Publication details

Relating the Spread of Early Christianity to the Transportation Network of Ancient Mediterranean



Year of publication 2017
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description This paper analyzes the spread of Christianity through the area of ancient Mediterranean as a diffusion on spatial network. As the transmission of innovative ideas in the ancient world was dependent upon physical travel of people, we investigate the influence of the transportation network on the spatio-temporal pattern of gradually establishing Christian communities. We are working with three hypotheses. First, the time when Christianity reaches a settlement could relate to distance on the transportation network from Jerusalem. Second, we combine the distance on the transportation network with the population estimates of the major settlements to account for the expected amount of interaction between two settlements. Third, we evaluate the cultural factors as predictors of early arrival of Christianity, such as language and religious environment. The transportation network model is adopted from recently released platform ORBIS, incorporating both the road network and maritime travel model. To make the transportation model more useful for our purposes, we combine it with population estimates for major settlements of the Roman Empire based on other resources. To estimate the amount of interaction between two cities we employ the gravity model, which is used in transportation models to determine the origin-destination matrix. In short, it relates the interaction frequency as proportional to population sizes and inversely proportional to a function of distance. As a last step, we statistically evaluate the factors corresponding to all our three hypotheses with the dated presence of Christianity in particular settlements.
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