CHRIÃÂ TIANITY AND THE CUBICULUM: ÃÂ PIRITUAL POLITICÃÂ AND DOMEÃÂ TIC ÃÂ PACE IN LATE ANTIQUE ROME
ThiÃÂ eÃÂÃÂay exploreÃÂ the conceptual and material hiÃÂtory of a ÃÂingle domeÃÂtic ÃÂpace, the cubiculum, and itÃÂ importance for the conÃÂtruction of epiÃÂcopal authority and private piety in late antique Rome. The cubiculum, a ÃÂmall, typically encloÃÂed room in a Roman houÃÂe uÃÂed for a variety of domeÃÂtic activitieÃÂ (ÃÂleep, ÃÂex, buÃÂineÃÂÃÂ and entertainment, poetry writing, magic, and prayer), appearÃÂ with ÃÂurpriÃÂing frequency in both claÃÂÃÂical and early ChriÃÂtian literature aÃÂ the moÃÂt "ÃÂecret" place within the houÃÂehold, where itÃÂ occupantÃÂ might expect to conceal their activitieÃÂ to certain degreeÃÂ from certain audienceÃÂ. After a brief delineation of claÃÂÃÂical, biblical, and patriÃÂtic conceptualizationÃÂ of the cubiculum aÃÂ a ÃÂecret ÃÂpace aÃÂ well aÃÂ itÃÂ material form in late antiquity, I examine the room'ÃÂ conÃÂtruction aÃÂ the "martyr'ÃÂ bedroom" in a group of anonymouÃÂ fifth- and ÃÂixth-century Roman paÃÂÃÂionÃÂ known aÃÂ the geÃÂta martyrum. I argue that theÃÂe Roman textÃÂ invited readerÃÂ to identify their domeÃÂtic cubicula aÃÂ legitimate, alternative ÃÂpaceÃÂ of ÃÂpiritual activity in the city, where, like the martyrÃÂ, they might practice their own "domeÃÂticated" featÃÂ of aÃÂcetic heroiÃÂm without direct epiÃÂcopal ÃÂuperviÃÂion. Yet rather than view theÃÂe narrativeÃÂ aÃÂ entirely ÃÂubverÃÂive in termÃÂ of their ÃÂpiritual politicÃÂ, I explain their meaning in light of the riÃÂe of a diÃÂtinctly domeÃÂtic expreÃÂÃÂion of ChriÃÂtian piety and civic tradition in Rome, one which privileged the houÃÂehold and itÃÂ memberÃÂ over public, eccleÃÂiaÃÂtical ÃÂpaceÃÂ and figureÃÂ in the emerging hiÃÂtory of Rome'ÃÂ ChriÃÂtianization. [End Page 171]
It can be ÃÂaid with ÃÂome qualification that ConÃÂtantine'ÃÂ converÃÂion to ChriÃÂtianity began in the bedroom. According to one Latin verÃÂion of the ActuÃÂ ÃÂ ilveÃÂtri, an anonymouÃÂly-penned, fifth-century romance that fancifully depictÃÂ the firÃÂt ChriÃÂtian...