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[ ' 

4 .«A> 

1 % r* 









Hon. M.A. Oxon., F.S.A. Lond. ; 

keeper of the ashmolean museum of history and archicology, oxford; 

vice-president of the oxford architectural and historical society, 

and of the british and american archico logical society of rome ; 

member of the royal archieological institute, 




PAST xn. 


• ».•.• • " » — • 

: •■< f » • • • 

' • • * « 





1877. "'-' ' ; - 

« 4 
* * * 




Directions to the Binder. 


Title, Preface, and Contents 

Text and Appendices 

Description of the Plates— Of Construction 

-^_- Of Fresco-paintings 

Gilt Glass Vases 










So many popular delusions are current on the subject of the 
Roman Catacombs, that it is difficult to obtain a hearing for 
■• * a plain, unvarnished tale, in which the truth has been the only 
object sought for. These popular delusions are not confined to 
\ one party or one side, there are extremes both ways, and both 

are equally erroneous; they have unfortunately been made use of 
as weapons of polemical controversy, and the conclusions wished 
for on each side have been jumped at without proper examina- 
tion of the foundations on which they are built The same tests 
must be applied to the legends respecting them that are applicable 
to all other legendary history, and they cannot be received as 
authentic without examination. 
* . ' The origin of the name of Catacomb, to begin with, is one of 

the quesftions long discussed and still undecided; but as the name 
l'^ is medieval only, and not that by which they were originally called, 

P '^^ it does not seem very material : the original name was Cemeigriay 
-'* and like many other words this had a double signification, one 

genera], the other specific ; the general name was that of a tract 
of ground applied for the purpose of interment, the specific name 
; was a particular burial-vault, called also a cubiculutn^ which was 

usually sold in perpetuity to a particular family, without reference 
to the religion of its members. In one instance only, as far as 
has been ascertained, it was given to the holders of a particular 
office; tiie bishops of Rome in the third century had their own 
special cemetery or burial-vault, in the general burial-ground of 
the family of Calixtus. S. Anicetus, bishop and martyr, a.d. 174, 
and Bishop Soter, a.d. 189, were buried in this Catacomb; and 
Bishop Zephirinus in his own cemetery, mar thai of Calixtus ; on 
the Via Appia. S. Calixtus himself was not buried in the cemetery 
that bears his name, but in that of Calepodius on the Via Aurelia. 
The Chronological Table of the Catacombs given in this Chapter, 


i. I 

•♦ J 


: A 




V \ 













, ? 















nard, when he was at Rome ; and the first monastery of the Cistercian 
order in Italy and in Rome was there. S. Bernard was the great 
Pmitan of his day, and preached against the vanity of the rich deco- 
rations of churches that was then the ^shion in Rome. The church 
of S. Maria in Cosmedin^ so called from its extreme richness, was 
then just built, and was probably one of those against which S. Ber- 
nard had railed. The present churchy built to please him, is as 
plain as it could well be made, which gives it the appearance of 
being a century earlier than it really is. 

The fine church of S. Lorenzo, or S. Lawrence, was also originally 
a burial-chapel at the entrance of the great cemetery or catacomb of 
S. Cyriaca. The great reputation of the relics of S. Lawrence at- 
tracted so many worshippers, and such large donations, that the 
church has been more than once rebuilt on a more magnificent 
scale. There were at one period two churches, placed end to end, 
the two altars with their apses looking exactly the opposite way. 

In the siege of Rome by the Goths under Vitiges, a.d. 537, the 
Catacombs were much damaged ; they were repaired and restored by 
the Popes soon afterwards, especially John III., a.d. 560 — 574, and 
many of the paintings are of the sixth century. A century later, the 
Lombards are stated to have had also a special spite against them, 
because the priests cleared such large revenues from the offerings of the 
pious to these shrines, and they alleged that they made war against 
the priests as the governors of Rome, and not against the Roman 
people. To save these valuable relics from the enemy, whose attacks 
were expected to be repeated, the bones were brought by wagon-loads 
to the churches within the walls, especially those then building, to 
which large subterranean chambers or crypts were built to receive 
them, as at S. Sylvester in capite Via LcUay Santa Prassede, Santa 
Maria in Cosmedin, the Santa Quattro Coronati, and several others. 
This has given rise to another popular delusion ; the people hearing 
of crowds of worshippers coming to touch the relics of the martjrrs, 
have assumed that there were subterranean passages from these new 
crypts to the old Catacombs outside of the town, which is entirely an 
error. The name of Roma Sotterranea, given to the great work of 
Bosio and Arringhi, and continued by De Rossi, has helped to keep 


up this popular delusion. Many people who do not know Rome, 
suppose that the Catacombs there are really under the city of Rome, 
instead of being two or three miles from it ; and when they discover 
their error, still imagine that there must be subterranean passages 
from one to the other, as they are also told by the sacristans of the 
churches in Rome. 

Another popular delusion is, that the fresco paintings in the Cata- 
combs belong to the age of the martyrdoms, that is, the second and 
third centuries; this is entirely a mistake. De Rossi indeed is 
carefiil never to assert it, but the popular belief is so completely 
implied in his great work throughout, that the abridgers of it, both 
English and French, have asserted it without hesitation. The faxx 
is, that frdly three-fourths of the paintings belong to the latest resto- 
rations of the eighth and ninth centuries ; and of the remaining fourth 
part, a considerable number are of the sixth centuiy, painted origi- 
nally in the time of John I., who was Pope a.d. 523, and who made 
one catacomb and restored two others ; and the same paintings occur 
in all three, but some of them were damaged in the siege by the Liom- 
bards, soon after they were painted, and restored by John III, 
within the same centuiy : traces of early restorations can be seen 
upon them. Still, there are many paintings of the fourth and fifth 
centuries, the earliest are the common Good Shepherd, and certain 
well-known Scriptural subjects. The history of Jonah was the 
fashion chiefly in the fifth century, and this is the most common of 
all the subjects in the Catacombs, and many of them have been re- 
stored in the eighth or ninth century. In the early catacombs of 
Praetextatus, and Nereus and Achilleus, there are paintings of the 
second and third centuries, but they are not of religious subjects at 
all, and might as well be the decoration of a Pagan tomb as of 
a Christian catacomb ; they are the cultivation of the vine in Prae- 
textatus, and the four seasons in S. Nereus ; each season is easily 
recognised by the produce of the time of the year, and each has the 
attendant genius, which looks more like Pagan than Christian art 
There are no religious subjects before the time of Constantine, and 
during the fourth and fifth centuries they are confined entirely to 
Scriptural subjects. There is not a figure of a saint or martyr before 


ihe sixth century, and very few before the eighth, when they become 
abundant Among these, in the catacomb of S. Calixtus is a figure 
of S. Cyprian, the African bishop, which has led the faithful Romans 
to believe that he was buried in that catacomb, whereas there is no 
doubt that he was a martyr, and was buried in Africa. 

Respecting the inscriptions on the tombstones there is no such 
doubt, they have scarcely been touched, and are the most genuine 
thmgs from the Catacombs ; but few of them are before the third 
century, and by far the largest proportion are of the fourth and 
fifth, with a few of the sixth, and even later; the family burial- 
places continued to be in use as long as they were accessible. Un- 
fortunately all the inscriptions have been removed from their places 
and arranged on the walls of museums, and cloisters, and monas- 
teries ; frequently there is no record of what catacomb they came 
from, but the great works of the successive Keepers of the Cata- 
combs, and the Plates of Bosio, and the old Itineraries supply the 
localities of many of them, and they are highly-interesting records 
of the piety of the early Christians. 


I. Introduction 

I— 13 

II. Chronology. 

Catacomb or Cemetery of S. Peter, 
under the Temple of ApoUo, in 

the Vatican (?) ... 14 

Popes from Linus^ A.ix 67(?), 

buried there . . . . «5. 

Inscriptions, gennine . . • ib. 

Paintings, generally f«r/!0r«/ . . 15 

DaUs when each Cemetery is first 


217, Cemetery of S. CalixtyT . 16 

222, Calepodius . . , ib, 

230^ Praetextatus or S. Urban — 

(r«f^S0r^)i/A.D. 741 and 795) . ib, 
252, Lncina . . . .17 

269, Dionysins or Dennis . . ib, 

296, Prisdlla .... 18 

300^ Castolus . . , ib. 

337, Balbina .... 19 

348, Calepoditt» . . . . f». 

352 — 360,' Agnes . • . «ft. 

366, Sebastian, under Julian the 

Apostate ..... 20 

«— — Damasus . . • . «^. 

401, Anastasius I. . . , ib^ 
41S, Laurence, or Lorenzo, or 

Cytiaca (r«r/e^A/A.D. 795) . ib» 

419, Felicitas {resti>red a.'D, 795) . ib. 

440, Cornelius . . .21 

498, T\it]orAzxits {restored h.Ti.^^$) ib. 

523, Nereus and Achilleus, made ib. 

Felix and Adauctus, restored ib. 

Commodilla, or Domitilla, 

restored . . . . ib. 

537, The Goths exterminate the 
Catacombs .22 

538, Vigilius and John III. repair 
them . . • . ib. 


577, S. Hermes made^ — (restored 
A.D. 795) . . .22 

590, The Lent Stations made . ib» 

619, Nicomedes . . . . ib, 

626, Marcellinus and Peter— (re- 
newed again A.D. 705 and 795) ib. 

649, Relics began to be removed 
from the Catacombs . . ib, 

687, Masses celebrated in them . 23 

752, Soter, restored , , , ib, 

768, More Relics removed . 

S47, 2,300 bodies removed to the 
Church of S. Prassede . . 24 

844, More Relics removed to S. 
Sylvester's . . . , ib. 

857, S. Marcus, restored , , ib. 

867, Priscilla, &c.» restored . . ib. 

1217^ Pilgrimages renewed . . ib, 

III. The Martyrs . . 25—38 

IV. Construction . . 39—4^ 

Paintings .... 47 — 49 
Gilt Glass Vases . . 5o~55 

V. Local Arrangement. 
Via Cornelia— or Triumpha- 
Lig,__S. Peter's Church at the 
Vatican . . . - 5^ 

Via Aurelia — S. Pancratius . 59 
Via Portuensis — S. Pontianus . 60 

— S. Generosa^ at the College 

of the Arvales ..... 64 

VI. Via Ostiensis, &c 
Catacomb of Lucina or S. Paul . 68 
Via Ardeatina. SS. Nereus and 
Achilleus. — S. Domitilla . • ^o 

— S. Petronilla . . .71 

Via Appia. 
Martyrs executed in front of the 
Temple of Mars . . '73 




S. Sebastian . . •74 

Praetextatus, or S. Urban's . . 76 
Entrance from a sand-pit road . 78 
Family of Prsetextatus . . , ib, 
S. Quirinus the Tribune, M. . 79 

S. Balbina, M. . . 79, 80, 90 
S. Systus or Sustus . . 79» 81 
SS. Felicissimus, &c. . . .81 
SS. Tiburtius, &c. . . . ib. 

S. Zeno ib. 

Square Chamber of Brick . . 82 
SS. Januarius, &c., M. , » ib. 

— other Cubicula . . '83 
One Corridor a Sand-pit . . 84 
The Gnostics (?), or the worshippers 

of Mithras .... 85 

S. Calixtus 87 

Chapel of S. Cseciiia . . » ib. 
Inscription of Dkmasus, a palimpsest 88 
Pwntings of a.d. 855, SS. Cor- 
nelius, Sixtus, Marcus • . 89 
Chapel of S. Stephen . . , ib. 
Crypt, or Chapel, or Cubiculum, 

of S. Lucina, near to S. Calixtus ib. 

The Gens Cocilia . . . ib. 
This Catacomb also called after 
S. Zephyrinus, S. Hippolytus, S. 
Xistus, or Sixtus, or Sustus, S. 

Csecilia,. S. Soter . . , ib, 
ViaLatina ... .91 

VII. Via Labicana. 

SS. Peter and Marcellinus . • 92 

Mausoleum of S. Helena • • ib, 

SS. Gorgonius, Tibnitius, Castulus 93 

Tombstones, A.D. 292 and 307 . ib. 

Cemetery, restored K.n, 626 and 772 ib. 

Paintings 94 

Cemetery of S. Helena . . ik. 

Via Nomentana — S. Agnes . 95 

^■^ Called Cctmeterium maj9$s ' . 96 
»— Part made under Julian the 

Apostate . . . . ib, 

— Liberius took refuge here . ib, 
^— An Ihscription in Mosaic . 97 

Others painted . , , ib, 

-^— A Pagan Tombstone in it . ib. 

The Painted Chambers . . 98 

Subjects the usual ones • • ib. 


Glass Vases from this Cemetery . 99 
S. Alexander .... 100 

Discovered in 1855 . . 100 

SS. Primus — Felicianus— and Max- 

imianus ib. 

Via Tiburtina— S.'Cyriaca and 

S. Lorenzo .... loi 
^^ Built upon a sand-pit . , ib. 

Tombstones, A.D. 295 to 604 ib, 

^■^ Legend of S. Cyriaca . . ib. 

of S. Lorenzo . . 102 

Church of S. Lorenzo, originally 

a burial-chapel at the. entrance 

to this cemetery • . . ib, 

— Cemetery very extensive . 103 
Tombstones of A. D. 369 to 500 ib. 

— Relics of S. Cyriaca irans* 
laied, A.D. 844 . . , ib, 

S. Hippolytus ad Nymphas, dis- 
tinct from S. Cyriaca . . 104 
Translation of S. Stephen, a Jioman 

Martyr, A.D. 790 . . , ib. 

Hymn of Prudentius .* • . 105 

Marble Chair of S. Hippolytus . 106 

Mannaea, the Empress, a Christian 107 

Crypt of S* Stephen, Proto-martyr ib. 

•^— S. Maximus • . • ib, 

^ S. Hilary • . , ib, 

S. Chrysanthus . . ib, 

' S. Daria . . , ib. 

Cemetery of Novella . • , ib, 

— — — of Agapetus . • , ib. 

VIII. Via Salaria Vecchia 
AND Via Flaminia. 

Cemetery of S. Valentine 

Getulius, Cerealis, &c. 

■ S. Hermes » 
Chapel of Basilla 
Tombs of Fossores 
Mosaic Picture 
Cemetery of S. Protus 
-^— of Hyadnthus 

— Tombstones, A.D. 234 and 298 
-— Bp. Silvester ornaments it . 

— Restored by Hadrian I., a.d. 
772, and Nicolas L, a.d. 860 . 













Relics said to have been tianslated, XII. Churches Outside the Walls 

found in 1845 . . .1x2 CONNECTED with the Catacombs. 

SS. Satuminus and Thrason . ib. Via Ostiensis~S. Paul f.m. . 129 

Paintings 113 A Patriarchal Basilica . . ib, 

S. Priscilla 114 Founded A. D. 254 (?) . . ib, 

the mother of Pudcns(?) . 115 ^y Constantine, a.d. 3I4(?) ib. 

Pwntings, A.D. 523 (?) . . ib, Endowed by him . . ib, 

Chapel, with Altar . .116 Bodies of SS. Peter (?) and 

Platonia ....»*. Paul interred here . .130 

Pamting of the wine-barrcls 117 of other Saints, a. D. 298 . ib, 

A Sand-pit Road . . ib. of Pope Paul I., a. d. 767 . ib, 

Inscription of A.D. 204 . ib. of John XIII., a. d. 972 . ib, 

Called also S. MarceUus .118 Count Pier Leone, a.d. 1144 131 

S.FeUcitas . . . ib. Confessio S. Pauli M. . ib, 

— An Inscription records build- 

IX. The Jews' Catacomb, Vla ing, a.d. 380— 400 . . . ib, 

Appia. Restored under Galla Placi- 

Opposite to S. Sebastian's . .119 dia,A.D.440 . . . ib, 

The Seven-branched Candle- ^V^ '^ebmlt under King Theodo- 

stick ib. ric, A.D. 49S— 514 , . . ib. 

The Palm-branch . . ib. Mosaic head of Christ . . ib. 

— Lavatory at the entrance . 1 20 I>onations in gold and silver, c. a. d. 

— Loculi placed end- ways . ib. °^^ *32 

Jews' Catacomb on the Via Por- Mosaic Picture on Apse, a.d. 1250 ib, 

tuensis . . . . .121 Ciborium or Baldachlno, a.d. 1285 ib. 

on Monte Veide, or Janiculum ib. ^^^^ Doors, A.D. 1070 . . ib, 

another near S. Sebastian's . ib. P^an of Church that of a Pagan 

Temple 133 

X. Catacombs within the Walls n^f^^, ^^ a. d. i 23 . 

- The Cloisters preserved . . ib, 

OP Rome. „ ^ t> * *• 

Sumptuous Restorations 

Cxypts under Churches 

Places of Pilgrimage 
One under S. Prassede 
S. Maria in Cosmedin 
S. Bibiana 






Interment in Churches permitted 125 

XL Catacombs of Naples. 

Entrance through Church of S* 

Gennaro , ib. 

Paintings .... 126 
Borial-diapel of S. Gennaro, or 

Jannarius .... ib. 

The work of Greek settlers (?) . 127 

Cubicula, Family Burial-vaults ib. 

Some of the Tombs are Pagan . 128 

Tre Fontane. 

SS. Vincentius and Anastasius . 134 
— - Built A.D. 626, by Honorius L ib. 

Enlarged A.D. 796, by Leo IIL ib, 

Outer Walls of that date . ib. 

— Rebuilt A.D. II 28, by Inno- 
cent II ib, 

^■^ Consecrated A. d. i 191, by Cle- 
ment III. . . , tb, 

— Remarkably plain, to please 

S. Bernard . . ib. 

— Contrast with S. M. in Cosmedin ib. 
Gatehouse, Twelfth Century . ib. 
Paintings upon it, a.d. 1227 . ib. 
Called in 1 145, S. Anastasius ad 

Aquas Salvias . • ^35 




S. Paolo alle Tre Fontane, on the 
site of the spot where S. Paul 
was beheaded .' '135 

Church built by Card. Aldobrandini ib, 
— — Paintings, Statues, and Relics ib, 
S. Maria Scala Codi, built over 

Catacomb of S. Zeno . .136 
— — Vision of S. Bernard . . ib, 

— Rebuilt by Card. Famese, 
A.D. 15S4 , , * . ib, 

^■^ Mosaic Pictures . . . «& 
Chapel on the road, modem . ib. 

Via Appia. 

S. Sebastxanus ad Catacumbas . 137 
■ a Basilica, Monastic and Pa- 
rochial ib. 

^■^ founded by Innocent L, A.D. 
401 — ^417 ib, 

— over a Cemetery Chapel of 

Heads of SS. Peter and Paul (?) . 
Platonia in Crypt 
Confessio of twelfth century 
Walls of Apse, fiflh century 
Those of the Cr3rpt earlier, and are 

probably those of the Cemetery 

Chapel .... 

Chapel on Staircase, thirteenth cent 138 
Ruins of Cemetery Chapels in the 

garden 139 

Church partly rebuilt in 1612 . ib. 
^■^ A Chapel of S. Sebastian, 

with relics, in Crypt, a.d. 1672 id. 

— Inscription of Pope Damasus ib. 
*^ A modem inscription states 

that 74,000 martyrs (?) are in- 
terred there .... 
The Via Appia a foss-way here 

S. Urbano alia Caffarella, a Tem- 
ple (?) of Bacchus (?) or a Tomb (?}, 
Ct A.D. 150 .... 

— S. Urban I. resided here 
Church consecrated by Urban IV., 

A.D. 1694 .... 

^— A Hermitage and place of Pil- 
grimage . . • . ib. 

Fresco-paintings, begun looi . ib. 

— On the small Crypt or Con- 
fessio another painting) A.D. 824 142 







Church originally a Horreum, or 

Chapel-tomb .... 142 
Fresco-paintings finished, A. D. 1022 143 
Tomb of S. Helena and Church 
of SS. Marcellinus and Peter . 144 

— Interior of Tomb, originally 

a Burial-chapel . . » ib. 
Modem Churdi built in it . . ib. 
Sarcophagus of Red Porphyry, now 

in Vatican Museum . . 145 

Mausoleum, entrance to Catacomb ib. 
ViQa of Constantine near to it . ib. 

S. Agnes outside the Walls . 146 

— Church founded by Constan- 
tine, A.n. 314 . . . . ib. 

'—" Completed by Damasus, A.D. 

384 i^' 

— Rebuilt by Honorius, A.D.626 

—638 ib. 

— Mosaic Picture, c. A.D. 630 . 147 
Villa and Hippodrome of 

Maxentius . . . . ib. 
^— Repaired by Hadrian L, A.D. 

772 148 

— — Basilica type retained . • ib. 
^•^ Three Altars dedicated, A.D. 

1256 ib. 

Church re-decorated by Pius 

IX., A.D. 1856 . . . ib. 

Rich ceiling of Nave, A.D. 1606 ib. 

— — Mosaic or Cosmati-work, a.d. 

1256 ib. 

Church at entrance to Catacomb ib. 

Campanile, fifteenth cent., very ugly ib. 

S. CONSTANTIA . . . I49 

Mausoleum and Baptistery . ib. 

Afterwards made a Church, a. d. 1256 ib. 
Mosaic Pictures of the Vine, 

fourth century . , . ib. 

Sarcophagus also carved with the 

Vine, removed in 1796 . - 150 
Double. columns, or twin-shafts . ib. 
Mosaics over the doors, eighth cent. ib. 

S. Alexander . . .151 

Pope Alexander I., martyr, A. D. 129 ib. 
^— • Site re-discovered in 1853 by 

an English botanist . . . ib. 
A Cathedral Church begun over 

it by Pius IX. . , ib. 




S. Alexander. 

»— Remains of Mosaic Pavement 

and foondationsy second century 151 

— Apse and Confessio . . 153 

Burial Chapels • . . ii^. 

»— Original Porch . • • id. 

Via Tiburtina. 

S. Lorenzo fnori le Mura . . 154 

— originally a Burial-chapel . id. 
Church built by Galla Pladdia • ii. 
^— rebuilt by Pelagius II., A.D. 590 id. 
Two churches made into one, A. D. 780 id, 
^— Choir, the older church • 155 
^— . Crypt rebuilt, A.D. 1865 . id, 
■ Ambones, marUe^ thirteenth 

century , , , , , id, 
— ^ Baldachino^ handsome^ A.D. 

1148 id, 

Bishop's Seat, A.D. 1254 . id. 

Nave originally S. Stephen's « id. 
Mosaic TombofWarriors,A.D.i220 156 
Portico and outer walls, thinteenth 

centuiy . . . , id, 

*-^ Fresco Paintings of A. D. lai 7, 

restored 157 

Monastery and Cloister, thirteenth 

century . « . « 158 

The modem Campo-santo • . 159 


Via UiTiNA. 

Church op S.Stephen, the 
Roman Deacon . . . 160 

Legends of this Saint • . ib. 

Church built by Demetria over 
her Cemetery, A.D. 460 . . ib. 

Remains excavated by Pins IX. • ib. 


The Itineraries, according to De 

Rossi's List . • • .161 
Panvinius and Bosto • • • 162 
Aringhi used Bosio's Plates . 163 

The Keeper of the Catacombs . ib, 
Boldetti's Work . . . ib, 

Bottari re-published the Plates 

ofBosio • • . . 164 

Padre Marchi corrects their errors id, 
Perref s great Work . 164 

De Rossi custodian of the Catacombs 165 
— — His valuable Work . . id, 
Bosio— List of his Plates 166—171 
Bosio and Aringhi compared 171, 173 
Perret, List of his Plates 173—180 
De Rossi, List of his Plates 181, 182 
Mr. Parker's Photographs 183—189 




Excavations in 1873-74. 


Church of S. Petronilla at 
THE Entrance to the Cata- 
comb OP SS. Nersus, Achil* 

Lsus, &c 191 

— ^ Described by De Rossi in his 
BulieHno di Archaologia Chris- 

Hana H, 

^— Plan of Church . . , ik 
— ^ Remains left as found . ib. 

Another entrance to that Catacomb 

is of the first century . 192 

— Painting of the Vine there . ib, 
Flavia Domitilla . . ib. 

SS. Nereos, Achilleus, Petronilla ib^ 
Locttli — Val Rufina . . , ib, 
Cubicnlum or Burial-vault of Aure- 

lius Victorinus . . . . ib. 
Cemetery made by John I., A.D. 

523 w 193 

S. Gr^ory the Great preached a 
Homily in this Churdi . . ib, 

Sepulcrum Flavium . . , ib, 

Ypogeum, or Burial-vault of M. 
Antonius Restitutus . • ib. 

Tombstone of Beatus and Vincen- 
tia, A.D. 395 , , , , ib. 


Nicolas I. restored the Church of 
SS. Nereus and Achilleus on the 
Via Appia, not this Cemetery 
Chapel 194* 

This Church mentioned by WiUiam 
of a place of pil- 
grimage for the English . . ib. 

The Agapac or Love Feasts (?). 

Remarks upon the Paintings of 
these, by the Bishop of Limerick 195 

Commemorative Family Feasts only ib. 

Inscriptions on one of the Paintings ib, 

Irene and Agape, the names of the 
attendants . . . , ib. 

The same names occur in the same 
manner on another picture . 196 

These attendants are directed to 
mix water with the wine . . ib. 

The same scene is represented on 
a Pagan Sarcophagus . . 197 

The round table with fish upon it ib. 
Meaning of the Fish . . . 198 

S. Priscilla .... 199 




L Natural Sections of S, Cyriaca, and Loculi in the Corridors or Passages, 
called also Streets (now in the burial-ground of S. Lorenzo). 

IL Sections of the Catacombs of S. Generosa, A.D. 500, and S. Cyriaca, 
A.D. 259. 

IIL Praetextatus— -Brickwork of the First Century at one of the entrances to 
this great Cemetery — Cornice and Wall and Pediment, and an Arch 
of the Second Century. 

IV. Inscriptions in S. Calixtus on the Loculi of four Bishops of Rome and 
Martyrs, in the third century— Eutychianus, A.D. 238, Fabianus, 249, 
and Anteros, 235, in Greek characters; and Cornelius, a.d. 252, in 
the Latin characters. 


L Praetextatus — Caltivation of the Vine, painted on the vault, r. A.D. 15a 
The Good Shepherd, on the wall of the same chamber, is ^. A.D. 320. 

II. I. SS. Nereus and Achilleus, or DomitiUa (?) — An Agape. 
2. S. PrisdUa — Madonna and Prophet. 

III. S. Priscilla— I. The Three Children in the "burning fiery furnace." 

2. An Orante addressed by other Persons. 

IV. S. Calixtus — An Agape (?), or the Last Supper, 

V. I. S. Prisdlla— The Wine Casks, A.D. 525. 
2. S. Calixtus — Christ and the Church. 

VL S. PrisdUa — i. An Orante and another Figure. 

2. An Orante, with a Mother and Child (?), or a Madonna. 

VII. S. Pontianns— I. Head of Christ. 

2. SS. Marcellinus, PoUion, Petrus. 

(These three figures are painted on a wall of the ninth century, 

across the corridor.) 

VIIL S. Pontianus— I. The Jewelled Cross. 

2. The Baptism of Christ. 



IX. PrsetexUtus— One of the original Entrances^Plan of the ground near 
S. Urbano, and the Circus of Maxentius— Section of that Church and 
of part of the Catacombs. 

X. One of the Chapels at the Entrance, on the plan of the 

Greek cross. 

XL Another of the Chapels at the Entrance, on the plan of sue 

apses round a circular central space. 

XII. View in the ruined Corridors, in three storeys, at original 


XIIL View in the first Cubiculum, with a Fresco Picture of Pagan 


XIV. Other Pagan Figures of the third century, in two groups, in 

the same Cubiculum. 

XV. Cemetery of Mithraic Worshippers — Fresco-Painting of a Feast, with 
inscriptions of vincentivs and septem pii sacerdotes. 

XVI. A picture supposed to represent the Judgment of the 

Soul, with inscriptions, indvctio vibies and bonorvm ivdicio 


XVIL SS. Peter and Marcellinus— Picture of an Agape (?), or Funeral Feast 
of a £imily. Some names inscribed are l^ble, others are defaced. 

XVIII, S. Agnes— Plan and Section of part of this large Cemetery, between 
the Church of S. Agnes and the Mausoleum of S. Constantia. 

XIX. S. Pontianus— The Baptistery, with a painting of the Baptism of 
Christ, and the Jewelled Cross. 

XX. Church of S. Sebastian — ^Two inscriptions. 

XXI. Pictures in a Chapel on the stairs to the Platonia. 

XXII. Basilica of S. Petronilla—Two Views, as first excavated before the 

XXIII. SS. Nereus and Achilleus — Picture of Christ and the Apostles, with 
Plan of part of the Catacomb. 

XXIV. Priscilla — Plan of part, with the Capella Gneca, and an original 
entrance by a staircase. 

XXV. Natural Section of S. Cyriaca, in the burial-ground of S. Lorenzo, in 
A.D. 1875, 

XXVI. Church of S. Urban— View of the Interior. 

XXVII. Confessio under the Altar, and Fresco- Painting in it. 

XXVIIL S. CalUtus— Plan. 

XXIX. S. Gennaro, or Janoarius, at Naples — Plan. 





I. From the Kircherian Museum. 

1. The head of Christ in the centre, with groups round it representing 

His miracles. 

2. Moses striking the rock, with inscription. 

11. From the Museums of the Louvre and the Vatican. 

III. Two Vases from the Vatican Museum ; one from the Catacomb of the 

Jews, the subject of the other is the Good Shepherd. 

IV. Two from the Vatican Museum. 

1. The miracle of the loaves and the seven baskets*ful of fragments. 

2. The raising of Lazarus. 

V. Two from the Vatican Museum— i. S. Maria. 2. SS. Peter and Paul. 

VI. Two from Boldetti— Both are of SS. Peter and Paul. 

VII. Two — The first from San Clementi, the other from Olevieri, with in- 
scriptions. I. PIE Z£Z£S, &C. 2. s. AGNES between cristvs and 


VIII. From Passeri and Fabretti — Both are distinctly Pagan subjects, and 
with Pagan inscriptions. 


On the Catacombs in General. 

The interest excited by the Roman Catacombs' is so generally 
felt and acknowledged, that it is not necessary to call attention to 
them. As the burying-places of the early Christians in Rome, in 
which many of the earliest martyrs were interred, their importance 
has been acknowledged in all ages. 

Pilgrimages to the tombs of the martyrs began to be made as early 
as the fourth century, as soon as the peace of the Church enabled 
Christians to shew their respect in this manner. The interest taken 
in them rapidly increased, and pilgrimages to the Catacombs became 
the fashion, which amounted to a mania in the seventh, eighth, and 
ninth centuries ; and, like other things which became the fashion, it 
was abused, a great deal of insincerity and fraud was mixed with 
the sincere piety of the few, and the relics of the martyrs became an 
article of profitable trade. 

It is well known that it was the custom of the ancient Romans 

* The word Catacomb has long been 
supposed to be derived from the Greek 
verD tuernnotiidm, signifying to lull, put 
to sleep, and cubiculum has the same 
meaning. Cctmeterium or cemeterium 
signifies both a burial-place in general, 
and a special bnrial-vault belonging to 
a particular fisimily, or appropriated to 
the holders of a special omce, such as 
the Bishops of Rome. Loculus is the 
place excavated for the body. Ambula- 
crum or corridor is the passage with 
loculi in the walls, and cuUcuia are the 
separate crypts opening out of it on 
either side. 

There is, however, considerable dif- 
ference of opinion as to the derivation 
of the name of Catacomb ; the learned 
Hofinann gives a different account of 
it, deriving it from Mrrd, ' down, ' and 
cumba, 'a hollow.' "Catacnmbse . . . 
Vocis etymon quod attinet, videtur 
composita ex praepositione icarrd, quam 
suam fecisse Latinos recentiores supra 

ostendimus, et voce Cumba. Cum enim 
ejusmodi polyandria et coemeteria pub- 
lica a cryptis in locis reconditis extite- 
rint, quos istius etatis Scriptores cum- 
bas vocabant, videtur locus hie cata- 
cumbaSf h. e. ad cumbas, ad cryptas 
vel ad voiles t^^pellatus esse." (Job. 
Jac Hofmanni Lexicon Universale, ad 
voc. Catacumba.) 

Ducange mentions the same deriva- 
tion, but su£[gests also another from 
cata and tumbas, 'underground tombs,' 
which exactly expresses the meaning, 
and this word is used by Gregory the 
Great (lib. iii. epist 50) in certain 
manuscripts, though not in the printed 
editions. This name was originally ap- 
plied to the valley in which the Circus 
of Maxentius was made. 

