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CEAC Atlas

New Historical Atlas of the Ancient Church

Apr. 25, 2014

by Joel Elowsky

ICCS Press to release first publication:


This new Historical Atlas is a ground-breaking achievement that combines in a unique way detailed historical information about the first centuries of Christianity with carefully executed, detailed maps and illustrations of important monuments and places, enhanced by a rich and up-to-date scholarly bibliography.
Karla Pollman, University of St. Andrews

A wonderful resource for historians and anyone interested in the late antiquity and early Christian world.
Averil Cameron, University of Oxford


"The appearance of Di Berardino's Historical Atlas of Ancient Christianity is a major event in Early Christian Studies! Lavishly illustrated with maps and photographs, this volume is a worthy successor to van der Meer and Mohrmann."
David G. Hunter
University of Kentucky


The Atlante Storico del Cristianesimo Antico was first published in Italian in 2010. Even before it was published, there were discussions with the editor, Fr. Angelo DiBerardino, on developing a historical atlas on early Christianity for the English speaking world that could build on the work he had done for the Encyclopedia of the Early Church. The Historical Atlas of the Ancient Church is the product of those discussions. Previous atlases, such as The Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World (pub. 2000), as well as those mentioned in Fr. Di Berardino’s introduction, have largely focused on the classical world of late antiquity. Such a focus has its place and the present atlas does not pretend to replace these important resources.

Nonetheless, there are a number of things that set the present atlas apart. The focus in the present atlas explores both the history and the geography of the ancient Christian world and how these interacted. (1) It is a historical atlas that provides a geographical and historical context for the key events, people and trends of the ancient Christian church. (2) Geography often played an important role in the outcome of certain theological issues and developments, and the ancient Christian figures were products of their own environments, just as much as we are today. This atlas will help the reader delve deeper into the world of the early centuries. (3) Key roads and travel patterns influenced the development of the church’s evangelization and sometimes even its conciliar decisions. Bishops needed to travel to these ecumenical meetings sometimes along hazardous ways; others were exiled to remote places. (4) The many pictures and illustrations provide the reader with a glimpse into the environment those early Christian leaders shared and lived. These provide another valuable tool for those who wish to teach, those who want to learn, and anyone interested in what life during the earliest period of the church’s history may have looked like. In this English edition there are a few differences from the Italian edition. The layout is a bit different. We have also provided additional photographs and pictures and some images have been rearranged. There is also an extra map that has been added depicting the barbarian invasions.

This atlas has two audiences: the academy and the church, and both function best when working together. This atlas provides key evidence regarding the existence and distribution of episcopal sees in various geographical areas and how this growth and development was affected by forces inside and outside the church, such as the Roman or Byzantine government or the barbarian invasions. It is our hope that this Historical Atlas of Ancient Christianity will serve as a gift both to the church and to the academy for those desiring to study the ancient Christian period in its historical as well as its geographical and ecclesiastical context.