Charalambos Bakirtzis (Hellenic Ministry of Culture ; Visiting Fellow, Program in Hellenic Studies)
"Late Antiquity and Christianity in Thessalonike : Healing Practices and Mime Performances"
Respondent : Anne Marie Luijendijk (Department of Religion)
Scheide Caldwell House, Room 103
The paper addresses some aspects of the transformation from Roman to Early Christian Thessalonike by focusing on two important institutions : the hospital (xenon) in the basilica of Saint Demetrios and the theatre life in the city. In the hospital of Saint Demetrios, scientific techniques of Greek empirical and Hippocratic medicine were practiced at the same time and in the same location as the miraculous cures of Saint Demetrios were effected in visions by incubation. The iconography of the mosaics in the basilica is linked to the operation of the hospital. In the realm of theatre, two texts in dialogue form and with stage directions are included intact in a collection of lives, martyrdoms and miracles of Christian Saints. Taken out of the religious context in which they have been transmitted, the texts can be understood as two unknown mime parodies, performed in Thessalonike : On the Tragedian and The Martyrdom of the Seven Martyrs.
Charalambos Bakirtzis (email@example.com) is Ephor of Byzantine Antiquities, Emeritus, Hellenic Ministry of Culture. He served at the Greek Archaeological Service (1964-2007) in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace (1976-1997), and in Thessalonike and Central Macedonia (1964-1973 and 1997-2007). He has been a regular member of the Central Archaeological Council of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture (1999-2007), Assistant and Associate Professor of Byzantine Archaeology at the Aristotle University of Thessalonike (1988-1998), and Director of the Greek Archaeological Expedition at Haghios Georghios, Paphos, Cyprus. He has also served as Vice-President of the International Committee for the Conservation of Mosaics, Vice-President of the Association Internationale pour l'Etude des Céramiques Médiévales en Méditerranée, and consultant on preservation of archaeological and cultural heritage of the A.G. Leventis Foundation. He is the founder and director of the Centre of Contemporary Archaeology, Thessalonike.
Source. Photo above : Thessalonike on Google Earth.