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• The ancient Christians did not use the term "catacomb". This is a word of Greek origin, meaning "near the hollow". The Romans applied it to a locality on the Appian Way, where there were caves for the removal of tuff blocks. Nearby were dug the catacombs of Saint Sebastian. In the ninth century the term was extended to all cemeteries, with the specific sense of underground cemetery.
Catacombs • From the middle of the second century an increase in Christian converts is confirmed by the large no. of catacombs or underground burial chambers they created. These became venues for meetings.
What was the reason for catacombs
• • Christian belief in the resurrection of the body prohibited cremation Could not use the Columbaria or cemeteries of lower class Romans who cremated their dead and placed the remains in urns which were then put in niches in walls many tiers high. Also a belief in segregation from other burial customs which were pagan. Could and did purchase land out of which they dug catacombs according to plans. Often took advantage of local quarries as starting points. Niches carve out sometimes 4-5 layers deep with chapels for funeral feasts.
Earliest known Christian figurative art found in catacombs. • Usually in the small chapels carved out for the feasts, • Modest craft-men working by lamplight in cramped and odoriferous conditions. • Earliest e.g. Catacomb of St Priscilla from Antonine Emperors from 2nd century.
Old burial caskets along the Appian way – burial for wealthy Romans
Roman burial ground Les Alyscamps
These Catacombs, the largest known Roman burial site in Egypt, were discovered accidentally 1900 when a donkey cart fell through a part of the roof.
Following this Grecian trend, the early Romans probably embraced cremation some time around 600 B.C. and it apparently became so prevalent that an official decree had to be issued in the mid 5th Century against the cremation of bodies within the city. By the time of the Roman Empire - 27 B.C. to 395 A.D. -- it was widely practiced, and cremated remains were generally stored in elaborate urns, often within columbarium*-like buildings. Prevalent though the practice was among the Romans, cremation was rare with the early Christians who considered it pagan and in the Jewish culture where traditional sepulchre entombment was preferred
A vault with niches for urns containing ashes of the dead.
In the first half of the second century, as a result of various grants and donations, the Christians started burying their dead underground. That is how the catacombs were founded. Many of them began and developed around family tombs, whose owners, newly converted Christians, did not reserve them to the members of the family, but opened them to their brethren in the faith. With the passage of time, these burial areas grew larger by gifts or by the purchase of new properties, sometimes on the initiative of the Church itself. Typical is the case of Saint Callixtus: the Church took up directly the organization and administration of the cemetery, assuming a community character.
With the edict of Milan, promulgated by the emperors Constantine and Licinius in February 313, the Christians were no longer persecuted. They were free to profess their faith, to have places of worship and to build churches both inside and outside the city, and to buy plots of land, without fear of confiscation. Nevertheless, the catacombs continued to function as regular cemeteries until the beginning of the fifth century, when the Church returned to bury exclusively above ground or in the basilicas dedicated to important martyrs.
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When the barbarians (Goths and Longobards) invaded Italy and came down to Rome,they systematically destroyed a lot of monuments and sacked many places, including the catacombs. Powerless in the face of such repeated pillages, towards the end of the eighth century and the beginning of the ninth, the Popes ordered to remove the relics of the martyrs and of the saints to the city churches, for security reasons. When the transfer of the relics was completed, the catacombs were no longer visited; on the contrary, they were totally abandoned, with the exception of Saint Sebastian, Saint Lawrence and of Saint Pancratius. In the course of time, landslides and vegetation obstructed and hid the entrances to the other catacombs, so that the very traces of their existence were lost. During the late Middle Ages they didn't even know where they were.
Amphitheatres • Several different types of shows all took place in the arena of an Amphitheater. • The word arena comes from the Latin for "sand," which was placed on the Amphitheatre floor to soak up spilled blood. • • Amphitheatres were most commonly used for gladiatorial matches which had been adapted from Etruscan funeral rites (munera). Gladiatorial combat was originally part of a religious ceremony that was intended to insure that the dead would be accompanied to the "next world" by armed attendants and that the spirits of the dead would be appeased with this offering of blood. By the last 1stcentury BC, however, the games had lost their ritualistic significance.
