Catacomb of Priscilla

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Possibly an image of Mary nursing the Infant Jesus, though this is disputed. 3rd century, Catacomb of Priscilla, Rome. Madonna catacomb.jpg
Possibly an image of Mary nursing the Infant Jesus, though this is disputed. 3rd century, Catacomb of Priscilla, Rome.

The Catacomb of Priscilla are an archaeological site on the Via Salaria in Rome, Italy, situated in what was a quarry in Roman times. This quarry was used for Christian burials from the late 2nd century through the 4th century. This catacomb, according to tradition, is named after the wife of the Consul Manius Acilius Glabrio; he is said to have become a Christian and was killed on the orders of Domitian. Some of the walls and ceilings display fine decorations illustrating Biblical scenes.

Via Salaria road

The Via Salaria was an ancient Roman road in Italy.

Ancient Rome History of Rome from the 8th-century BC to the 5th-century

In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed. The Roman empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117.

Quarry A place from which a geological material has been excavated from the ground

A quarry is a type of open-pit mine in which dimension stone, rock, construction aggregate, riprap, sand, gravel, or slate is excavated from the ground.

The modern entrance to the catacomb is on the Via Salaria through the cloister of the monastery of the Benedictines of Priscilla. The Catacombs of Priscilla are divided into three principal areas: an arenarium, a cryptoporticus from a large Roman villa, and the underground burial area of the ancient Roman family, the Acilius Glabrio.

Cryptoporticus

In Ancient Roman architecture a cryptoporticus is a covered corridor or passageway. The usual English is "cryptoportico". The cryptoportico is a semi-subterranean gallery whose vaulting supports portico structures aboveground and which is lit from openings at the tops of its arches.

Roman villa type of rural settlement of ancient Rome without walling

A Roman villa was a country house built for the upper class in the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, similar in form to the hacienda estates in the colonies of the Spanish Empire.

The gens Acilia was a plebeian family at Ancient Rome, that flourished from the middle of the third century BC until at least the fifth century AD, a period of seven hundred years. The first of the gens to achieve prominence was Gaius Acilius Glabrio, who was quaestor in 203 and tribune of the plebs in 197 BC.

Artworks

The wall paintings in this catacomb include images of saints and early Christian symbols, such as the painting reproduced in Giovanni Gaetano Bottari's folio of 1754, where the Good Shepherd is depicted as feeding the lambs, with a crowing cock on His right and left hand. [1]

Christian usually refers to:

Giovanni Gaetano Bottari Italian scholar and critic

Giovanni Gaetano Bottari was Vatican librarian and counsellor to Pope Clement XII.

Good Shepherd epithet of Jesus, from the parable: “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling […], seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth” (Jn 10:11–12)

The Good Shepherd is an image used in the pericope of John 10:1-21, in which Jesus Christ is depicted as the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. Similar imagery is used in Psalm 23. The Good Shepherd is also discussed in the other gospels, the Epistle to the Hebrews, the First Epistle of Peter and the Book of Revelation.

External video
Good Shepherd Catacomb of Priscilla.jpg
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Catacomb of Priscilla, Rome, 11:03, Smarthistory [2]

Particularly notable is the "Greek Chapel" (Capella Greca), a square chamber with an arch which contains 3rd century frescoes generally interpreted to be Old and New Testament scenes, including the Fractio Panis. Above the apse is a Last Judgment. New, and somewhat controversial research has begun to suggest that the scenes traditionally interpreted as the deuterocanonical story of Susannah (Daniel 13) may actually be scenes from the life of a prestigious Christian woman of the 2nd century AD. [3] Near this are figures of the Madonna and Child and the Prophet Isaiah, also dating from the early 3rd century.

Fresco Mural painting upon freshly laid lime plaster

Fresco is a technique of mural painting executed upon freshly laid, or wet lime plaster. Water is used as the vehicle for the dry-powder pigment to merge with the plaster, and with the setting of the plaster, the painting becomes an integral part of the wall. The word fresco is derived from the Italian adjective fresco meaning "fresh", and may thus be contrasted with fresco-secco or secco mural painting techniques, which are applied to dried plaster, to supplement painting in fresco. The fresco technique has been employed since antiquity and is closely associated with Italian Renaissance painting.

Old Testament First part of Christian Bibles based on the Hebrew Bible

The Old Testament is the first part of Christian Bibles, based primarily upon the Hebrew Bible, a collection of ancient religious writings by the Israelites believed by most Christians and religious Jews to be the sacred Word of God. The second part of the Christian Bible is the New Testament.

New Testament Second division of the Christian biblical canon

The New Testament is the second part of the Christian biblical canon, the first part being the Old Testament, based on the Hebrew Bible. The New Testament discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. Christians regard both the Old and New Testaments together as sacred scripture. The New Testament has frequently accompanied the spread of Christianity around the world. It reflects and serves as a source for Christian theology and morality. Extended readings and phrases directly from the New Testament are incorporated into the various Christian liturgies. The New Testament has influenced religious, philosophical, and political movements in Christendom and left an indelible mark on literature, art, and music.

