Martyrs, athletes, and transmedia storytelling in late antiquity


  • Monika Amsler University of Zurich



Athletes for Christ, Cult of the saints, Fan fiction, Patronage, Pilgrimage


Fan fiction in antiquity suffers from a lack of certainty regarding what is canon: is what is now considered fan fiction really fan fiction, or is it another contemporary version of the canon? The concept of fan fiction thus ought to be combined with the idea of transmedia storytelling, building on snowball-effect stories. This approach is used in an analysis of how the saints in late antiquity became a characteristic of Christianity. This era used fan fiction–like texts describing saints' life stories; shrines and dedicated basilicas, which allowed distinct communities to gather and celebrate; pilgrimages, which combined adventure and biographical identification with the beloved saint; and pictures, relics, and pilgrim tokens. The Christian world in late antiquity has characteristics reminiscent of the universes created by transmedia storytelling, the aim of which is complete immersion in content.