Arena from Pompeii
• • The earliest permanent Roman amphitheatre known was built at Pompeii after a colonia of Roman veteran soldiers was established there in 80 B.C. Before this, gladiatorial contests would take place in the forum of Rome and other cities In the Roman Empire, amphitheatres were nearly round, or oval in shape Amphi - Latin, from Greek - on both sides, around
Profile of the Coliseum
• • • Gladiators were generally condemned criminals, prisoners of war or slaves bought for this purpose. Some free men entered this profession in hopes of popularity and patronage by wealthy citizens. The free men were often social outcasts, freed slaves or discharged soldiers. They volunteered to be gladiators and by the end of the Republic made up half the number of combatants. Gladiators were trained in combat at special, imperial schools.
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The gladiators fought in various styles, depending on their background and training. Originally, as captured soldiers, they were made to fight with their own weapons and in their own style of combat. Because these soldiers were from other lands, their appearance was exotic and weapons distinct from those of the Romans.
Pollice Verso, 1872 - Jean-Leon Gerome
Pollice verso or verso pollice • Latin phrase, meaning "with a turned thumb", that is used in the context of gladiatorial combat. • It refers to the hand gesture used by Ancient Roman crowds to pass judgment on a defeated gladiator. • The type of gesture described by the phrase pollice verso is unclear. • From the historical and literary record it is uncertain whether the thumb was turned up, turned down, held horizontally, or concealed inside the hand to indicate positive or negative opinions. • Popularly, it is assumed that "thumbs down" was the signal that a defeated gladiator should be condemned to death; "thumbs up", that he should be spared.
•Most famous stadium – Coliseum •Occupying a site just east of the Roman Forum, its construction started between 70 and 72 AD under the emperor Vespasian and was completed in 80 AD under Titus,
•Slaughter immense; 5000 animals would die in a single day. •To supply the arenas hunters would have to go through the provinces rounding up lions tigers elephants Hippos Rhinoceroses.
Rounding up of wild animals for the Roman Circus - spectacles in their own right.
• Christianity and persecution in the Roman Empire.
• For the Romans, religion was first and foremost a social activity that promoted unity and loyalty to the state - a religious attitude the Romans called pietas, or piety. Cicero wrote that if piety in the Roman sense were to disappear, social unity and justice would perish along with it. Pliny the Younger, a Roman governor writing circa 110 AD, called Christianity a "superstition taken to extravagant lengths." Similarly, the Roman historian Tacitus called it "a deadly superstition," and the historian Suetonius called Christians "a class of persons given to a new and mischievous superstition.
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The first documented case of imperially-supervised persecution of the Christians in the Roman Empire begins with Nero (37–68). In 64 A.D., a great fire broke out in Rome, destroying portions of the city and economically devastating the Roman population. Nero was rumoured at the time of having intentionally started the fire himself. In hisAnnals, Tacitus states that "to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace" The Annals (Latin: Annales) is a history book by Tacitus covering the reign of the four Roman Emperors succeeding to Caesar Augustus. The parts of the work that survived from antiquity cover (most of) the reigns of Tiberius and Nero.
Henryk Siemiradzki (18431902) Nero's torches, 1877
By implicating the Christians for this massive act of arson, Nero successfully capitalized on the alreadyexisting public suspicion of this religious sect. Forms of execution used by the Romans included burning in the tunica molesta systematic murder, crucifixion, and the feeding of Christians to lions and other wild beasts. Tacitus' Annals XV.44 record: "... in their deaths they were made the subjects of sport; for they were wrapped in the hides of wild beasts and torn to pieces by dogs, or nailed to crosses, or set on fire, and when day declined, were burned to serve for nocturnal lights."