In addition to the above, see "The 
Roman Catacombs,'' by Dr. Theodore 
Mommsen, in " The Contemporary Re- 
view," May, 1 87 1, pp. 161 — 17$. 




to bum the bodies of persons of importance ; but those of slaves 
and of the poor freemen * were thrown into pits called puticuli^ many 
of which are known to exist. The family of the Scipios formed an 
exception to the general custom of the Roman citizens. They were 
accustomed always to bury the bodies of their family in a catacomb, 
which still remains and is open for inspection, just within the Porta 
di S. Sebastiano, but outside of the old city. It is not quite on 
the usual plan in the later catacombs, some of the bodies being first 
placed in sarcophagi, and others introduced endways into cavities 
cut in the rock to receive them, instead of being laid sideways in 
the two sides of the passages, as was afterwards found generally 
more convenient; but this same plan is followed in part of the 
Jews' catacomb in the Via Appia, opposite to that of S. Calixtus, and 
in some others. There is no real distinction between a tomb and 
a catacomb •'. Under a tomb by the road-side there is frequently 
a catacomb, and over a catacomb there was commonly a tomb, 
sometimes made into a church or a burial chapel. There are fre- 
quently columbaria or places for the urns, containing the ashes of 
burnt bodies ; and arco-solia or places for sarcophagi, or for bodies 
to be interred in the same tomb. Many such, of the first and 
second centuries, may be seen both in the neighbourhood of Rome 
and at Ostia. There is reason to believe that the excavation of new 
catacombs continued as late as the fiflh century. 

These distant cemeteries, three miles from the city, must have 
been very inconvenient; and it is supposed that as the people be- 
came Christian, they objected either to the burning of the bodies 
or casting them into pits'*, although the latter practice was con- 
tinued, for those whose families were too poor to purchase a piece 
of ground for them, until our own days. It has only been discon- 
tinued since the year i860. 

The Catacombs probably came into use gradually during the first 
and second centuries. At first only loculi^ or mere graves in stone or 
sand excavated out of the rock on the sides of the subterranean 
sand-pit roads, were used ; then arcosolia^ or graves under arches for 

^ Horatii, Sat. i. 8, ver. 8 seqq. 

* This celebrated tomb of the Scipios 
is the earliest catacomb in Rome; it 
was discovered in 1780, and inscrip- 
tions were then found, which were 
unfortunately all removed. It was de- 
scribed, and the inscriptions, ten in 
number, were printed by E. Q. Vis- 
conti in the Antologia Romana^ and 
reprinted by Piranesi in 1785, and in 

Lumisden*s "Remarks on the Anti- 
quities of Rome,'' 4to. London, 1797. 
De Rossi notes that there are no liculi 
in the sides, but arco-solia and cuhkula 
for sarcophagi only, and calls this tomb 
a Hypogeum. 

* At the places called "Cento-Celle" 
and "Torre dei Schiavi," there are 
numerous tombs with columbaria, and 
there are said to be pits ot^uiiculi aJso. 


two persons, were brought into use ; then chambers for family burial- 
vaults were excavated, with entrances from the sand-pit roads ; then 
these were made with distinct entrances, independent of the sand-pit 
roads altogether, as we see by the flight of steps descending into 
them; but these are generally of later date. Signor de Rossi* has 
shewn that, at least in one instance, the arch of an arco-solium^ an 
arch of the first century, under which the stone coffin or sarcophagus 
of a martyr had been placed, was afterwards used as the entrance to 
a chamber excavated behind it ; and the sarcophagus was removed 
from under the arch and carried to the back of the chamber, in order 
that other bodies might be interred near the martyr. This has been 
discovered in one of his recent excavations in the catacomb of 
Praetextatus, and is probably a clue to several others where the same 
process has been carried on. 

We know that in the case of the columbaria for another mode of 
interment at the same period, some were the property of particular 
families ; others were public, and the niches for urns were sold sepa- 
rately or in groups : there are some inscriptions recording these facts. 
In the case of the Catacombs, it appears to be evident that the 
same system was carried on ; and the custom of interring the whole 
body in a decent manner in a grave excavated for it in the side 
walls of the subterranean corridors, or in small family chapels on 
each side of them, began to be common before the Christian era, 
or about that period. As in the columbaria^ so in the Catacombs ; 
some belonged to particular families, others were public. 

That an idea of special sanctity was attached to these burial-places 
of the early Christians, seems evident from many passages in authors 
as early as the fourth century. S. Jerome ' describes thus his visit to 
them in his youth : — 

'* When I was a boy, receiving my education at Rome, I and my schoolfellows 
used on Sundays to make the circuit of the sepulchres of the Apostles and 
Martjrrs. Many a time, too, did we go down into the Catacombs. These are ex- 
cavated deep in the earth, and contain, on either hand as you enter, the bodies 

• See De Rossi, Bullettino di Arche- 
oioeia CrisHantL 

' " Dum essem Romse puer, et a li- 
beralibus studiis erudirer, solebam cum 
cseteris ejusdem setatis et propositi, die- 
bus Dominicis, sepulcra Apostolorum et 
Martyrum circumire ; crebroque cryptas 
ingredi, quae in terrarum profimdo de- 
fossae, ex utraque parte ingredientium 
per parietes hat>ent corpora sepultonim, 
et ita obscura sunt omnia, ut prope- 
modum iUud Propheticum compleatur : 

'Descendant in infemum viventes,' et 
raro desuper lumen admissum, horrorem 
temperet tenebrarum ; ut non tam fenes- 
tram, quam foramen demissi luminis 
putes ; rursumque pedetentim acceditur, 
et cceca nocte circumdatis, illud Vir- 
gilianimx proponitur : 
*' Horror ubique animos, simul ipsa si- 
lentia terrent " 
(S. Hieronymus, Comment, in Ezech., 
lib. xii. cap. 40.) 

B 2 



of the dead buried in the wall. It is all so dark there, that the language of 
the Prophet seems to be fulfilled : — 'Let them go down quick into hell.* Only 
occasionally is light let in to mitigate the horror of the gloom, and then not so 
much through a window as through a hole*." 

He speaks also of the shafts called luminaria^ and says that it 
reminded him of a passage in Virgil : — 

" A nameless horror makes that r^on drear, 
The very silence fills the soul with fear." 

Jerome, who wrote his Commentary on Ezekiel about a.d. 380, 
was bom in 331. 

The popularity of the fathers of the Church in the fourth cen- 
tury, who by their writings endeavoured to stir up the zeal of the 
Christians of their day, probably led to the exaggeration which 
followed Prudentius, the Christian poet of the same period, by 
his enthusiastic hymns *^ contributed to fan the flame, and the 
priests of the following centuries were not slow to profit by it. 

There is a natural reverence for them which would be allowed by 
all Christians, if it were not for the exaggeration of modem Rome, 
and the impatience felt at the bones found here being made an 
article of lucrative traffic. This led to much exaggeration as to the 
number of martyrs interred in the Catacombs, until eventually the 
people were taught to believe that aU the people interred in them 
were martyrs. That the number of martyrs in Rome has been 
grossly exaggerated, is evident firom contemporary writers, such as 
Lactantius and Eusebius; the probability is that they should be 
counted by tens, rather than by thousands*. During the intervals 

■ The translation is Mr. Buxgon's, in 
his *' Letters from Rome/'&c. London, 
1862, 8vo. 

^ ** Haud procul extremo culta ad po- 
moeria vallo 
Mersa latebrosis crypta patet fo- 
veis : 
Hujus in occultum gradibus via prona 
Ire per anfractus luce latente docet. 
Primas namque fores summo tenus in- 
trat hiatu, 
Illustratque dies limina vestibuli. 
Inde, ubi progressu facili nigrescere 
visa est 
Nox obscura, loci per speais am- 
Occumint oesis immissa foramina 
Quae jaciant claros antra super ra- 

Quamlibet ancipites texant hinc inde 
Arcta sub umbrosis atria porticibus ; 
Attamen exdsi subter cava viscera 
Crebra terebrato fomice lux penetrat. 
Sic datur absent is per subterranea solis 
Cemere fulgorem, luminibusque frui." 
(Aurel. Pnidentii Peristephanon, 
hymn. xi. \ Passio Hippolyti Mar- 
tjrris. For an English version of 
this hymn, see Section vii. ) 
* There is an able essay on this sub- 
ject by the learned Henry Dodwell, 
appended to the Oxford edition of 
S. Cyprian, and also printed separately. 
See Cypriani Opera, ed. J. Fell, Oxon, 
1682, foL, and Dissertationes Cypri- 
anicse, ab H. Dodwello. 8vo., Oxoniae, 
1684. Dissertatio XL, De paucitate 
Martyrum, pp. 217 — ^351. 

I.] Introduction. 5 

between the times of persecution, the Christians enjoyed as much 
liberty as any other class of the population ; many of them held 
the highest offices^ and this continued to be the case throughout 
the first three centuries. S. Paul mentions the Christians in Caesar's 
household, and Eusebius relates, in his time also, that Christians 
were entrusted with the government of provinces \ The persecution 
under Diocletian and Maximian, a.d. 286 — 305, is described as 
consisting of '^edicts to tear down the churches to the foundation, 
and to destroy the sacred Scriptures by fire." Other edicts ordered 
that the '^ prelates should be committed to prison and constrained 
to offer sacrifice to the gods/' That several eminent saints met 
with their martyrdom for refiising to do this, is also recorded by 
Eusebius^; but the whole narrative implies that the number who 
died in Rome was not laige, and some of these '' illustrious 
martyrs were domestics in the imperial palace." Lactantius also 
mentions that Prisca, the wife of Diocletian, and his daughter Vale- 
riana, were Christians ". The terms of the edict revoking those for 
the persecution, shew that they had not been intended to go the 
length of taking the lives of the Christians — that this was an ex- 
ceptional abuse of their powers. In the earlier persecutions also, 
the number of lives sacrificed in Rome was comparatively small. 
Eusebius is a very conscientious historian in relating what fell 
under his own observation, but somewhat credulous of hearsay from 
others ; and to swell the number of martyrs, he is obliged to relate 
accounts of what happened in distant provinces, Phoenice, Egypt, 
and Phrygia, all which accounts may be exaggerated as to the num- 
bers killed. Dodwell sifts the whole histoiy of the martyrdoms of 
the first three centuries, and endeavours to shew that the same 
exaggeration, as to the number of martyrs, prevails in the whole of 
these legendary stories. 

The indications of martyrdom which were formerly relied upon 
prove on investigation to be of doubtful authority. The palm-branch 
is found abundantly on early tombstones in the Jews' catacomb, 
but the Jews had many mart3rrs. The small vial containing the re- 
mains of a red fluid, supposed to be blood, has been tested by 
able chemists, under the direction of Chr. C. Jos. Bunsen, and 
more recently again under a true and enlightened member of the 
Roman Church ", and is found certainly not to be bloody but probably 
wine. This was a Pagan custom very likely to be followed by the 

^ Ettsebii Hist. Eccles., lib. viii. nun, cap. 15. 

cap. I. "Sir John Acton, Bart, now Lord 

* Ibid., cap. 3, 4, 6. Acton. 
" Lactantius, de Mortibus Persecuto- 

Catacombs. [SECT. 

Christians as a custom only, without attaching any particular mean* 
ing to it. 

The tombs of martyrs had great influence on the history of the 
Catacombs : hundreds of persons sought to have the bodies of their 
friends interred in the same cemetery, and large prices were paid 
for a family burying-place near a martyr. A portion of ground suffi- 
cient to build a cubictdum^ or family vault, was purchased in per- 
petuity of the proprietors of the ground, and became the bonA fide 
property of that family. The name of cosmeterium was applied to 
such a family vault equally as to the whole burying-place, cemetery, 
or catacomb. 

They are never described in any ancient documents by any other 
name than coemeteria; some modem writers use the word catacunUfm as 
synonymous. We are expressly told by Ciaconius** that the modem 
name for cubiculum is capdla^ and the cubicularius established by 
Leo I. is now called capdlanus or chaplain. We have frequent 
mention of the making of oratoria and cubicuia in the Catacombs, 
or at the entrances of the Catacombs, but nothing to shew that they 
were used for any other purpose than as burial -chapels for the 
funeral service, and for the worship of the relics of martyrs. Some 
of the cubicuia, or chapels, were probably used as schoolrooms in 
times of persecution ; one or two have a stone bench round them, 
with the cathedra or seat for the bishop or teacher. 

One of the greatest difficulties of the archaeologist always arises 
from the use of particular words in a limited technical sense, instead 
of the more general and extended sense in which they are commonly 
understood. This appears to be the case with the words prculium 
and cosmeterium in reference to the Catacombs. The prcedia of 
the early Christian matrons may have been farms only in the ordi- 
dary sense of the word, relating to the surface of the soil only ; but 
it seems more probable that this name at least included the subsoil, 
whether quarries, sand-pits, or catacombs. In either case, the ground 
being undermined by long galleries out of which the stone or sand 
had been carried, the subsequent employment of which for the pur- 
pose of a burying-place would be a most profitable employment of it, 
the excavations being naturally afterwards continued for the pur- 
pose only of interments. It may also include the family tomb, 

• "Hie etiam constituit et addidit quos, quod hodie apud nos capella." 

supra sepulchra Apostolorum ex clero (Alph. Ciaconius, Vitae et res gestae 

Romano custodes qui dicuntur cubi- Pontificum Romanorum et S. R. £. 

cularii, quos modo dicimus capellanos. Cardinalium, &c. Roma?, 1677, folio, 

Cubiculum enim idem erat apud anti- Leo I. vol, i. col. 307, c.) 

!•] Introduction. 

with the area in which it stood, which was often quite large enough 
to have had a catacomb made tmder it 

To purchase a piece of ground by the side of the road as a family 
buiying-place in perpetuity, was always expensive and could only 
be indulged in by wealthy families. A piece of ground by the side of 
or under an old sand-pit road was far less costly, the land being of no 
value for other purposes. For this reason the Catacombs were exten- 
sively made in them, and were used by the middle and lower classes, 
chiefly by the Christians, but not exclusively -so. The more wealthy 
Christians paid for a loculus^ or place for the body of a poor 
fellow-Christian, and burial-clubs were established for conducting 
the funerals with decency. Sometimes, probably, the clubs also 
purchased the loculi. Several inscriptions recording the piurchase 
of a particular loculus, or cubiculum^ have been found in the Cata- 
combs; but as the officials of modem times have removed all 
the inscriptions from their places, this part of their histoiy has 
been rendered obscure on the pretext of preserving them, which 
could have been done as effectually by keeping the doors locked, 
and establishing a toll for entering them. A great part of the interest, 
and nearly the whole of the historical value of the Catacombs, has 
been destroyed by the want of a chronological arrangement, and by 
the inscriptions having been collected in museums, arranged and 
classed according to the objects of the authorities. They thus pos- 
sess very little interest compared with what they would have done 
if left in their places. An inscription of the second or third century 
is of very different value from one of the eighth or ninth ; but it 
may be convenient for certain objects to mix them together without 
distinction. In the same manner the lamps and glass cups which 
were found in the Catacombs belonging to particular graves, have 
all been removed to museums, and arranged according to the fancy 
or the convenience of the custodians. These would also have been 
of tenfold interest and value, if left as they were found. The cata- 
comb of the Jews was long one of the most interesting and im- 
portant of the Catacombs, because there many of the inscriptions 
and emblems were allowed to remain in the walls. 

In the catacomb excavated in 1868, at the college of the Arvales, 
five miles from Rome, on the road to Porto, near the bank of the 
Tiber, the graves have been left, in great part, unopened, under 
the direction of De Rossi p, the head officer of that department of 

» The Cavaliere G. B. De Rossi is of S. Calixtus, in two folio volumes, 
the well-known author of a very learned which is intended to be carried on. He 
and important book on the Catacomb is also the author of a great work 01 




the Pontifical Government The tombs or iocuH in the corridors 
are closed by tiles, usually three, or by slabs of stone or marble, 
well secured with mortar to the rock, out of which the grave is 
cut; in this mortar are several graffiti or inscriptions scratched 
in it when it was wet, and this being Roman mortar, made with 
lime used the same day that it was burnt, is everlasting. These 
names are consequently as firesh as if inscribed yesterday by the 
hands of the surviving relatives of the deceased. Further par- 
ticulars about them will be found in the account of that cata- 
comb (Sect v.), which had been opened by Bosio in the sixteenth 
century, but entirely forgotten. In the catacomb of S. Cyriaca 
(Sect, vii.), near the Campo Santo, which is of much earlier date 
than the one at the college of the Arvales, many of the graves or 
loculi are also lefl unopened. 

In the excavations made in 1870 by the monks of S. Agnes, the 
small portion of the catacomb which immediately adjoins the church 
was cleared out, and in this instance also the graves are left un- 
opened ^ ; but these are exceptional cases, the rule having been to 
strip the Catacombs entirely. 

The burial-clubs of modem Rome are a traditional copy of those 
of the early Christians, and perhaps Pagans also; for funeral pro- 
cessions were quite as important in Pagan times as in Christian ^ 
The very curious costumes worn by these burial-clubs are probably 
of very early origin ; and particularly the covering the face with 
a mask or a hood, with holes for the eyes only, seems to mark 
a very early period, although it is now followed in many Roman 
Catholic countries. The custom of following the body to the gate 
of the city only, and leaving the actual interment to the officials, 
is more like a Pagan than a Christian one. The English custom 
of having the family and mourning friends assembled rotmd the 

Christian Tnscriptions, and the editor 
of an excellent Bullettino di Areheologia 
Cristiana, I have to acknowledge my 
obligations to this gentleman, both as 
a learned author and as the custodian 
of the Catacombs, where he kindly ob- 
tained permission for me to study, and 
to have photographs taken in 1868 and 
1869. This permission was retracted 
by the Cardinal Vicar in 1870. The 
excellent account of the Catacombs by 
Canon Venables, in Smith's Dictionary 
of Christian Antiquities, is mainly 
grounded on De Rossi's work, as the 
best authority, but an^ Roman Catho- 
lic work on the subject must be re- 

ceived with caution by Anglicans. 

1 See the Catacomb of S. Agnes. 

' For much valuable information on 
this subject, see the great work of De 
Rossi, and the abridgement of it by 
Dr. Northcote and Mr. Brownlow (8vo. 
London, 1869); also "Les Nouvelles 
Etudes sur les Catacombes Romaines, 
par le Comte Desbassayns de Riche- 
mont." (Paris, 1870, 8vo.) These 
clubs were formed into colleges, some 
of which appear to have been Chris- 
tian in the third century. They were 
entitled to certain privileges, which 
were open to the Christian equally as 
to the Pagan. 



grave, and hearing the last awful words, '^ Earth to earth, ashes to 
ashes, dust to dust — ^in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to 
eternal life/' is almost unknown in Rome. The body is displayed 
with great pomp in the church or in the cloister, and is carried from 
it with great ceremony through the streets ; but it is usually carried 
to the gate only, not attended to the grave. 

The custom of having funeral feasts at the time of the funeral, and 
on the anniversaries of it, which we know to have been usual with 
the ancient Romans, was continued by the early Roman Christians 
also, and the family was probably assembled in the family vault 
or cubiculum. The paintings so frequently found in them repre- 
senting a feast, and called by some the marriage-feast at Cana, by 
others an agape,, are more probably intended for the family funeral 
feast This is also said by some to be the last supper of Christ 
upon earth, when He partook of the broiled fish with six of the 
Apostles^ as described in the last chapter of S. John's Gospel. In 
some instances the representations agree well with this, in other 
cases they do not. In S. John's account there were seven disciples 
present on that occasion ; some of the paintings represent six and 
others twelve, besides the central figure of Christ Himself, but 
never seven. 

Many of the paintings are probably intended for portraits of the 
persons interred, surrounded by paintings of Scriptural subjects, as 
indications of the faith of the deceased, who is usually represented in 
the oriental attitude of prayer, and attired only in a dress closely 
resembling the surplice and stole. The surplice is sometimes white, 
the emblem of purity, sometimes red, as washed in the blood of 
Christ ; and the stole is the emblem of servitude, the yoke of Christ, 
over the shoulders*. In late examples, and in the case of ladies of 
wealthy families, the surplice sometimes has an ornamental fringe to 
it, and the stole is also embroidered ; for men it is always plain, and 
the costume of the modem English clergy is very nearly a copy of 
that of the oranti in the Catacombs, and the Apostles *, who are 
represented in the same costume. The greater part of the paintings 

■ This explanation of the sjrmbolical 
meaning of the dress of the early Chris- 
tians is given in the RaHonaU Divino- 
rum Officiorum byDurandus, who wrote 
in the twelfth century. The paintings 
in the Catacombs, however, appear 
often intended to represent only the 
black border to the dress usual in the 
costume of the period. In other cases, 
the arms appear to pass under a loose 

strip of black, corresponding to our stole, 
and this does not always descend to the 
edge of the garment. 

* The Apostles introducing the saints 
to Christ, m the mosaic pictures in the 
churches, from the sixth to the ninth 
centuries, are represented in a cos- 
tume closely resembling the surplice 
and stole. 

lo Catacotnbs, [SECT. 

now remaining in the Catacombs are of the time of Popes Hadrian, 
Leo III., and Paschal I., or of the eighth and ninth centuries. Nearly 
the whole of them were then repaired and the paintings renewed, 
but the old ideas were probably continued ; as we cannot be certain 
of this, however, they are of no authority for any earlier history. 
Among the most celebrated of the paintings in the Catacombs are 
those in S. Pontianus, on the Via Portuensis ; these are frescoes on 
plaster upon brick walls of the eighth century, these walls being part 
of the repairs of Pope Paschal. These paintings include the cele- 
brated Baptism of Christ, and the two fine heads of Christ, with the 
cross in the nimbus. Those in S. Priscilla, and SS. Nereus and 
Achilleus, belong to the restoration of Pope John I., a.d. 523. The 
drawing and many of the subjects are identical. 

The soft tufa rock has in many of the other catacombs also 
to be supported by walls, generally of brick, but sometimes with 
stone doorways ; these walls and doorways are the only bits of archi- 
tecture about the Catacombs by which we can judge of their dates. 
The earliest which are in the tomb or catacomb of the Scipios, are 
of the time of the Republic, and are dated by the mouldings of 
the arch at the original entrance, and by the sarcophagi found in 
them. The next are in the catacomb of the Jews, part of which is 
of the time of Augustus, another part of the time of Constantine, 
shewing that it continued in use for three or four centuries, and per- 
haps a longer period. Most of the tombs there bear marks of 
great poverty. The next catacombs in point of date, so far as can 
be judged by the architecture, are those of Praetextatus, and of SS. 
Nereus and Achilleus, in which there are fine doorways and cornices 
of moulded brick of the first or second century. Most of the others 
which have any architectural character at all are of the fourth century, 
of the time of Constantine, or subsequent to it. That of S. Agnes, 
which is one of the finest, is chiefly of that period. That of 
SS. Thraso and Satuminus on the Via Salaria, has brick walls of 
the sixth century at the foot of the stairs and at the end of the 
long corridor. The catacomb of S. Calixtus has been so thoroughly 
restored in modem times, that it has lost all genuine character, espe- 
cially that part which is periodically illuminated ; the other part has 
paintings of the eighth century. 

Of the inscriptions found in the Catacombs, and collected in the 
churches, cloisters, and museums, very few are earlier than the fourth 
century, and scarcely any earlier than the third. The earlier ones 
are very short and rude, evidently belonging to poor people only. 
Sometimes they are little more than scratched upon the marble, or 




on the plaster at the edges of the piece of marble, or painted on the 
tile which encloses the mouth of the grave y but the names are fre- 
quently accompanied by Christian emblems, such as the lx0i>9 or 
fish% which is the most common as representing the name and 
titles of our Lord, or the chalice, with two birds, said to be an 
emblem of souls, or the dove with the olive-branch, or a palm- 
branch. The latter is usually called the mark of a martyr. Many of 
them have the Labarum of Constantine, which shews they cannot be 
before his time, and many are much later. 

The lamps and glasses found in the Catacombs, but unfortunately 
never lefl there, have the same emblems as the inscriptions, and the 
same subjects as the paintings. Many of them are clearly of the 
fifth and sixth centuries, and very few, if any, earlier than the fourth. 
The plates to Buonaroti and to Padre Gamicci's learned work enable 
us now to compare them with other paintings in works of art of which 
the dates are ascertained. Many of the subjects engraved on the 
glasses are evidently Pagan ; the idea that they were all chalices, or 
all belonged to priests or martyrs, will not bear examination. 

Many Pagan sarcophagi have been found in the Catacombs, and 
fi'agments of them remain in many instances with Pagan sculptures 
upon them. In the Jews' catacomb, there is a Pagan sarcophagus 
perfect in one of the cubicula or family vaults. Attempts have been 
made to explain these away as having been ready-made articles, kept 
ready for use, and bought without considering the character of the 
sculpture upon them ; but such people as the Jews, so rigorous in 

• ixers, 'fish,* evinced, by the five 
letters wherewith it is composed, the 
initials of the words 'lijo-oDs Xpwrhs 
Ofov tl6i 2c0r^p, which mean Jesus 
Christ, Son of God, Saviour. Owing 
to that circumstance, the name as weU 
as the image of a fish had become, by 
a process analogous to that of the 
ancient Egyptians, a sort of phonetic 
sign appropriated to express a complete 
series of consecrated words ; but it is 
asserted that a similar representation of 
a fish (referred to a totally different 
order of ideas, it is true) was also used 
on the fiineral monuments of antiquity. 
The passages on this topic have been 
collected by Fabretti, Inscripty c viii. 
p. 569 ; by Father AUegranza, Spuga^ 
tione e RifUssioni sopra alcuni sagri 
monumtnti anHcki di Milano, 4to., 
Milano, 1737, pp. 117, 1 18; and espe- 
cially by Father Costadoni, in his dis- 
sertation entitled, Del Pesce^ Simbolo di 
Gesu Cristo, presfo gli anticki Cristiani, 

Cf. Bulldiino di Arckeologia CrisHana, 
1870, pp. 50—65. 

Other Christian symbols, which are 
of very frequent occurrence in the cata- 
comb pictures, are mentioned in the 
Apostolical Constitutions, which are 
usually referred to the third and fourth 

"Praeterea credimus resurrectionem 
fore vel ob ipsam Domini resurrec- 
tionem. Ipse enim est qui Lazarum . . . 
resuscitavit . . . Qui Jonam viventem 
eduxit de ventre ceti . . . qui tres pueros 
ex fomace Babylonia, et Danielem ex 
ore leonis, is non carebit viribus ad 
susdtandum nos quoque. . . . Qui Para- 
lyticum sanum in pedes statuit . . . et 
cseco a nativitate, quod deficiebat . . . 
reddidit, is ipse nos quoque ad vitam 
revocabit. Qui ex qumque panibus et 
duobus piscibus quinque millia virorum 
satiavit . . . et ex aqua vinum confecit 
. . . item ex morte sublatos vita; reddet." 
{Constit. Apost.j lib. v. cap. 7.) 

1 2 Catacombs, [SECT. 

the observance of their rites, were not in the least likely to be so 
careless as this as to the resting-place of their dead. It is far more 
probable, as indeed appears in many ways, that these apparent 
anomalies arose from intermarriages, and that the claims of family 
were considered stronger than those of religion in the matter of 
burial, as all differences of opinion cease in the grave. If a Jewess 
¥ras married to a Christian or to a Pagan, her family interred her in 
the family vault, and probably her husband and children also, to 
whatever religion they belonged. The family vaults, or cubicula or 
ccsmeteria^ bear evident marks of having been used by many succes- 
sive generations; and when there was no longer any place for 
more bodies either in the walls or in the floor, the painted vault 
above was broken through, and bodies were inserted there over 
the rest of the family. This is the case both in the Jewish and 
the Christian catacombs. 

In a catacomb connected with that of Praetextatus, there are 
Gnostic paintings in one part, shewing that it was a burying-place 
for that sect, or, as some say, for the worshippers of the god Mithra. 
The assumption always made by the Roman Chiu'ch that the Cata- 
combs were exclusively Christian, or that a distinction was made 
after death between the bodies of Christians and of Pagans, requires 
to be examined before it is assented to by those who seek the truth 
only, without regard to any preconceived theory or traditions. That 
some of the Catacombs were Christian is probable, because they be- 
longed to Christian families ; but it is very doubtful whether they were 
rigidly exclusive. So many Pagan inscriptions. Pagan glasses, and 
Pagan paintings have been found in them, that the idea of strict 
exclusiveness can hardly be maintained. That of S. Calixtus 
was the burial-vault of the Bishops of Rome in the third cen- 
tury, and it is therefore probable that this Catacomb was exclu- 
sively Christian. 

In the columbaria remaining in the tomb of the servants of 
Livia Augusta, or " the Officers of Caesar's Household,** a mile from 
the Porta di S. Sebastiano, on the Via Appia, five inscriptions of 
the same names as persons mentioned by S. Paul in his Epistles 
have been found, with the urns containing their ashes, so that 
if these really are the same persons, the early Christians appear 
to have sometimes had their bodies burned in the same manner 
as the Pagans '. It may have been as much a matter of fashion 

« On this interesting subject see Dr. the "Journal of Philol<^," 1857. He 
Lightfoot's " Commentary on Philip- does not say more tlum that there is 
pians," pp. 169, 176, and his article m some probability of the identity of these 

I.] Introduction. 13 

as of religion ; the custom of burying the body instead of burn- 
ing it was gradually coming in during the first and second cen- 
turies, and was pretty well established by the third. No doubt 
the Christian doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body had con- 
siderable influence in producing this change, but it did not take 
place all at once ; it was gradual. Many tombs of the first two or 
three centuries have both columbaria or places for cinerary urns, and 
other places for sarcophagi, sometimes arco-solia; in other instances, 
only platforms for the sarcophagi. Of the inscriptions found in the 
seventeenth century in the Catacombs, which are published by Bol- 
detti and others, a large proportion are Pagan, and the ingenious 
attempt to explain away this fact — the assiunption that they were 
all brought there to be engraved on the other side with the names 
of Christians — ^is extremely improbable as a general rule ; although 
it is clear that they were so engraved in some instances^ it does not 
follow that these Christian inscriptions, called palimpsests^ were 
actually engraved in the Catacombs themselves, and the probability 
is quite the other way. 

persons. Others would go further, and they are the same persons. Some ex- 
say that for the more rare names which tracts, with the inscriptions, are given 
he dtes there is great reason to believe in our Chapter on Tombs. 


According to the legends of the Roman Church, S. Peter was 
buried in the Temple of Apollo ' on the Via Aurelia, near where he 
was crucified, and near the Palace of Nero on the Vatican *. As 
many as eleven of the early bishops of Rome are stated to have 
been buried near to him. 

All these rest on the same authority, that of Damasus in the 
fourth century ; there are no earlier records extant It appears ex- 
traordinary that the early Christians should have been allowed to 
have a burial-place for their bishops under the Temple of Apollo. 
On the other hand, there appears some reason to believe that the 
catacomb of S. Generosa was allowed to be made in the sacred 
grove of the College of the Arvales at a later period ; but Signor 
de Rossi considers that this catacomb was made about fifty years 
after the college was suppressed \ 

The following are a few of the illustrious dead who are recorded 
to have been buried in the Roman Catacombs, or in the burial-vaults 
under S. Peter's : — 

S. Linus, first or second Bishop of 

Rome, A.D. 67, under Vespasian. 
S. Anacletus, fifth Bishop, A.D. 103, 

under Trajan. 
Leo L the Great, A.D.461. 
Gregory the Great, who first undertook 

the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons, 

A.D. 604. 
Gr^ory II., a.d. 731. 
Gregory III.» a.d. 741. 
Leo IX. He died a.d. 1050, and 

J[ was the last Pope buried in the 

The Emperor Valentinian, A. d. 366. 
The Emperor Honorius, a.d. 423. 
The Princess Mary, daughter of Stilicho, 

and wife of the Emperor Honorius. 
The Emperor Otho II., A.D. 983. 
Ceadwa]la,a king of the Western Saxons. 
Cenred, a king of the Mercians. 
Offa, a king of the Anglo-Saxons. 
Ina, a king of the Anglo-Saxons, with 

Queen Ethelburga, his wife. 

A large number of Christian inscriptions have been collected by the 
Commendatore de Rossi, as superintendent of the Catacombs, and ar- 
ranged in museums in the order which he thought best ; he has also 
published a part of them in his great work on Christian Inscriptions, 
of which the first volume only has appeared. Of these dated inscrip- 
tions only one is of the first century, and two are of the second. 

7 **S. Petrus ... qui sepultus est Via triumphale." (Anastasius 1.) 
Aurelia in templo Apollinis, juxta locum ■ See Via Cornelia, the Vatican, 
ubi crucifixus est, juxta palatium Nero- ■ See Via Portuensis, S. Generosa. 
nianum in Vaticano, juxta territorium 




both from loctdi in the crypt of Lucina, now part of the catacomb of 
S. Calixtus. Of the third century three more are from the same 
crypt, and three others from other parts of the catacomb of S. Ca- 
lixtus, two from that of S. Hermes \ the rest are all single, and from 
different catacombs. 

