The place is Roman North Africa; the scene, Christians facing the prospect of martyrdom, and telling of their dreams of Paradise, in two narratives dating to the second and third centuries CE. Their visions borrow richly from pagan imagery around the ‘locus amoenus’, the pleasant place of classical literature. This (illustrated!) talk will seek to ground their imagery of the afterlife not only in literary but in material culture, showing how they seek to appropriate the joys of elite existence as consolation for their suffering at the hands of the governing class on earth.
(Photo: 4th C. A.D. Tabarka: Floor Mosaic: landscape with country villa. floor. Place: Musée national du Bard, Tunisia)
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