Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Hajnalka Tamas: The Perceived Heresy of Early Fifth Century Refugees from Illyricum

Mobility, migration, displacement of peoples: these concepts can all be used to characterize fifth century Illyricum. The region ended up catering to successive waves of migrating peoples; at the same time, these caused displacements within the local population, many of whom fled to safer havens in Northern Italy and Gaul. This brought into focus once more the doctrinal allegiance of Illyrians. Views deemed by then heterodox (Homoian, Photinian) were still very much adhered to in Illyricum. Ecclesiastical authors, such as Chromatius of Aquileia, complained about the doctrinal diversity of the refugees and the alleged disruption it caused in the local communities. This, however, did not hinder at all the adoption of the cult of Illyrian martyrs (Quirinus, Pollio, etc.), some of whom made career on Italian soil (e.g., Anastasia; or Donatus, who in the Middle Ages became the patron-saint of Cividale del Friuli).This paper will investigate the treatment of Illyrian refugees in their adoptive communities by collecting and examining late antique evidence. The focus will rest on the dichotomy between their perceived heresy (which contributed to keep them on the fringes) and the flourishing cult of Illyrian martyrs. The paper will argue that the marginalized and brandished Illyrians appealed to hagiography in order to make known their orthodoxy and counterbalance the often rhetorically constructed mark of heterodoxy that they could otherwise hardly shake off.

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