It by no means follows that the paintings are of the same age as 
the inscriptions on the tombstones; on the contrary, the greater 
part of the frescoes appear to have been executed at a much 
later period. There are some of the second or third centuries, 
but they are not Christian nor Scriptural; they are either merely 
ornamental, or they are probably Pagan, such as the Four Seasons, 
with their winged Genii, Oceanus, Orpheus, Mercury, Pegasus. 
If we may judge by comparison with the drawings of the mosaic 
pictures in S. Constantia, a.d. 320, and S. Maria Maggiore, a.d. 450, 
very little of the art is earlier than the fifth century, and the Christian 
and Scriptural subjects do not generally begin before the time of 
Constantine ; unless possibly some of the very numerous " Good 
Shepherds" may be before that time. The greater part are much 

The brickwork at the entrance of some of the early Catacombs, 
as at those of Praetextatus, SS. Nereus and Achilleus, and S. Domi- 
tilla, is of the first century, some of it of the time of Nero, before 
there were many Christians to be buried. They were family bury- 
ing-places; and if the families happened to be Christians, the per- 
sons interred would be so. But in case of inter-marriages, the claim 
of family would not be lost by a difference of religion: the Roman 
laws would not have permitted this, nor is there any reason to be- 
lieve that there was any wish for such exclusion at that period. 

The dates of the catacombs which follow are the periods at 
which they were made or restored^ ^ and the paintings generally be- 
long to the latest restorations. They are chiefly taken from the 
Pontifical Registers, sometimes called the Liber Pontificalis% from 
which Anastasius, the Pontifical librarian in the ninth century, de- 
rived his Annals. They had previously been used by S. Jerome. 

* For the early bishops, see Sect, v., 
S. Peter's at the Vatican. That cata- 
comb is now destroyed. See also 
Sect vii, church of S.Alexander on 
the Via Nomentana. In the third cen- 
tury, the bishops of Rome were interred 
in a crypt provided for that purpose on 
the Via Appia, now part of the cata- 
comb of S. Calixtus. There is reason 
to bdieve that this was one of the 

earliest of the Catacombs. 

« **The Liber Pontificalis was . . . 
formed out of documents more ancient 
than itself like the Martyrologium 
Hieronymiy and there had been at least 
three versions "or editions of it before 
the days of Anastasius," &c. (North- 
cote and Brownlow, Roma SoUerranea, 
pp. 20^ 21.) 




A.D. 174. S, Anicetus, bishop and martyr, is said to have been 
buried in the cemetery of Calixtus. (Anastas., 11.) 

A.D. 189. Bishop Soter in the same. (Id., 13.) ) 

A.D. 217. Bishop Zephyrinus was buried in his own cemetery, near 
the cemetery of S. Calixtus, on the Via Appia, on the 7th of Sep- 
tember "*. It is evident that cemetery here means his own family 
burial-vault, near to the large cemetery of the family of Calixtus, 
to which the bishop of that name, who was his immediate successor, 
belonged, and that Calixtus made another biuial-vault in this ceme- 
tery for the Bishops of Rome. (Id., 16). 

A.D. 222. The cemetery or catacomb of Calepodius is on the Via 
Aurelia, three miles from Rome % where S. Calixtus was interred ; 
but this is mentioned as a burying-place in use, not as being then 
made. It is believed to be the one near the church of S. Pancradus 
on the Janiculum. S. Calixtus also made another cemetexy on the 
Appian Road, the same that is still called by his name. 

A.D. 230. Urban was a martyr, and was buried in the cemetery 
of Praetextatus, according to the legends of the Church ', with the 
other martyrs of the same period, SS. Caecilia, Tiburtius, Valerianus, 
and Maximus. They were all beheaded, and at night their bodies 
were collected by Lucina, with the clergy and her family, and buried 
on her property, where now is the catacomb of S. Calixtus ». (Id., 17.) 

•A.D. 235. Calpumius Pontianus was buried in the cemetery of 
Calixtus by Fabianus, who had brought the bodies from Sardinia. 
(Id., 20.) 

A.D. 236. Bishop Anteros, or Anthems, was buried in the ceme- 
tery of S. Calixtus \ (Id., 19.) 

A.D. 249. Fabianus * . . . caused many buildings to be erected for 

* "Qui etiam sepultus est in coeme- 
terio suo, juxta coemeterium Calixti, 
Via Appia, vii. Kalend. Septembris." 
(Anastas., 16.) 

* ** Qui etiam sepultus est in coeme- 
terio Calepodii, Via Aurelia, miliario 
tertio, pridie idus Octobris ; et fecit aliud 
coemeterium Via Appia, ubi multi sacer- 
dotes ct martyres requiescunt, quod ap- 
pellatur us(}ue in hodiemum diem coeme- 
terium Calixti," &c (Anastas., 17.) 

' " Qui etiam sepultus est in coeme- 
terio Praetextati, Via Appia." (Id., 18.) 

» Ciaconius, Vitae, et res gestae Pon- 
tiBcum Romanorum, &c, vol. L coL 
146, A. Anastas., 18, mentions only 
Valerianus, who was betrothed to 
S. Caecilia, and many others. 

* Anast., 19, 20. Cf. Ciacon., col. 

152, A. According to the legendary 
history, Anteros was interred in this 
catacomb, with many other martyrs, 
by the hands of S. Fabianus, then a 
priest, who became his successor; his 
body was afterwards removed to the 
church of S. Sixtus (S. Sisto Vecchio), 
on the Via Appia, in a. d. 595 (?), widi 
those of several other saints and martyrs. 

* Anast, 21. Fabianus's bodv was 
translated to the church of S. Silvester 
and S. Martin by Sergius II. 

The inscriptions on the tombstones 
of Eutychianus, Anteros, Fabianus, and 
Cornelius, were found by Signor de 
Rossi, in the cubiculum of the Bishops 
of Rome, in the cemetery of Calixtus, 
and photographs of these inscriptions 
are to be had. 




cemeteries \ These were probably burial-chapels at the entrances 
of the Catacombs, of which there are many remains ; some of them 
have portions that may be ^this period. 

A.D. 352. Cornelius was buried in a crypt near to the cemetery of 
S. Calixtus. 

According to the legends, in his time, the Lady Lucina (or an en- 
lightened lady?) raised the bodies of SS. Peter and Paul at night, and 
placed that of S. Paul in her property on the Via Ostense ; but Corne- 
lius put that of S. Peter near the place where he was crucified, between 
the bodies of the bishops in the Temple of Apollo, on the Monte 
Aureo, in the Vatican Palace of Nero, on the 6th of July. (Anastasius, 
xxii. 22 ^) S. Paul suffered martyrdom by beheading ; his body was 
collected at night by the same Lady Lucina, and buried in a crypt 
on her property, near the cemetery of Calixtus on the Via Appia". 

A«D. 253. Lucius was buried in the cemetery of Calixtus. (Anastas., 
xxiii. 23.) 

A.D. 257. Stephanus, and twenty other martyrs of both sexes, and 
Cerealis, a soldier, with his wife Sallustia, are said by Ciaconius to 
have been buried with him*" in this catacomb. (Anastas., xxiv. 24. 
See sect 6.) 

A.D. 259. Sixtus II. was beheaded, and six deacons with him ; he 
was buried in the cemetery of S. Calixtus, — the deacons in that of 
Praetextatus, — ^and S. Laurence who was his archdeacon, and received 
the crown of martyrdom three days afterwards, was buried in a crypt 
in the cemetery of Cyriaca (in agKO Verano)^ in the field of Veranus. 
(Anastas., xxv. 25. See sect. 6.) 

A.D. 269. S. Dionysius or Dennis% established cemeteries, and was 
buried in that of Calixtus. 

A.D. 275. Felix made a basilica on the Via Aurelia, where he was 
buried. (Anastas., xxvii. 27.) 

A.D. 283. Eutychianus buried three hundred and forty-two martyrs 

^ " S. Fabianus . . . multas fabricas 
per ccemeteria fieri praecepit" (Anas- 
tas., xxi. 21.) 

^ This passage in Anastasins has led 
to much dispute as to the exact locality 
of the martjrrdom of the two great 
Apostles, whether it took place on the 
Vatican Hill, or on the hill called Mons 
Aureos (corrupted mXo MotUorio), which 
is a mile to the south of the Vatican. 
This hill is called the Golden Mount, 
from the golden colour of the sand on 
the surface, which is distinctly visible 
from many parts of Rome. The church 
of S. Peter in Montorio is built on the 

one site, and S. Peter in Vaticano on 
the other. 

* Whether he was beheaded on that 
site where the great church stands that 
was built to conmiem orate it, or at the 
Tre Fontane, a mile further on, is still 
an open question. The whole of this 
story reads very much like an inter- 

■ Ciaconius, Vitae et Res gestae Pon- 
tif. Rom., vol L col. 169, D. The ad- 
dition of those two names is not in 

'^ "S. Dionysius . . . coemcteria in- 
stituit." (Anastas., 26.) 




with his own hands in various places ; he was afterwards a martyr 
himself, and was buried in the. cemetery of Calixtus. (Anastas., 
xxviii. 28.) 

A.D. 290. Caius, in fleeing from the persecutions of Diocletian, 
dwelt in the cr3qpts ; he was a martyr, and was buried in the ceme- 
tery of Calixtus. (Anastas., xxiv. 2d.) 

A.D. 296. '' Marcellinus was bishop during the great persecution 
under Diocletian, in which within thirty days seventeen thousand 
Christians of both sexes were crowned with martyrdom, in the dif- 
ferent provinces of the Roman Empire. Marcellinus was called 
upon to sacrifice to the heathen gods, which he did ; but a few days 
afterwards, having repented of what he had done, he was beheaded 
by order of Diocletian, together with Claudius, Cyrinus, and Anto- 
ninus, who all suffered martyrdom for their faith in Christ. Marcel- 
linus exhorted Marcellus not to yield to the orders of Diocletian. 
After their martyrdom, their bodies were exposed as a warning to 
the Christians for thirty-six days, by his order. Afterwards Marcellus 
collected their bodies at night, with a company of priests and dea- 
cons singing hymns, and buried them in the cemetery of Priscilla, 
in an open chapel or vault {cubiculum) which he had prepared when 
penitent, and which remains to this day^* (that is, to the time of 
Damasus) j the body of Marcellinus was placed in a crypt near that 
of S. Crescentius, on the seventh of May." (Anastas., xxx. 80. See also 
sect 8.) This open chapel appears to have been one of the chapels 
at the entrance to the Catacombs, either above ground, or with 
a luminare or opening for light and air in the middle of the vault, 
of which several examples remain. 

A.D. 300. The catacomb of S. Castolus, the chamberlain of Dio- 
cletian. This had been forgotten, but was found again in 1864, 
and an account of it is given by Signor de Rossi in his Buiietiino di 
Archeologia Cristiana for February, 1865. It is situated on the 
Via Labicana, about a mile firom Rome, near the railroad and the 
Claudian aqueduct*^. There was at the entrance of it a church 

p "Marcellus coUegit noctu corpora 
[Martvrum ?] . . . et sepdivit, Via Sa- 
laria, in coemeterio Priscillse, in cubiculo 
daro, quod patet usque in hodiemum 
diem." Cuhtculo claro may mean only 
lighted "per luminare cryptse/' as that 
through which S. Candida was thrown 
and pelted with stones. See the acts 
of SS. Marcellinus and Petrus, ap. Bol- 
land, June 2, n. 10, p. 173. 

This catacomb is situated under the 
vineyard belonging to the Irish monks 

of S. Clement Some eariy tombstones 
were found in it in 1863, and were en- 
graved by Signor de Rossi in his Bui' 
leUino for February, 1864. 

4 It is thus mentioned in the valuable 
topographical tract De locis Sanctis Mar- 
tyrunty qua sunt forts Cwitaiem Ronut: 
— " Juxta Viam vero Praenestinam, juxta 
aquseductum, ecdesia est sancti Strato- 
nid, episcopi et martyris, et sancti Cas- 
toli, quorum corpora longe sub terra 
sunt sepulta." 




or burial-chapel, dedicated to S. Stratonicus, bishop and martyr, and 
S. Castolus. 

A.D. 309. '^ Marcellus asked permission of a certain matron named 
Priscilla, and made cemeteries [in her property] on the Via Salaria. 
After his martyrdom, his body was obtained by the blessed Lucina, 
and buried in the cemetery of Priscilla.*' (Anastas., xxxi. 31.) From 
this it appears that the Bishop Marcellus prepared certain burial- 
vaults in the cemetery of the family of Priscilla, for the bodies of 
the Christian martyrs in the great persecution then going on, and 
was soon afterwards himself interred in one of them. 

A.D. 309. Eusebius was buried in S. Peter's, according to some 
authorities, and in the church of S. Sebastian, according to others ; 
but in a crypt in the cemetery of S. CaHxtus, according to Anas- 
tasius (xxxii. 32). 

A.D. 314. Melchiades was buried in a crypt in the cemetery of 
Calixtus, on the Via Appia. (Anastas., xxxiii. 33.) 

A.D. 330. Silvester was buried in the catacomb of S. Priscilla on 
the Via Salaria, at the third mile from the city. (Anastas., xxxiv. 48.) 
In his time, we are told by Anastasius that Constantine made a 
church to S. Laurentius in the field of Veranus, over the sand- 
pit crypt '. 

A.D. 337. Marcus made two churches, one on the Via Ardeatina, 
where his body rests, the other in the city of Rome, near the capitol. 
At his suggestion Constantine gave to the church, which he had 
made in a cemetery on the Via Ardeatina, a rose farm with all the 
fields belonging to it, besides forty pounds in money. He was 
buried in the cemetery of S. Balbina, under the church which he had 
built*. (Anastas., xxxv. 49.) 

A.D. 337 — 348. Julius I. . . . made two churches, one in the City 
near the Forum, the other on the Via Flaminia; he made three 
cemeteries, one on the Via Flaminia, another on the Via Aurelia, 
and another also on the Via Portuensis. (Sect. $.) He was buried 
himself on the Via Aurelia, in the cemetery of Calepodius *. 

A.D. 352. Liberius resided for some time in the catacomb of 
S. Agnes, which he adorned with marble plates. He was recalled 

' "Eodem tempore Constantinus 
Augustus fecit basilicam beato Lau- 
rentio martyri. Via Tiburtina in agrum 
Veranum supra Arenarium cryptsCi et 
usque ad corpus B. Laurentii.Martyris, 
in qua fecit gradum ascensionis et de- 
scensionis." (Anastas., xxxiv. 43.) 

" " S. Marcus . . . sepultus est in coe* 
meterio Balbinae, Via Ardeatina.'' This 
cemetery was probably afterwards called 

by the name of S. Marcus himself, and 
was restored under that name in 705 
and 855. (See sect. 7. ) 

* **(§. Julius) fecit autem et coemete- 
ria tria, unum Via Flaminia, et aliud 
Via Aurelia, atque aliud Via Portuensi. 
. . . Qui etiam sepultus est Via Aurelia, 
in coemeterio Calepodii," &c. (Anastas., 
xxxvi. 60.) 

C 2 

20 Catacombs. [SECT. 

to the city by the Emperor Constantius, at the instigation of the 
Princess Constantia, who was a Christian. He was buried in the 
catacomb of Priscilla. (Anastas., xxxvii. 51.) 

A.D. 355. Felix II. is said to have received martyrdom under the 
Emperor Constantius, and to have been buried in the catacomb on 
the Via Aurelia (Anastas., xxxviii. 63) ; but the dates do not agree, 
notwithstanding that there is an inscription to that effect in the 
church of SS. Cosmas and Damian near the Forum Romanum, to 
which his relics were translated in 1582". There was no persecu- 
tion of the Christians under Constantius II., in the time of Felix 11., 
A.D. 355 — 366 ; and Felix I. died a.d. 275, before the time of Con- 
stantius I.y A.D. 305. 

A.D. 366. Bishop Damasus made two basilicas, one near the 
theatre of Pompey, dedicated to S. Laurentius, the other on the 
Via Ardeatina, where he is buried in the Catacombs. He also 
built the platonia (at S. Sebastian's), where the bodies of the 
Apostles were laid, that is, of S. Peter and S. Paul, which he 
adorned with verses. He sought out the bodies of many martyrs, 
and decorated their vaults with verses. He was buried near his 
mother and sister, in a catacomb on the Via Ardeatina, called after 
him Damasi; he wrote a number of Latin verse inscriptions relating 
to the saints and martyrs buried in the Catacombs, and had them 
incised in a very elegant manner on marble plates % many of which 
are extant. (Anastas., xxxix. 54.) 

A.D. 397. Siricius was buried in the catacomb of Priscilla. (Anas- 
tas., xL 55.) 

In the fifth century, the Popes were buried in different places, 
in the churches they had built, or in the catacomb of the Vatican 
under S. Peter's. This latter custom became general in the sixth 
century, for those Popes who died at Rome, or whose bodies were 
brought there. 

A.D. 401. Anastasius I. was buried in his own cemetery, ad Ursum 
pUeatum, (Anastas., xli. 56. See Sect 5.) 

A.D. 417. InnocentiusL, alsoa//£^j»m/i/4f<{/lr/m. (Anastas.,xlii.68.) 

A.D. 418. Zosimus, near the body of S. Laurence on the Via 
Tiburtina. (Anastas., xliii. 59.) 

A.D. 419. S. Boniface made an oratory in the catacomb of S. Feli- 
citas, and ornamented the sepulchre ^ of SS. Felicitas and Livanius, 
on the Via Salaria, and was buried there near the body of the saint 

* CORPVS s. FELicis . PAPAE . ET . 1^ *' Hic (S. Bonifadus) fecit oratO' 
MARTYRis . QVi • DAMNAVIT . CON- rium in coemeterio S. Felicitatis, joxta 
STANTIVM. corpus cjos, ct ornavit sepulcnim, &c, 

* ^'Inplatoniamscripsit nomina." (Anastas., xli v. 6L) 




(Anastas.^ xliv. 61. See sect 8.) This wais adorned with a mosaic 
picture, of which a drawing is preserved in the Vatican library. 

A.D. 432. Coelestinus was buried in the cemetery of Priscilla, 
Via Salaria. (Anastas., xlv. 62.) 

A«D. 432 — 440. Sixtus IILy hearing that the Emperor Valentinian 
and his mother Placida were furious against Bassus, and had con- 
demned him to exile, where he had died, embalmed the body with 
aromatic herbs, and wrapped it in linen with his own hands, and 
brought it to S. Peter's, where he interred it in the burial-vault of 
his family. He also made z.pkUonia (that is, a chapel with the walls 
lined with marble plates) in the catacomb of Calixtus, on the Via 
Appia, where he wrote the names of the bishops and martyrs, to 
commemorate them ". He was buried near the body of S. Laurentius 
in the crypt on the Via Tiburtina. (Anastas., xlvi. 66. See sect. 6.) 

A.D. 440 — 461. S. Leo made the church (f) or cha^l (?) (pasilicam) 
of S. Cornelius, near the cemetery of Calixtus % (see sect. 7,) and 
was buried at S. Peter's. 

A.D. 461 — 467. Hilarius was interred in a crypt near the body of 
the blessed Bishop Sixtus at S. Lorenzo (that is, in the cemetery of 
S. Cjniaca'*). 

A.D. 482. Simplicius was buried in the church of S. Peter '. 

A-D. 498. Felix III. was buried in the church of S. Paul "*. 

A.D. 498. S. Symmachus restored (or put into better order) the 
cemetery of the Jordani near the body of S.Alexander', on the 
Via Salaria. (Sect 8.) 

A.D. 523. John I. made the cemetery of the blessed martyrs 
Nereus and Achilleus on the Via Ardeatina . . . and renewed the 
cemetery of S. Felix and Adauctus, or Commodilla or Domitilla (?), 
on the Via Ostiensis, and of Priscilla, on the Via Salaria'. (Sect 9.) 

A.D. 536 — 538. Silverius. In his time, during the siege of Rome, 
(which was defended by Belisarius, called also by Anastasius, Vili- 

■ "Hie (Sixtus III.) fecit platoniam 
in ccemeterio Calixti, Via Appia, ubi 
nomina Episcoponun et Martyrum scrip- 
sit commemorans. " (Anastas., xlvi. 66.) 

* " (S. Leo) fecit autem et basilicam 
B. Comdio episcopo et martyri juxta 
coem. Calixti, Via Appia." (Anastas., 
xlviL 67.) 

^ " Qui etiam sepultus est ad sanctum 
Laurentinm in crypta juxta corpus beaii 
tpisccpi ^vxUx.'*^ (Anastas., xlviii. 71.) 

« " Hie sepultus est in basilica beati 
Petri apostoli." (Anastas., xlix. 72.) 

' *' Hie sepultus est in btuilica beati 
Panli apostofi." (Anastas., L 78.) 

* '' Hie (S. Symmachus) fecit coeme- 
terium Jordanorum in melius prope 
corpus S. Alexandri." (Anastas., liii. 
81. ) This was renewed in 773. 

' "Hie papa Joannes fecit coeme- 
terium B. M. Nerei et Aehillei Via Ar- 
deatina. Item renovavit coemeterium 
Felids et Adaucti . . . et Prisciilse, Via 
Salaria." (Anastas., Iv. 89.) 

Each cubicu/um was a separate burial- 
place for a martyr, and as many atbicula 
are connected together by corridors, the 
general name ^ven to the whole varies 
extremely ; it is sometimes caUed after 
one martyr, sometimes another. 

22 Catacombs. [SEcri 

sarius the patrician,) the Goths, in their fury, are described as having 
exterminated the churches, and the bodies of the holy martyrs «. 

A.D. 538. Vigilius repaired the Catacombs after they had been 
damaged by the Goths in their second siege of Rome, and restored 
some of the inscriptions of Damasus ^. 

A.D. 560 — 573. John III. is said by Anastasius and in the Mar- 
tjnrology to have taken refuge in the catacomb of Tiburtius and 
Valerianus, now called of Praetextatus, for several months, during 
the siege of Rome by the Goths ; and to have celebrated Divine 
service there on Sundays. He loved and restored the cemeteries 
(or catacombs) of the holy martyrs, and ordered that oblations, 
i.e. the bread and wine for the Eucharist, cruets and candles (for 
the holy Sacrifice), should be supplied from the Lateran Palace 
throughout them every Sunday; also that they should be lighted 
up during Lent (Anastas., Ixiii. 110.) 

A.D. 577. Pelagius II. made the cemetery of the blessed Hermes 
on the Via Salaria Vetus. (Anastas., Ixv. 112.) 

A.D. 590. Gregory the Great made Lent stations in the Catacombs. 

A.D. 619. Boniface V. completed and dedicated the catacomb of 
S. Nicomedes at the seventh mile on the Via Ardeatina. (Anastas. , 
Ixxi. 118.) 

A.D. 626. Honorius I. renewed the cemetery of the blessed mar- 
t)rrs Marcellinus and Peter on the Via Lavicana *. (See sect. 7.) 

A.D. 642 — 649. Theodoras. In his time the bodies of the holy 
mart)nrs, Primius and Felicianus, were taken up from the sand-pit on 
the Via Nomentana, in which they had been buried, and taken out 
to the city of Rome, and there re-interred in the church of S. Stephen 
the Proto-martyr\ 

s "Nam ecclesise et corpora sancto- in the Lateran Palace, 

rum martyrum exterminatae sunt a Go- It appears from this, and from other 

this." (Anastas., Ix. 89.) inscriptions and passages relating to the 

^ "DumperituraGetseposuissentcas- Catacombs, that the damage done to 

tra sub urbem, them by the Goths was speedily re- 

Moverunt Sanctis bella ne£uida prius, paired, and they continued to be used 

Totaque sacrilego verterunt corde se- as places of interment for some time 

pulchra, afterwards. As places of pilgrimage, 

Martyribus quondam rite sacrata piis. they were even more resorted to ; the 

Quos, monstrante Deo, Damasus sibi &shion went on increasing for two or 

Papa probatos, three centTiries, and has always conti- 

Affixo monuit earmint jure coli ; nued after intervals. It has been very 

Sed periit tittUus confracto marmore much revived between 1830 and the 

sanctuSy present time, and the paintings in S. 

Nee tamen his iterum posse latere fiiit. Calixtus have again been restored or 

Diruta Vigilius nam posthaec Papa renewed for the modem pilgrims. 

gemiscens, i "(Honorius I.) renovavit et coeme- 

Hostibusexpulsis<wi»?«<wflz^i^<5^," terium B. M. Marcellini et Petri, Via 

This inscription is now in the gallery Lavicana." (Anastas., Ixxii. 120.) 

of the Museum of Christian Antiquities ^ "Feliciani, quae erant in arenario 

II.] Chronology, 23 

A.D. 687. Seigius I.) '^ during the time of his priesthood, was ac- 
customed diligently to celebrate mass through the different ceme- 
teries." (Anastas., Ixxxvi. 158.) 

A.D. 705. John VII. worked on the cemeteries of Marcellinus and 
Marcus (on the Via Ardeatina), and on that of the holy pontiff 
Damasusl (See sect 7.) 

A.D. 731 — 741. Gregory III. restored the catacombs of S. Urba- 
nus, Maximus, Petronilla, on the Via Appia and Ardeatina. (Anas- 
tas., xdi. 202.) He also established a body of priests to celebrate 
masses every week, and on the nativities and festivals, and other 
vigils in the cemeteries. (Anastas., -sjciL 204.) 

A.D. 752. Stephen II. restored the roof of the cemetery (chapel) 
of S. Soter, on the Via Appia, which had fallen in ". (See sect. 7.) 

A.D. 757 — 768. Paul I. " complained loudly of the damage done 
by the ' impious Lombards,' and removed many of the relics of the 
martyrs into Rome for security. He deposited them in the church 
which he had built in honour of S. Stephen and S. Sylvester (S. Sil- 
vester in Capite Via Lata), on the site of his father's house, which 
had descended to him by inheritance.'' (Anastas., xcv. 260.) 

A.D. 772 — 795. Hadrian I. renewed the cemetery of SS. Peter and 
Marcellinus, on the Via Lavicana, near the church of S. Helena, as 
well as the coverings ** over S. Tiburtius, S. Peter, and S. Marcelli- 
nus, and made new steps to descend to their most holy bodies, to 
which DO one could descend before. (Anastas., xcvii. 326.) 

Hadrian also renewed the basilica of S. Sophia, with the ceme- 
tery of Tertullian outside the Porta Latina, . . . together with the 
cemeteries of S. Urban the Pope (see a.d. 233), of Felix and of 
Agapetus, and of Januarius and Cyrinus the martyrs, outside the 
Porta Appia, . . . and restored that of S. Cyriaca ; . . . also the church 
of the Apostles outside of the Porta Appia, at the third mile, in the 
place which is called the Catacombs, where the body of the blessed 
S. Sebasdan rests with others, which was in ruins \ he restored afresh 
. . . the cemetery chapels of S. Hermes, S. Prothus, and S. Hyacinth, 
on the Via Salaria. 

A.D. 772 — 795. The cemetery of S. Felicitas on the Via Salaria. 

The cemeteries of S. Chiysantus, S. Dana, and S. Hilary, 

on the Via Salaria. 

The cemeteries of the Jordanes, that is of the saints and 

sqynlta. Via Numentana." (Anastas., gumen coem. S. Sotheris, quod ceci- 

Ixxv. 128.) derat." (Anastas., xciv. 236.) 

* "Joannes VII. laboravit in ccem. " This probably means, renewed the 

Marceilini et Marci et S. Pontificis paintings on the vaults over the bodies 

Damasi." (Anastas., Uxxviii. 167.) in the cubicula, 

■ "(Stephanus II.) restauravit et te- 



[sect. II. 

martyrs Alexander, Vitalis, and Martial, &:c., and of the seven holy 
Virgins (see a.d. 498), on the Via Salaria. 

A.D. 772 — 795. The cemetery of S. Silvester, on the Via Salaria. 

The chapel of S. Abdon and S. Sennen, on the Via Por- 

tuensis, . . . and of the blessed martyr Candida, along with the ceme- 
teries of other saints, he renewed in like manner. 

The cemeteries of the blessed martyr Hippolytus, near 

S. Laurence, on the Via Tiburtina. (Anastas., xlvii. 350.) 

A.D. 795. Leo III. restored the cemeteries of S. Sixtus and 
S. Cornelius on the Via Appia, and of S. Zoticus on the Via Labi* 
cana. (Anastas., xcviii. 361.) 

A.D. 817. Paschal I. translated the relics of 2,300 bodies to the 
church of S. Prassede, which he had built ". (Anastas., c. 435.) 

A.D. 844. Sergius II. translated a large number of relics to the 
churches of S. Sylvester and S. Martin, in the Thermae of Titus. 
(Anastas., civ. 491.) 

A.D. 845. Leo IV. translated a number of relics to the church of 
the Santi Quattro Coronati. (Anastas., cv. 517.) 

A.D. 857. Benedict III. restored the cemetery of S. Marcus outside 
the Appian gate. (Anastas., cvL 572.) 

A.D. 858 — 867. Nicholas I. is said to have restored the catacombs 
of Priscilla, Basilla, and Satuminus, and the celebration of mass 
in the Catacombs ; he also repaired the catacombs of Felix, Ponti- 
anus, and Sebastian. (Anastas., cvii. 601.) 

A.D. 12 1 7 — 1229. The pilgrimages to the tombs of the martyrs in 
the Catacombs were renewed under Honorius III. The same active 
Pope buried the body of Maria, the mother of the King of Aragon, 
in the sepulchre (catacomb?) of Petronilla, which is said in the 
history of the Councils to be in the Vatican ; but this may be an 
error arising from the writer not knowing the locality. 

® A laige crypt was built to receive 
these bodies under the apse of the church 
which this Pope was then building. 
The entrance to this crypt was through 
the confessio under the altar. The pas- 
sage is divided into two parts, right and 
left, and there is an altar at the point of 
junction. This altar is richly decorated 
with mosaic patterns, and there is a pic- 
ture over it of three figures, the Ma- 
donna between S. Prassede and her 
sbter S. Pudentiana. Each division leads 
to a doorway into the great crypt be- 
hind, now closed. These corridors are 
lined with tombstones from the Cata- 
combs^ several of which have the in- 

scriptions visible, and one of these is 
of tne sixth century ; others have them 
turned inwards and not visible. There 
are several other crypts built to receive 
the bodies at this period under different 
churches, as at the Santi Quattro Coro- 
nati, where they have half of an in- 
scription belonging to them, the other 
half of which is in .another church, some 
of the relics of the martyrs having been 
divided. In another crypt, under the 
dioir of S. Maria in Cosmedin, there are 
a number of niches to receive the reli- 
quaiv chests, much resembling the co* 
iumaaria for dneiaty urns. 


The history of the early martyrs in Rome has long been a mattei 
of controversy, and will probably long continue to be so. The plan 
of this work is to avoid controversy as much as possible, and to 
confine it strictly to archaeology, or the truth of history in detail. 
The legends of the Roman branch of the Catholic Church are not 
received as being necessarily true and the whole truth, but like other 
authorities of history to be weighed, and the date of the documents 
or of the writers to be always considered. When existing remains 
are examined by archaeological rules, and are found to agree with 
the legends of the Church, the two combining may be considered as 
amounting to history. This appears to be the case with regard to 
the church of S. Pudentiana, but for the martyrdoms of S. Peter and 
S. Paul there can be no archaeological evidence. There are no re- 
mains of buildings of the first century known, either in the Vatican, 
at S. Peter's or at S. Paul's, on the Via Ostiensis, or at the Tre 
Fontane. There are no cotemporary witnesses, but the authors 
of the fourth century mention them as received facts in their time. 
Lactantius especially mentions them as an ordinary matter of his- 
tory that no one thinks of disputing'. 

That during the rime of persecution the bishops performed the 
divine offices in the Catacombs is not only recorded ; but many of 
the chapels fitted up for that purpose remain, especially one in the 
catacomb of S. PrisdUa, where the altar or stone coffin of a martyr re- 
mains, with a small platform behind it for the priest or bishop to stand 
and officiate iwer itj according to the practice of the early Church. We 
are told that Xystus or Sixtus II., bishop in a.d. 259, with Quartus, 
one of his clergy, were beheaded in a catacomb ; and Stephen I., 
A.D. 257, having been found in the act of performing divine service, 
was allowed to complete it, and then beheaded in his chair. This was 
long considered to be in the catacomb of Cyriaca, on the Via Tibur- 
tina, which adjoins the public cemetery of S. Lorenzo, where an altar 

' " Cumque jam Nero imperaret, Pe- 
trus Romam advenit; et editis qui- 
bnsdam miraculis, quse virtute ipsius 
Dei, data sibi ab eo potestate, fiiciebat, 
convertit multos ad justitiam, Deoque 
templnm fidde ac stabile collocavit 
Qua re ad Neronem delata, cum ani- 
madverteret non modo Romse, sed ubi- 
que quotidie magnam multitudinem 

deiicere a cultu idolorum et ad religi- 
onem novam, damnata vetustate, trans- 
ire : ut erat execrabilis ac nocens tyran- 
nus, prosilivit ad excidendum cceleste 
templum, delendamque justitiam, et 
primus omnium persecutus Dei servos 
Petrum cruci affixit, et Paulum inter- 
fecit." (Firm. LactantU Liber de Mor- 
tibus Fersecutorum, c. iL) 

26 Catacombs. [sect. 

was afterwards erected to his memory; but De Rossi (voL ii. c 14) 
considers it to have taken place in the catacomb of S. Calixtus. 
In the life of Stephen I. there are several legends of his seclusion 
in the Catacombs. 