The Priscilla catacombs may contain the oldest known Marian paintings, from the early third century. Mary is shown with Jesus on her lap, and the catacombs may have a depiction of the Annunciation, though the latter has been disputed. [4]

Jesus Central figure of Christianity

Jesus, also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ, was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. He is the central figure of Christianity and is widely described as the most influential person in history. Most Christians believe he is the incarnation of God the Son and the awaited Messiah (Christ) prophesied in the Old Testament.

Annunciation Christian celebration and artistic theme

The Annunciation, also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Annunciation of Our Lady, or the Annunciation of the Lord, is the Catholic celebration of the announcement by the Archangel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus, the Son of God, marking His Incarnation. Gabriel told Mary to name her son Yeshua, meaning "YHWH is salvation".

Papal tombs

On account of the fact that seven early popes and many martyrs were buried in the cemetery, it was known as the "Queen of the Catacombs" in antiquity. Two popes were buried in the Catacomb of Priscilla: Pope Marcellinus (296 - 304) and Pope Marcellus I (308 - 309). [5]

Alleged relics of Popes Sylvester I, Stephen I, and Dionysius were exhumed and enshrined beneath the high altar of San Martino ai Monti (founded as Santi Silvestro e Martino ai Monti), in the Esquiline area of Rome. Pope Sylvester I was likely originally buried in San Martino ai Monti, although some sources say his remains were transferred there. An unidentified papal sarcophagus discovered during the demolition of Old Saint Peter's Basilica was attributed to Sylvester I and moved to Nonantola Abbey, near the altar that contains the remains of Pope Adrian III. Other sources describe a combination of Sylvester I and Vigilius in an altar in St. Peter's. [6]

Other relics

The bones of Saints Praxedes and Pudentiana were contained in the catacomb until they were moved, in the 9th century, by Pope Paschal I to be housed in the rebuilt Santa Prassede. [7]

It is also in this catacomb that the relics of saint Philomena were found.

Related Research Articles

Pope Marcellus I pope

Pope Marcellus I was the Bishop of Rome or Pope from May or June 308 to his death in 309. He succeeded Pope Marcellinus after a considerable interval. Under Maxentius, he was banished from Rome in 309, on account of the tumult caused by the severity of the penances he had imposed on Christians who had lapsed under the recent persecution. He died the same year, being succeeded by Pope Eusebius. His relics are under the altar of San Marcello al Corso in Rome. His third-class feast day is kept on January 16.

Pope Sylvester I pope and saint

Pope Sylvester I, was the 33rd Pope of the Catholic Church from 314 to his death in 335. He succeeded Pope Miltiades. He filled the See of Rome at an important era in the history of the Western Church, yet very little is known of him. The accounts of his papacy preserved in the Liber Pontificalis contain little more than a record of the gifts said to have been conferred on the Church by Constantine I, although it does say that he was the son of a Roman named Rufinus. His feast is jubilantly celebrated as Saint Sylvester's Day in Western Christianity on December 31, while Eastern Christianity commemorates it on January 2.

Catacombs of Rome

The Catacombs of Rome are ancient catacombs, underground burial places under Rome, Italy, of which there are at least forty, some discovered only in recent decades. Though most famous for Christian burials, either in separate catacombs or mixed together, people of all the Roman religions are buried in them, beginning in the 2nd century AD, mainly as a response to overcrowding and shortage of land. The Etruscans, like many other European peoples, used to bury their dead in underground chambers. The original Roman custom was cremation, after which the burnt remains were kept in a pot, ash-chest or urn, often in a columbarium. From about the 2nd century AD, inhumation became more fashionable, in graves or sarcophagi, often elaborately carved, for those who could afford them. Christians also preferred burial to cremation because of their belief in bodily resurrection at the Second Coming. The Park of the Caffarella and Colli Albani are nearby.

San Lorenzo fuori le Mura Church in Rome, Italy

The Basilica Papale di San Lorenzo fuori le Mura is a Roman Catholic Papal minor basilica and parish church, located in Rome, Italy. The Basilica is one of the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome and one of the five former "patriarchal basilicas", each of which was assigned to the care of a Latin Church patriarchate. The Basilica was assigned to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The Basilica is the shrine of the tomb of its namesake, Saint Lawrence, one of the first seven deacons of Rome who was martyred in 258. Many other saints and Bl. Pope Pius IX are also buried at the Basilica, which is the center of a large and ancient burial complex.

Pudentiana Italian saint

Pudentiana is a traditional Christian saint and martyress of the 2nd century who refused to worship the Roman Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Antoninus Pius as deities. She is sometimes locally known as Potentiana and is often coupled with her sister, Praxedes the martyr.

