By Elizabeth Key Fowden
Throughout the 5th and 6th centuries A.D. there arose at the Euphrates frontier, among the empires of Rome and Iran, a urban girded with glittering gypsum partitions. inside of those partitions stood an exceptional church, a shrine for the relics of Saint Sergius, who used to be martyred there, at Rusafa, within the early fourth century. round Rusafa stretched the "Barbarian Plain," inhabited by means of Rome's Arab allies, lots of whom respected the saint. Elizabeth Key Fowden examines the increase of the cult of Sergius in past due antiquity, drawing on literary money owed, inscriptions, archaeology, photos, and the panorama itself to build a many-faceted photograph of the position of faith during this frontier society. concentrating on the socio-cultural in addition to the political dimensions of the Sergius cult, her examine sheds mild at the lives of the normal trustworthy, in addition to on religion's position within the strategic calculations of adversarial empires.Beginning with a close research of the surviving debts of the martyrdom of Sergius, Fowden offers a dialogue of Syrian Rusafa-Sergiopolis, strains the unfold of the Sergius cult in Syria and Mesopotamia, and gives a provocative interpretation of the relation among the saint's presence at Rusafa and his function in frontier safeguard. She additionally discusses Arab Christianity within the context of overdue Roman tradition within the East, in addition to the continuation of the Sergius culture after the Muslim conquest, emphasizing the adjustments and continuities introduced by means of the increase of Islam.