Aarhus Universitetsforlag

Making and Breaking the Gods

Christian Responses to Pagan Sculpture in Late Antiquity

A part of the series Aarhus Studies in Mediterranean Antiquity (12) , and the subject areas , , and

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297 pages ill.
ISBN 978 87 7124 089 4



More about the book

About the book

Drawing on both textual and archaeological sources, this book discusses how Christians in Late Antiquity negotiated the sculptural environment of cities and sanctuaries in a variety of ways, ranging from creative transformations to iconoclastic performances. Their responses to pagan sculpture present a rich window into the mechanisms through which society and culture changed under the influence of Christianity. The book thus demonstrates how Christian responses to pagan sculpture rhetorically continued an old tradition of discussing visual practices and the materiality of divine representations. Focusing in particular on the Egypt and the Near East, it furthermore argues that Christian responses encompass much more than mindless violence and need to be contextualised against other social and political developments, as well as local traditions of representation.

Table of contents

Driving Demons Away: The World of Demeas

Chapter 1:
Making and Breaking the Gods: From Roman Visual Practices to Christian Response

Chapter 2:
The Semantics of Response: Pagan Sculpture in the Sacred
Spaces of Egypt

Chapter 3:
Re-Imagining Idols: Christian Responses to Pagan Sculpture
in the Urban Spaces of the Near East

Christian Response and the Viewing Culture of Late Antiquity



Sanne Lind Hansen


MA in ethnography and classical archeology and trained at the Danish School of Journalism. Sanne primarily works with anthropology, archeology and early history. She is also responsible for foreign sales and commission agreements, and she was once employed at the National Museum (Antiquities).

Sanne Lind Hansen


Telephone: + 45 53 55 07 59


Press reviews

"This is a beautiful book, well bound, nicely laid out and brilliantly illustrated in colour. ...  This volume is bound to become a central point of reference for much scholarly discussion and many more publications."

Philipp Niewöhner, The Classical Review


"This volume offers a valuable contribution to the analysis of the changing use of statuary ... Making and Breaking the Gods could well be of interest to a more general reader."

Anna Leone, Journal of Roman Studies

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