Santa Prassede medieval church in Rome

The Basilica of Saint Praxedes, commonly known in Italian as Santa Prassede, is an ancient titular church and minor basilica in Rome, Italy, located near the papal basilica of Saint Mary Major. The current Cardinal Priest of Titulus Sancta Praxedis is Paul Poupard.

Santa Pudenziana church building in Rome

Santa Pudenziana is a church of Rome, a basilica built in the 4th-century, that is dedicated to Saint Pudentiana, sister of Saint Praxedis and daughter of Saint Pudens. It is a national church for Filipinos and is therefore one of the national churches in Rome.

San Martino ai Monti

San Martino ai Monti, officially known as Santi Silvestro e Martino ai Monti("SS Sylvester & Martin in the Mountains"), is a minor basilica in Rome, Italy, in the Rione Monti neighbourhood. It is located near the edge of the Parco del Colle Oppio, near the corner of Via Equizia and Viale del Monte Oppio, about five to six blocks south of Santa Maria Maggiore.

Manius Acilius Glabrio was a Roman Senator who served as consul ordinarius in AD 91 as the colleague of Trajan, afterwards emperor. Although one of many senators executed during the reign of Domitian on the alleged grounds of plotting against the emperor, he was remembered by his contemporaries best for his strength. Domitian summoned Glabrio during the latter's consulate to his Alban estate during the festival of the Juvenalia to kill a large lion; not only did Glabrio despatch the beast, but he escaped all injury. Following his defeat of the lion, Glabrio was banished by Domitian, then executed while in exile.

San Silvestro in Capite church

The Basilica of Saint Sylvester the First, also known as, is a Roman Catholic minor basilica and titular church in Rome dedicated to Pope Saint Sylvester I. It is located on the Piazza San Silvestro, at the corner of Via del Gambero and the Via della Mercede, and stands adjacent to the central Post Office.

Praxedes saint

Saint Praxedes is a traditional Christian saint of the 2nd century. She is sometimes called Praxedis or Praxed.

San Francesco di Paola ai Monti church

San Francesco da Paola ai Monti is an 18th-century titular church in Rome. It is dedicated to St Francis of Paola, and is located in the Monti rione.

Felicitas of Rome Christian saint and martyr

Felicitas of Rome, also anglicized as Felicity, is a saint numbered among the Christian martyrs. Apart from her name, the only thing known for certain about this martyr is that she was buried in the Cemetery of Maximus, on the Via Salaria on a 23 November. However, a legend presents her as the mother of the seven martyrs whose feast is celebrated on 10 July. The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates their martyrdom on 25 January.

San Silvestro al Quirinale church

San Silvestro al Quirinale is a historic church in central Rome, Italy. It is located near Via XXIV Maggio corner with Via Mazzarino, a few blocks south of the Piazza del Quirinale.

Early Christian inscriptions

Early Christian inscriptions are the epigraphical remains of early Christianity. They are a valuable source of information in addition to the writings of the Church Fathers regarding the development of Christian thought and life in the first six centuries of the religion's existence. The three main types are sepulchral inscriptions, epigraphic records, and inscriptions concerning private life.

Catacomb of Callixtus catacomb in Rome

The Catacomb(s) of Callixtus is one of the Catacombs of Rome on the Appian Way, most notable for containing the Crypt of the Popes, which once contained the tombs of several popes from the 2nd to 4th centuries.

Catacomb of Pontian

The Catacomb(s) of Pontian is one of the catacombs of Rome on the Via Portuensis, notable for containing the original tombs of Pope Anastasius I (399–401) and his son Pope Innocent I (401–417). The Catacomb was discovered by famed Italian explorer Antonio Bosio in 1618.

San Caio ancient titular church in Rome, possibly dating from as early as the third century, demolished in the late nineteenth century

San Caio was an ancient titular church in Rome, possibly dating from as early as the third century. It was demolished in the late nineteenth century.

References

  1. The Hymns of Prudentius, Aurelius Clemens Prudentius - p.125 Publisher: Echo Library - 2008 - ISBN   9781406866100
  2. "Catacomb of Priscilla, Rome". Smarthistory at Khan Academy . Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  3. Nicola Denzey, The Bone Gatherers: The Lost Worlds of Early Christian Women, Boston: Beacon Press 2007
  4. Vladimir Lossky, 1982 The Meaning of Icons ISBN   978-0-913836-99-6 page 173; compare Mary Joan Winn Leith, "Earliest Depictions of the Virgin Mary," Biblical Archaeology Review, vol. 43, no. 2, March/April 2017, p. 49
  5. Reardon, 2004, p. 32.
  6. Reardon, 2004, pp. 33-34.
  7. "Praxedes and Pudentia". Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 26 October 2010.

Sources