HAA Cosponsored Lecture: Lay Aristocrats and Roman Bishops

Event Date: 

Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Event Location: 

  • Arts 1332

Event Price: 

Free admission

Lay Aristocrats and Roman Bishops: The Papacy of Felix III (483 ‐ 492) after the fall of the Western Empire

Michele Salzman (History, UC Riverside)

Felix III, who held the papal seat from 483 ‐ 492, is called by several scholars “Rome’s first aristocratic bishop.” As the first elected pope after the fall of the last western emperor, his aristocratic origins would bestow a distinctly new status to the office of bishop of Rome on the eve of new challenges to his authority from the Eastern Patriarch in Constantinople, Acacius. But was Felix the first aristocratic bishop? And how important was social background and aristocratic networks after the fall of the western empire? The Letters of Felix and close reading of contemporary sources shed new light on Felix’s social standing and how he used his social networks to become the first Roman pope to break with Constantinople in what is today known as the Acacian Schism.

Dr. Salzman is Professor of History at the University of California, Riverside. Her research focuses on the religious and social history of Late Antiquity. She is currently working on a book project, The 'Falls' of Rome: The Transformations of Rome in Late Antiquity, 270-603 CE. Her book proposes a new way of looking at the city of Rome from the third through the sixth century not as a ‘decline and fall’ but as a series of negotiated responses to crises. The book considers evidence in the textual and archaeological remains for the role that the four dominant elites in the city of Rome played in response to a series of crises from the third to seventh centuries.

Cosponsored by the California Consortium for Late Antiquity, the Virgil Cordano OFM Endowed Chair in Catholic Studies, and the Department of History of Art & Architecture.