Although during the time of persecution the Christians were much 
worried and annoyed at the instigation of the Pagan priests, and 
many were even put to death, still there were long intervab of com- 
parative peace, when they were no more molested than other citizens. 
The good emperors did not always )deld to the influence of the Pagan 
priests, and although these were always hostile, partly from real belief 
in their own religion, and still more from the fear of losmg their 
revenues which depended mainly on the offerings made to the idols, 
the people did not always support their idolatrous views. Perfect 
toleration of all religions had been one of the principal causes of the 
rapid rise and great extent of the Roman power, and it was only when 
the Roman people became intolerant under the influence of their 
priests, that their power fell almost as rapidly as it had risen. 

These persecutions were however not generally of long dura- 
tion. At other times, the Christians lived as other citizens; and if 
they could conceal themselves until the storm of persecution had 
blown over, they were safe, at least until the next persecution took 
place. The bishops being naturally the first persons selected for per- 
secution, it was a great object to secrete them for a short time, and 
for this purpose the Catacombs were admirably adapted : their intri- 
cate winding passages were known only to iht fossares^ who were 
generally Christians ; and as there were frequently several entrances, 
the bishop might escape by one while the enemy were seeking him 
by another. But the Catacombs were never intended, nor fit for 
dwelling-places, and the stories of persons living in them for months 
are probably fabulous. According to modem physicians, it is im- 
possible to live many days in the caves of pozzolana in which many 
of the catacombs are excavated. 

We read in the life of Alexander Severus, by Lampridius % that 
"he put up in his private chapel statues to Christ and Abraham, as 
weU as to Orpheus and Apollonius of Thyana." This does not agree 
with the story of his persecution of the Christians and Jews. He 
could not have selected Christ and Abraham as among the chief 
heroes, and at the same time have persecuted their followers. 

■'*... Matutinis horis in larario suo, ham, et Orpheum, et hujusce modi deos 

in quo et Divos principes, sed optimos habebat ac majonim emgies, rem divi* 

electos et animas sanctiores, in queis nam faciebat" (Lampridius in Alex« 

et ApoUonium, et quantum scriptor andro Severo, c. 28.) 
suorum temporum didt, Christum, Abra- 

III.] The Martyrs. 27 

"The same emperor proposed to bave Christ received among the gods of the 
Roman people, and to build a temple to Him as Hadrian had prwiausly proposed^ 
who had also ordered temples wUhtmt images to be built in all the cities^ whidi, be- 
cause they had no other name, axe now [iLD. 222 — ^235] called after Hadrian, who 
had ordered them to be built ; but he was forbidden to do this by the priests, 
because if he did so all would become Christians, and the temples would be 

From this it is evident that Hadrian had caused many temples 
without idols to be erected, which he intended for Christian worship, 
^nd this at the beginning of the second century ; moreover that these 
temples were still in existence in the third century, in the time of 
Alexander Severus, who wished to go a step further, and openly build 
temples dedicated to Christ 

In another passage in the life of the same emperor, we are told 
that the great Christian maxim, ^' Do unto others as you would they 
should do unto you," delighted this good emperor extremely, and he 
ordered it to be inscribed on his palace, and on his public works "*. 
This, again, is not consHstent with his persecuting those who hold 
this maxim as one of the great truths of their religion. 

On the other hand, among the Epistles of S. Cyprian, written 
between a.d. 248 and 258, during the seventh persecution, are seve- 
ral letters addressed by him to the martyrs when in prison, and 
condemned to hard labour on the roads. One is addressed' to 
" Nemesianus, Felix, Lucius, another Felix, Polianus, Victor, Jader, 
Pelian, co-episcopus^ and the other priests and deacons and brothers, 
condemned to hard labour in the mines and quarries. He entreats 
them to have courage and perseverance and charity." Other letters 
are the replies of the prisoners, who were afterwards martyrs, to 
Cyprian, then in exile. The Lucius here mentioned was not the 
Pope, but an African bishop of the same name. One of these is the 
reply of " Felix, Jader, Pelian, with the priests and all others, dwell- 

* "Christo templum &cere voluit, haec omnia transiret dignitas hominis, 
eumque inter deos recipere ; quod et aut gravissimis contumeliis, cum diceret, 
Hadrianus cogitasse fertur, qui templa Visne hoc in agro tuo fieri quod alteri 
in onmibus civitatibus sine simulacris facist Clamabatque ssepius, quod a 
)usserat fierL Quae hodie iddrco, quia quibusdam sive Tudseis sive Christianis 
non habent nomina, dicuntur Hadriani, audierat, et tenebat : idque per praeco- 
quse ille ad hoc paiasse dicebatur ; sed nem, cum aliquem emendaret, did ju- 
prohibitus est ab his qui consulentes bebat, Quod Ubi fieri non vis alteri ne 
sacra, repererant omnes Christianos fu- feceris. Quam sententiam usque adeo 
turos, si id primum fedsset, et templa dilexit, ut et in palatio et in publids 
reliqua deserenda." (Lampridius in operibus prsescribi juberet." (Lampri- 
Alexandro Severo, c. 42. ) dius in Alexandro Severo, c 5^* ) 

• "Si quis de via in alicujus posses- « Cyprian, epist Ixxvii. ad Nemesia- 
sionem deflexisset, pro qualitate loci, aut num et caeteros martyres in metallo con- 
tustibus subjidebatur in conspectu ejus, stitutos. 

aut viigis, aut condemnation! : aut si 




ing with them in the mine^ that is, of Sigus J ;" but it is clear that 
these martyrs were not at work an3nvhere near Rome. Sigus is 
a town in Numidia, in Africa, and it is more probable that Cyprian 
in exile wrote to his own personal friends in his diocese, then in 
prison, and perhaps afterwards condemned to death. There is a 
figure of S. Cyprian, with those of other martyrs, in the Roman Cata- 
combs ; but these figures are of the eighth and ninth centuries, and 
are no evidence of events of the second and third. S. Cyprian also 
mentions Felix as one who had worked next to him in chains, under 
Diennius; but there is nothing to indicate that this was in Rome 
or anywhere near to it Gallus and Gallienus were then emperors. 

S. Augustine, in his celebrated treatise on the City of God, written 
about A.D. 400, says, " Whoever heard any of the faithful, when the 
priest was standing at the altar even over the body of a martyr, 
erected for the honour and glory of God, say in his prayers, I offer 
sacrifice unto thee, Peter, or Paul, or Cyprian, when he offered, in his 
memory^ to God, who made them men and martyrs ? Whoever, there- 
fore, offers obsequies in the places of the martyrdoms, and orna- 
ments them, does so in their memory^ not as sacred things or sacri- 
fices as to gods "." 

TertuUian*, in his Apologies, written about a.d. 220, mentions the 
collecting of alms, and distributing them for various purposes, placing 
first for the purpose of sepulture, then attending to the sick, to 
orphans, and to old people, assisting the needy, and those confined 
for the faith in prison, in mines, or in islands. ^ "^ 

" S. Ambrose ^ speaks of the martyrs Gervasius and Protasius in this way. He 
says that he had intended to be buried there (under the altar) himself, because it 
seemed to him fitting that the priest should rest where he was wont to offer Holy 
Sacrifice whilst alive, but that he yields the place to the martyrs to whom it is 
due, for that those triumphant victims ought to be where Christ is the victim {ubi 
Christus hosHa ett). Only He who died for all lies upon the altar, they who were 
redeemed by His passion under it ^ In which last words he seems to indicate 
a reference to the language of the Book of the Apocalypse, vi. 9^11 [I saw under 
the altar the souls of those that were slain for the Word of God and for the tesii* 
mony which they held.] 

*'That which S. Ambrose testifies about Milan, Prudentius testifies about 

T « Cypriano charissimo et dilectis- 
simo, Felix, Jader, Polianus, una cum 
presbyteris et omnibus nobiscum com- 
morantibus apud Metallum Siguense 
rotemam in Domino salutem.'' (S. Cy- 
priani Epist. 80.) 

* "Qusecumque igitur adhibentur re- 
ligiosorum obsequia in Martyrum lods, 
omamenta sunt memoriarum, non sacra 

vel sacrificia mortuorum tanquam deo- 
rum. Quicumque etiam epulas suas eo 
deferunt, quod ouidem a Christianis 
melioribus non ht," &c. (S. Aug. de 
Civit Dei, lib, viii. c 27. ) 

• TertuUiani Apologeticus, c. 39. 

*» Ambrosii epist. xxii. 13 ; edit. Bene- 
dict., vol. ii. fol. 877. 

« Northcote, p. 401. 

III.] The Martyrs, 29 

Spain'; of the sepulchres of S. Eolalia at Barcelona, and of S. Vincent at 
Valenzsr: also of S. Hippolytus in Rome. S.Jerome* also about the tombs of 
S. Peter and S. Paul in the same city ; and he appeals at the same time to the 
practice of all the bishops throughout the world. 

" We must not suppose, however, that the altar was always immediatdy over 
the grave, though doubtless this was the more usual practice. Prudentius speaks 
as though, in the case of S. Hippolytus, the altar was only near his tomb'; and 
both Bosio and Boldetti seem to have found instances in which the altar was placed 
in the middle of the chamber, not on a tomb in the walls, just as it was at one 
period in the Papal crypt Neither were the mensa (slabs) of these altar-tombs 
always fixed and immovable. On the contrary, in three or four instances they have 
been found with massive bronze rings inserted in them, by which they could be 
lifted off and a sight of the martyr's relics obtained '. S. Martin of Tours is said to 
have been the first saint, not a martyr, whose tomb became an altar \ When altars 
were multiplied in churches, it became a rule universally observed, that the altar 
must contain some relics, and there stiU remain many indications of the ancient 
practice in the prayers and ceremonies of the Liturgy (of the Roman Catholic 

The acts of the martyrs, collected and published in the great 
work of the Bollandists, contain many particulars respecting the 
persecutions of the early Christians ; and although these acts cannot 
be traced to any early period, and are probably much interpolated, 
they have in all probability a basis of truth and certain particulars 
of real history not to be found elsewhere. They cannot be received 
as authority on any doubtful point, for few of them can be traced 
further back than the eighth or ninth century; but, like all other 
traditions, they should rather be sifted and examined than sum- 
marily rejected. When the stories related agree with others more 
authentic, and we know from other sources that a persecution of the 
Christians was going on at the time mentioned, and if the facts re- 
lated agree with the traditions indicated, we may receive them as 
probably true, and they add much to the dry outlines of history 
which they clothe with living interest The frequent mention of 
a place of public execution in front of the Temple of Mars, between 
the Via Appia and the Via Latina, may be received as proof that 
there was such a place of public execution in that locality. 

Many of the early bishops of Rome were martyrs, and in a time 
of persecution it was natural that the bishop would be the first per- 
son selected for an example, in the endeavour to frighten his flock^ 
and make the timid abjure their faith ; we know that it was by the 

* Prudentii Peristeph. hymni iii., Hippolyt. v. 170.) 

V. 191 ; iv., V. 7. t De Rossi, Roma Sotterranea, vol. i. 

• Hicronym. adv. Vigilant. pp. 169, 28$. 

' '* Propter ubi apposUa est ara dicata ^ Greppo, Dissertations sur THistoire 

Deo.*' du Culte des Rcliques, p. 16. 

(Prudentii Peristeph. hymn, xi., S. 

30 Catacombs. [SECT. 

blood of the martyrs that the Church was strengthened ; but if the 
crown of martyrdom had been bestowed on so many thousands, as is 
stated in the later legends of a credulous age, it would have ceased to 
be any distinction, and we should not read of persons being anxious 
to obtain the honour of interment near the relics of a martyr, if these 
relics existed by thousands. At one period the credulous Romans 
were taught to believe that aU the persons buried in the Catacombs 
were saints or martyrs, as we see by inscriptions in the chiu"ches ; 
they are still taught that all were Christians; but the number of 
Pagan sarcophagi and Pagan inscriptions found in the Catacombs 
to the present day are not consistent with this theory, and have to 
be explained away. The Pontifical authorities will not now admit 
either that any Pagans were ever interred in the Catacombs, or that 
they were ever used for interment after a.d, 410*; in both these 
points they go too far. They assert, without hesitation, that all the 
Pagan inscriptions found in the Catacombs were merely brought 
there as old marble, to be used again as palimpsests. This opinion 
seems to be grounded on a few instances only \ but there are many 
other Pagan inscriptions now lying in the Catacombs, with the 
mortar or cement on the edges of them for fastening them against 
the wall. In some instances the back of the slab is left rough, and 
there is no trace of any intention to clean it, and cut them to fit 
the loculiy a process not likely to have been carried on in the 
Catacombs; they appear, indeed, to have been left there neg- 
lected. The evidence of Boldetti, who was himself the keeper of 
the Catacombs, of the number of Pagan inscriptions found in his 
time, seems conclusive on this point, although he himself followed 
the traditions of his office, that the Catacombs were exclusively 
Christian, as the present authorities do. Padre Marchi, in his valu- 
able work, records a number of Pagan inscriptions found by him, and 
in his Plans shews the spots where they were found. The draw- 
ings in one cubiciUum of the great catacomb of Praetextatus are 
distinctly Pagan, and not Christian J. The public have long been 
rigidly excluded from that part of this great catacomb by the Pon- 
tifical authorities. 

That the Catacombs were occasiof tally used for interment long after 
the- fifth century appears in many ways. Among the inscriptions now 
arranged in museums, in the corridors, in the cloisters, or in the 
porches of churches in Rome, originally brought from the Catacombs, 

* Such at least is Dr. Northcote's in- Brownlow, ch. iv. p. 104. ) 
terpretation of Signer De Rossi's views. J See Plates XIII. and XIV. 
{Roma SotUrranea^ by Northcote and 

m.] Translation of Relics. 31 

are many of a later date than the fifUi century, and of the lai^e 
number of glass vessels and lamps also, many belong to a later period. 
Father Garrucci, one of the most learned Jesuits of the day, who has 
specially studied this subject, does not agree with Signor de Rossi 
upon it, and has published works in opposition to his views. The 
list of celebrated persons buried in the Catacombs is brought down 
even to the twelfth century, when the celebrated Countess Matilda, 
to whom the Roman see was mainly indebted for its landed estates 
and temporal power, is said to have been honoured with interment 
in the Catacombs near a martyr. 

The Catacombs were much damaged during the siege of Rome by 
the Goths under Vitiges, in 537. "The churches and the bodies of 
the holy martyrs were exterminated by the Goths," says Anastasius ^. 
They were restored by the Pontiffs, and chiefly by John III. [a.d. 560 
— 574], "who loved and restored the cemeteries of the holy martyrs. 
He ordained that oblations (or offerings) should be made, and tlie 
Catacombs lighted with lamps on every Sunday in Lent** This 
practice was continued in the following century. 

In the various sieges of Rome by the barbarians, the Catacombs 
were repeatedly rifled in search of treasure, and the Lombards espe- 
cially are said by Anastasius to have wilfully destroyed many of them. 
They were repaired and restored by the Romans in the time of 
Hadrian I. and Leo III. 

In the time of Paschal II., a.d. J104, the Roman Christians went 
barefoot on a pilgrimage to the Catacombs. Honorius III., a.d. 1220, 
translated a number of bodies from the catacomb of Pontianus, 
called in his time ad Ursum Pileatum. It is probable that he restored 
the paintings in some of the vaults from which he had taken them, 
as such appears to have been the custom. Some of the paintings 
published in Perrefs work appear to be of the thirteenth century. 

In the Middle Ages, the Catacombs are said to have been abused, 
like everything else in Rome, for warlike purposes in the barons' 
wars, and battles are said to have taken place in them between 
the adherents of the Colonna and the Orsini families. Petrarch de- 
scribes these lamentable events in his time, and the adherents of 
Cola di Rienzi are said to have used them as places of muster and 
concealment. Notwithstanding all this desecration, they seem to have 
been still used occasionally as places of pious pilgrimage. Amongst 
the graffiti^ or names scratched upon the walls, with several dates 
of the fourteenth century have been found, a bishop of Rome and 

^ "Ecdesise et corpora sanctorum martYrum exterminata sunt a Gothis." Anas- 
tas. 09 ; Silverius, a.d. 536. 

32 Catacombs, [SECT. 

companions early in this century, with several German names 
Latinized, and the date 1397. On one of l^e early Christian 
tombs was found a small chalice of silver gilt, and a palm-leaf 
worked in silver, with the date 1340. In another crypt was dis- 
covered this inscription, with the date 132 1 above it, and the names 
of three visitors beneath it : — 

** Gather together, O Christians, in these caverns, to read the holy books ; to 
sing hymns to the honour of marty rs and t he saints that here lie buried, having 
died in the Lord ; to sing Psalms for those wEo are now dying in the faith, 
i There is light in this darkness. There is music in these tombs." 

In the catacomb of S. Calixtus, the names of various pilgrims, 
who had visited them in the fifteenth century, are scratched upon 
the walls : some Franciscan friars in 1432 ; Brother Lawrence, of 
Sicily, with twenty brothers of the order of friars minor, on the 
seventeenth of January, 1451, and again in 1455, "in the week in 
which Pope Nicholas V. died ;" some Cistercians in 1467 ; the abbot 
of S. Sebastian's, with a large party, in 1469 ; other Franciscan friars 
in 1482. At the same period, Pomponio Leto, and other litterati, 
who were active in the revival of classical literature, and were sus- 
pected of heresy, also visited them, and inscribed their names, giving 
themselves, apparently in joke, grandiloquent titles, including that 
of Pontifex Maximus \ 

The translation of the relics from the Catacombs to the churches 
in the city, did not begin until the time of Pope Theodore [a.d. 
642 — 649], when " the bodies of SS. Primus and Felicianus, which 
had been buried in the sepulchre on the Via Nomentana, were 
brought into the city, and interred in the chmrch of S. Stephen the 

A second devastation of the Catacombs took place in 755, which 
was even more fatal, because at that time they were reduced to 
a state of ruin by Astolfiis, King of the Lombards. A particular 
account of their miserable state is given by Paul I. in 761, in a letter 
to John the Abbot, published in Labbe's " Collection of the Councils." 
The same prelate removed many of the relics to the chiurches of 
S. Stephen and S. Silvestro in capite, which he had then just built, 
and to several other churches in the city. 

This practice was continued by other Pontiffs down to the end of 
the ninth century, as we are informed by Anastasius, who mentions 
this in the life of Nicholas I., a.d. 858, the last that he wrote, and 
the continuator repeats the same account of later pontiffs. Simul- 

' See Tiraboschi, Storia della lettera- 97 ; De Rossi, S. Calisto, and North- 
tura Italiana, tom. vL part L pp. 93 — cote, p. 3. 

iil] The Martyrs. 33 

taneously with this the repairs and ornaments in the Catacombs were 
carried on, the place where the body of a martyr had once been buried 
being still considered sacred after the body had been removed. 

The Catacombs do not appear to have been generally used as 
places of interment after the fifth century, but the members of 
fJEunilies who had vaults continued to bury in them for a long period ; 
in several instances the painted vault has been cut through to insert 
fresh bodies, after the cubiculum or chapel was full. Some inscriptions 
of the fifth and sixth centuries have been found, and are preserved in 
the crypt of S. Prassede, and in other places. Many paintings and in- 
scriptions were restored by Hadrian I. in the eighth century, and 
Leo III. at the beginning of the ninth, after the invasion of the 
Lombards -, as has been said. A large proportion of the paintings 
now remaining in the Catacombs are of this period, for example, 
those in the sepulchral chapel of S. Cornelius, in the catacomb of 
S. Calixtus, published by Signor de Rossi", and including many of 
those usually referred to in England as of ecclesiastical authority : 
a comparison of the style of drawing with that of the mosaic pic- 
tures in the churches demonstrates this. Although we have paint- 
ings of the second and third centuries, and architectural details even 
of the first, we find no painting distinctively Christian before the 
time of Constantine, and Boldetti is in error when he ascribes some 
paintings in the catacomb of S. Calixtus to the time of Nero ^ 

The Inscriptions having been removed from their places and col- 
lected in museums, in many instances without any record of the 
particular catacomb from which each came, their historical value 
is almost destroyed ; but the dates of some of the inscriptions 
are ascertained by the names of the Consuls, and from these it 
appears they were in use even in the first century. In the Vatican 
Museum is one of a.d, 7 1 : — 


Boldetti found another of the date of 102 or 107, scratched on the 
plaster in the catacomb of Lucina, on the Via Ostiensis. They be- 
come very numerous throughout the third, fourth, and fifth centuries, 
and occasionally as late as the sixth, and even the seventh ; one of 
the date of 568 is given by Boldetti (p. 86), another of 610 by 

(PH)OCAE . III. cos .... CARI . AMICI. 

*" See De Rossi, Roma Sotterranea^ ** Boldetti, Osserv. sopra i cim. de' 
▼ol. i. pp. 303, 304. SS. Mart., 1. i. p. 5, c. xviiL 

" De Kossi, plates vi,vii. 





It is worthy of remark that the form so usual in the Middle Ages, 
Hic lACET, is extremely rare in the Catacombs. 

Each painted chapel, or cubiculum^ was usually the burying-place of 
some family ^ to whom it had been sold in perpetuity, in the same 
manner as the plot of ground by the side of a road was to the 
more wealthy families 4. Of this we have evidence of various kinds ; 
perhaps the best are inscriptions ; one of these is thus printed by 
Boldetti (p. 53) : — 


Another from the catacomb of S. Balbina is in the Vatican Mu- 
seum : — 


There is good reason to believe that the right of interment in 
a family vault was considered to belong to all members of it, not- 
withstanding any change of religion or inter-marriage with one of 
another religion, and this right of family was respected alike by 
Christians and Jews'. 

The agapse, or love-feasts, were held upon various occasions, 
on a wedding-day, on the day of a funeral, on the anniversary 
of the dedication of a church or cemetery, and on the anniver- 
sary of a martyrdom. These last were especially held in the 

An oration in praise of the forty holy martyrs is attributed to 

' The following inscription probably 
applies to a cuMculum for a family : — 





This inscription is given by De Rossi 
as from the catacomb of S. Calixtus, 
and as a pzxx>f that it was under the 
special jurisdiction of the Popes ; but it 
seems to admit of a different interpre- 
tation : that Severus made a double 
chamber or burial-vault for himself and 
his family, in the time of Bishop Mar- 
ccUinus and of the Emperor Diocletian. 
It is much to be regretted that this in- 
scription 'vas not left in its place : the 
removal of il deprives it of half its value 
and interest. 

4 The following relates to the pur- 

chase of a aypt near the body of « 

saint: — 



' The following is given by Gruter, 
p. 399» I :— 

COTTIA . A. com . F. GALLA 











" Romae in domo Latini Juvenalis juxta 
plateam Judaeonun tab. marmorea." 


The Martyrs. 


Si Oegory of Nyssa', as written in the fourth century, soon after 
the persecution under Julian the Apostate ; but the editor says it is 
one oration. It is now divided into two parts, and is said to have 
been so divided because he was interrupted on the first day by the 
crowd and confusion, and was obliged to stop and conclude it on 
another day. This oration, if genuine, was evidently spoken at 
a commemorative feast, for in the beginning of the second part he 
mentions the law about convivial meetings, and that it was neces- 
sary to prepare a supper in honour of the martyrs. At this supper 
he was speaking under the protection of the law. 

It is one of many olher curious instances of the intense igno- 
rance of the Roman population during the sixteenth century, that 
the very existence of the Catacombs had been forgotten, and 
hence the accidental discovery of them in 1578 excited great in- 
terest and attention \ The valuable works of Panvinius, Bosio and 
Aringhi " were eagerly sought for, and the populace were half mad on 
the subject ; it was at once assumed that all the persons buried in 
these public cemeteries during five or six centuries were saints and 
martyrs. Their relics were supposed to work miracles, nearly every 
tomb was rifled in search of treasure, and the bones, alleged to be 
those of martyrs, were sold at a high rate. Every inscription was 
removed fi'om its place. The tombstones were built up in the 
walls of the porches and cloisters of the churches, and after a time 
museums were formed to contain them, in which they were classed 
and arranged according to the fancy or the object of the directors'". 

In the seventh and eighth centuries it was the custom (as we 

• S, Gregorii N^rsseni Opera, vol. iii. 
p. 490 — 514. Editio Paris, sive ^gid. 
'oreUi, 163S, folio. This oration is con- 

sidered \fj later editors to be spurious, 
and probably not earlier than the eighth 

^ Baronius had visited them, but was 
too much occupied with his great work 
on the ''Ecclesiastical Annids" to un- 
dertake any other. Ciaconius employed 
artists to copy the paintings; but he 
also was engaged in his great work, 
the Lives of the Popes and Cardinals. 
The real name of this author was Cha- 
con, he was a Spaniard ; but he resided 
many years in Rome, and is always 
known by the Latin name Ciaconius, 
which he adopted. 

* Others l)^||ui various works on the 
subject; but Bosio was the only one 
who lived to complete the task to 
which he had dedicated a great part 

of his life, and his book is the founda- 
tion of all subsequent knowledge of the 
subject. (See the Appendix.) 

* The arraxigement of the inscriptions 
by Signor de Rossi in the gallery of the 
monastery of S. Paul's outside the Walls, 
and in the Christian Museum at the 
Lateran, in which they are divided into 
classes, is no doubt very valuable and 
satisfactory in its way, and, if taken 1n 
connection with his valuable work upon 
these early inscriptions, is perfectly in- 
telligible ; but a laxge and expensive 
folio book is not in everybody's hands, 
and the simple chronological arrange- 
ment, with a systematic index, would 
have been more generally satisfactory. 

See Signor de Rossi, Inscriptiones 
Christianae Urbis Roms, septimo sse- 
culo antiquiores, folio. Romse, 18*57 — 
61. He gives an excellent Chronological 
'J'able at the end of the first volume. 

D 2 

36 Catacombs. [sect. 

have said) to make pilgrimages to the tombs of the martyrs in the 
Catacombs, and make offerings at those shrines. Most of the paint- 
ings there were made by or for the pilgrims, and comparatively 
few of them are of any very early date. In the eighth and ninth 
centuries these profitable relics were considered to be in danger 
from the invasion of the Lombards; they were brought in large 
quantities within the walls of Rome for security, and buried in 
crypts built for the purpose, which were called Catacombs, as at 
S. Prassede, the Quattro Sand Coronati, S. Maria in Cosmedin, and 
several others. We read of many waggon-loads being carried to 
a single church in Rome *. After the Catacombs went out of use, 
the churches were much used as burial-places, some being more 
popular than others ; S. Maria in Ara Coeli was at one period the 
favourite burying-place, and other churches have had their turn. 

That the small chapels in the Catacombs were intended chiefly 
for the performance of the burial-service, or for families or pilgrims 
to pray at the shrines of the martyrs, seems evident from their size, 
as none of them could hold more than fifty or sixty persons ; and at 
the time they were chiefly built, in the third or fourth century, the 
Christians assembled for public worship in much larger numbers. But 
in times of persecution they were used occasionally for the regular 
Church service, when the Christians were not permitted to meet as 
usual in the houses of the more wealthy members of the body, who 
usually received them in their halls or basHkas, From this circum- 
stance, in later times, when the name of basilica became synonymous 
with church or ecclesia^, these chapels were sometimes called also by 
that name. There is an excellent chapter in Bingham's *' Antiquities 
of the Christian Church" (book viii.), on the different names given 
to churches at various periods, and the distinction between oratories, 
chapels, and churches. They were sometimes called piariyria, (which 
would apply to these chapels,) and confessio^ which name was after- 
wards confined to the small crypt under the altar in which the relics 
of the confessors and martyrs were collected and exhibited. They 
were originally also called cameteria, as in the canons of the Council 
of Eliberis, which was held in the heat of the Diocletian persecu- 
tion, when the Emperor forbade their assembling even in these 
underground chapels; and those near the surface were sometimes 
destroyed. On such sites new chapels or churches were generally 

• Boniface VI. (a.d. 896) is said to fifty-six churches {ecciesia) in the Cata- 
have brought twenty-eight waggon-loads combs : these could only be the small 
to the Pantheon alone. burial chapels before mentioned. 

* Bosio and Aringhi give a list of 


Cemetery Chapels, 


built after the persecution ceased, which may partly account for so 
many of them being of the fourth century. 

Mabillon, in his Iter ItcUicum ', relates that in his time, the body 
of a woman found in the catacomb of S. Calixtus was sent to the 
Augustinians of Toulouse as that of the martyr Julia Evodia, be- 
cause they had found with it the vase supposed to contain the blood 
of the martyr. But the inscription was Pagan, beginning with the 
D. M., and was not that of Julia Evodia, the martyr, but that of her 
mother Casta*. Muratori gives an inscription* as Pagan from the 
D. M., and from the mention of the College of Pontiffs. Boldetti con- 
siders this as old marble only, the same as Signor de Rossi. This 
is the tradition of the office. 

Boldetti* gives a series of eleven tombstones with the inscrip- 
tions. Pagan on one side and Christian on the other, which proves 
that this was sometimes the case ; but the fact of the same keeper 
of the Catacombs giving another series of thirty-five Pagan inscrip- 
tions found in the Catacombs in his time, and these without any 
mixture of Christian indications, but Pagan only, goes against the 
theory that the Catacombs were exclusively for Christian burial. 

He gives a series of twenty-four Christian inscriptions, with the 
dlm. introduced, or what may be considered as mixed inscriptions, 
half-Christian and half-Pagan. 

7 Mabillon, Museum Italicum, &e. 
torn. L Iter, p. 225. 

« D. M. 





. marit[o] SVO ITA 



RITVS . SWS . QVOD . SI . QVl[s] 


It is given also by Boldetti, p. 446. 

^ Boldetti, Ossenrazioni sopra i Cimi- 
teij de' SS. Martin, ed Antichi Cris- 
tiani di Roma, &c., 2 vols, folio, Roma, 
1720^ Ub. VL cap. ix., x. and xi He 
gives engravings of tombstones found 
hy him, one firom the catacomb of 
S. Agnes with this inscription : — 




In the centre of the inscription is a sort 
of board for a game, and under it two 

views of a vase, one of the exterior, the 
other of the interior, with two dice in 
it, distinctly Pagan emblems. See p. 447. 
The following was found in the Cata- 
comb of S. Priscilla (See Boldetti, 
p. 441) :— 

E. D. M. 


One of the tombstones found in the 
catacomb of Pretextatus is a list of 
twenty-eight names of soldiers or l^o- 
naries, and eight officers of the l^on. 
The upper part is wanting. There are 
thirty lines remaining, the last three — 



All the letters A are cut as a, without 
the cross line. 

For a*further account of Boldetti's 
valuable work, see the Appendix. 

38 Catacombs. [SECT. ill. 

Some of these tombstones were found on the surface of the ground 
outside of the catacomb, others have evidently been broken off to 
fit the openings of the hculi. These inscriptions are given by 
Boldetti as belonging to the Catacombs, and also by Fabretti 
in his work on the inscriptions' found there, published about the 
same time. 

* Raphaelis Fabretti, GasparisF.,Ur- tio et additamentum, una cum aliquot 
binatis, Inscriptionum antiquarum ^use emendationibus Gniterianis, &c. RomXy 
in aedibus paternis asservantur Explica- mdccii. folia 


In the Roman Campagna'' there were forty-three cemeteries*, cata- 
combs, or cubicula^ whose names are recorded in inscriptions, in 
martyrologies, and in the Pontifical Registers used by Anasta- 
sius', since republished, with additions, in various forms, and re- 
peated in substance by Baronius in his Annals, and Panvinius in 
his treatise on the Cemeteries. Aringhi reckons the number at fifty- 
six, and from the account of Signor de Rossi it appears that the 
number is now reckoned at about sixty. The number oi general 
cemeteries is not so laige. 

The original entrances to the Catacombs were in many instances 
by subterranean roads or corridors, sometimes called streets. These 
corridors^ which served as entrances to and passages in the biuial- 
places, were originally old arenaria or sand-pit roads, from which 
the Poz2olana sand had been extracted ; when this bed of sand is 
extracted, the entrance is usually closed. The soft bed of Pozzolana 
sand was, however, not generally used for interments, but the harder 
bed under it, called '^tufa granulare." The different horizontal 
layers or beds of tufa vaiy very much in hardness and also in 
thickness. There are hundreds of miles of old sand-pit corridors 
now ready for use as burial-places or cemeteries, and useless for 
any other purpose. The use of these would be infinitely preferable 
to the recent Roman practice of throwing the bodies of all persons, 
whose families cannot afford to buy a piece of land in perpetuity, 
into a pit, in the same manner as the ancient Romans did the 
bodies of their slaves ^ 

*■ The galleries in the Campagna are 
said to extend altogether to l^tween 
Scx> and 900 miles, and the number of 
bodies interred in them to have been 
between six and seven millions. These 
are the calculations of Padre Marchi, 
but the grounds on which they rest are 
not very satisfactory; there seems to 
have been a good deal of conjecture. 
There is no doubt, however, that they 
are of enormous extent, and must have 
contained a very large number of bodies. 

