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Fana, Templa, Delubra Destrui Praecipimus: The End Of The Temples In Roman Spain

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Chapter Summary

The Theodosian Code preserves a series of imperial laws which aimed to suppress pagan sacrifices and remove cult idols during the 4th c. At the same time other imperial legislation recommended that the temple buildings themselves needed to be maintained in the cities, as both emblematic and useful buildings. This chapter analyses, using all the available sources (literary, archaeological, legislative), the problem of the end of pagan temples in Hispania. It concludes that these structures were not transformed into churchesif at alluntil the 6th and 7th centuries. Several general points can be made about the fate of the temples in Late Roman Spain. The evidence shows us that any conversion of temples into churches in Hispania was a late and rare phenomenon; the only possible example we have is at Tarraco, which is not certainly attested before the early 8th c.

Keywords: Hispania; imperial legislation; pagan temples; Tarraco; temples in Late Roman Spain; Theodosian Code



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