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15 X (4.45 Warsaw time): Robert Wiśniewski (UW), Counting presbyters in late antique Rome

Quite a few scholars have already tried to quantify the late-antique clergy. In the last decade, Raymond Van Dam estimated the possible number of clerics c.400 as around 100.000, on average 50 in each of 2.000 bishoprics of the Roman world. More recently, Ian Wood, having added some new evidence, particularly from the sixth and seventh centuries, ended up with the same number as Van Dam, 100.000 clerics, but not in the same period; he estimated that this number was reached only two centuries later, c.600. In this paper, I will try to count clerics once again. I will show some new evidence that has not been discussed so far in this context, but my purpose is different from that of Van Dam and Wood. They both were primarily interested in the impact which the numerous clergy and monks had on the function of the state and the economic life of the Roman empire, or what was left of it. My interest lies in the every-day function of the church rather than the state, and the level of professionalization of clerics. I will focus on Rome but this case will be shown against the broader background of urban and rural communities of the later Roman empire.