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Aquileia's elite as patrons

Unlike the written accounts that exist for the conversion of Rome's elite, the evidence for Aquileia's municipal upper classes comes largely from archaeological sources. We are fortunate to possess a telling record of how Aquileia's municipal aristocrats came to act as patrons of the basilicas that were built in the city; the mosaic floors in three key basilicas in Aquileia, dating from the fourth to the late fifth centuries, explicitly record local patronage activities. It is worth looking at these in some detail.

The earliest of the three monumental, public Christian buildings to have survived in Aquileia is the episcopal or Theodorian complex, whose first level of mosaic flooring dates to the years right after Constantine's conversion (313-19).36 The uniformity and organization of the mosaic flooring have led scholars to see a centralised control of the design, presumably under the supervision of the clergy or even of the bishop, whose identification and designation as 'felix provide a terminus post quem for the mosaic; Theodore died in 319. What is of particular interest here is that Theodore did not pay for the mosaic floor; an inscription in the south room indicates that 'Theodore with the help of God and of his flock' made this mosaic possible. The names and portraits of some fourteen donors are represented on the basilica floor. Some of these donors were quite wealthy, judging from the extent of mosaic they donated. So, several laypersons donated mosaic work roughly matching the 880 Roman feet noted for a certain donor named Januarius, also presumably a layman. The wealth of these lay donors is displayed also by the attire of the men and women depicted in the south room's mosaics.37 These donors were, in all likelihood, Christianised municipal elites.

A second basilica at Aquileia, associated with a funerary monument, just 2 km south of the ancient urban centre, sheds further insight into the Chris-tianisation of Aquileia's municipal upper classes in the second half of the fourth and early fifth centuries. Here, at the Basilica del fondo Tullio, some twelve names of donors survive. Three who have clearly Greek or Syriac names - Anatolius, Malchos and Euticius - paid for relatively modest amounts of flooring, only 33 Roman feet (approx. 2.9 m2) each. This floor suggests, as one sees elsewhere, that the Christian community ofAquileia contained a number

36 I follow the dating of these mosaics provided by J. P. Caillet, L'évergétisme monumental,

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