* Ciaconius, voL i. p. 142. 

' See p. 14, Chronological Table. 

' There are three hundred and eiehty 
pits provided in the burial-ground of 
S. Lorenzo, one of which was opened 
every night All the bodies brought 
for interment that day or night were 
thrown into it, after beinp; first stripped 
to the skin by the offiaals ; and tnen 
hot lime was thrown upon them, that 
they might be thoroughly decayed be- 
fore the year came round. The mouth 
of the pit was closed with Ihne grouting, 
so that no effluvium could escape, and 
this covering was not broken until the 
pit was wanted to be used again. This 

40 Catacombs. [SECT. 

These corridors or passages of the sand-pits from which the Pozzo- 
lana sand had been excavated, are large enough to admit a horse 
and cart ; these were frequently the entrances to the Catacombs, the 
corridors of which are usually by the side of or under those of the 
arenaria^ or sand-pits, and are only just large enough for a man, 
or two men with a body, to pass along ; the height varies from five 
to seven or eight feet, or more, according to the thickness of the 
bed of tufa. In the catacomb of S. Hermes, part of the wide sand- 
pit road has been reduced to one-third of its width, by buflding up 
brick walls on each side with loctdi in them. 

There is in general, at present, no communication between one 
catacomb and another \ each occupies a separate hill or rising ground 
in the Campagna, and is separated from the others by the intervening 
valleys. When the first tier of tombs extended to the edges of the 
hill, a second was made under it, and then sometimes a third, or 
more. The manner in which the rock is excavated in a number of 
corridors twisting in all directions, in order to make room for the laigest 
possible number of bodies, is thus accounted for. The plan of the 
catacomb of S. Priscilla is a good illustration of this. It would 
have been hardly safe to have excavated the rock to any greater 
extent The lowest corridors are frequently below the level of the 
valleys, and there may have been originally passages from one to the 
other, so that one entrance to S. Calixtus may have been through 
S. Sebastian's. The peculiarly dry and drying nature of the sandstone, 
or tufa rock, in which these tombs are excavated, made them admi- 
rably calculated for the purpose. These Catacombs were the public 
cemeteries of Christian Rome for several centuries, and it would have 
been well for the health of the city if they could always have con- 
tinued so. Unfortunately after the siege of Rome by the Goths, in 
the time of Justinian, when some of the catacombs were rifled of 
their contents^ the use of these excellent burying-places was dis- 

That the armaria were considered as burying-places in the time 
of Nero is evident from his exclamation of horror at the idea of 
being taken there alive for the purpose of concealment ^. The are- 
naria or sand-pits are also mentioned by Cicero in his Oration 
for Cluentius, where he says that the young Asinius, a citizen of 

custom appears absolutely horrible to use in 1 86a 

English people, but habit had made the ^ ''Ibi hortante eodem Phaonte, ut 
Romans callous to it. It has now quite interim in specum egestae arenae con- 
recently been discontinued, but this cederet, negavit se vhmm sud terram 
custom of using the pits was still in iturum,*' (Suetonius in Nerone, c 48.) 

IV.] Construction. 41 

noble famOy, was inveigled into one of them and murdered. This 
shews they were in use before the Christian era, and there is 
every reason to believe that they have been in use ever since lime- 
mortar came into use, which is believed to have been two or three 
centuries before that period. The celebrated Pozzolana sand 
makes the best mortar in the world, from its gritty nature ^ This 
valuable sand is found to any extent nearly all over the Campagna 
of Rome, in horizontal beds or layers between the beds of tufa ; some 
of the tu& itself, which is sandstone, may be scraped into this sand, 
but it is easier to take it as ready provided by nature. People once 
accustomed to the use of this sand cannot do without it, and hun- 
dreds of carts filled with it may be seen daily traversing the Cam- 
pagna, conveying it either to Rome, or to Ostia, or to Porto, for ex- 
portation. The horizontal layers or beds of this sand are not usually 
more than six feet thick, although they extend at a certain level over 
the whole surface of the country. It is therefore excavated in hori- 
zontal corridors, with various branches, extending for many miles, un- 
dermining the whole sur^e of the soil, but not in large or deep pits, 
so that the name of sand-pit is rather deceitful to English people, 
who commonly imagine it to be always a large and deep pit to 
which these roads lead only ; this is not always the case, the roads 
themselves being excavated in the layer of sand, and frequently 
themselves the sand-pits. Sometimes there are different layers of 
sand at different levels, and in some cases there may be two sand- 
pit roads one over the other, with the bed of hard tufa between them. 

We are told in the Acta Sanctorum that one of the punishments 
inflicted on the Christians by the Emperor Maximinus in the sixth 
persecution, a.d. 235, was digging sand and stone. The martyrs 
Ciriacus and Sisinnus are especially mentioned as ordered to be 
strictly guarded, and compelled to dig sand and to carry it on their 
own shoulders. 

Some of the catacombs were evidently made under tombs by the 
side of the road, and in that of S. Calixtus there are remains of the 
tomb on the surface of the ground. The burial-chapels of the fourth 
century commonly foimd over a catacomb probably replace earlier 

* This grittiness or roughness arises had absorbed moisture from the atmos- 

fix>m its volcanic origin. It has never phere, was mixed with this rough 

been rounded by the action of water as sand, the expansion and crystallization 

river sand has, and, if examined with of the lime binds it togetner in such 

a microscope, it is seen to consist of a manner as to form an artificial con- 

crystals with jagged edges, in the same crete stone as hard as the hardest natu- 

manner that fr^ lime does : therefore ral rock, 
when hot time, fresh burnt, before it 

42 Catacombs. [SECT. 

tombs. The church of S. Urban ^ is now considered to have been a 
family tomb of the first century, made into a church long afterwards. 

Many inscriptions are preserved relating to the preservation of 
a tomb with the land belonging to it in perpetuity, and they fire- 
quently mention the number of feet along the road and in the field. 
Their size varies enormously. Horace mentions one that was i,ooo ft. 
by 300 ft. The inscription of one dug up in the Via Labicana gives 
1,800ft. by 500 ft. ; another was only 24ft. by 15 ft., and another 16 ft. 
square. In the case of one of the larger tombs belonging to a family 
that became Christian, it was easy for them to make a catacomb 
under it and allow their fellow-Christians to be buried there, or to 
sell portions of the laige space for separate vaults. Many vaults of 
16 ft. square might be made in the space of 1,800 ft. long by 500 ft. 
wide, as the one on the Via Labicana. If the adjoining field belonged 
to the same family, the catacomb might be extended as far as the 
family property itself extended. This is the most probable explana- 
tion oixhtf radium of the Lady Lucina and other Christian martyrs. 
They were heiresses to whom such a tomb and meadow belonged. 
When the space was limited, three or four stories were excavated in 
succession, one under the other, a^ we see in many instances. 

The measurements of Michele de Rossi coincide with this in 
a remarkable manner. He finds the area of each separate cata- 
comb to be respectively 100, 125, 150, 180, and 250 ft. None of these 
spaces are at all too large for the area commonly left round a tomb 
of importance, and the family property of this area would extend to 
any depth. Each cemetery was complete in itself but sometimes 
connected with others by subterranean roads. 

These tombs were protected by special laws, and the area in which 
the tomb stood was included with it The area was often of con- 
siderable extent, and was intended for the burial-place of succeed- 
ing generations of the family to whom it belonged. The tombs of 
the period of the early empire were by no means exclusively for 
the columbaria for cinerary urns. The instances in which there 
are both places for bodies and urns are perhaps more numerous 
than those for urns only. The fine sarcophagi now found in museums, 
or applied to all sorts of uses, as water-troughs, vases for flowers, 
and various other purposes, were all originally in tombs, and gene- 
rally in tombs in which there were also columbaria for cinerary urns. 
Some pagan tombs on the Via Latina have catacombs for the inter- 
ment of bodies under them. The custom of burning the bodies was 
never universal, and lasted only for a certain period ; the custom of 

^ See p. 69, and chap. iv. sect. 2. 




bui3dng the bodies came in again soon after the Christian era, and 
probably was influenced by the strong feeling which sprung up among 
the Christians on this subject. The sumptuous painted chambers in 
the upper part of the tombs of the first and second centuries on the 
Via Latina, were evidently imitated by the poor in the catacombs in 
the fourth and fifth centuries and later ; but there is no evidence of 
any Scriptural or religious subjects for paintings before the time of 
Constantioe. The character of the paintings is almost universally 
later, and the few that are early are not Christian nor Scriptural. 

It might very well happen that some members of the family were 
Christians and others were not, and this would account for the mix- 
ture of Pagan tombs with Christian ones in the same catacombs. 
The subterranean sand-pit roads frequently run parallel to the high 
roads at a little distance from them, and such a road passing at the 
back of the subterranean cemetery or catacomb would be very con- 
venient to the Christians in time of persecution. The part of these 
roads which came within the limits of the cemetery would naturally 
be used for burial-places also, as we see that they were distinctly in 
the case of S. Hermes, and nearly with equal certainty in other 
cases. In ordinary times, there, was no necessity for secrecy. The 
bodies of Christian martyrs were given up for the purpose of burial 
to those who applied for them \ 

The catacomb of SS. Saturninus and Thraso, the entrance 
to which is in the gardens of the Villa Gangalani, about a mile 
from Rome, on the Via Salaria, is stated in a bull of Pope 
Nicholas IV., a.d. 1290, to have formed part of the great cata- 
comb of S. Priscilla, the entrance to which is about a quarter of 
a mile farther from Rome on the same road. On descending into 
that of S. Saturninus by a steep flight of steps of modem appearance, 
but perhaps restored only", we soon pass under the road and hear 
carriages passing over head ; we then continue to descend to the 
depth of about fifty feet, divided into five corridors, only four of 
which can at present be seen ; but we pass the entrance to the fifth 
on one of the staircases, and see the opening to it. The two lower 


* ''Si quis in insulam deportatus vel 
rd^^tus fiierit, poena etiam post mor- 
tem manet : nee licet eum inde trans- 
ferre alicubi, et sepelire inconsulto prin- 
dpe : ut sapissime Severus et Antoninus 
rescripsenmt, et multis petentibus hoc 
ipsum indulseront" (Digest., lib. xlviii. 
tit. 24, art. 2.) 

The Roman laws applied to the 
whole Roman Empire, and this explains 
the text respecting the giving up of the 

body of Christ to Joseph of Arimathea 
for burial. 

" Staircases to descend into the Cata- 
combs were made by Damasus in the 
fourth century, some of them covered 
with marble slabs ; these are evidently 
not original entrances, but insertions, 
and some of the old tombs are de- 
stroyed in making these new stair- 
cases for the use of the pilgrims. 

44 Catacombs* [SECT. 

corridors of this catacomb have tombs or cubicula on the sides ; 
a few of these are painted, and the vault of the corridor in front 
of them also. All these paintings seem to be of the fourth century, 
or later. 

The sandstone in which this catacomb is made is more than 
usually hard, for which reason apparently there are only three of the 
side chapels for family burpng-places, and few of the arched tombs ; 
most of the recesses for graves are merely parallelograms just large 
enough to contain the body, or two bodies side by side, one behind 
the other, the recess being excavated to a sufficient depth for that 
purpose, and some of these have the slabs covering the openings 
left in their places. The skeletons are allowed to remain in several 
of the tombs where the slab has been removed and left open. One 
of the chapels has remains of paintings of the fourth century in 
a very decayed state. The other two chapels are connected by 
a short passage ; they have evidently been femily burying-places, a 
second added when the first was full. The passage is made through 
the principal tomb of the first chapel, the body previously interred 
there was probably removed to the inner chapel when that was 
made. The painted chapel is in the upper corridor, the double 
one in the lowest 

In descending from the garden, the two upper corridors have 
tombs on the sides, and are regular catacombs; the third is an 
arenariumy or sand-pit, without tombs, and large enough for a horse 
and cart to pass along, as in the ordinary sand-pits. There must 
have been another entrance to this, and it is said to have been half- 
a-mile off, which is not improbable, judging by other sand-pits, both 
those now in use and others that are closed, some of which are known 
to be more than a mile long; and with the different branch gal- 
leries, the corridors altogether often extend several miles. These 
galleries are large and wide enough for a horse and cart, but not 
for two to pass, sidings being made at intervals for that purpose. 
The passages in the Catacombs vary much both in height and in 
width, but are seldom more than three feet wide. The chapels also 
vary in size, but none of them would hold more than fifty people ; 
those in the present catacomb are small. 

That each of these chapels was the burial-place of a family, and 
was considered as private property, is evident from the remains of 
a door at the entrance of several of them, as in the catacomb of 
S. Priscilla. In one of these, the stone corbel, with the hole for the 
pivot to work in, remains in its place; the lower stone, with the 
corresponding hole, has been moved, but is lying on the floor in an 
adjoining chapel. Another door has been made to slide up and down 




like a portcullis or a modem sash-window, as we see by the groove 
remaining on both sides. This is close to a luminariay or well for 
admitting light and air ; and it seems quite possible that it really was 
a window, or that the upper part was made to slide down to admit 
the light and air from the iuminaria. If this was the burial-place of 
Priscilla, the paintings were probably renewed in the restoration by 
John I., A.D. 523. The lower part of the wall is faced with stucco 
panelled with oblong panels, coloured in imitation of diflferent kinds 
of marble ; the stucco is about an inch thick, like slabs of marble, 
and the divisions between the panels are sunk to that depth, as if 
each panel had been painted before it was placed and fixed to the 
wall like marble slabs. There are some long narrow slips of white 
stucco lying about, which seem to have been fitted into the hollow 
grooves between the slabs. The vaults in this catacomb are in 
many parts supported by brick arches 3 in one place, at a crossing, 
are four small low brick arches, the character of which agrees with 
the period of the restoration in the sixth century ; the mortar be- 
tween the bricks or tiles is about the same thickness as the tiles 
themselves, which are rather more than an inch thick, so that there 
are five tiles to a foot, including the mortar between them. These 
brick arches are not subsequent repairs, but part of the original 
construction to carry the vault The armarium^ or sand-pit gallery, 
through which the present entrance is made, has evidently been 
used as a subterranean road. A branch of an aqueduct running 
along the side of this, is part of an extensive system of irrigation 
carried on throughout all this district, the water having been brought 
from the Aqua Virgo, which passed in this direction ". It was 
probably part of the original line of the Aqueduct, which has been 
altered in the portion near to Rome ; this has not been traced out 
to any considerable extent, but Signor de Rossi has found many 
remains and indications of it. The sand-pit roads, or arenatia^ ran 
for miles parallel to the high roads, and were probably used by the 
carters in preference to the open roads in hot weather, as they are 
always cool •. 

■ See the Chapter on the Aqueducts. 

• The number of instances m which 
arenaria are mentioned in the Ponti- 
fical Registers and in the Acts of the 
Martyrs as burial-places of the early 
Christians, seem quite conclusive on the 
point, although tne modem Pontifical 
authorities will not admit this. There is 
scarcdy one of the catacombs that has 
not either a sand-pit in some part of it, 
or a sand-pit road connectea with it. 

This was remarkably the case in that 
of S. Generosa, excavated by the Ger- 
mans in 1868. The sand>pit and the 
road to it were found at the end furthest 
from the present entrance. The re- 
markable instance of this in S. Agnes, 
and the tradition of the monastery re- 
specting it, has been already mentioned. 
The arenarium, or sand-pit in S. Ca- 
lixtus, is described in the great work 
of De RossL 

46 ' Catacombs. [SECT. 

In the admirable essay of Signer Michele Stefano de Rossi on the 
construction of the catacomb of S. Calixtus p, he shews the manner in 
which the staircases have been introduced at a subsequent period for 
the use of the pilgrims ; that in some instances the lower part of the 
stairs has been cut away for security, to prevent the intrusion of the 
persecutors at some period of persecution after the staircase was 
built, and that was after the catacomb had been some time in use, 
for many locuH or graves in the walls were cut through in making the 
staircase. This last alteration, the cutting off the lower part of the 
staircase, was probably made at the time of the persecution under 
Julian [a.d. 362]. The fossores had learnt by the experience of 
their youth, or of their fathers in the time of Diocletian [a.d. 300], 
the necessity for these precautions. The following extract from 
Dr. Northcote's translation will explain this matter more clearly than 
other words would be likely to do : — 

"The entrance to this gallery, cut through so many ioctdi, shews the damage 
done to the sepulchres in its formation, although a point was chosen with special 
care that the damage might be as small as possible. . . . From the entrance to the 
bottom of the flight, the steps are well preserved and covered with slabs of terra 
cotia. The ambulacrum (or walk) itself is paved with large tiles, all of which 
bear this stamp, opvs doliare ex praediis domini n[ostri] et figl novis : 
that is, according to Marini, from the imperial manufactory of Marcus Aurelius 
[a.d. x6i — 180], probably used again as old materials. As we approach the en- 
trance to this gallery, communicating with the arenarium^ we notice that the wall 
on either side of the entrance is sustained by masonry of tufa (the natural soil or 
rock) and brickwork, and that the entrance itself has been cut through some of 
the loadi^ an evident proof of its having been made at a later period than the 
ambulacrum. The masonry, however, does not reach the present roof, because 
at the time that it was built the roof had not been raised to its present elevation 
by the excavation of the small (upper) gallery «.*' 

Over the door of another chamber an inscription of the year 290 
was found '. 

The catacomb of S. Cjniaca, adjoining to the great modem burial- 
ground of S. Lorenzo, affords at the present time an admirable 
opportunity for studying the construction of a catacomb in a natural 
section of it 

* "Analysis of the Cemetery of St. ' Northcote and Brownlow, Roma 

Calixtus," forming chapter iii. book v. Sotteranea, &c., p. 366. 

of the work of Dr. Northcote and Mr. ' viBiv . fimvs . R. vii ka SEP 

Brownlow, pp. 360 — 377, translated dig . iiil. ET . max. cos. 

from the great work of the Commen- Vibius Fimus died {recessU) August 26, 

datore G. B. de Rossi, but written by when Diocletian, for the fourth time, 

his brother Michele Stefano de Rossi ; and Maximinus were consuls. (Ibid., 

it is the result of many years' experience p. 374. ) 
and careful observation. 





If the tombs of the early martyrs, before " the peace of the Church," 
were commonly decorated with paintings at all, which is not pro- 
bable, it is almost certain that those paintings have been renewed 
at various subsequent periods. The only monuments of the first 
three centuries are the tombstones with inscriptions and small 
simple emblems incised upon them. 

It is difficult to decide by the art of drawing only between the 
end of the third and the beginning of the fourth, century. But 
this art was in the height of perfection in the first century, in 
the second it was still very good, in the third it had begun to 
decline, but not so rapidly as to justify the assumption that the 
very bad drawings in the Catacombs belong to that period, with 
the exception of those already mentioned as not Christian. The 
drawing of the figures in the mosaic pictures in the vault of S. Con- 
stantia, which are of the first half of the fourth century, are de- 
cidedly better than any of the Scriptural subjects in the Catacombs. 
The mosaic pictures of the fifth century on the sides of the nave 
of S. Maria Maggiore, published by Ciampini, are much more 
like them. 

S. Paulinus, bishop of Nola, writing in the fifth century, says that 
he bad painted a catacomb, (or a cubiculum^ for the pilgrims^ and 
gives his reasons for doing so*. He thought good to enliven the 
whole temple of S. Felix, in order that these coloured representations 
might arrest the attention of the rustics ^ and prevent their drinking 
too much at the feasts. The temple here evidently means the tomb 
or crypt in which the commemorative feasts were held, and were 
represented by paintings. His expressions imply that such paintings 
were not then a received custom. 

That the painted vaults in the Catacombs were used for feasts on 
various occasions in the same manner as the painted chambers in 
the Pagan tombs, is evident firom the manner in which several 

" S. Paulini poema xxvL De S. Felice 
NataL carmen ix^ ver. 511 ; et poema 
xxtIl, carm. ix., ver. 22, sqq. Those 
two poems were written A.D. 402 and 
403. See S. Pontii Meropii Paulini . . . 
Nolani episcopi. Opera, &c. Veronse, 
1736, folio, p. Ixxiv., 641, 646. 

* This was the constant practice in 
the Middle Ages. In the ballad "que 

Villon feit ^ la requeste de sa mere, 
pour prier Nostre-Dame," she says : 
** Femme je suis povrette et ancienne, 
Ne riens ne S9ay : oncques lettre ne 

Au moustier voys dont suis parrois- 

Paradis painct od sont harpes et luz, 
Et ung enfer, oil damn& sont boulluz.'' 




writers of the fourth and fifth centuries mention them ; in addition 
to the letters of Paulinus of Nola and S. Augustine, and the hynms 
of Prudentius, there is also a remarkable passage in a sermon of 
Theodoret on the Martyrs (written about a.d. 450) : — 

" Our Lord God leads His own even after death into the temples for your Gods, 
and renders them vain and empty ; but to these [Martyrs] He renders the honours 
previously paid to them. For your daily food and your sacred and other feasts of 
Peter, Paul, and Thomas, and Seigius, and Marcellinus, and Leontius, and Anto- 
ninus, and Mauricius, and other martyrs, the solemnities are performed ; and in 
place of the old base pomp and obscene words and acts, their modest festivities are 
celebrated, not with drunkenness and obscene and ludicrous exhibitions, but with 
hearing divine songs and holy sermons, and prayers and praises adorned with tears. 
When, therefore, you would dilate on the honour of the martyrs, what use is there 
in sifting them 7 Fly, my friends, the error of demons, and under their guidance 
seize upon the road that leads to God, and welcome their presence with holy 
songs, as the way is to eternal life "." 

Bosio enumerates six cuhicula or family burial -chapels in the 
cemetery or catacomb of Priscilla, and thirteen arched tombs with 
paintings. These pictures, of which he gives engravings, were far 
more perfect in his time than they are now. His engravings are good 
for the period when they were executed \ but it was a time when all 
drawfhg was bad, slovenly, and incorrect, so that the general idea 
only of the picture is all we can expect. The co§tume and ornaments 
do not indicate any very early period of art, but rather a time when 
it had declined considerably. Costume in Rome, as in the East 
generally, was far more stationary and less subject to changes than 
in the West, and these may be as early as the fourth or fifth century, 
but can hardly be earlier. Several of the martyrs buried in the Via 
Salaria suffered in the tenth persecution under Diocletian, called the 
great persecution, about the year 300 : the decorations of their tombs, 

11 (( 

. . Ignoscenda tamen puto talia 

Gaudia quae ducunt epulis, quia men- 

tibus error 
Irrepit rudibus ; nee tantse conscia culpae 
Simplicitas pietate cadit, male credula 

Periusis halante mero gaudere sepul- 

(De S. Felice Natal, carmen ix. v. 562.) 
" Suos enim mortuos dominus Deus 
noster in templa pro diis vestris in- 
duxit, ac illos quidem cassos vanosque 
reddidit; his autem honorem illonim 
attribuit. Pro prandiis enim diariisque 
ac dionysiis, et aliis festis vestris, Petri, 
et Pauli, et Thomae, et Sergii, et Mar- 
celli, et Leontii, et Panteleemonis, et 

Antonini, et Mauricii, aliorumque Mar- 

rm solenmitates peraguntur, et pro 
veteri pompa, turpique rerum ac 
verborum obscenitate, modeste celebra- 
bantur festivitates, non ebrietatem, et 
jocos risusque exhibentes, sed divina 
cantica, sacrorumque sermonum audi- 
tionem, et preces laudabilibus lacrymis 
omatas. Cum igitur ex honore Marty- 
ribus delato, quid utilitatis proveniat 
cematis, ftigite, amici, deemonum erro- 
rem ; previaque illorum face atqueductu, 
viam capessite que ad Deum perducit, 
ut in immortali svo illorum choris et 
pnesentia perfhiamini.'* (Theodoreti, 
Episc Cyrens., Opera, tomusiv. Sermo 
viiL de MarWribus, p. 605. Lutetiae 
Parisiorum, 1642, folio.) 

IV.] Paintings, 49 

therefore, cannot be earlier than the fourth century, and many of 
them have been restored or renewed at subsequent times. John I., 
A.D.523, is recorded^ to have renewed the cemetery of Priscilla, and 
this probably means that he renewed the paintings in the style of 
his own time, as the greater part of the paintings now remaining 
are of the character of that period. 

On comparing the costumes of the figures in this catacomb with 
those in the illuminations of the celebrated manuscript of Terence, 
usually attributed to the seventh or eighth century, and which can 
hardly be earlier than the fifth, we see at once that the long flowing 
robe was the ordinary costume of the period, and that the narrow 
scarf of black ribbon hanging over the shoulders, with the ends 
reaching nearly to the ground, was the usual badge of a servant 
This seems to have been adopted as part of the costume of a Chris- 
tian going to pray to God, whether in a church or chapel or any 
other place, emblematical of the yoke of Christ, as Durandus says. 
The surplice and stole of the priest of the Anglican Church is a 
more close copy of this ancient costume than any now worn in the 
Roman Church. The rich cope, cape, or cloak was the dress of 
the Roman senator and of the Pagan priests; it was probably 
adopted by the Bishop of Rome when he assumed the title and office 
of Pontifex Maximus, and after a time the custom was followed 
by other bishops and priests of his communion \ 

* See the Pontifical Registers published by Anastasius, quoted in our Section 
on the Chronology of the Catacombs, p. 21. 

50 Catacombs. [SECT. 

Glass Vases. 

A valuable work on the ancient glass Vases found in the Cata- 
combs was published by F. Buonarotti* in Florence, nearly simul- 
taneously with the work of Boldetti on the Catacombs, and of Fa- 
bretti on the Inscriptions found in them. This is the foundation 
of all the subsequent works on the subject ; the figures are badly 
drawn and engraved, according to the fashion of the period, but 
many of the later works are not much better. The subjects are gene- 
rally the same as in the paintings on the walls : the Good Shepherd, 
more numerous than any other ; Adam and Eve, Moses striking the 
rock, Noah and the Ark, the raising of Lazarus, Peter and Paul, gene- 
rally busts, — these are very numerous. Both the style of drawing 
and the character of the inscriptions indicate late dates and frequent 
copying from the same type. In one are three figures, S. Peter, 
S. Paul, with S. Laurence, seated between them. — S. Agnes occurs 
frequently, always drawn as in the usual type of the eighth century. 
Other busts are evidently portraits of persons interred. In some are 
the father, mother, and child ; — one has the name of Cerontius ; an- 
other of two busts, Cericia and Sottacus j — ^another is a family group, 
father, mother, and four children ; the name is partly broken off ... . 
N . • . BVSVisTRis. p. z. remains. — Abraham with a drawn sword in his 
hand, and Isaac with his eyes bound, kneeling at his feet, with the 
ram. This subject is taken as an emblem of Christ, as shewn by the 
inscription — zeses cvm tvis spes hilaris. — A tall female figure with 

the hands uplifted in prayer ; the inscription is petrvs pavlvs ane, 
possibly for Agnes. — ^Another similar subject consists of two figures 
seated facing each other ; over the left hand figure the name cristvs, 
over the right hand one istefanvs. — Several of the subjects are dis- 
tinctly Pagan ; others are evidently from the Jews' catacomb, as two 
lions guarding the ark, and under them two of the seven-branched 
candlesticks, with leaves and vases and palm-branch, and this in- 
scription — ^ANASTAS . IRIEZESVS'; the wholc in an engrailed border 
of late character. 

The foot of a glass vase, found in the catacomb of S. Calixtus in 
1715, was engraved by Boldetti, and in the work of Garrucci" on the 

« ** Osservazioni sopra alcuni from- which seems to be cat in two : [K]irie 

menti di Vasi antichi di vetro, omati di Zesvs, Lord Jesus, 

fi^re, trovati ne* Cimiteij di Roma, per » ** Vetri omati di figure in oro trovati 

FilippoBuonarotti" FoL min. Firenze, nei cimiteri Cristiani df Roma, raccolti 

171^. espi^ati da Rafiaele Garrucci." Roma, 

7 Iriezesvs. Buonarotti should have 1858, fol. [Editio secunda, 1864] plate 

endeavoured to make out this word, i, fig. i. 

IV.] Glass Vases, 51 

ancient glass vessels found in the Catacombs. It was presented to the 
Pope Clement XL, and is now in the Kircherian Museum. In a circular 
panel in the centre is a bust clothed in the toga and the lana. Round 
this figure is the word ZesuSy which is considered by Boldetti and 
Aiinghi to be the same as Jesus ; but Father Gamicci considers the 
costume as &tal to this interpretation '. In the outer circle are figures 
and groups of Scripture characters and events, two from the Old 
Testament prophecies of Christ : i. The three children in the " burn- 
ing fiery fiimace;" 2. Tobias with the fish. Two from the New 
Testament, representing His miracles : i. The restoring the paralytic, 
who is represented carrying his bed ; 2. The marriage of Cana, with 
the wine-pots. Christ Himself is here represented with the rod of 
power in His hand. 

On another vase, engraved in Garrucci's work, plate viii. fig. 17, the 
subject is the miracle of the loaves. Christ is represented standing in 
a tunic, with a nimbus round His head, and a scroll or roll of parch- 
ment in His left hand, surrounded by the seven baskets fiiU of the 
fragments \ over His head and round the edge are the words cristvs 
ZESvs. This shews that these glasses are work of a low period of art 
and of igncHunt workmen, who used the Z and the J indifferently, 
probably writing from ear, and the pronunciation being the same ; or 
the workmen may have been Byzantine Greeks, who were numerous 
in Rome in the seventh, eighth, and ninth centuries, and probably 
at an earlier period also. 

Another vase from this catacomb is published by Garrucci, plate 
xxxiiL fig. I. This was found by Boldetti eidier in S. Calixtus or 
in Praetextatus, in 17 18. On it is a picture of the table of the money- 
changers, with money upon it ; there are two figures, one of whom 
has the comer of the table in his hand, and seems in the act of 
upsetting it, the other is looking on as if astonished. On the right 
is a small ark or chest, with two money-bags under it, having the 
numbers cccxx. and cclv. upon them, as if for the contents of 
each. Under the picture is the word sacvlv, and on the left hand 
BIS . AN . DRESCO ; the right-hand side is broken away, and that 
part of the inscription is not preserved. This vase is conjectured 
by Boldetti to have belonged to die tombs of two persons employed 
in the Mint, to whom the name of CoUiMsta is supposed to apply, 
and the letters Co to have been the two first letters of that word ; 
the inscription under the picture, sacvlv, is supposed to relate to 

• It seems far more probable that no that the central figure of this group 
particular costume was appropriated to can possibly be intended for any on« 
•Chrbt or the Apostles at the period but Christ, 
when these glasses were made, than 

E 2 

$2 Catacombs^ [SECT. 

the money-bags or sacks. It seems more probable that the subject 
intended is Christ upsetting the tables of the money-changers in the 
temple, and that the word sacvlv is a contraction of sanctvarivm(?)\ 
The character of the work is late, probably of the eighth century. 

Another foot of a vase from this catacomb, (plate xi. fig. 3,) 
has figures of petrvs and savlvs, and the monogram of Constan- 
tine on the top of a post or the stem of a tree, adorned with gems 
between them. Their names are written down the sides, but not 
vertically j each holds his roll, or the volume of his epistle, in his 
hand, and there is another volume by the side of S. Peter. The 
costumes and drawing agree with the end of the fourth century. 
Other vases on the same plate are evidently later. This glass 
vase was found entire by Boldetti in the catacomb of S. Calixtus, 
It will be observed that to S. Paul is given his original name of 
SAVLVS. Both figures have beards, that of S. Paul considerably 
longer than S. Peter's. The heads of these two Apostles are very 
usual on these glasses, and they frequently have the monogram of 
Constantine between them ; in other instances, in place of this is 
a circle with small tongues of flame issuing from it ; in others a cres- 
cent, sometimes a small figure of Christ holding the crown of martyr- 
dom over each. — On another vase from this catacomb (plate xvL 
fig. 5) are three figures, Christ, Peter, and Paul, in conversation. 
This vase was also found entire by Boldetti in this catacomb, and 
is now in the Vatican Museum •. 

