Irene SanPietro

Irene SanPietro

Paul Mellon/Samuel H. Kress Foundation Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize (year two of a two-year fellowship)
September 1, 2012–July 31, 2014
Profession
Department of Classical Studies, Columbia University
Project title
Charity and the Creation of the Church
Project description

My project engages with several large problems in the field of late antiquity also significant for emerging debates on the economics of the household and of religion. The dissertation compares four datasets—votive finds/church inventories, homiletics, wage/price indices, and household consumption basket models—to assess the extent to which Christian charity succeeded in broadening the classical euergetic paradigm. The correlation of wages, prices, discretionary income, and votive opportunities engages with economic realities, and the extent to which donation was possible can be seen as an index of standards of living in late antiquity, about which there remains wide disagreement.  By juxtaposing the imperatives to give with the economic possibility of doing so, and, moreover, with the material evidence of giving, the dissertation can speak to the grand narratives of late antique social, economic and political history.