Konstantin Flavitsky Christian Martyrs in Coliseum. 1862
Favorite martyrs and relic worship. As the burial sites of favorite martyrs drew large crowds to certain catacombs for memorial services vents had to be provided for light and air. People vied for the privilege of being buried near a martyr’s tomb. By the 9th C most of the martyrs remains had been removed to Churches in Rome. The catacombs became forgotten until rediscovered in the 16th C
Pliny the younger
The imperial governor (legatus Augusti) of Bithynia-Pontus province 110 AD
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Roman Empire expands into a multi-cultural religious society The adherence had to recognize the supremacy of the State and honour traditional Roman deities Two troublesome exceptions Jews and Christians.
Ignatius Bishop of Antioch 35 – 110 AD Martyred during the reign of Trajan
Polycarp (70?-156 AD), Bishop of Smyrna in Asia Minor, 155 martyred by burning publicly at age 86
Martyrs of Lyons, by JL Gerome
Summer of 117 sudden outbreak of persecution in Lyon France Slaves of Christians were tortured until they confessed that Christians were cannibals and practiced incest
St. Pothinus • 90 year old Bishop Pothinus beaten up so severely he died two days later • Others confined to dank airless dungeons succumbed to inhuman conditions or were strangled to death, • Others were whipped repeatedly and roasted on red hot iron chair before being torn apart by wild beasts
Blandina most poignant example of a Christian martyr
• She was a Slave and with several others, she was set upon by a pagan mob, arrested, tried and convicted of Christianity, along with a number of nonsense charges like cannibalism, during the persecutions of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Enmeshed in a net and given to a wild bull in 177 at Lyon; body burned and the ashes thrown in the river; what could be recovered is in the church of SaintLeu, Amiens, France
Seeing it as a disruptive force, early in 250 Decius issued the edict for the suppression of Christianity. Exploiting popular hostility as a means of unifying the Empire, the "Decian persecution" famous to Christians began.
Paul of Thebes and St Anthony Grunewald and Durer
The Temptation of St Anthony
February 23, 303 started the “greatest persecution” of the Christian faith under Emperor Diocletian.
When Diocletian first started his rule, Christianity, was encouraged because it was rumored that the emperor‟s wife and daughter were believers. Weather that was true or not, Christians, for the most part lived in a state of peace and prosperity for the first nineteen years of his reign.
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After those nineteen years, the way of life for all Christians changed drastically. Emperor Diocletian decided that religious unity would strengthen his empire. It was said that Diocletian and Galerius (his son in law) sought advice from an “oracle” that said the “just on earth” hindered Apollo to give advice. So after hearing this; Diocletian, Galerius, and the members of the court concluded that “the just” must be the Christians of his empire. With this new way of thinking and encouragement from his wicked council, he published three edicts in attempts to secure the Roman religion as the only religion.
"A Christian Martyr Drowned in the Tiber During the Reign of Diocletian", Eugène Delacroix (1855)
On February 23, 303 the first edict stated: All copies of scriptures to be burned, all churches destroyed, property confiscated, and Christian worship to be forbidden. The second and third edicts were pretty much the beginning of the enslavement, imprisonments, and executions of those that resisted sacrificing to the Roman gods. It was said that the jails were filled with Christians and that the real criminals were removed to create space. It was declared that everyone in the Roman Empire must sacrifice to the Roman gods. This lasted all the way up till 313 until Constantine declared an edict of toleration
The rise of desert monasteries During the Decian persecution many Christians fled into the desert. Some Stayed there and began a tradition of self denial and withdrawal that developed into the monastic movements
In hoc signo vinces
Detail from The Vision of the Cross by assistants of Raphael, depicting the vision of the cross and the Greek writing "Ἐν τούτῳ νίκα" in the sky, before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.
