Funded Research

Negotiating religious conflict: Letters between Rome and Byzantium in the seventh century, an era of crisis
ARC Discovery Project 2014-2016 (Pauline Allen and Bronwen Neil)

Over 1000 letters survive in Greek and Latin from 590 to the end of the seventh century, when the Byzantine empire was at war first with Persia, and then with the Arab forces united under the new faith of Islam.
Bishops and emperors of Rome and Byzantium used letters to negotiate their claims to universal and local power in the course of conflicts over religion. The project will increase our understanding of the ways in which religious conflict was handled through letter-exchange in early Medieval Europe and Byzantium, and what happened when these diplomatic avenues failed. It will shed light on the question of whether the seventh century was really the beginning of the Dark Ages, or a period of cultural regeneration.

Crisis management in late antiquity: the evidence of Episcopal letters
ARC Discovery Project 2010-2012 (Pauline Allen and Bronwen Neil) $262,000
This research is inspired by previously-funded ARC projects, moving from the topic of poverty and welfare in late antiquity to crisis management as conducted by the increasingly important episcopal class in the fifth and sixth centuries. The basic source are the neglected corpus of bishops' letters in Greek and Latin, the letter being the most significant mode of communication and information transfer in this period. Crises such as natural disasters, population displacement, poverty, religious disputes, violence, and social abuses are studied. This research dovetails with current projects in Japan, Korea, Belgium and South Africa. Click here to view the list of publications resulted from this project.

The Clash of Sacred and Secular Authority in the Letters of Innocent I
ARC Australian Research Fellowship 2007-2012 (Rev. Dr. Geoffrey D. Dunn) $534,000
Fascination with the office of bishop of Rome is at an all-time high. This project examines a crucial moment in the development of that office in the letters of Innocent I (402-417CE), the Latin text of which is to receive its first ever critical edition and English translation. The analysis of the letters will also be in terms of the evidence they contain about the interaction between Christian belief and public life, important for understanding the relationship between religion and secular values. This project provides others with the opportunity to investigate this crucial turning point in world history. Click here to view the list of publications resulted from this project.

Poverty and Welfare in Late Antiquity
ARC Discovery Project: 2006-2008 (Pauline Allen, Wendy Mayer and Bronwen Neil) $320,000
Poverty and welfare are key concerns internationally. Assessing how society approached these issues in late antiquity increases our understanding of this critical area. Building on previous ARC-funded research, this project will test the model of the relationship between poverty and leadership at a time of social change recently proposed by the influential Peter Brown (2002) by focusing on three pivotal figures in a defined period across a significant geographic spread: John Chrysostom (Byzantium), Augustine (North Africa), and Leo I (Italy). The results will be published in articles and three monographs, and will lay the foundation for a fourth monograph. Click here to view the list of publications resulted from this project.

Dwelling in the Household of God: The Spirituality of the Fourth Gospel.
ARC Discovery Project: 2004-2006 (Mary Coloe) $102,500

The development of the cult of Mary in North African Christianity (100 - 431 C.E.).
ARC Discovery Project Grant: 2003-2005 (Pauline Allen, assisted by Geoffrey Dunn) $210,000

Popes and Martyrs: The Politics of Hagiography in Ninth-Century Rome.
ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship: 2001-2005 (Bronwen Neil) $210,000

 John Chrysostom: A Revisionist approach to a Prominent Figure in Late Antiquity.
ARC Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship: 2001-2005 (Wendy Mayer) $370,943
This project builds on internationally recognised research conducted over the past nine years which has shown that many of the long-standing assumptions regarding John's motivations, attitudes and character, as perpetuated in the latest biographies, rest on shaky grounds. In addition, all of the biographies to date take an old-fashioned chronological approach. Using as its basis cutting edge research, this project will apply a non-chronological approach, with the aim of arriving at an improved, more reliable understanding of this significant figure. At the end, a new profile of John Chrysostom will be produced.

Completing the picture of a vital historical source: The homilies of John Chrysostom.
ARC Large Grant: 2001-2003 (Wendy Mayer, assisted by David O’Brien and Silke Trzcionka) $121,461

The bishop as letter-writer: pastoral care and civic administration in Christian antiquity.
ARC Large Grant: 2000-2002 (Pauline Allen, assisted by Geoffrey Dunn and Youhanna Nessim Yousseff) $111,234

Edition and translation of documents pertaining to the life of Maximus Confessor.
ARC Large Grant: 1999-2001 (Pauline Allen, assisted by Bronwen Neil) $134,609

The Homilies of John Chrysostom: Rehabilitating a vital late antique historical source.
ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship: 1998-2000 (Wendy Mayer) $171,737
The sermons of John Chrysostom form a rich mine of information. Unfortunately, this mine is more like a minefield. In short, the date and city to which each sermon has been assigned rest upon a foundation that is unsound. Three areas (place, sequence, date) need to be addressed in order to restore the sermons to proper use. The first (place) I addressed in my doctoral research. This project aims to continue the process of rehabilitation by addressing the second area (sequence). Together, the published results will provide a sound body of work upon which historians of Late Antiquity can rely.

John Chrysostom and Severus of Antioch as bishops, preachers and letter writers: Pastoral care and civic administration in Late Antique culture.
ARC Large Grant: 1998-2000 (Pauline Allen, assisted by Kathleen Hay) $91,416