Ancient churches of Rome from the fourth to the seventh century: the dawn of Christian architecture in the West

Front Cover
Brepols, 2005 - Architecture - 336 pages
With its official recognition by the Roman state, the Christian community suddenly enjoyed the sympathy of the highest authorities, wide public attention and a great afflux, and with imperial support architectural masterpieces were erected, the Lateran Basilica, St. Peter's and San Paolo fuori le mura, whose dimensions and magnificence bore every comparison with pagan sanctuaries. The great rise in martyr worship furthermore prompted the construction of numerous memorial churches outside the city gates, which at the same time served as burial grounds for believers. Rome was transformed from capital of the Empire to capital of Christianity boasting the tombs of the two prime apostles Peter and Paul and numerous other witnesses of Christ. Alongside these monuments of papal and imperial representation, several tituli, parish churches, were founded along the main thoroughfares inside the city to create visible landmarks of Christianity and satisfy the pastoral needs of an ever-growing community. Focusing on these formative centuries of Christianity, from the reign of Constantine until the emergence of the Medieval world order in the Carolingian age, Hugo Brandenburg offers a broad panoramic view of Christian church architecture in Rome from its conception to the establishment of canonical church types. Throughout, the author treats the archaeological remains as speaking testimonies, articulating the intentions, motivations and self-perception of Rome's early Christian community. This lucid and detailed exposition of more than 50 early churches of Rome from the fourth to the seventh century, which draws together archaeological, documentary and literary sources, will appeal to the layman and the specialist alike. It contains an up-to-date bibliography on each subject and gives ample space to the discussion of recent developments in the field, whereby Hugo Brandenburg offers his own well-founded interpretations of the evidence and shows his immense expertise of early Christian architecture. The present work is lavishly illustrated with original plans and drawings and exclusive photographs especially taken for this volume, which allow an unusually detailed visual insight into the sacred architecture of early Christian Rome.

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The Lateran Basilica
The Lateran Baptistery

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