Raphael-Constantine at Milvian Bridge
In hoc signo vinces
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The Church building did not exist in ancient Rome and believers met in homes of the leaders as we read in Acts 20. Where the Christians met (interestingly enough on the first day of the week i.e. Sunday) to break bread. The facilities for worship and meeting. Small communities meet usually in houses.The dining area had a triclinium (3 part couch extending around 3 sides of a table) Often located on the upper floor, (the upper room) Seen as a poorer persons religion and meetings took place in the insulae of Rome and Ostia.
Early Church design on Basilica Model note: cruciform shape not in use yet
Earliest Christian structures.
• • • • • • By the 3rd century structure of the mass becomes clear presided over by episkopoi (bishops or literally overseers) a clear distinction is made between the liturgy of the Catuchemens and (reading epistles , Gospels and prayers) and hymns and, the Liturgy of the Faithful which was the actual Eucharist or (bread and wine Mass) only baptised Christians were admitted. A special house is dedicated to the event of Eucharist a domus Ecclesiae (house of the church from which the Latin word duomo and the German word dom from the word is derived for Catheral) Earliest known church building which is an ordinary Greek peristyle house. It had certain modifications such as a dais for a bishops chair (Cathedra) 2nd type of structure a martyrium erected over a martyrs grave or employed as a cenotyph to cpommemorate a martye whose body was interred elsewhere.
Constantine's Basilica, Trier, first decade of Fourth century AD
The Roman basilica, the building in which judicial, commercial, and governmental activities took place, became the primary architectural model for Christian churches in the early Middle Ages. Medieval Italian churches generally imitated its basic design. San Apollinare in Classe, near Ravenna
The Newly official religion encouraged as an effective arm of the administration. No longer aim at the small intimate congregations. • Enclosed roofed enclosures needed in great numbers. • Constantine donates the Lateran Palace to the bishop of Rome 313 AD • Same year construction of Cathedral of Rome San Giovanni in Laterano. • Scores of Churches rise up throughout the empire including the Holy Land.
A model for these new buildings had to be invented. • The Basilica an obvious choice as all Roman pagan structures regarded with abhorrence. The meeting hall exists in all • • inhabited roman centers. Basilica Ulpia not standard but a super
basilica unmatched anywhere. Most basilicas were simple halls with no side aisles entered on one side with apses
on the other end. Apse becomes convenient for the installation of the Clergy and enthronement of the bishop. Portable communion table replaced with a fixed altar had to be visible from a distance and accessible to all worshippers at Communion. Columns create a dramatic approach and also a curtain employed to separate the catechumens from baptised believers not to be seen taking the sacrament. The grandest of the new churches was St
Basilica Ulpia built by Trajan
Septimius Severus A.D. 203
Constantine A.D. 313 Titus A.D. 81
• • • • • • • • Combined basilica and martyrium, the Apse enshrined the tomb of St Peter under a marble canopy supported by 4 spiral columns. A large Hall called a Transept erected between the Apse and the Nave. Columns Corinthian or composite many different materials including green marble yellow marble red granite and grey granite. Had double side aisles. Santa Sabina more typical of an early basilica The apse used mainly for the Clergy and contained a throne for the Bishop. Arches replace the straight entablatures. None of the Basilicas remain in their original state. Plan Of Old St Peters plus the canopy on new St Peters tomb
1. By the middle of the fourth century, Christianity under imperial patronage had become a part of the establishment. 2. The elite of Roman society were becoming new converts. 3. Such an individual was Junius Bassus. He was a member of a senatorial family. His father had held the position of Praetorian prefect, which involved administration of the Western Empire. 4. Junius Bassus held the position of praefectus urbi for Rome. The office of urban prefect was established in the early period of Rome under the kings. 5. It was a position held by members of the most elite families of Rome. 6. In his role as prefect, Junius Bassus was responsible for the administration of the city of Rome. 7. When Junius Bassus died at the age of 42 in the year 359, this sarcophagus* was made for him.
