The early Christian Caucasus

Authored by: Stephen H. Rapp

Routledge Handbook of the Caucasus

Print publication date:  March  2020
Online publication date:  March  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138483187
eBook ISBN: 9781351055628
Adobe ISBN:


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Across Caucasia’s pre-modern history, perhaps no subject has garnered more attention than Christianisation and Christian identity. However, these have typically been investigated without due regard for the Persianate social structure of late antique and early medieval Caucasia, a circumstance that long outlived the royal conversions of the fourth century. This chapter situates early Christian Caucasia in a balanced historical framework and demonstrates the region’s enduring principal socio-cultural orientation southwards, towards Syria, Mesopotamia, and Iran. At the same time, it attempts to recover the cross-cultural and pan-regional nature of Caucasia’s public Christianisation in the fourth and fifth centuries. Finally, it emphasises the complexities of surviving sources for Caucasia’s conversion to Christianity.

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