité civique, discusses the base of the statue dedicated to this family as their patrons and the likely authenticity of the fifth-century inscription.

41 Parecorius Apollinaris' monument is attested epigraphically; CIL 5.1582; Caillet, L'evergetisme monumental, 144-6.

42 Salzman, ThemakingofaChristianaristocracy, 258; Pietri, 'Aristocratie et société clericale', 89-137.

43 L. Villa, 'Aspetti e tendenze della prima diffusione del cristianesimo', 391-4.

44 In Theodosius' law of 392, CTh 16.10.12.2-3, for example, landholders in rural areas were held responsible for enforcing prohibitions of pagan cult on their property Cf. Augustine's praise for Pammachius for having convinced his tenant farmers to adopt the 'correct' Christianity: Augustine, Letter 48.1 (written in 401).

0 0

Post a comment