8. 9. Christ Enthroned with Sts. Peter and Paul, central piece from the sarcophagus *A sarcophagus is a funeral receptacle for a corpse, most commonly carved or cut from stone.
Junius Bassus died 359. As recorded in an inscription on the sarcophagus now in the Vatican collection, Junius Bassus had become a convert to Christianity shortly before his death.
The Junius Bassus Sarcophagus 359, Vatican, Grottoes of St. Peter. • • Christ's Entry into Jerusalem, Erotes harvesting grapes
Early Greek mosaics (5th–4th cent. B.C.) uncovered at Olynthus were worked in small natural pebbles. • The use of cut cubes or tesserae was introduced from the East after the Alexandrian conquest. • Roman floor mosaics were probably based upon Greek examples, and glass mosaics applied to columns, niches, and fountains can be seen at Pompeii. • In Italy and the Roman colonies the floor patterns were produced both by large slabs of marble in contrasting colors (opus sectile) and by small marble tesserae (opus tessellatum). • The tessera designs varied from simple geometrical patterns in black and white to huge pictorial arrangements of figures and animals; examples were found in Rome, Pompeii, Antioch and Zeugma (S Turkey), and N Africa.
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Frescoes have long since perished with few fragmentary exceptions Christians used mosaics Romans had used colored stones in their mosaics made for resistant floor covering where there was water as in the baths, sever limitations in the available colors Christians began using glass opens up a whole new world of glowing colors. Exploited gold lavishly for light and illuminated surfaces splendid effect. Entire backgrounds made of gold a tradition persisting up into the renaissance. Cubes of glass known as Tesserae pressed into soft plaster, laid a section at a time of minutely planned preparatory drawings on the wall surfaces. Tessarae were not perfectly level only to produce a shimmering effect observer could constantly changing sparkle.
1. The turning point for mosaic, as an art form, is the use of it by Christians to decorate the walls of churches rather than the floor. 2. Two of the earliest examples are in Rome. Santa Costanza, built in about AD 350 as the tomb for a daughter of Constantine, has lively mosaics on pagan themes decorating its vault. 3. More significant, as a foretaste of things to come, is the mosaic in the apse of Santa Pudenziana.
Santa Maria Maggiore. It is built in about 435 by pope Sixtus III, who commissions mosaics to decorate spaces on its walls. These spaces are small and far from the ground (for this is essentially a Roman basilica, with two great rows of columns providing the main feature), but the content and treatment of the mosaics prefigures much in later Christian art.
Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica
Illuminated manuscript. • The „illumination‟ of manuscripts only form of book in Europe. • Egyptian manuscripts were written on long rolls of Papyrus, called rotuli these were wound between 2 spindles where 2-3 vertical columns of text were visible at any one moment. • Greek and roman rotuli were only illustrated when necessity demanded as in scientific diagrams. Thin outlines coloured with thin washes if at all. • The Hebrew Torah written on rotuli. • Christians were the people of the book and it became a matter of necessity to have access to information and for the development of increasingly complex liturgy. • Individual rotulus could be unwound to about 30 ft. • Books had to be divided into several rotuli and obviously the Bible needed scores of them. In antiquity a practice arose of copying key passages onto thin wooden tablets hinged at the back. The ancestors of codex practical reality only with the advent of parchment. • Corruption of Pergamum where it was invented. in 2nd C BC. Carefully scraped, washed dried and stretched skins of the young animals, lambs calves and kids. Could be dried to extreme brightness and was durable enough to stand up to constant use. • The change to Parchment began in 1st century BC by 4th C complete.
The Romanesque cathedral at Vezelay (1100 AD) This is where Bernard of Clairvaux preached the second crusade
The Sumptuousness of Solomon's temple was a justification for the expense and lavishness of Cathedral builders.
The main development in the Cathedral building came after the advent of building a new Chartres after a destructive fire
Chartres Cathedral and Gargoyle
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