Christianity and the religions in Western Illyricum from 3th – 5th century

As part of the DFG concentration programme “Roman Imperial and Provincial Religion”, this project looks into the religious dimension in the late antiquity cultural region of Western Illyricum. Taking a comprehensive view in terms of the history of religion that includes the entire religious system of the region, the intention is to establish a concrete “religious field” of comparative study. By gaining an overview of the forms of religious expression within the numerous Illyrian civitates, and by looking at the expressions of religious identity of entire provinces, for example, those that are to be found above all in the respective provincial centres of the Imperial cult, light will be shed both upon the religious geography for a limited region within the Roman Empire during its high period, and on the way it manifested itself in the various cults and teachings and in regional interactivities. One focus is an examination of the role that Christianity begins to assume in the third and fourth centuries within the Illyrian religious system. The project will also look for connections between the forms of Christianity, which are expressed in epigraphs, burial objects and other religious media from the field of archaeology, and the form that the Christian theology, which we encounter in the preserved texts from Illyrian provenance as well as Bible commentaries, congregational catechesis, dogmatic-polemic and liturgical writings, assumed. Finally, locally defined cultural backgrounds that may have influenced the tendency toward universalization within the religious policy – in particular that of the Roman Emperors originating from Illyricum – will be examined.

Project manager
Christoph Markschies

Project duration


Henrik Hildebrandt