Doctoral candidate (Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies)


Forschungsbau "Weltbeziehungen" / C19.03.22

Office hours

by arrangement

Visiting address

Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
Forschungsneubau „Weltbeziehungen“ C19
Nordhäuser Str. 63
99089 Erfurt

Mailing address

Universität Erfurt
Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
Postfach 90 02 21
99105 Erfurt

Florian Oppitz

Personal information

Academic Career:

  • Since October 2023 Doctoral researcher at the Max Weber Centre, University of Erfurt
  • Since October 2022 "Interdisciplinary Doctoral programme in Ancient and Modern Cultures and Societies in the European Context" at the University of Graz within the International Graduate School "Resonant Self-World Relations in Ancient and Modern Socio-Religious Practices" (in cooperation with the Max Weber Centre in Erfurt)
  • 2016 – 2021 Master's degree in Classical Archaeology at the University of Vienna; Title of Master Thesis: ‘The Late Antique opus sectile Floors of Ephesos’ (Supervisor: Priv.-Doz. Dr. Sabine Ladstätter; in preparation for publication)
  • 2012 – 2019 Diploma studies in Teacher Training Programme - History, Social Studies and Political Education as well as Catholic Religion at the University of Vienna (semester abroad at the University of Münster); Title of the Diploma Thesis: ‘"Christian Daily Life" in the Danubian Provinces of the Pannonian Diocese from the 3rd to the 7th Century’ (supervisor: ao. Univ.- Prof. DDr. Rupert Klieber; awarded with the “Bischof DDr. Stefan László” Prize 2020)
  • 2012 – 2016 Bachelor studies in Classical Archaeology at the University of Vienna (semester abroad at the Humboldt University of Berlin)

Professional Career:

  • Until October 2022 Project Fellow at the Austrian Archaeological Institute/Dept. of Classical Studies (Projects: ‘The Episcopal District of Side’, ‘Lodging/Living in a Sacred Context’, ‘Riders – Pictorial Traditions and Contexts of Meaning of Ancient Equestrian Representations’, ‘Pilgrimage/Pilgrim Ampoules from Asia Minor’)
  • Since 2016 Participation in various field campaigns (excavations, building survey, field survey) of the ÖAW (ÖAI and former IKAnt) in Ephesos, Side, Deir el-Bachît, Carnuntum, and at Hemmaberg

Research project

Places of Christian-Motivated Charity in the Eastern Mediterranean in Late Antiquity. An Interdisciplinary Study Based on Archaeological and Other Ancient Sources

The study deals with places of Christian-motivated charity in the Eastern Mediterranean controlled by the Roman Empire. The time frame ranges from the late 3rd CE to the mid-7th CE. While charitable acts have been the subject of numerous studies, the localities of their performance have generally received little attention. This is even more surprising since the sites of charity essentially shaped the appearance of Late Antique societies. In addition to purpose-built buildings (e.g. Xenodocheia or Nosokomeia), the charity also took place in multifunctional areas such as atriums of churches.

The lack of previous research on the subject also results from a methodological problem. How can places of charity be identified? Up to now, there are hardly any confirmed archaeological findings that can be identified as charitable sites with certainty. Thus, scholarly discussion of the subject has increasingly focused on written sources such as hagiographies or ecclesiastical histories, which generally report in passing on endowments of charitable institutions. Many aspects, such as the design of the sites, their topographical location, or their importance in everyday life, have only been addressed marginally in the context of these studies.

This interdisciplinary study aims to bring archaeological, epigraphical, and literary sources together, and an attempt will be made to grasp places of charity in their entirety. Therefore, it is necessary to make a representative collection of significant archaeological complexes and critically examine them regarding their function and use. The focus is further on the comparison of these complexes in the context of selected case studies to answer the research questions posed.

  • Which statements can be made about the layout of the buildings/places (characteristics, type)?
  • To what extent did the function/needs of the people affect the architecture (sociology of architecture)?
  • In what topographical and socio-religious context were the areas integrated (sanctuary, monastery, bishop's residence, city outskirts/center)?
  • What role did charitable institutions play in the spread of Christianity or intra-Christian controversies?
  • What traces did people associated with charity leave behind (medical instruments, pilgrim souvenirs), and what do they tell us about the connection between places and the people?
  • What can be inferred from subjective messages, such as votive inscriptions, about the socio-religious self- and world-relations of people in this place?


  • F. Oppitz, The opus sectile Floors of Byzantine Ephesos, Musiva & Sectilia 18, 2021, 65– 124.
  • F. Oppitz, Modularität als Schlüssel zum Erfolg? Der Aufschwung von geometrischen opus sectile-Böden in der Spätantike am Beispiel von Ephesos, in: S. Archut – S. Schrenk (Hrsg.), Variatio in Kunst und Handwerk. Modulare Arbeitsweise in spätantiker und frühbyzantinischer Zeit (Heidelberg 2022).
  • F. Oppitz, Christliche Lebenswelten in den Donauprovinzen der pannonischen Diözese vom 3. bis zum 7. Jahrhundert. Burgenländische Forschungen 115 (Mattersburg 2023).