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Article

Christianizing Statues Unawares? Imperial Imagery and New Testament Phrasing in a Late Antique Honorific Inscription (IEph 4.1301)

Zeitschrift fur Papyrologie und Epigraphik. 2020. Vol. 116. P. 1-17.

This article is a study of an honorific inscription from a statue base of Andreas, an imperial official in late fourth–early fifth antique Ephesos. By combining insights from the literary and intertextual analysis of the inscription with a discussion of the visual associations which the text relies on, we argue that Andreas’ inscribed praises find itself at the intersection of classicizing literary idiom, visual patterns of representation of the imperial power attested on coins, and New Testament phrasing. The inscribed honorific statue therefore is an instance of appropriation of traditionally Roman and Hellenic visual, ideological, and literary discourses by the increasingly Christian authors, readers, and viewers of public inscriptions in late antique cityscapes. It attests to profound, if subtly manifesting, shifts in the ‘epigraphic habit’ in late antiquity that were informed by the emergence of hybrid, equally Roman and Christian, identities and ways of representing them epigraphically