Another glass vase from this catacomb is published by Aringhi, 
vol. ii. p. 680, and described by Boldetti as of extraordinary size, with 
a head of Christ in the circular panel at the foot ; this figure is repre- 
sented by Garrucci, plate xvii. fig. 6. The Saviour is dressed in the 
tunic, and has the pall over His shoulders. He has the nimbus, the 
hair is cropped short in front, but two long locks appear under the 
ears, and the chin is quite clean, without any beard ; the edge of the 
circular panel is engrailed. All the details seem to be indications of 
a late date, and other vases, engraved on the same plate, seem 
to be clearly of the time of Pascal I. or Leo III., the time when 
this catacomb was restored. Another vase from the same place is 
engraved by Garrucci, plate xxii. fig. 5. This was also found by 
Boldetti, and published by him, p. 194. In this are three figures, 
with the names agnes, vincentivs, poltvs, probably ipoltvs for 

* Perhaps only bad spelling for xa- errare menienint, qui Christum et Apo- 
cdlum, a chapel. stolos ejus non in Sanctis codicibus, 

* "EtoccurriteiSS.PetnisetPaulus, sed in pictis parietibus quaesierunt." 
credo ^uod pluribus locis simul eos cum (S. Augustinus, de Consensu Evangelis- 
illo pictos viderent. ... Sic omnino tarum, lib. i. c 10, § 16.) 

IV.] Glass Vases, 53 

S. Hippolytus. They have not the nimbus, but wear caps. S. Agnes 
is richly draped in a long robe or dalmatic, with the embroidered 
stole or cipassi hanging down in front, over the front of the dalmatic, 
but under the Icma which hangs over her shoulders : this is the par- 
ticular kind of pallium or pall appropriated to ladies of noble family. 
On her neck is the maniaces, a sort of necklace of laige pearls or 
beads ; her hands are uplifted in prayer, and her bare arms appear 
out of short sleeves. These details of costume agree with other 
figures of S. Agnes on different vases, and with the mosaic figure in 
the church named after her. All these figures seem to be of the 
eighth or ninth century. 

Another vase from this catacomb, found by Boldetti, and now 
preserved in the Vatican Museum, was engraved by Garrucci (plate 
xxxviii. fig. 2). It is only an inscription surrounded by a cornice or 
crown of leaves, flowers, and thorns ; the words are : — 


Between the two last words are tongues of flame. 

This is explained to be merely secular and jovial, and numerous 
quotations from ancient authors are given in illustration, respecting 
crowns of flowers on festive occasions ; but it seems far more pro- 
bable that this tomb was that of two martyrs, whose sorrowing 
friends rejoiced in their having obtained the crown of martyrdom. 

Another vase, bearing a head of a monk, with a cross on the fore- 
head, and the inscription libernica, is pronounced by Garrucci to 
be spurious. 

Among other objects found by Boldetti in the Catacombs and en- 
graved by him (lib. iL cap. 14), are several torques, the usual orna- 
ment for a warrior, mirrors for the ladies, pins, and combs, and 
rings ; most of the latter have the Constantinian monogram upon 
them. Several have dice with various emblems ; others, tesserae with 
various objects incised upon them, not Christian. Amongst other 
ornaments are a Goigon's head, various fibulae and other articles of 
dress, as in pagan tombs. 

There is no doubt that at least thirty of the vases published in 
Garrucci's work, plates xxx. to xlii., are distinctly pagan, and all 
these are said to have been found in the Catacombs ^. 

Many of the glasses with gilt figures upon them appear to have 
been provided for the commemorative feasts, as may be seen by the 
inscriptions upon them, such as ''a mark of friendship drunk, and long 
life to them and theirs." *^ Life and happiness to thee and thine." 

' One of the finest collections of these glass vases, after that in the Vatican, is 
now in the British Museum. 




Gamicci gives several others to the same purport Some of theSe 
drinking-glasses are shewn by the coins represented upon them to be 
of the third century, but the generality are much later. Many ol 
them have pagan subjects, as has been mentioned. 

Of the glass vessels with gilt figures and inscriptions upon them, 
several from the catacombs of S. Cyriaca and S. Hippolytus • are 
engraved in the works of Buonarroti', Bottari', and Garrucci% 
relating to different saints. Perhaps the most important of these 
is the one of which the original is preserved in the Museum of 
Florence, and which has been engraved several times, in the centre 
of which Christ is represented crowning two martyrs, with the names 
of FiDELis and festa. The first is dressed in the toga and a 
woollen cloak or pallium^ called lana; the second in a toga and 
paUiuM^ also on the hem of which is sewn a large band embroidered 
in gold, and over that a necklace. 

Round this central picture are six shafts, with labels bearing figures 
with the names of Petrvs, Pavlvs, Epolitvs, Ciprianvs, Svstvs, 

Of these, SS. Laurentius (Laurence), Epolitus (or Hippolytus), and 
Sustus (Sixtus II.), were martyrs in the seventh and eighth persecu- 
tions under Valerian and Gallienus, a.d. 250, 260, as recorded in 
the Pontifical Registers of Sixtus II., used by Anastasius the Li- 
brarian, and in the Roman Martyrology for the sixth, tenth, and 
thirteenth of August SS. Peter and Paul, in these cases, are com- 
monly mistaken for the apostles, but are in reality intended for two 
other martyrs of the same name *, who were executed in the same 
persecution, and are commemorated on the third of October with 
four others, among whom were probably Fidelis and Festa. S. Cy- 
prian, the celebrated Bishop of Carthage, was also one of the martyrs 
in that persecution on the fourteenth of September, but not at 
Rome. S» Cyriaca the widow, called also Domnica, and other 
martyrs in the same persecution, named Adonis and Justin, are 
also recorded to have been interred here*'. When the church was 

* For an account of those from the 
catacomb of S. Agnes, see our descrip- 
tion of that catacomb, p. 85. 

' See note x, p. 50. 

B Bottari, Future e Sculture sagre 
estratte dai Cimiterj di Roma. Roma, 
1737—1754. folio, 3 vols. 

* Gamicci, as before cited, see p. 46. 
> See also Fabio Gori, Delia Porta e 

Basilica di S, Lorenzo, della Catacomba, 
&c., p. CO, 
^ " rrseter hsec autem sanctse memo- 

Ti3t decessor meus, itidem ad corpus S. 
Laurentli martyris (|uaedam meliorare 
desiderans, dum nesatur ubi veneiabile 
corpus ipsius esset collocatum, effo* 
ditur exqulrendo, et subito sepulcrum 
ipsius ignoranter apertum est ; et ii qui 
prsesentes erant atque laborabant, mona« 
chi et mansionarii, quia corpus ejusdem 
martyris viderunt, quod quidem minime 
tangere prscsumpserunt, onmes intra de- 
cern dies defuncti sunt, ita ut nullus 
vitae superesse potuisset, qui sanctum 


Glass Vases. 


rebuilt by Pelagius II. at the end of die sixth century, his suc- 
cessor, S. Gregory, relates that the body of S. Laurence was found 
intact *, and worked miracles. 

As the mistake of confounding the martyrs Peter and Paul, of 
this persecution in the third century^ with the two apostles of the 
same names, is a very common one, it will be as well here to 
collect other passages relating to their true history, in addition to 
those already given. 

The cemetery or catacomb in which this S. Peter is said to have 
baptized the converts in tlie third century, is called ad nymphas^ 
a word here used in the sense of * the springs' or sources of water "". 
This catacomb was the one in which the S. John who was a martyr 
with this S. Paul, or another S. Paul near the same period, had buried 
the bodies of other martyrs, " whose bodies John the priest collected 
at night, and buried in the month of February (in the catacomb or 
burial-place), at the springs in the Via Nomentana, where Peter had 
baprized ".' 


justi corpus iUius yiderat." (S. Gregorii 
Magni epist, lib. iy. ep. 30^ Constan- 
tinae Aogustse.) 

"Posthaec fecenmt earn plumbatis 
atque scorpionibus affligi, usque dum 
Domino reddidit spiritum. Corpus mar- 
tyris sepelierunt in agro Verano non 
longe a cx>rpore B. Laurentii; a parte 
occidentali, ibi in coemeterio sursum 
prima est Cyriaca sancta vidua, decimo 
ICalendas Septembris.** (MS. Cod. 
Vatic, quoted by Aringhi, Roma Sub- 
terranea, lib. iv. c. 16.) 

* The custom of emluJming the body 
had been learned from the Egyptians 
by the Romans, and some of the bodies 
of the saints and mart3rrs were embalmed 
with spices, which gave out what was 
called "the odour of sanctity" when 
the coffins were opened in the Middle 
Ages. Miracles are worked by faith, 
that is, the faith of the person in whom 
the miracle is wrought ; there are ac- 
counts of miracles worked in India on 
persons who have faith in their idols, 
as well authenticated as those of the 
Roman Catholic Church. 

■ "£t cadit in patulos nympha* 
Aniena lacus." 
(Propert, lib. iii. eleg. 16, v. 4.) 

Aringhi, lib. L c. 16, § 7, mentions 
a place named " ad Nyrophas," on the 
Vui Aurelia. See also the index of 
vol. ii., sub vodb. Nymphse, &c. 

" " Quorum corpora . . . collet 
Joannes presbyter noctu, et sepelivit in 
Via Numentana sub die Kal. februarii 
ad Nymphas, ubi Petrus baptizabat^'* 
(Aringhi, lib. iil c 16.) 

It was also called after S. Hippolytus. 

These springs of water can stul (1869) 
be seen in the vineyard of Monsignor 
Gori, between the Via Nomentana and 
the Via Tiburtina, where this catacomb 
is situated. This site was not discovered 
by Bosio ; but it has now been taken 
possession of by the Cardinal Vicar, 
acting in the name of the Pope, and 
the keys can only be obtained at the 
Vicariate. The usual inscription an-> 
noundng this has been recently put 
up over the entrance. (See p. 93.) 


Via Cornelia, or Triumphalis. 
S. Peter's Church at the Vatican. 

S. Peter's Church was built over the catacomb of the Vatican, 
near the Via Triumphalis, in which many of the early Popes were 
buried in the first and second centuries; but this catacomb was 
of small extent : the soil being clay, was not found suitable for the 
purpose. In the fourth century, Pope Damasus ascertained that the 
bodies interred in the cemetery or catacomb of the Vatican were 
lying in water ; he sought for the spring which caused this, and on 
cutting away the rock he discovered it. He made a fountain of it, 
with a proper drain, and the fountain which plays in the court of 
the Pontifical palace on the Vatican Hill is supplied by that spring. 
Damasus placed in the cemetery an inscription recording what he 
had done \ 

This catacomb is mentioned by Eusebius as existing in the time 
of Nero, and he quotes the authority of Caius, a writer of the third 
century ; but there is still the want of contemporary evidence for the 
important facts relating to these martyrdoms and the very early 
Christian cemeteries. 

" Thus Nero, publicly announcing himself as the chief enemy of God, was led 
on in his fury to slaughter the Apostles. Paul is therefore said to have been be- 
headed at Rome, and Peter to have been crucified, under him ; and this account is 
confirmed by the fact that the names of Peter and Paul still remain in the cemeteries 
of that city even to this day. But likewise, a certain ecclesiastical writer, Caius by 
name, who was bom about the time of Zephyrinus, Bishop of Rome, disputing 
with Produs, the leader of the Phrygian sect, gives the following statement respect- 
ing the places where the earthly tabernacles of the said Apostles are laid. But 
I can show, says he, the trophies of the Apostles ; for if you will go to the Vatican, 
or to the Ostian road, you will find the trophies of those who have laid the founda- 
tion of this church, and that both suffered martyrdom <ibout the same time^" 












The remains of this catacomb are be- 
lieved to have been entirely destroyed 
in the sixteenth century, in building the 
foundations of the great church. 

V Eusebius, Hist Eccles., lib. ii. c. 25, 
A.D. 54-68. 

SECT, v.] 

Via Cornelia. — 5. Peter's. 


The following early Bishops of Rome, or Popes, are said on an 
inscription of Damasus % given by Anastasius, also in an old Itinerary, 
repeated by Panvinius, to have been buried in this catacomb : — 

1. S. Peter himself, June 29, A. d. 65. 

2. S. Linus, Sept. 23, a«d. 67. 
5. S. Cletus, April 26, A.D. 81. 

5. S. Anacletus, July 13, A.D. 103. 

6. S. Evaristus, Oct. 26, a.d. 112. 
8. S. Sixtus, April 6, a.d. 135. 

9. S. Telesphorus, Jan. 5, a.d. 141. 
10. S. Hyginus, Jan. 11, a. D. 154. 
12. S. Pius, July II, A.D. 166. 

14. S. Eleutherius, May 26, a.d. 198. 

15. S.Victor, July 18, A.D. 199. 

After a church was built on the site, there is no distinction between 
this catacomb and ordinary burial-vaults. S. Peter's became the 
usual place of interment for the Bishops of Rome, whether they were 
kings or not. It was a cathedral church, and that was the usual 
place to bury the bishops, whether in a catacomb or in the crypt 
only. At the present day the catacomb has either been destroyed 
or entirely concealed. Bosio gives engravings of sculpture only, and 
none that is of an earlier date than the fourth century, and no early 
tombstones or inscriptions from this catacomb have been preserved 
or published. Alpharanus and Aringhi say that there were chambers 
or cubtcula with paintings '. 

The following is William of Malmesbury's account of this road, 
and the catacombs upon it; of the second and third churches (?) 
or cemetery chapels (?) mentioned in this road nothing is at present 
known : — 

'* The first is the Cornelian gate % which is now called the gate of S. Peter, and 
the Cornelian way. Near it is situated the church of S. Peter, in which his body 

^ No three authors agree as to the 
history of the martyrdom and burial of 
S. Peter. Some say that the martyrdom 
took place on the Janiculum, and on the 
highest part of it, called Mons Aureus, 
where the church of S. Pietro in Mon- 
torio now stands. Others say it was 
in the valley in or near to the Nauma- 
chia of Augustus, where the monastery 
of S. Cosimato (SS. Cosmas and Da- 
mian) now stands. Others, on the Vati- 
can Hill, on the site of the great diurch, 
a mile from the other sites. The ac- 
ooupts of the burial are mentioned with 
the respective catacombs, and an attempt 
has bc«n made to reconcile the appa- 
rently contradictory statements, bv sup- 
posing the bodies to have been buried 
in one place and translated more than 
once, and the heads buried in a different 
place fit>m the bodies. See the cata- 
comb of S.Lucina and church of S. 
Paul, & y. ; and S. Sebastian, c. 6. 

Signor de Rossi is of opinion that 
the tombstone of Linus was discovered 
in the seventeenth century with the name 
only. See Bullettino di Archeologia 
Cristiana, 1864, p. 50. 

The earliest authority for these burials 
is Damasus, as published in the work 
of Anastasius. The dates are corrected 
according to the latest investigations 
published by Dr. R. A. Lipsius under 
these titles : — " Die Papstverzeichnisse 
des Eusebios, und der von ihm abhan- 
gigen Chronisten," &c., 29 pages, 
4to., Kiel, 1868; and "Chronologie 
des Romischen Bisch5fe bis zur Mitte 
des vierten Jahrhunderts," 280 pages, 
8vo., Kiel, 1869. 

' Bosio gives twenty-eight plates of 
sculptures Monging to S. Peter's Church, 
and sarcophagi found in the crypt, but 
no paintings. See Appendix. 

• Malmesbury's History of the Kings 
of England, and the Modem History, 




lies, decked with gold and silver and predous stones ; and no one knows the num- 
ber of the holy martyrs who rest in that church, in which lie the holy virgins Ru- 
flna and Secunda. In a third church are Marius and Martha ; and Audifax and 
Abacuc, their sons." 

It seems nearly certain that William of Malmesbury, in his account 
of the Catacombs, followed an old Itinerary prepared for the use of 
the pilgrims to these shrines; and it is probably taken from a 
manuscript of the eighth centuiy, preserved at Einsiedlen, which was 
afterwards used also by Panvinius in the seventeenth century, in his 
celebrated chapter " De Ccemeteriis Urbis Romae *." The order is 
the same, and often the same words are used. The text given to us 
by Malmesbury, in the twelfth century, appears to be the best; 
Panvinius has added to it, and the text of the older account is 
unfortunately in such a bad state that it is almost impossible to 
follow it in many parts. Pilgrimages to the Catacombs were the rage 
in the sixth century; they have been renewed from time to time, 
with considerable intervals. In the eighth and ninth centuries the 
fashion was very strong; it continued with more or less force 
throughout the Middle Ages, until the sixteenth century, when the 
Catacombs seem to have been entirely forgotten, so that the re- 
searches of Bosio were looked upon as a wonderful discovery, as we 
have said. Panvinius was a cotemporary of Bosio, and one of the 
most learned men of his day. Having probably found the old Itine- 
rary in the Vatican library, and given useful information to Bosio, he 
was one of the first to call attention to the antiquities of Rome, 
and his works contain much valuable information respecting them. 
Buried as everything then was, he was obliged to make bold con- 
jectures, many of which no doubt proved correct ; but they are not 
always to be depended on. His works constitute the foundation of 
what are now called " the Traditions of the Roman Antiquaries." 

translated by Sharpe. 4to. London, 1815, 
p. 421. The references to William of 
Malmesbury are given to the English 
translation by Sharpe for the conveni- 
ence of English readers, but the Latin 
text will be found in the Appendix. 

* The following is the title of his 
work on the Catacombs: "Onuphrii 
'Panvinii Veronensis, fratris eremitsB 
Augustiniani, de Ritu sepeliendi mortuos 

apud veteres Christianos, et eorundem 
ccemeteriis Liber.'' It was printed with 
*'Historia B. Platinae de vitis Pontifi- 
cum Romanorum, foL ColonuB, 1568," 
reprinted at Louvain in 1572, and at 
Rome in 1581, both Svo., and a French 
translation was published at Paris in 
16 1 3, 8vo. Some further account of 
this work will be found In the Ap- 


Via Aurelia. — 5. Pancratius, 


Via Aurelia. — S. Pancratius. 

"The fourteenth is the Anrelian gate and way, which now is called the gate of 
S» Pancras, because he lies near it in his church, and the other martyrs, Paulinus, 
Arthemius, S. SapientiaKor Wisdom), with her three daughters, Faith, Hope, and 
Charity. In another church. Processus and Martinianus ; and in a third, two 
Felix's ; in a fourth, Calixtus and Calepodius ; in a fifth, S. Basilides*." 

Panvinius mentions a catacomb of Lucina on the Via Aurelia, 
this is usually placed on the Via Ostiensis. 

The catacomb of S. Calepodius "" is mentioned in the Acta S. Ca- 
lixti as on the Via Aurelia, at the third mile, and it is believed to 
be the same as that now called S. Pancratius. Calepodius is said 
to have been a priest under Calixtus, and a martyr in the time of 
Alexander Severus ; according to the legend, his body was thrown 
into the Tiber, rescued from it, and buried in this cemetery. S. Julius, 
a senator, and Antoninus, martyrs under Commodus, are also said to 
have been interred here. The body of S. Calixtus is also said to 
have been recovered from the pit into which it had been thrown by 
order of Alexander Severus, and buried in this catacomb, together 
with Palmatius ' the consul, his wife, children, and other members of 
his £unily, to the number of forty; Simplicius, with his wife and 
family, to the number of seventy-eight; and Felix, with his wife 
Blanda, — all these are said to have been baptized by Calixtus, and 
put to death by order of Alexander Severus. Pancratius is said to 
have been a martyr at the age of fourteen under Diocletian, and his 
history is related by Bede. After the peace of the Church, Julius I. 
was buried here, and the catacomb was sometimes called after him '• 
The relics of many of these saints and martyrs were translated to the 
church of S. Maria trans Tiberim ; the head of S. Pancratius was 
translated to the Lateran, and the body placed in the church of the 
monastery of S. Pancratius, under the high altar there ; and these 
relics were said to work miracles ^ 

" William of Malmesbuiy, p. 421. 

* See our Chronological Table, A.D. 

y There is no such name among the 
consuls; possibly Patemus, A.D. 233, 
may be the person intended, unless the 
whole story is a fiction. The large num- 
ber makes it appear doubtful. 

' The inscriptions of Damasus, quoted 
by Panvinius, give three catacombs to 
S. Julius, — I. on the Via Flaminia, near 
the church of S. Valentinus extra muros ; 
II. on the Via Aurelia ; III. on the Via 
Portuensi, as already mentioned in the 
Chronological Table, a.d. 331. 

• The same cemetery or catacomb, in 


Catacombs* — 5. Pantianus. 


The catacomb of S. Pancratius, which contains four painted cham- 
bers or cubicula, in its present state does not possess much interest ; 
the soil is not favourable for the purpose, and many of the walls and 
vaults are of brick, some of which appear to be ancient and original, 
with repairs of the eighth or ninth century or later. The entrance 
to the catacomb is through the church, which has been several 
times rebuilt, and the present appearance of it is entirely modem. 

Via Portuensis. — S. Pontianus. 

"The thirteenth is called the Portuan gate and way ; near which, in a church, 
are the martyrs, Fcelix, Alexander, Abdon and Sennen, Symeon, Anastasius, Polion, 
Vincentius, Milex, Candida, and Innocentia^" 

The catacomb of SS. Abdon, Sennen, Pygmenius, and S. Pontianus, 
is generally called after S. Pontianus only; it was formerly called " Ad 
Ursum Pileatum," from a figure of a bear which was at the entrance. 
It is situated on a hill on the Via Portuense, about a mile beyond 
the gate, is made in ^ rock of sandstone of fluvial deposit, an ex- 
cellent material for the purpose, and is consequently in good con- 
dition. It contains a baptistery, with a well or spring of pure 
water, over which is a small chapel painted, with a jewelled cross 
and figures, among which are the saints Abdon and Sennen, in the 
style of the time of Pope Hadrian I. ; but these paintings probably 
replace earlier ones, as this catacomb is an early one. There are 
also two fine heads of Christ, one with a jewelled nimbus, but of the 
eighth century, the time of Hadrian. 

According to the Martyrologium Romanum^ S. Quirinus, who 
was a martyr under Claudius, a.d. 41 — 54, was buried in this 
catacomb; but that would be before the time of the first per- 
secution, and of the martyrdom of 88. Peter and Paul, and seems 
very apocryphal. The next martyrs said to be buried in it are 

a general sense, is frequently called by 
different names, after the saints or mar- 
tyrs that were interred there, each in 
a separate cubictUum or burial-vault 
The name of 'catacomb' is constantly 
applied in two senses, the one general 
for the whole cemetery, the other special 
for each particular burial-vault or chapd. 
That of S. Pancratius was called, at dif- 
ferent periods, in this manner by the 
names of S. Ludna, SS. Processus and 
Martinus, S. Agatha, S. Calixtus, S. Ju- 
lius, S. Felix. The inscription of Da- 
masus, relating to S. Felix, is also pre- 

served, and fix>m this it appears that 
Damasus also built and adorned his 
tomb, that is, his cudtculum or vault, 
in this catacomb. In the Einsiedlen 
manuscript the following catacombs are 
recorded as places of pilgrimage be- 
tween the Via Aurelia and the Via Por- 
tuensis: — ProcessusandMartinianus, and 
Pancratius, Abdon and Sennen. The 
catacomb of S. Felix is considered by 
Panvinius as distinct from, but adjoining 
to, that of Calepodius, and he puts it at 
the second mile on the Via Aurelia. 
^ William of Malmesbury, p. 424. 

v.] Via Portuensis. — S.Pontianus. 6i 

SS. Abdon and Sennen, but their bodies were only translated to this 
place in the time of Constantine ; they had previously been buried 
near the Amphitheatre, where their martyrdom had taken place. 
Their relics were afterwards again translated to the church of 
S. Marcus by Gregory IV. (a.d. 827 — 844), at the time when the 
Lombard invasion made it necessary to remove the relics of the 
saints and martyrs within the walls of the dty for security. 

S. PygmeniuSy a martyr under Julian the Apostate (a.d. 362), is also 
said to have been interred here by the matron Candida, near to 
SS. Abdon and Sennen. It is likewise related by William of Malmes- 
bury that there was a chapel in honour of SS. Abdon and Sennen, 
and of S. Candida, in this cemetery or catacomb. 

Anastasius I., a.d. 401, and Innocentius I., a.d. 417, are also said 
to have been interred here. The relics of the former, with those of 
other saints, were translated by Paschal I. to the church of S. Pras- 
sede or Praxedes, and those of Innocentius to the " Titulum Equitii," 
or S. Pietro ad vincula, by Sergius II. Other martyrs, named Felix, 
Alexander, Simeon, Pollion, Vincentius, Milex, are likewise said in 
the Itineraries to have been interred here, and their relics were 
also translated to S. Prassede by Paschal I. 

The paintings in this catacomb are not numerous ; but they are 
more than usually perfect, and seem to be for' the most part in 
the same state as in the. time of Bosio^ On descending into 
this catacomb the first paintings to attract attention are at the 
end of one of the corridors, one right in front **, with others on 
each side of this. The principal painting consists of three stand- 
ing figures of saints, with the nimbus, diaped in long flowing robes 
and stoles (or coloured or black borders to the cloak?), with 
their names vertically over their shoulders, i. S. Marcellinus, with 
a roll of parchment or book in his hand. 2. S. Pollion, with the 
crown of martyrdom in his hand. 3. S. Peter. On the side of 
these are two other saints, Milex and Pygmenius, with a jewelled 
cross between them. These paintings are on a coat of plaster, 
which has peeled off in places, and shews distinctly under it 
a brick wall, with wide joints of mortar of the usual well-known 
character of the eighth century. The style of drawing of the 
pictures is also of that period, agreeing with the mosaics of the 

* Bosio gives engravings of seven ' This painting is on a wall of the 

paintings from this catacomb, which eighth century, built across the corridor ; 

are in a more perfect state than any the part beyond it was too much damaged 

of the others. The same subjects have to be restored, or perhaps enough was 

been copied repeatedly, but no fresh done for the pilgrims. 
ones added. See Appendix. 

62 Catacombs. — S. Pontianus. [SECT. 

same time in the churches, many of which bear the names of the 
donors. The paintings over the well or baptistery in this catacomb 
are perhaps the best known, and the most celebrated of all the 
paintings in the Roman Catacombs. Amongst them is the large 
and very rich cross, of the same form as the small jewelled cross on 
the wall of the eighth century before mentioned, and of precisely the 
same character as a work of art. There are also two fine heads of 
Christ, with the nimbus enriched with jewels, and a large one on the 
vault over the steps that descend to the well ; the other is on the wall 
at the top. The painting of the Baptism of Christ by the Baptist, in 
which He is represented as standing in the water above the waist, 
is probably the earliest example of this favourite idea of the Middle 
Ages. There is also a painting of the three children in the burning 
fiery furnace, as engraved by Bosio, but now much decayed; and 
figures of other saints, with their names written vertically as before : 
Milex, standing in the oriental attitude of prayer, with the hands ex- 
tended, dressed in a sort of highland costume ; Abdon and Sennen, 
standing turned towards the head of Christ, which emerges from 
a cloud between them. He places the crown of martyrdom upon 
each, and they are draped in the costume of the eighth century, 
wearing trousers, with a short cloak reaching to the knees, and the 
Phrygian cap. As to Vincentius, he is standing in the attitude of 
prayer, draped in a long robe with an apron. All have the circular 

Another painted chamber, not described by Bosio, has the Good 
Shepherd in a circular panel in the centre of the vault, and ap- 
parently the history of Jonah in the four square compartments, with 
ornaments between of late character, — ^all much decayed or damaged. 
The whole of the paintings in this catacomb evidentiy belong to the 
same period, the eighth century, as we have said, when it was re- 
stored, that is, repaired and repainted for the edification of the 
pilgrims. Anastasiu.. records the restoration of this catacomb or 
cemetery by Pope Hadrian I., a.d. 772 — 795% and the character 
of the work agrees perfectly with that period. 

Of the other catacombs on the Via Portuensis, one is said by 
Aringhi ' to have been made by Felix II., when he was expelled from 
his bishop's throne by Constantius, a.d. 305, and retired to a farm 
which he possessed on this road. A church or chapel is also men- 
tioned in connection with it. 

Santi Bartoli relates some curious discoveries in his time in a 

• Anastasius in S. Adriano, § 336. 

' Aringhi, Roma Subtcrranea Novissima, lib. ii. c. 18, torn. i. p. 360. 

v.] Via Portuensis. — 5. Pontianus. 63 

Christian (?) catacomb outside of the Porta Portuensis, in a vineyard 
belonging to the Abbot of the Effetti ()). A number of bodies were 
found, supposed to be those of saints, and with them '^ a splendid 
series of very rare medallions, pieces of metals, incised gems, pearls, 
and all sorts of things more curious for the learned '," which had 
probably been votive offerings of the faithful 

V " In uno cemeterio Cristiano sea- sono anche trovati in c^uantitji bellissimi 

vatonellavignadell'AbbatedegliEfTetti, pe2zi di metalli, intagli de' gemme cris- 

fiiori di Porta Portesi, oltre i corpi talli, perle, ed o^i eenere di cose piii 

santi in quantitl^ vi fu trovata bellissima curiose ed erudite. (Santi Bartoli, 

serie di medagliooi rarissimi .... Si apud Fea, Miscellanea, p. 238.) 

64 Catacombs, — S. Generosa. [SECT; 

S. Gen£rosa, at the College of the Arvales. 

This catacomb is situated in the Via Portuensis, at the sixth 
mile from Rome on the bank of tlie Tiber. It was excavated in 
1868, at the expense of the King and Queen of Prussia, under 
the direction of Dr. Henzen and Signor de Rossi ; and what gives 
this catacomb unusual interest, is that the greater part of the graves 
or loculi have not been opened. The original coverings over the 
openings, which are almost all of tiles only, are left hermetically 
sealed with plaster round the edges, as usual when they have not 
been opened ; on this plaster or mortar the inscriptions or marks, 
by which to know the graves, have been scratched while the mortar 
was wet, and, as that has set as hard as a rock, they appear as fresh 
as if they had been written yesterday. One of these gives the names 
of the consuls, which are of the fourth century ; some of the tiles or 
bricks also have upon them the brick-stamps of the same period. 
Near the entrance is a deep well of early character, probably also of 
the same period. 

An excellent account of these excavations was published by 
Dr. Henzen, who had the direction of them^ in which he gives 
all the inscriptions, with facsimiles of the most important The 
College of the Arvales has obviously nothing to do with the cata- 
comb, except that it happens to be in their grounds. 

" Coemeterium Generosse ad sextum Philippi" is described by Bosio 
and Aringhi as six miles from the city; the martyrs Simplicius, Faus- 
tinus, and Beatrix, are said to have been buried in it, and their relics 
translated by Leo II., first to S. Paul's, and then to S. Maria Mag- 
giore, where an inscription to that effect is preserved. This must 
be the same as the one mentioned above. 

This catacomb was in the sacred grove or wood of the college 
of the Arvales. Simplicius and Faustinus were martyrs in the 
great persecution under Diocletian, at the end of the third cen- 
tury. This burial-place appears to have been then in existence, 
or to have been then made : which is remarkable, as it seems to 
shew that some of the priests of the college of the Arvales must 
have been Christians at that time, although the college was still 
nominally dedicated to the Goddess Dia, and the grove was called 
Lucus iJea Dia in some of the inscriptions of the Arvales. De 

*» " Scavi nel Bosco Sacro dei fratelli Relazione a nome dell* Institute di Cor- 

Arvali, per larghezza delle LL, MM. rispondenza Archeologica, publicata da 

Guglielmo ed Augusta, Re e Regina di Guglielmo Henzen." (Roma, dalla Ti- 

Prussia, operati dai Signori CeccarcUi. pografia Tibcrina, 1868.) 


Via Portuensis. — S. Generosa. 


Rossi considers that the college was abolished in the third century, 
and the site could therefore be used as a cemetery in the fourth. 
If this conjecture is correct, the college must have been rebuilt just 
before its suppression, as the remains of the building now visible are 
of the third century. There are numerous fragments of cornices 
and other ornamental features, the character of which is very dis- 
tizict and late. The vault under the college also remains, and is 
almost entirely of the same period On the other hand, none of the 
fragments of the calendar found here at the same time are of later 
date than the third century. The legend relates that the bodies of 
the martyrs were thrown over the stone bridge into the Tiber, and 
were recovered by their sister Beatrix or Victrix, near the place 
called Ad Sexium Philippic on the Via Portuensis. She took refuge 
with the Christian matron, Lucina ; but the persecutors seized her, 
and, after keeping her a prisoner for seven months, suffocated her 
in prison. Her body was recovered by Lucina, who gave it for 
interment to the brothers at Sextus Philippus *. 

