New Publication: ‘Inventing Late Antique Reliquaries. Reception, Material History, and Dynamics of Interaction (4th-6th Centuries CE)’ by Adrien Palladino

The cult of saints, their relics, and devotion to their shrines is a phenomenon born in Late Antiquity that durably shaped medieval and modern practices across a broad geographical and cultural area spreading first throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. How was the creation of vessels for the holy remains of saints implemented during a culturally heterogenous period? Indeed, how could boxes of various shapes, sizes, and materials become containers to shelter sacred matter? What materials could be used in reliquaries’ making, and what images should adorn them? And how did reliquaries, with their geographical and social portability, contribute to the translocation of site-bound sanctity and the spread of saints’ and shrines’ networks across the Late Antique world?

Tracing the medieval reliquary’s “pre-history”, this volume examines boxes bearing Christian images and patterns made between the fourth to the sixth century CE. It investigates how vessels adorned with images acquired meaning and power, exploring the dynamics of transformation that accompany both the creation of these objects and their long history of reuse, marginalization, and rediscovery.

To purchase, visit Viella.


Published by charlottecook

Charlotte Cook graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in European History from Washington & Lee University in 2019. In 2020 she received her Master’s degree in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, earning the classification of Merit. Her research explores questions of royal patronage, both by and in honor of rulers, in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England. She has worked as a researcher and collections assistant at several museums and galleries, and plans to begin her PhD in the autumn of 2022.

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