Defining Cults in Byzantium
Recent publications on the Virgin, icons, and relics have stimulated anew discussions on cults and cultic practices in Byzantium. Scholars are re-examining the ways in which a cult is made manifest in architecture, monumental decorative programs, images, and luxury arts. There is also interest in phenomenology, senses, and emotions, and their place in cultic experiences. The traditional definition of cult is once again being considered and debated. This session brings together distinct approaches that will stimulate further debate on the definition of cults, and question the ways in which art, architecture, and related texts can provide evidence for a cult’s origin, duration, decentralization, and audiences.