At the entrance^ of the catacomb are the ruins of a small chapel 
with an apse, the construction of which may be of the fourth 
century. This chapel is excavated to a considerable depth, and is 
on a level with the catacomb itself. There is an opening to look 
into the catacomb, in which was apparently a grating, as at the 
catacomb of S. Cyriaca, and there was a door from this chapel into 
the catacomb: it was therefore the regular entrance to it The 
present entrance is not an original one, though very near to it. 
The catacomb was probably made in an old sand-pit gallery. Over 
the door of the chapel was an inscription in the beautiful characters 
of the time of Damasus^; a small portion only has been preserved. 
The bodies, or the relics of these martyrs, were translated by Leo II. 
to the church of S. Bibiana, within the wall of Aurelian, near the 

' Adonis MartyroL, ed. Georgio Rho- 
^^^'^y p* 359> apnd de Rossi, Bullet- 
tino di Ardieologia Cristiana, 1869, 
Na I. This aatnor Ado, who lived 
tn the ninth century, is the earliest 
authority for the l^nd that he can 
find with all his well-known diligence 
in the research for authorities. Six 
hundred years after the event for the 
earliest mention of it, makes the legend 
▼eiy doubtful ; but the painting ana the 
inscriptions are better e%ddence. 

' Ine present entrance is entirely 
modem ; there were probably two en- 
trances originally, one through the 
chapel, where the grating was after- 

wards placed ; the other from a sand- 
pit road at the opposite end, where a 
sand-pit remains with an entrance from 
it into the catacomb, or at the present 
time the reverse, an entrance from the 
catacomb to the sand-pit. This cata- 
comb is not of much extent, and the 
whole of it seems now to have been 
excavated. It had evidently been ex- 
amined in the time of Bosio. * 





66 Catacombs. — S.Generosa. [sect. 

Porta di S. Lorenzo, a.d. 682 \ Signor de Rossi gives in his Bui- 
kttino di Archeologia Cristiana a learned dissertation on the name 
of Beatrix or Victrix, which he shews to be the same; the variation 
of the spelling arises from the difference of pronunciation in dif- 
ferent provinces, and such variations are still of common occurrence. 
These account for many of the variations in the spelling of names 
on ancient inscriptions. He also shews in a similar manner that 
Rufus and Rufinius and RufinianuSy Faustinus and FaustinianuSj 
Balesianus and Vaiesianus, are similar variations in the spelling 

The names of the consuls scratched on the plaster of one of the 
ioculi or graves, give the date of a.d. 372, and shew the catacomb 
to have been then in use. a.d. 382 is also the probable date of the 
chapel with the inscription of Damasus. 

There is only one painted chamber in this catacomb, and the 
painting " appears to be of the sixth century. It represents a group 
of five figures, all with the nimbus, four with each his crown of 
martyrdom in his hand. The names of Faustinianus and Rufinianus^ 
written vertically, are perfect; the other two names are mutilated 
and indistinct. In the centre of the picture is Christ with the 
cruciform nimbus, the right hand raised in the attitude of bene- 
diction, according to the Byzantine fashion ; the left hand holds the 
Gospel in a rich jewelled binding. Under the feet of all the figures 
are wavy lines, representing the waves of the river in which they 
were drowned. 

Julius I. (a.d. 337 — 352) is said to have made three catacombs, 
one of which was on this road, and the martyrs Cyrus and Joannes 
were buried in it They suffered mart3nrdom in the tenth persecution, 
under Diocletian, a.d. 300 ; their bodies, or what were supposed 
to be the relics of them, were translated into the city, to the church 
of S. Prassede, under the emperors Honorius and Arcadius, a.d. 414, 
and a church was built (?), or a chapel made in the catacomb (?) 
by the noble matron Theodora, as related by Sophronius in a very 
prolix story. This is said to have been two miles from the city, on 
the bank of the Tiber, opposite S. Paul's ; the place was corruptly 
called Santa Passera in the time of Aringhi. These relics were 
interred in the confessio under the altar, and an inscription over the 
door stated that the relics of SS. Cyrus and John of Alexandria, 
martyrs of the time of Diocletian, in the year 303, given to Rome 

* Anastas. in S. Leone iL § 149. 

■■ Signor de Rossi gives a woodcut of this painting, from a good drawing. 

v.] Via Portuensis.^S.Generosa, 67 

by Alexandria, the great Greek town ", were interred here. In the 
Roman Martyrology, S. Hippolytus, Bishop of Porto, is said to have 
been made a martyr by drowning him in the Tiber with his hands 
and feet tied ; his body, rescued by the Christians, was buried here. 

It appears that all the martyrs who were drowned in the Tiber 
were buried on this road, when their bodies could be recovered by 
the Christians, and some at Porto itself: hence, in the time of the 
pilgrims, in the seventh and eighth centuries, this road was looked 
upon as especially sanctified, and the Porta Portuensis was called 
Porta Romana for distinction. Bosio made careful researches on 
this road for many years, from 1600 to 161 8; he only succeeded 
in finding two burying-places, cemeteries, or catacombs, one at 
a place called Pozzo Pantaleo, evidently in an armarium for Pozzo- 
lana sand; but though he found some cubicuia^ with traces of old 
painting on the vault, including a Good Shepherd as usual, it was too 
much destroyed to be worth further search, and was covered up 
again. The distance of this fi'om Rome is not mentioned ^ The 
other is that now called S. Pontianus. In this, on the partition wall 
under the paintings of SS. Marcellinus and Petrus, he found a con- 
temporary inscription, with the name of Eustathius, servant of 
S. Marcellinus ^ There is another contemporary inscription in the 
porch of S. Maria in Cosmedin, recording a considerable donation 
to that church by Duke Eustathius; this was probably the same 
person who called himself the servant of the blessed Marcellinus, 
much as a good Anglo-Catholic would now call himself the servant 
of Christ As this catacomb is situated on the top of the hill which 
separates the Via Portuensis from the Via Aurelia, and as SS. Mar- 
cellinus and Petrus received their crowns of martyrdom on the latter 
road, Bosio conjectured that this catacomb extends to both sides 
of the hill, and had originally an entrance firom the latter road also. 
In that case, the martyrs Artemius, Candida, and Paulina were; 
probably buried in another cubiculum or chapel of this catacomb. 

■ CORPORA SANCTA CYRi RENITBNT some extent ; one entrance to this is 

Hic ATQVE ICANN IS from a sand-pit road, and there ap- 

QVAE QVONDAM ROMAS DEDIT pears every probability that this is the 

ALEXANDRIA MAGNA. Same place that Bosio called Pozzo 

* The catacomb of S. Generosa, Pantaleo. 

when excavated at the expense of the ' evstathivs hvmilis peccator 

King and Queen of Prussia in 1868, servitor 

had evidently been examined before, to B. marcellini martyris. 

F 2 


" The twelfth gate and way was called the Ostiensian, but at present S. Paol't, 
because he lies near it in his church. There, too, is the martyr Timotheus ; and 
near, in the church of S. Theda, are the martyrs Felix, Audactus, and Nemesius. 
At the Three Fountains ^ is the head of the martyr S. Anastasius." 

Catacomb of Lucina or S. Paul. 

LuciNA is said to have been a pious lady of one of the great 
families of Rome, daughter of a Senator, a rich heiress, and one of 
the early Christians^ a disciple of the Apostles. She is reported to have 
interred the bodies of S. Peter and S. Paul in her farm on the Via 
Ostiensis, and to have founded the church of S. Paul on the spot 
where his body was discovered ; this was afterwards rebuilt as a mag- 
nificent cathedral in the fourth century, and has been several times 
rebuilt '. There is an altar to her memory in a chapel, with a tes- 
sellated pavement to the left of the apse, and an inscription, which 
states that under that pavement is the cemetery of S. Lucina, in 
which the bodies of many martyrs are buried. Lucina* appears 
to have been the family name, as we have others of the same name 
at later dates, and they had an estate on the north of the city as 
well as this on the south. The church of S. Lorenzo in Lucina 
stands on part of it, and that of S. Marcellus in the Corso is also 
said to have been erected on that property, which shews that it 
was of considerable extent Unless we admit the conjecture of 
Signor de Rossi, that Lucina was not the name of an individual or 
of a fisunily, but an enlightened lady, that is, a Christian. There 
seems much probability in this conjecture. 

This catacomb was also called after other saints who were interred 
here, S. Commodilla, SS. Felix and Adauctus. It was almost de- 

4 Aqua Salvia^ now Tre Fontane. 
The tradition is, that S. Paul was be- 
headed on this spot ; that his head, on 
touching the ground, rebounded twice, 
and that a fountain immediately burst 
forth from each place where it fell See 
Lumisden's *' Roman Antiquities." 

' See the Section on Cnurches con- 
nected with the Catacombs. Panvinius 
gives a catacomb of S. ** Timotheus 

presbyter," within the church of S. Paul 
" De Rossi conjectures that Lucina 
may possibly not be a proper name or 
fiunily name, but a title given to more 
than one of the early Christian ladies, as 
it literally signifies the enlighUned, It 
seems improbable that the same fiunily 
should have a laige territory on the 
Campus Martius to the north of the 
city, and another on the south alsa 

SECT. VI.] Catacomb of Lucina or S. Paul 69 

stroyed in rebuilding the church, and remains entirely filled up 
with eaith. 

Ciaconius and others consider that the catacomb of Lucina was 
part of the great cemetery of S. Calixtus, which is between the Via 
Appia and the Via Ardeatina, and the latter is but a short distance 
from the Via Ostiensis ; it is quite possible that all these catacombs 
were connected together by subterranean roads. Two of the earliest 
Christian inscriptions are from locu/i or gravestones in this catacomb, 
A.D. cvii. and cxi., published by Boldetti, and in Signor de Rossi's 
** Christian Inscriptions :" the first was scratched upon the wet 
plaster, the second was in marble ; others, of the dates of a.d. 235, 
238, and 249, shew that it was in use in the third century. In the 
cloister of the monastery of S. Paul, there are many inscriptions 
and sarcophagi from the catacomb of S. Lucina. A large collection 
of inscriptions from this catacomb has also been placed in the walls 
of a hall and a lofty corridor in the monastery of S. Paul, arranged 
systematically by Signor de Rossi. 

The burial-places or catacombs of S. Felix, S. Adauctus, and 
S! Emerita, were found by Boldetti and Marangoni near the church 
of S. Paul, under the present road that goes from that chiurch to 
S. Sebastian's. The figures of the three Magi, with their names over 
them, were also discovered in the same catacomb, and published 
by BoldettL 


70 Catacombs, — S.Domitilla, [SECT. 

Via Ardeatina. 
SS. Nereus and Achilleus. — S. Domitilla. 

The very early catacomb of S. Domitilla is situated on the Via 
Ardeatina, on the western side of the Via Appia, now at the junction 
of a cross-road from S. Paul's to S. Sebastian's. It is a part of the 
extensive catacomb of SS. Nereus and Achilleus, and was excavated 
about i860. The entrance to it is perhaps the most remarkable 
feature, and throws considerable light on the plan of the catacombs 
generally. It is either from a subterranean road, or from a foss-way 
20 ft. below the level of the soil, which has been arched over in 
the Middle Ages to bring the road to a level with the ground. The 
entrance-arch is of excellent brickwork of the second century, or 
earlier. On each side of it is a porticus or porch, consisting of an 
enclosed space arched over ; that on the right hand for the conveni- 
ence of funerals. On the left is a baptistery (?), or possibly a place 
for washing the bodies, at the entrance to the catacomb in the 
sand-pit road, with a well in it, and a font or stone vessel to hold 
water supplied from the well, with the place for the pulley to draw 
up water, and the brick pipe to carry it into the font(?) on the 
other side of a wall *. This catacomb is of five stories and of great 
extent, and is so near to that of S. Calixtus on the Via Appia, as to 
make it probable that they have been originally united by a corridor 
or subterranean passage ; but as neither of these has been fully ex- 
cavated, this cannot at present be decided one way or the other. It 
is also so near to S. Paul's on the other side, as to make it pro- 
bable that it is the same that was sometimes called the catacomb 
of S. Paul, or was connected with it The subterranean road before 
mentioned as probably passing from the Cafi^ella and the church 
of S. Urbano, and the tomb of Praetextatus, and near to S. Sebas- 
tian's, would have led to S. Paul's, and is probably part of the same 
road that is here visible. This is, however, only a conjecture. 

Flavia Domitilla was the name of the females of the family of the 
Emperor Domitian ; three generations of the same name are men- 
tioned, and they are believed to have become Christians at a very 
early period. Dion Cassius seems to support this belief, his account 
being that " Domitian put to death several persons, and among them 
Flavius Clemens the consul, although he was his nephew, and al- 

' De Rossi considers this to have cemetery, a sort of porter's lodge, and 
been the habitation of a guard for the it has a good deal of that appearance. 


Via Ardeatina. — S.Domitilla, 


though he had Flavia Domitilla for his wife, who was also a relation 
of the Emperor. The charge of athdsm was brought against them 
both, on which chai^ge many others had been condemned ; and 
for going after the manners and customs of the Jews some of them 
were put to death ; others had their goods confiscated, but Domi- 
tilla was only banished to Pandetterra », an island in the gulf of 
Gaeta, now called Santa Maria." Eusebius mentions the same 
facts, but calls the island Pontia. Some accounts make the 
younger Domitilla to have been also banished as well as her 
aunt, and make her the person mentioned by Eusebius, who gives 
the name of Bruttius for his authority ; this name has been found 
in the catacomb. S. Jerome mentions the island as a place of 
pilgrimage in his time ^. Inscriptions have been found which prove 
that the ground in which the catacomb is situated was the property 
of Flavia Domitilla. The farm is now called Tor Marancia, after 
a medieval tower, as usual in the Campagna of Rome. 

One of the inscriptions relates to a family tomb, and gives the 
dimensions of the ground belonging to it, granted by Flavia Domi- 
tilla * : — 35 ft. in front, and 40 ft in the field, (which is quite sufficient 
to begin a catacomb). 

The earliest dated inscription from the catacomb of S. Domitilla 
is of A. D. 277, on a gravestone, with the names of the Consuls. The 
inscription of Damasus is preserved in the Einsiedlen manuscript 
[7i]y. Other inscriptions found in the catacomb are of Bruttius 
Crispena, and of the Gens Bruttii, and the historian mentioned by 
Eusebius is supposed to have been a member of this family. 

SS. Petronilla, Flavia Domitilla, Nereus and Achilleus, are also 
said to have been buried here in separate chapels, or cuhicula^ 
and part of the catacomb is now called by the last two names. 

There are several painted cubicula here, some of which appear to 
be of the second or third century ; but they are for the most part in 
a very decayed or mutilated state. One representing the four seasons 
is better preserved than most of the others, and is. very curious. 

" Dion Cassias, Hist, lib. Ixvii. c. 13. 

' Hieronymi epist. ad Eustochium, 86. 

* Ex indulgentia Flaviae Domitillae, 
neptis Vespasiani. Quintilianus hanc 
xnemoratin proem., lib. iv. Instit Orat 
" Cum mihi Domitianus Augustus so- 
roris suae nepotum delegaverit curam," 
hoc est filiorum Flavise DomitiUae, so- 
roris Domitiani. 






(Gruter, Inscriptiones Antlquse, p. 
CCXLV. No. 5.) 
y His own catacomb was on this 
road ; see our Chronolc^cal Table, 

A.D. 367. 

72 Catacombs. — 5. DamitiUa. [sect. VI. 

Spring and Summer are represented as female figures with wings, so 
small as to look almost like butterflies' wings attached to their 
shoulders, and each with an attendant genius. There is nothing 
that appears to be specially Christian in the painting of this 
chamber. Other chambers contain the usual Scripture subjects, 
such as the Good Shepherd, Moses, Daniel, Jonah, Adam and Eve. 
Several of these are of later date. One, probably of the sixth cen- 
tury, has the portrait of a young man in a medallion; he is in 
a costume resembling that of a cardinal, and is supported by two 
Apostles, one on either side, no doubt SS. Peter and Paul. 

This catacomb is perhaps on the whole the finest and the best- 
preserved of all in their present state'. It was restored by John I., 
A.D. 523, as mentioned in our Chronological Table, and many of 
the paintings are of that period. 

The catacomb of S. Nicomedes, built by Boniface V., a.d. 619, is 
mentioned by Panvinius as at the seventh mile on the Via Ardeatina. 

* The catacomb of Nereus and Achil- restitutum a Papa Joanne." See also 

leus is described by Panvinius as "in our Chronological Table, A.D. 523 and 

prsedio S. Domitillae, in ciypta Harena- 705. SS. Marcus and Marcellinus, in the 

ria ( Arenaria), lapide ab urbe secundo, same road, was also restored by John VII. 


" The derenth is called the Appian gate and way. There lie S. Sebastian and 
Qaixinus, and originally the bodies of the AposUes rested there. A little nearer 
Rome are the martyrs Jannarius, Urbanos, Zeno^ Qmrinus, Agapetus, Foelids* 
simus ; and in another churchy Tyburtius, Valerianus, Mazimus. Not fiur distant 
is the chnrch of the martyr Cecilia, and there are buried Stephanus, Sixtus, Zeffe- 
rinus, Eusebius, Melchiades, Marcellus, Eutychianus, Dionysius, Antheros, Pond- 
anus, Pope Lucius, Optadus, Julianus, Calooerus, Parthenius, Tharsicius, Polita- 
nus, martyr. There, too, is the church and body of S. Cornelius, and in another 
church, S. Sotheris. And not far off rest the martyrs Hyppolitus, Adrianus, Euse- 
bios, Maria, Martha, Paulina, Valeria, Marcellus ; and near, Pope Marcus in his 
church. Between the Appian and Ostiensian way, is the Ardeatine way, where 
are S.Marcus and Marcellianus. And there lies Pope Damasus in his church, 
and near him S. Petronilla, and Nereus and Achilleus and many more *." 

This great high road to the soutli was celebrated for the number 
of martyrs who were executed upon it, and buried in the catacombs 
on either side of it According to Bosio and Aringhi \ four thou- 
sand (?) were executed under Hadrian, a.d. 119, on this road alone, 
amongst whom were Marcellus, the priest, and Decoratus, the 
deacon, whose bodies were burnt ; their day is kept on the 7 th of 
October, and the legend is given in the acts of S. Sophia. This 
legend appears very improbable, and not consistent with the mild 
character of Hadrian, as given by his biographer : there was no per- 
secution of the Christians in his time ; on the contrary, he gave per- 
fect toleration, and even favoured them, and ordered temples to be 
built in every city of the Empire wUhaut images^ in order that the 
Christians might worship in them, as stated by Lampridius "". 

The next martyrs said to have been executed on this road are 
Ludlla the virgin, and her father, Nemesius the deacon, who were 
beheaded in front of the Temple of Mars, between the Via Appia 
and the Via Latina, where there was a place of public execution. 
Their bodies are said to have been first buried by S. Stephen on the 
Via Latina, a.d. 257, and then translated into the cemeteiy of Calix- 
tus by Sistus, Sustus, or Xystus II., a.d. 258. 

We have, next, mention of thirty Christian soldiers and athletes 
executed in the tenth persecution, under Diocletian, a.d. 284 ; then 
of the virgins Felicula and Petronilla, whose bodies were interred by 

* WilL Mahnesh., ed. Hardy, vol. ii. sima, lih. ii. c. 19. 
p. 42c. * Lampridius, Alexander Severus, 

^ Aringhi, Roma Subterranea novb- c. 45. See above, p. 23. 


Catacombs. — 5. Sebastian. 


SS. Nereus and Achilleus, themselves afterwards martyrs ; this is re- 
corded in their Acta, Then, under Julian the Apostate, Sempronius 
and Aurelianus, with several other soldiers, were beheaded, and 
their bodies interred by the faithful in a certain square crypt {in 
crypta quadrate^ near the Catacombs. This square crypt is also 
mentioned in the Acta of S. Urban •*; it is there likewise called 
a cave {antrum quadratum). 

S. Sebastian •. 

The church of S. Sebastian stands in the centre of the district 
called " The Catacombs," and near the Circus of Maxentius and the 
tomb of his son Romulus, which are described as in " The Cata- 
combs '." It is quite possible that it was the original entrance to 
all those in that district. 

For this reason S. Sebastian's was long considered to have been 
The Catacomb par iminence^ the earliest of the Catacombs, and 
was confused with the ancient cemetery of Calixtus, made by Ca- 
lixtus I., A.D. 219, as recorded by Anastasius^. Calixtus was himself 
buried in the cemetery of Calepodius, three miles from Rome, on 
the Via Aurelia, (where the church of S. Pancratius was afterwards 
erected), probably because his new burial-vault or chapel in this 
cemetery was only begun and not ready for use at the time of his 
death. The recent investigations of Signor de Rossi** have also 
shewn that the catacomb of S. Calixtus is distinct from that of 
S. Sebastian, and about a quarter of a mile nearer to Rome, occu- 
pying another hillock. It is, however, probable that this catacomb, 
although now divided into two, was originally connected, and that 

** Bolland. Acta Sanctorum Maii, die 
25, torn. V. p. 471 — ^488. 

• See the church of S. Sebastian in 
the Section on "Churches connected 
with the Catacombs." 

' The word "Catacomb" may origi- 
ginally have meant a hollow or valley, 
or perhaps the particular valley in which 
the Circus of Maxentius was made. It 
might not have had originally anything 
specially to do with a burial-place. 
This agrees with the words of the 
Catalogue of Roman Emperors pub- 
lished by Jo. Georg. Eccard, "Max- 
entius . . . Termas in Palatio fecit, et 
Circum in Catecumpas." Corp. hist 
Med. iEvi, &c Lipsise, 1723, folio, 
vol. i. p. 31, col. 2. 

» The cemetery or catacomb of S. 
Sebastian was restored by Pascal I., 
A.D. 772. 

•• See de Rossi's Roma SotterraMa 
Cristiana, folio, Roma, 1864 — 68, and 
his Bullettino di Archeologia Cristtana^ 
4to., Roma, 1863— 1870. 

See also the great French work of 
Ferret, in which the plates are rather 
theatrical for the English taste, being 
too highly coloured ; but in many in- 
stances the outlines were traced from 
the originals : the pencil lines over some 
of the figures to strengthen the outlines, 
made by the French artists, may be seen 
in the Catacombs. A list of the sub- 
jects engraved in these works will be 
found in our Appendix. 

VI.] Via Appia. — S.Sebastian. 75 

the entrance was at S. Sebastian's ; but there must have been a cata- 
comb here before the time of Calixtus, as Bishop Anacletus, a.d. 
175, was buried at S. Sebastian's. According to the legend, the 
bodies of SS. Peter and Paul the Apostles were deposited for 
a time in the chapel at the entrance to this catacomb, called the 
PkUonia^ because the walls were covered with marble plates. The 
inscription of Damasus * shews that this legend was believed in the 
fourth century. 

The present appearance of the catacomb of S. Sebastian, like most 
of the others, is lamentable and desolate in the extreme ; stripped of 
every tombstone and of everything possessing the slightest interest, it 
now consists only of a number of narrow passages cut out of the sand- 
stone rock, with long narrow holes in the walls on each side, just 
large enough to have served originally for bodies, but with nothing to 
indicate that they had ever been applied to that use. A chapel said to 
have contained the tombs of Popes is there, but with no sort of evidence 
that such was its purpose. The visitor is obliged to put implicit faith in 
the assurances of the guide that such and such a hole formerly 
contained the tomb of such and such a pope, or saint, or martyr, 
or all three combined. The indications of the tombs of martyrs 
seem extremely doubtful and unsatisfactory, as every tomb has 
been rifled alike. Whether its occupant was pope, bishop, saint, or 
martyr, there is nothing whatever now to indicate; it must all be 
taken on trust as an article of faith, and a very unnecessary trial 
of faith. That all the persons buried here were saints or martyrs, 
is a gratuitous assumption ; that the relics of all the persons buried 
in a public cemetery for centuries worked miracles, is incredible; 
and this too great claim upon faith does in effect only shake it, and 
make stronger evidence necessary for belief. The popular story that 
the bodies of 174,000 martyrs were found in this catacomb, throws 
doubt upon the whole. 

The following places of pilgrimage on this road are recorded 
in the Einsiedlen manuscript of the eighth century : Soter, Xystus, 
Urbanus, Marcellianus and Marcus, Januarius, and the church 

* There are two inscriptions of Da- Nomina nec numerum potuit re- 

masus from this catacomb, one of tin ere vetustas. 

which is given in the Einsiedlen manu- ornavit damasus tumulum cog- 

script, and will be found in our Ap- noscite rector, 

pendix, banning "Hie habitareprius;" pro reditu cleri christo PRiE- 

the other is given by Gniter, p. MCLXXI. stante triumphans, 

No. 3 : — martyribus Sanctis reddit sua 

sanctorum quicumque legis ve- vota sacerdos. 
nerare sepulcrum, 


Catacombs. — 5. Pratextatus. 


where S. Xystus was beheaded, Sebastian. The inscription of Dama- 
sus from this catacomb is preserved in that Chronicle \ 


According to the BoUandists^, S. Calixtus was bishop five years 
and two months, in the time of Macrinus and Heliogabalus, a.d. 218 
to 222. S. Urban succeeded to him from 222 to 230; he was be- 
headed on the 25 th of May on the Via Appia, according to the 
Martyrology of Bede. Many martyrs were executed on the Via No- 
mentana in the persecution of Alexander, in the time of S. Urban, 
and were buried in the cemetery of Prastextatus on the Via Appia. 
S. Urban resided on the Via Appia near the catacombs of the mar- 
tyrs, where a church was afterwards dedkated^ in his honour, on the 
side of a certain hill, near the fountain commonly called Cafifarella. 
On this road was also the house of Carpasius Vicarius, who had 
ordered the execution of Urbanus and his companions near the 
palace of Vespasian. Marmenia, the wife of Carpasius, was moved 
by their sufferings and fortitude, and became converted to the faith. 
She translated the bodies of S. Urban and his companions to her 
own house ; afterwards she herself was a martyr, with her daughter 
Lucina ; and twenty-two servants were added to the number of con- 

^ The following inscription is in the 
charch of S. Sebaistian, and is printed 
in Aringhi, lib. iiL c. ii, f 20 : — 




















* ''De Sanctis Martyribus Romanis, 
Urbano Romano Pontifice, Mami- 
liano, Joanne, Chromatio, Dionvsio, 
Presb. Martiale, Eunuchio, Luciano, 

Diaconis, Anolino Commentariensi, 
Manneniai matrona; Ludnia, viigine, 
ejus filia ; Aliis xxii, item xlii, item 
quinque millibus ; et Savino in carcere 
extincto. Item alio Sancto Urbano, 
Roma Catalaunum in Gallias translato. 
Commentarius praevius. § I. Varia 
acta maztyrii : uiqua hie edita, reliqua 
omissa. Actorum Appendix. Annoccxxx* 
Quamplurima extant in pervetustis co- 
dicibus MSS. Acta martyrii S. Urban! 
Papae : quibus inseruntur praeclara cer- 
tamina aliorum athletarum, in titulo 
praefixo nominatorum. Antonius Bosius 
.... asserit se ilia reperisse in tribus 
antiquis egregiis manuscriptis exempla- 
ribtts bibliothecse Vaticane . . . ea lii- 
isse per Notarios Ecdesise Romanse 
conscripta.'* (Acta Sanctorum Maii, 
die 25, tom. vi. p. 5. ) 

* lliis church was not built in his 
honour, but dedicated only, and that 
long afterwards. It was an ancient 
tomb of the first century. See the 
Section on ''Churches connected with 
the Catacombs. " 


Via Appia, — Prmtextatus. 


verts and martyrs, and their bodies were deposited in the same 

The companions of S. Urban were four priests and their deacons, 
the priests being Maximilianus» Joannes, Chromatius, and Dionysius ; 
the deacons were Martialis or Martimalis, Mutius or Eunuchius, and 
LudanuSy who were all buried by Marmenia in a square cave 
strongly built Lucianus is also said to have been buried in the 
<:emetery of Praetextatus; S. Anolinus was the jailor, and was con- 
verted by S. Urban during his captivity. According to the legend 
of S. Cecilia, she told her husband Valerianus that if he would go 
to the third mile on the Via Appia, he would see an angel of God 
who would purify him. He there found S. Urban dwelling among 
the sepulchres of the martyrs, surrounded by the poor ; he was con- 
verted and baptized, and afterwards brought his brother Tiburtius, 
who was also baptized. S. Urban is said to have been seized in the 
house of S. Cecilia by Almachius, the praefect, and put to death. 

The catacomb of S. Praetextatus '^ is situated on a cross-road 
from S. Sebastian's to S. Urban's, on the eastern side of the Via 
Appia. This catacomb is also part of a very extensive series, and 
has extended on both sides of the cross-road; there are entrances 
through the cliffs on both sides of this subterranean road or foss- 
way. There is great appearance of an original entrance to a cata- 
comb through the building which is now the Church of S. Urban, 
which must have been either that of Praetextatus, or one very 
near to it, and probably connected with it by a sand-pit road. 
The small chapel under the altar, called the confessio^ is at a much 
greater depth than a confessio usually is, and also has the ap- 
pearance of having been originally one of the small chapels on 
the staircase at a landing-place, similar to the one we have re- 
maining at S. Sebastian on the staircase to the phtonia^ which 
was the original entrance to the catacomb there also<^. The 

■ A viigin martyr named Prsetestata 
was buried there A.D. 461. The in- 
scription on her tomb is preserved in 
the Lateran Musemn, and was pub- 
lished by Signor de Rossi in his Bullet' 
Hno, anno I, p. 74. 

S. Praetextatus, bishop of Rome and 
Martyr, is mentioned by Gregory of 
Tours, writing about A. D. 580, and in 
the AfartyroloFtum, See also our Chro- 
nological Table, A.D. 259. 

Gregory of Tours mentions another 
Praetextatus, Archbishop of Rouen under 
Chilpericl. (a.d. 577). See D. Bou- 

quet, Recueil des historiens des Gaules 
et de la France, voL ii. pp. 243 — 246, 
&c Prstextatus was a surname given 
to a very clever boy of the gens Pa- 
piria. See Aul. GelL, Noct. Att, 1. i. 
c. 23, and Macrob., Saturn., c 6. 

* But it is stated that excavations round 
the church, made under the direction 
of Signor de Rossi, have proved that 
there is no communication from the 
staircase to any catacomb, and that it 
only descends to an ancient tomb. There 
is, nowever, a sand-pit near this church, 
vrith a subterranean road in the direc- 


Catacombs. — PrtBtextatiis. 


painting in the small chapel or confessio is of the eighth century, 
when this catacomb was restored for the pilgrims. It represents 
Christ between two saints, S. Urban and S. Joannes. The paintings 
on the two sides of the church or tomb (?) are also very much in 
the style of some of those in the Catacombs, but not of the same 
period as the one in the crypt before mentioned. These at the 
two ends of the church have been restored, but the others have 
not Some say that this church was originally a Temple of Bac- 
chus, on the authority of an altar found in it, and are of opinion that 
it was one of the temples built by Hadrian without images, in order 
that they might be used by the Christians, because there are no 
niches for images ; but the architectural character of the con- 
struction is earlier than the time of Hadrian, and it seems more 
probable that it was a hypogeum or sepulchre of some great family 
of the first centiuy. 

The present entrance to this catacomb is through a sand-pit, and 
the covered road may have been originally a sand-pit road ; but the 
highly-finished brickwork on each side does not make this probable. 
The two ends being both filled up with earth, nothing certain can 
be ascertained at present (1869). 

There are many instances of small Catacombs as family burying- 
places under a tomb, or to which the entrance is through one, 
as on the Via Latina in two or more instances. A tomb recently 
excavated at Cento-Celle, and remaining open, approaches close to 
this combination. In one of the large sepulchres full of columbaria^ 
on the Via Appia near the Porta di S. Sebastiano, there is a passage 
leading to a catacomb, as if this tomb continued in use after the 
fashion had changed, and the bodies were interred whole instead 
of the burnt ashes only. In many instances these two modes of in- 
terment have evidently been carried on simultaneously, and both 
are provided for in the same burial-place. 

The family or gens of Pretextatus p is said to have been one of the 

tion of the catacomb of Prsetextatus, 
which extends to some distance, and 
is then closed by a modem brick wall, 
near to which are some loculi cut in the 
rock on the sides of the road. This 
was probably one of the entrances to 
the great Catacomb. 

p This family is also said to have 
had many magistrates among its mem- 
bers, as we find in Macrobius's Sa- 
turnalia: **Satumalibus apud Vectium 

Praetextatum Romans nobilitatis proce- 
res doctique alii congregantur. . . . (Lib. 
i. cap. I.) Cum Servius ista dissereret, 
Prsetextatus Avienum Eustathio insussu- 
rantem videns," &c (Ibid., lib. vL c 7. ) 
There are also said to have been several 
martyrs of this family, one in the time of 
Anacletus, A.D. 78, the brother of the 
Virgin Lucina, mentioned in the Acts 
of S. Sophia. Another, the father of S. 
Anastasia, is mentioned in the Martyr* 


Via Appia. — Pratextatus. 


great and illustrious femilies of Rome in the time of the early Em- 
perors, and is supposed to have become Christian at an early period. 
Their catacomb or cemetery is repeatedly mentioned as the burial- 
place of many martyrs. It is described by Onuphrius Panvinius as 
to the left of the Via Appia, which agrees with the one here de- 
scribed; but Bosio and Aringhi consider it the same as that of 
S. Calixtus, which is to the right of the high road. It has been con- 
jectured that all the catacombs or azmeteria on this road were 
connected together by the subterranean sand-pit roads, and none of 
these cemeteries are more than half-a-mile from the high-road. 

