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Roma Aeterna - Rome as a pilgrimage site of collective memory from the fourth to the sixth century AD
The aim of this PhD is to investigate the development of the city of Rome from the late fourth to the sixth century AD on the basis of three case studies, namely Forum Romanum, the Forum of Trajan, and the Basilica of St. Peter. These three locations underwent substantial changes during this period, both as physical environments, but also on a symbolic and ideological level. This development of the three sites will be used as case studies to explain the new meaning Rome developed in this period as a symbol of the Roman Empire, its ideology, and political and cultural unity, as well as a site of secular pilgrimage for both the Christian and non-Christian inhabitants. However, the symbol the city constituted was not only an abstract concept, but also a present and physical environment: This environment was reflected in all sorts of activities in the city: erections of sculpture and monuments, restorations of older buildings, and rites and religious rituals taking place here.