Early Byzantine Period Church Fountains in the Light of the Southern Basilica Fountain in Perge

Uzun M. C.

ART-SANAT, pp.643-668, 2023 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.26650/artsanat.2023.20.1260807
  • Journal Name: ART-SANAT
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.643-668
  • Keywords: Ablution, Early Byzantine Period, Fountain, Krene, Southern Basilica of Perge
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


Water was viewed as the source of everlasting life and divine resurrection throughout the Byzantine period, as a sign of sanctification and purification from sins, according to sacred texts. The Christian faith's sanctification of water has resulted in specific ceremonial requirements in terms of liturgical and therapeutic applications. These requirements were met in the Early Christian Era by creating/constructing water structures and equipment. The liturgical fountains are one of these structures, where the congregation and clergy, particularly in the atriums of the churches, bathed their hands and feet in the courtyard before entering the naos. Archaeological surveys in recent years have revealed an escalating number of Early Byzantine Period churches, adding to our prior knowledge. Nonetheless, many concerns remain unanswered regarding the purpose, architectural aspects, and nomenclature of church fountains. As a result, in this article, the subject of naming the fountains of the Early Byzantine Era is examined by employing terms from the period's chronicles, and the structural characteristics of the fountains used for ablution are indicated. Moreover, the fountain in the atrium of the Perge South Basilica is introduced with its architectural features, and it is examined comprehensively by utilizing examples of fountains found in churches within and beyond Anatolia, which could be compared to the fountain in question. The article concludes with explanations as to why religious fountains are primarily found in churches in episcopal territories.