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Margins and MetropolisAuthority across the Byzantine Empire$
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Judith Herrin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691153018

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691153018.001.0001

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From Bread and Circuses to Soup and Salvation

From Bread and Circuses to Soup and Salvation

The Origins of Byzantine Charity

Chapter:
(p.267) 13 From Bread and Circuses to Soup and Salvation
Source:
Margins and Metropolis
Author(s):

Judith Herrin

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691153018.003.0013

This chapter examines how charity came into existence under the Byzantine Empire. It discusses three stages in the development of Byzantine charity: the first, from Apostolic times to the ending of imperial persecution (313); the second, from the endowments of Constantine I to those of Justinian (527–65); and a third, from the Christian patronage of Justin II (565–78) to that of Herakleios (610–41). It considers the transition from the form of imperial largesse (symbolized by bread and circuses) to a different but also imperial form (soup and salvation, supported and often financed by Christian rulers). It shows that Christian charity totally replaced ancient philanthropy in the seventh century, sanctioned by the state–church alliance forged by Herakleios.

Keywords:   Byzantine charity, Byzantine Empire, Herakleios, bread, circuses, soup, salvation, philanthropy

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