Abstract

This article draws attention to an archaeologically well-documented example of urban change in a late antique city, Valentia, in the Province of Tarraconensis. Starting with a short overview of the epigraphic record from the third to the seventh centuries ce, it gives a synthesis of the archaeological data in order to answer the following questions: which buildings were newly erected, and which were restored in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages? When, and how, does an urban space become a Christian space? How was Valentia's Christian past created? Which central buildings can be related to the city's patron Saint Vincentius? During the fourth century ce many buildings in Valentia's center were maintained but might have been used for a different purpose, as a peristyle house converted into a factory indicates. The second half of the fifth century ce shows a clear shift in the use of public space, as the first intramural cemetery was installed next to the forum. This graveyard was covered by a second in the sixth/seventh century ce. The different reasons for these intramural burials are discussed and lead to a short presentation of the episcopal complex with its two possible locations of the shrine of Saint Vincentius. Lastly, we review the first evidence of Christianity in Valentia, a fragment of a glass-bowl showing the dominus legem dat scene, and explore the impact of Christianity on the interpretation of the peristyle house.

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