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Octagonal Churches and Their Functions in Late Antiquity

Mark Johnson, Brigham Young University

March 25, 2019 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · 106 McCormick Hall

Program in the Ancient World

The talk is based on material from my recent book, San Vitale in Ravenna and Octagonal Churches in Late Antiquity. During the third to sixth centuries C.E. large numbers of Christian churches were built throughout the Roman Empire and its heirs. A small number of these buildings were constructed with an octagonal plan, raising the question of why this plan type was chosen in these cases and how the type related to the particular functions for which they were used. The talk explores the various purposes for which these churches were constructed and how form and functions were combined in the culminating building of the type, the church of San Vitale in Ravenna.

Mark J. Johnson, earned his Ph.D. in art history in 1986 at Princeton University. He is the author of The Roman Imperial Mausoleum in Late Antiquity (2009), The Byzantine Churches of Sardinia (2013) and San Vitale in Ravenna and Octagonal Churches in Late Antiquity (2018) and one of the co-editors of Approaches to Byzantine Architecture and Its Decoration. Studies in Honor of Slobodan Ćurčić (2012). His other publications have focused on the art and architecture of Late Antiquity and on the Norman period in Southern Italy. He is currently Professor of Ancient and Medieval Art at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where he has taught since 1987.


Co-sponsored by Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity and the Department of Art and Archaeology

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