According to Aringhi, the earliest martyr recorded to have been 
buried in the cemetery of Praetextatus was Quirinus the Tribune, ex- 
ecuted under Aurelian on the 3rd of April, a.d. 272, one day before 
his daughter, Balbina \ After them, on the i8th of May, SS. Tiburtius, 
Valerianus, Maximus, and subsequently S. Urbanus underwent the 
same fate. These are said to have been buried in the upper corridor 
{in superiore c(BnactUo\ A.D. 223 — 230, and his attendant clerks, SS. 
Joannes, Chromatius, Dionysius, Martialis, Eunuchus, Lucianus, to 
have been buried at the same time in the lower corridors. At a later 
period, on August 8, S. Systus or Sixtus II.', with his attendant dea- 

olcgium Romanum, Another, in the 
time of Gordianus II., A. D. 238, is men- 
tioned by Julius Capitolinus, by Am- 
mianus Marcellinus (lib. xxvii. c. 9), and 
Jerome (ep. ad Pammach. 61); and 
there was a statue of him in Rome, 
mentioned also by Macrobius, of which 
the base is in the garden of the Villa 
Mattel, on the Coelian. 

Ludwig lahn has devoted a long note 
to Praetextatus and his family in his 
edition of Macrobius's Works (Quedlin- 
bnrg and Leipzig, 1848, 8vo.), Prolego- 
mena, pp. xxii.-xxiv. 

4 A sarcophagus of the date of A.D. 
273 was found in this catacomb, accord- 
ing to Signor de Rossi ; it seems pro- 
bable from the coincidence of the dates 
that this was the one in which these 
martyrs were interred. 

' The accounts given of S. Sixtus or 
Xystus are very unsatisfactory, and in 
some points contradictory. There were 
two early bishops of Rome of the same 
name, both reckoned as saints and 
martyrs. There is no contemporary 
history of either, and in the legends re- 
specting them, it is evident that the 
two are confused together. Sixtus the 
Second, who lived in the third century, 
is considered as the more important 

saint ; he is commemorated in the Ro- 
man Martyrology on the 6th of August, 
and the Bolhmdists have collected all 
the legends that are extant, but they do 
not solve the mystery and confusion. 
The only original authority respecting 
him, is 8. Cyprian, who says m one 
of his letters that he was beheaded ; 
but Prudentius, in one of his hymns 
(Peristeph. hymn. ii. v. 22), says that 
he was crucified. Among the legends 
one account says that he was be- 
headed in the catacombs of S.CaliX' 
tusy and this is the one adopted in the 
mcxlem Roman Martyrology. Another 
version is that he was beheaded in the 
catacomb of PratexUUus, with the at- 
tendant deacons and sub-deacons, Feli- 
cissimus, Aeapitus, and others, who were 
buried m that catacomb, according to 
the inscription put up by Pope Dama- 
sus in the fourfii century. If we refer 
to the Martyrology of Ado, this execu- 
tion took place under Decius and Vale- 
rian, A.D. 257, but in the Greek Martyr- 
ology S. Sixtus is said to have been put 
to death with S. Hippolytus on the loiA 
of August. Usuardus relates that he was 
beheaded on the Via Appia, and Euno- 
dius, in one of his hymns (sixth century), 
says that S. Laurence built a church in 


Catacombs. — Pratextaius. 


cons and sub-deacons, Felicissimus, Agapitus, Januarius, Magnus, 
Vincentius, and Stephanus, beheaded by Valerian^ a.d. 259, are re- 
corded by an inscription of Damasus to have been also buried here. 
Another tombstone, with the date of a.d. 291, was discovered on 
the same spot The invocations to some of these saints found by 
De Rossi scratched on the plaster round a grave, identify this cata- 
comb as that of Praetextatus, and one of the numerous inscriptions 
of Damasus relating to S. Systus, printed by Baronius and reprinted 
by Aringhi, as in this catacomb, agrees with this. 

This cemetery, or a part of it, was also called after S. Balbina. 
S. Marcus, the bishop, a.d. 337, is recorded to have built a church 
to her honoiu-, and to have been buried in it himself; but the ex- 
pression used in the Acta Martyrum agrees with his having rebuilt or 
enlarged the burial-vault or chapel only: as these are sometimes 
called Basilica^ they may also have been called Ecclesia. One of 
the verse inscriptions of Damasus ' relates to S. Marcus. The dis- 
covery of Signor de Rossi in this catacomb, that the arch of an area- 
solium over a stone coffin of the first century had been turned into 
the entrance to a burial-vault or chapel in the fourth, seems to ex- 
plain the difficulty: such a vault, with an altar in it, would very 
probably be afterwards called a church {ecclesia). His remains are 
said to have been found in the cemetery of Balbina, in the time of 
Pope Hildebrand, or Gregory VII., a.d. 1080, and translated to the 
church of S. Mark of Venice, near the CapitoL 

Signor de Rossi considers the three catacombs of S. Calixtus, 
Praetextatus, and S. Sebastian, as quite distinct from each other, 
and that S. Sebastian's was the only one to which the name of cata- 
comb was originally applied. Whether these cemeteries were ori- 
ginally connected by sand-pit roads or not, may fairly be left an open 
question, to be decided only by further excavation ; that they are at 
present distinct is evident That of Praetextatus we have men- 
tioned as on a cross-road, which leaves the Via Appia on the hill 
after passing the small church or chapel of Domine quo vadis^ and 

his honour. The most probable account 
seems to be that he was executed on the 
usual place of public executions, in front 
of the temple of Mars, between the Via 
Appia and the Via Latina, and that the 
church now called S. Sisto Vecchio was 
built on the spot. He is mentioned 
both bv S. Jerome and by S. Augustine. 
In the Mirabilia (thirteenth century), 
he is said to have been ''beheaded out- 
side of the Porta Appia, near the ' Do- 
mine quo vadis,' where was the temple 
of Mars, hollowed out in front of S. Ne- 


reus. " In another passage of the Mira- 
bilia, tlys palace of the Senate, near 
S. Sixtus, is mentioned. This could not 
apply to the catacombs at a distance 
from the city. 



(Grater, Inscr. Ant, p. mclxxiii. 
No. 13.) 

VI.] Via Appia, — PrcBtextatus. 8i 

leads to the Via Appia Nova, passing by the end of the Circus 
of Maxendus and the church of S. Urban ; it runs for some dis- 
tance between two vineyards; in that on the right are the Jews' 
catacomb and remains of a series of Pagan tombs, shewing that 
this cross-road is an old one. In the vineyard on the left are 
many fragments of sculpture, chiefly Christian; this is popularly 
called casa dei pupazzi. Here also are the ruins of a laxge cir- 
cular tomb, and another of rectangular form. Near these ruins is 
a very ancient staircase, descending to a Christian catacomb, and in 
excavations under them, in 1848, a figure of S. Sixtus was found 
painted in a cubiculuniy with his name inscribed in Latin letters, svstvs, 
from which it was called the Catacomb of S. Sixtus. In 1850, another 
painted chamber of early character was discovered near the foot of the 
stairs. Six years afterwards, the principal entrance was found with two 
churches open above, and below these are extensive subterranean 
passages and oypts. One of the churches is believed to have been 
the burial-place of SS. Tiburtius, Valerianus, and Maximus, com- 
panions of S. Cecilia ; the other, that of S. Zeno. In the crypts below 
were buried S. Januarius, S. Felicissimus, and Agapitus, deacons of 
S. Sixtus ; Urbanus, Bishop of Rome ; Quirinus, the Tribune, and 
other martyrs. This is therefore considered by Signor de Rossi 
as identified with the cemetery of S. Praetextatus and Januarius. It 
is described by Boldetti, under the name of S. Urban, being very 
near the church called S, Urbano alia Caffarella, and supposed also 
to be the place where he was concealed during a time of persecution. 

This is also said to be the catacomb in which S. Sixtus II. was be- 
headed '. According to the legend, he was performing mass, and the 
executioner waited until he had finished. This would be in the chapel 
at the entrance to the catacomb, and the large square chamber at the 
entrance to this catacomb seems a probable spot for this scene to 
have taken place ; but the legends on this subject are rather contra- 
dictory. Some accounts state that S. Sixtus was beheaded at the 
usual place of public execution in front of the Temple of Mars, and 
was only buried in this catacomb. 

The principal entrance ° to this catacomb from the sand-pit road 
has a cryptoportiodSy or a space arched over on each side for the 
convenience of funerals, when it was an open road to a sand-pit, as 
at S. Domitilla ; but there is no baptistery here. This crypto-porticus 
is apparently from the construction of the third century, not of 
the first 

' Anastas., 26 1 Aringhi, lib. ii. c 9. anno I, p. 20, 410. 1863 ; and another of 
* There is a wood-engraving of this this chamber, p. 3. 
entrance in Signor de Rossi's Bullettinoy 


82 Catacombs. — Pratextatus. [SECT. 

Signor de Rossi found in this catacomb, in 1857, a fine lofty 
square chamber not excavated, but built with a luminary at the top. 
The vault is painted with leaves and flowers, and birds, of earlier 
character than any painting hitherto found in the Catacombs, agree- 
ing in character with Pagan art of the second century. The foli- 
age of the vine spreads over the whole vault, and on one part is 
a vigruran or grape-gardener, either cultivating the vine or gathering 
grapes. All the paintings are very small, and very elegant, quite in 
the style of the best classical period, but with nothing distinctly 
Christian about them, although an allegorical meaning may be 
attached to them, the little birds being considered to represent 
souls, which is a customary allegory. On one side is a corn-field, 
with five reapers, one cutting, another gathering up the sheaves, 
a third with a rake, a fourth with a flail, and the fifth with a sheai 
upon his shoulders. On the back wall, under the arch of an area- 
solium^ is a figure cut through in the middle by an aperture for a grave, 
said to be a Good Shepherd, but very indistinct, with an inscription 
on the margin : — 


This inscription in later characters, of the end of the fourth cen- 
tury, shews the desire to bury some one near those martyrs, who are 
thus addressed in the name of the defunct This, therefore, identifies 
the crypta quadrata in which these martyrs were interred. The desire 
to be buried near the body of a martyr prevalent at that period, is 
well known, and is expressed by S. Ambrose in his hymn on the 
burial of his brother Satyrus, on the left of the martyr Victor'. 

This celebrated square crypt is described by ancient authors as 
built, not merely excavated, and ornamented with marble plates, and 
under a building called the house of Marmenia, near the palace of 
Vespasian. It is known that this name was given in the Middle 
Ages to the buildings adjoining the Circus of Maxentius, originally 
called after his son Romulus, and now miscalled of Caracalla. The 
crypt re-discovered and excavated by Signor de Rossi is very near 
to these ruins, between them and the church of S. Urbanus, scarcely 
more than a hundred yards from either. The materials excavated 
were chiefly ruins of some ancient building thrown in from above, 

^ VRANio SATYRO suPREMUM FRATER S. Augustinc also conclades his book 

HONOREM De cura pro moriuis gerenda^ with these 

MARTYRis AD LiCVAM DETULIT AM- words : ** Quod vero quisque apud me- 

BROSius. morias martyrum sepelitur, hoc tantum 

Hi£C MERiTi MERGES EST SACRI SAN- ixiihi videtur prodesse defuncto, ut com- 

GUiNis HUMOR, mendans eum etiam martyrum patro- 

FINITIMAS PENETRANS ABLUAT EX- cinio, affectus pro illo supplicationis 

uviAS. augeatur." 

VI.] Via Appia. — Pratextatus. 83 

down the luminary or well for air and light; these ruins were, with- 
out doubt, those of the house of Marmenia, in which was probably 
one of the burial-chapels usual at the entrances to the Catacombs. 

The family to which this great villa belonged was evidently one 
of considerable wealth and importance ; it seems probable that the 
whole of this ground belonged to them, and that this crypt was origi- 
nally their family bur5dng-place. They may have become Christians at 
an early period ; but it is remarkable that there is nothing distinctly 
Christian in the early paintings on the vault, and the Good Shepherd, 
the head of which De Rossi believes that he found upon the wall, is 
not necessarily Christian. There are no original arco-solia nor loculi 
in the walls of this square chamber ; the interments were in stone 
sarcophagi, three of which were found in it by De Rossi : this does 
not agree with the legend that the square crypt was built by Mar- 
menia to receive the remains of S. Urbanus, and that six other 
martyrs were interred in the upper part above him. 

There are several other painted cubicula and arco-solia in this 
catacomb, but of much later character. In a chamber near to 
the principal entrance, a few yards farther along the road, is a 
marble sarcophagus of excellent sculpture, agreeing with the same 
period ; it is mutilated, but some of the figures are perfect and dis- 
tinctly Pagan. Nearly opposite to this second chamber, a little 
further along the road, is another cubiculuniy the entrance arch of 
which is of still earlier character, and of finer brickwork than the 
rest, being entirely of the character of the time of Nero, so well 
known firom his palace and his arches. In the chamber to which 
this arch opens, Signor de Rossi found another sarcophagus, which 
he considers as clearly one of a Christian martyr of the first century ; 
he believes that it was originally built into the wall under the arch, 
that, at a subsequent period, the chamber was made behind this 
arch, and the sarcophagus was moved and placed in an arco-solium 
at the back of the chamber, in order that other persons might be 
buried in the chamber near the martyr, which was considered a great 
honour and privilege. This particular cubiculum was, therefore, not 
a family burial-vault like those in S. Priscilla. At a short distance 
along the road, on the same side as the principal entrance, is a door- 
way with a pediment of the same period over it; this has been 
mutilated and restored, but carefully, the original part preserved 
and replaced, and no attempt made to copy : therefore this is pro- 
perly preservation rather than restoration, and is very creditable to 
Signor de Rossi, under whose direction it was done. 

In the time of Gregory III., a.d. 740, it was called the ceme- 

G 2 

84 Catacombs. — Pratextatus. [sect. 

tery of S. Januarius and S. Urbanus. Under Hadrian I., a.d. 
772, it was named after S. Urbanus and S. Tiburtius, S. Marcus, 
and S.Balbina ; each of these was probably buried in a distinct vault 
or cubiculum. 

Marcus I., a.d. 336, built a church or chapel over that part of 
this catacomb which contained the body of S. Balbina, which was 
endowed with land by Constantine *. This church was restored 
A.D. 731 and 857. 

This catacomb, in the larger sense of the word, has only been 
partially excavated; it is now divided into several parts, and 
called by diflferent names, after different martyrs who have been 
buried in it. The corridor where the Gnostic paintings are, the 
entrance to which is on the other side from the Via Appia, near 
the Jews* catacomb, is also said to have originally formed part 
of it It is described by Bosio, on the authority of Cencius, the 
chamberlain, as situated between the Porta Appia and the church 
of S. Apollinaris*, and to have been connected with those of 
S. Sixtus and S. Caecilia. It is called in another document ' the 
cemetery of S. Sixtus or S. Prgetextatus, outside of the Porta Appia, 
on the Via Appia. 

One of the galleries or corridors is simply an old sand-pit still, 
out of which the Pozzolana sand has been dug and carried. In this 
corridor there are no graves ; it is merely a passage leading to the 
earliest part of the catacomb, which is probably of the first century. 
After the first gallery or corridor was filled to the limits of the hill 
or of the pradium (?), another was made below it Probably it 
would take a century or more to fill each one of these corridors ; 
and when all the ccsmeUria or side-chapels were sold, even if they 
were not filled, the owners of the ground would make another cor- 
ridor at a lower level, and in this the paintings would be naturally, 
and are in this instance, of a later period. In a rough way, as 
has been said, it may be reckoned that each corridor took about 
a century to be filled, or occupied, or for the ground to be sold. 
In this catacomb there are five corridors, one under the other. The 
upper one is an old sand-pit ; then two corridors for graves with 
side-chapels ; then, singularly enough, another old sand-pit, without 
graves, forming the fourth corridor, the entrance to which, at a lower 
level, is a quarter of a mile off; then a fifth corridor, of graves and 

" Anastasius, in c. xxxv. 49, says this » Of that church no remains are 

was in the Via Ardeatina, that is, in the known to exist. May not this be the 

catacomb now called after Domitilla ; church now called S. Urban's? 

in c. xcii. 202, he calls it in the Via ▼ Codex Vaticanus, apud De Rossi. 
Appia,* this was in A.D. 731. 


Fia Appia. — Pratextatus. 


chapels. But some of the paintings in the lower corridor and its 
chapels are of the eighth century ; they are not painted on a fresh 
coat of plaster over old paintings, but are original. Surely some of 
these chapels for family buiying-places are the axmeteria which Pope 
Paschal says he made^ ; the frescoes being of his time, a.d. 772 •. 

In some excavations made under the direction of Signor de Rossi 
in 1870 in this catacomb, another long corridor was found by the 
side of the entrance, with ioculi and a large chapel with a well and 
an arohsolium, and a sarcophagus with a graffito of the name of 
LVCENTivs, and the salutation — 


In another cubicuium there is a bas-relief in marble of Daniel 
and the lions. 

Another catacomb on the Via Appia, which now has a separate 
entrance, but which had a communication with that of Praetextatus, 
is usually called the catacomb of the Gnostics ; but is now said to 
be that of another sect, that of Mithras. 

The paintings clearly shew that it was not a Christian burying- 
place. An account of it has been published by Father Marchi **, 
who discovered it in 1826, and distinctly proved that they are 
PsLgan (although they had been published by Bottari as Christian). 
In his work on the remains of Early Christian Art, Marchi describes 
other Pagan catacombs also : a small one which was found on the 
Via Latina, at a mile and a-half from Rome, in 185 1, by Dom. Fran- 
cesco Virili, in his vineyard, and was shewn to Father Marchi, and 
recognised by him as Pagan ; another, on the Via Salaria Vecchia, 
at a mile from the Porta Pinciana, which had been described by 
Seroux d'Agincourt as Christian; at length a third and larger one 
in the Monte d*Oro, between the Porta Latina and the Porta Appia, 
within the walls of Rome, and near the Columbaria in the Vigna 
Codini. In 1852, Father Garrucci also published at Naples his 
Dissertation on the Tombs of the Worshippers of the Persian god 
Mithras, and of the Bacchus Sabazius. Their paintings were also 
described by Signor de Rossi in 1853 •. 

■ See Anastasius in the Life of Pas- 
chal L 

* For a more full accoant of the paint- 
ings in this catacomb, see the Appendix 
to this chapter, in the abstract of Ferret, 
▼oL i., plates 35 to 85, 

k Sec "La Civiltk Cattolica," anno 
1853, pp. 462, 464. C. *' Monument! 
delle Arti Christiane primitive," and 
** Tie sepolcri con pitture ed iscrizioni 
appartenenti alle superstitione pagane 

del Bacco Sabazio e del Perso dio 
Mitra, scoperti in un braccio del cimi> 
tero di Pretestato in Roma," &c. Na- 
poli, 1852. 

« Btdlettino di Correspondenta Arch- 
eologica, 1853, pp. 87, 93. 

Father Garrucci also published an ac- 
count in French, with the title, **Les 
Mystires du Syncr^tisme phrygien dans 
les catacombes de Pr^textat." 8vo. 
Paris, 1852. 

86 Catacombs. — Pratextatus. [SECT. 

In the first tomb, or arca-solium^ on the left hand under the arch, 
is the figure of a woman, called Vibia, snatched up by Pluto, who is 
represented in a quadriga, guided by Mercury, who leads his victim 
to the shades below. Over the picture is the inscription abreptio 


In the second picture under the arch, Pluto, called dispater, 
with his companion, abracvra, is seated on an elevated tribimal to 
judge the rest. On the right, under his feet, are three figures, two 
women and one man, and over their heads is the inscription fata 
DiviNA ; on the other side Mercury, mercvrivs nvntivs, guides to 
the judgment vibia, followed by alcestis. 

On the lunette at the back are two pictures : in the one, vibia, 
introduced to the dinner of the happy regions, indvctio vibies, led 
by the hand by angelvs bonvs. And in the other picture is the 
dinner, with six persons, Vibia in the centre. Over the heads of 
these persons is written, bonorvm ivdicio ivdicatio. 

In another picture are represented the seven priests of the god 
Mithras, their heads covered with the Phrygian cap. Over one is the 
name vincentivs, and over the whole septe sacerdotes. 

On the wall outside of the arch is another inscription, in an imper- 
fect state ; the deficiencies have been supplied by Father Garrucci : 






Opposite to this monument is another, with pictures, but without 
inscriptions. There are figures in military costumes, a woman with 
a crown of laurel, a man with a beard, who holds up on high in his 
right hand a lamb, killed, and points to five stars which shine in the 
sky with a Venus Cosiestis, Lastly, on a third tomb, with an arch, 
one fragment of another inscription : — 

p. M. 

M. AVR S . D . S . I . M. 





Via Appia. — S. Calixtits. 


S. Calixtus *. 

This IS one of the earliest of the catacombs ; it is mentioned at 
a very early period as a buiying-place then in use, not as being 
then just made. Michele de Rossi, in the course of his investiga- 
tions in this catacomb, found a brick staircase and some brick hculi^ 
evidently an alteration of and addition to the original catacombs, 
and the stamps on these bricks were those of Marcus Aurelius, 
A.D. 161 — 180. This staircase is in the lower part of the catacomb, 
made for the purpose of enlarging it, and seems to shew that the 
ground had been used as a cemetery in the first century. The 
original part was probably made before there were any Christians to 
be buried Although the staircase is later, and the bricks used agam, 
they were probably found on the spot*. 

Calixtus is said to have been entrusted with the govemment of 
die cleigy, and set over the cemetery by Zephyrinus his predecessor, 
before he became bishop or pope '. This expression, over the cemetery^ 
seems to prove that the whole of the catacombs were considered as 
one cemetery, and that he had the general superintendence of the 
burial of the Christians. 

This is the catacomb usually exhibited to strangers and now used 
for pilgrimages ; its present state is very uninteresting to the archae- 
ologist The upper part of it nearest to the entrance has been so 
much restored that it has lost all archaeological importance. The paint- 
ings in this part have all been renewed, and thereby of necessity 
have lost all historical value. This portion of the catacomb is 
illuminated on certain occasions, and is employed to excite the 
devotion of the ^thful. ^ A low mass is said at an altar fitted up 
in the cemetery chapel of S. Caecilia, on the anniversary of her 
martyrdom, and this part of the catacomb on that occasion is illu- 
minated with candles. 

The other parts are in the usual state, stripped of nearly every in- 
scription,' and the graves empty. The earliest inscription firom this 
catacomb, of ascertained date, is of a.d. 268 or 279 ; it is dated by 

' For a full account of this catacomb, 
see the great work of Signor de Rossi, 
Roma Sotterranea, in two folio volumes, 
mentioned and referred to several times 
in this chapter. See also our Chrono- 
logical Table, A.D. 233. 

* De Rossi found both Pagan sar- 
cophagi and Pagan inscriptions in this 
catacomb, in excavations made under 

his own eyes. {Roma Sotterranea, vol. 
ii. pp. 169, 281, 290.) 

' Santi Bartoli, in his Memorie, (ap. 
Fea, Miscellanea^ p. 245), relates that 
in his time, in some excavations made 
in this catacomb, several tombs or sar- 
cophagi were found, among them one 
that was gilt (m/» stpolcro iuUo messo 


Catacombs. — S. Calixtus. 


the names of the consuls, which would apply to either of these two 
dates. One important inscription of Bishop Damasus is preserved, 
and is valuable in many ways ; it shews that the cemetery chapel, 
in which it was found, was made in his time, and the slab of 
marble on which it is engraved has a Pagan inscription on the 
back of it, evidently proving that it was used merely as a slab 
of marble, without reference to that inscription. It shews for what 
purpose some of the Pagan inscriptions found in the Catacombs 
may have been brought there*. Some of the original paintings** 
remain in the lower part of this catacomb that have not been 
restored \ and these are of the usual subjects: Daniel and the 
two lions, Moses striking the rock, the raising of Lazarus, &c. 
Some of these are probably of the fourth century, and some 
much later. Three figures of Popes, with their names to them 

• Two small and very curious tomb- 
stones, consisting of mosaic pictures said 
to have been taken from this catacomb, 
are now preserved in the sacristy of the 
church oi S. Maria in Trastevere. They 
were for some centuries in the nave, 
built into one of the piers ; but dur- 
ing the restoratums made in 1868-76, 
they were removed and built into the 
wall of the sacristy. One represents a 
landscape, with buildings in the style 
of the third century, and a harbour or 
a lake with a vessel, and fishermen drag- 
^ng in a great net, evidently intend^ 
for the miraculous draught of fishes. This 
is an extremely curious mosaic picture, 
the probable date of which is the beein- 
ning of the fourth century. The ouier 
small mosaic represents birds of vari- 
ous kinds, and b much earlier than the 
view of the harbour, perhaps as early as 
the first century, rossibiy the birds 
were ix^tended to be symbolical of the 
souls of the faithful. These are engraved 
by Ciampini in his work on Mosaics. 

** Bosio gives, on eight plates, en- 
gravings of a number of vases and lamps 
found in this catacomb, several views of 
cubiculat and upwards of seventy paint- 
ings. The same cubiects have been re- 
peated by Ferret ana Signor de Rossi. 
(See Appendix.) 

* There are still persons, both in Eng- 
land and on the Continent, who re- 
commend and practise the restorations 
of ancient buildings, paintings, and 
sculptures. Tt is evident that a work 
which has been restored becomes the 
work of the hands that restored it 
However good the copy may be, it 
is a copy still, and can never be the 

same thing as the originaL Archae- 
ologists require to see the works of 
eacA generation of man, and learn to 
distinguish one from the other by ex* 
perience and careful observation. It 
has long been very positively asserted by 
persons supposed to be well informed 
on the subject, that a ^reat part of the 
fresco paintings in this catacomb are 
modem restorations. But those who 
had the direction of the work for 
the Pope, and who must know the 
truth, assert positively that this was not 
the case, that the paintings have not 
been restored in their time, nor in that 
of their predecessor, Padre Marchi; they 
are not modem imitations, but are len 
as they were found. That several of 
them are works of the ninth century is 
extremely probable, almost certain ; 
they are probably part of the numerous 
restorations of the ropes afler the siege 
by the Lombards, when the catacombs 
were so much damaged intentionally, 
but there is no reason to suppose that 
there is any pious fraud in this case. It 
is singular that the figure of S. Cjrprian, 
an African bishop and martyr, is given 
with others as if he had beoi buried 
here, which is extremely improbable. 
He was a friend and correspondent of 
one of the bishops of Rome, who was 
also a martyr, ana this has probably led 
to the mistake. On the subject of the 
restoration of these paintings, see Mr. 
Sl John Tyrwhitt's Elssay in the Api>en- 
dix to the Chapter on Tombs in this 
work. The Tombs and the Catacombs 
should always be taken together ; every 
catacomb was a tomb, though ail tombs 
had not catacombs under them. 

VI.] Via Appia. — S. Calixtus. 89 

written vertically instead of horizontally, Cornelius, Sixtus, Marcus, 
are part of the restorations of Leo III., a.d. 855 ; the character of 
the drawing and painting, and of the inscription, agrees perfectly 
with the mosaic pictures of the eighth and ninth centuries, in the 
churches of S. Mark, a.d. 828, S. Maria in Domnica, S. Prassede, 
and S. Caecilia, all of which are dated examples of the ninth century. 

According to the legends, the chapel in which S. Stephen ^ was 
beheaded by order of the Emperor Valerian was in the catacomb of 
S. Calixtus : if so, his seat must have been a moveable piece of fur- 
niture, not cut out of the rock. The catacomb in which he had 
preached, and baptized so many persons, must have been that on the 
Via Ardeatina, where the well and the font may still be seen in 
the sand-pit road, by the side of the entrance to the Catacombs. 
There is another well, with steps down into it, for baptism by im- 
mersion, in the catacomb of S. Pontianus, on the other side of the 
Tiber, with a painting of the baptism of Christ over it ; but that 
painting is of the eighth century, made for the pilgrims, and is no 
evidence that it was in use at this period, while the one on the Via 
Ardeatina is of early date. The remains of this seat are said to have 
been translated by Paul I., a.d. 757 — 768, along with those of S. Sil- 
vester, to the new church of S. Silvestro in capite^ Via Lata^ in the 
Campus Martius, which he had just built at the foot of the Pin- 
cian Hill, and are said on an inscription there of 1596, when 
Clement VII. restored the church, to have been still deposited under 
the high altar. But the church of S. Martin and Silvester on the 
Esquiline also lays claim to them. 

This catacomb was sometimes called afler S. Lucina, S. Zephyrinus, 
S. Hippol)rtus, S. Xistus or Sixtus, S. Caecilia, S. Soter, all of whom 
are said to have been buried here in their different cubicula. 

Part of the present cemetery of S. Calixtus was at one period 
separate from it, and was called " the Cr)rpt of Lucina near to the 
cemetery of Calixtus." De Rossi has shewn by an inscription, that 
this was the tomb of the Gens Caecilia, with their family catacomb 
under it The frontage to the road was 100 fl., and the sides in the 
field were 230 ft. There are ruins of the tomb, which he thinks was 
probably Christian, and he cites Tertullian as evidence that the 
Christians had tombs and mausoleums from the first*. The great apo- 
logist here quotes Isaiah, (chap. xxvi. ver. 20,) " Come, my people, 
enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee : hide 

•^ See the Church of S. Stephen in de cellariis non aliud effertur, quam quod 

Section II. of this Chapter. infertur ; et post Antichristi eradicatio- 

*•'... et quae enim ab ira Dei celhiri- nem agitabitur resurrectio. " (Tertulliani 

orum nos refugia servabunt ? . . . Nam et Liber de Resurrectione camis, c. 27. ) 

QO Catacombs. — S. Calixtus. [sect. 

thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be over- 
past** Tertullian applies this text to the cellars or crypts provided 
for depositing the bodies, and he mentions also the embalming of the 
bodies as a custom of his time™, the beginning of the third century. 
Various inscriptions of the Gens Caecilia have been found in this crypt, 
and De Rossi says they were all Christian, although a distinctly Pagan 
sarcophagus, which is engraved in his work, and copied by Dr. North- 
cote (p. 232), was found in this crypt The crypt of Saint Caciiia 
is distinct from this, and adjoins the crypt of the Pope. The crypt 
of S. Cornelius, re-discovered by Signor de Rossi, is also now part 
of this great cemetery; it is between that of Lucina and that of 
Calixtus. Fragments of two inscriptions were found here, which 
are put together with much ingenuity, and shew that a staircase to 
this crypt had been begtm by Damasus when in his last illness, and 
finished by his successor Siridus". The painting of S. Cornelius, 
found at the same time, is part of the restoration of Leo III. 

The crypt of S. Soter now also forms part of the catacomb of 
S. Calixtus. She was buried in her own cemetery^ co&meterio suo (evi- 
dently a burial-vault in this instance), a.d. 304, and the Itineraries 
mention a separate church (or chapel) erected in her honour in the 
neighbourhood of S. Calixtus, yet distinct from it The two ceme- 
teries or crypts were distinct \ but there was a passage from one to 
the other, probably from the beginning. This crypt has not yet 
been fully excavated. 

The cemetery or cr3rpt of S. Balbina is in the same immediate 
neighbourhood ; it is placed by some of the Itineraries in the Via 
Appia, by others on the Via Ardeatina ; it is really between the two 
roads, and was probably always connected with the others by the 
subterranean roads. 

S. Soter and S. Zephyrinus are reckoned by Panvinius as distinct 

■" " Proinde enim et corpora medicate umentis sequestrantur, processura inde 
condimentis sepultura maiisoleis et mon- cum jusserit dominus. " 


** Behold I a way down has been constructed, and the darkness dispelled ; you 
see the monuments of Cornelius, and his sacred tomb. This work the zeu of 
Damasus has accomplished, sick as he is, in order that the approach might be 
better, and the aid of the saint might be made convenient for the people ; and that, 
if you will pour forth your prayers from a pure heart, Damasus may rise up in 
better health, though it has not been love of life, but care for work, that has kept 
him [here bdow].** 

VI.] Via Latina. — S. Calixtus. 91 

catacombs on the Via Appia; they are now considered part of 
S. Calixtus •. 

Via Latina. 

"The eighth is the gate of S. John, which by the ancients was called As- 

"The ninth gate is called Metrosa ; and in front of both these runs the Latin 

"The tenth is called the Latin gate and way. Near this, in one church, lie the 
martyrs Gordianus and Epimachus, Sulpicius, Servilianus, Qulntinus, Quartus, 
Sophia, Triphenus. Near this, too, in another spot, TertuUinus, and not far dis- 
tant, the church of S. Eugenia, in which she lies, and her mother Claudia, and 
pope Stephen, with nineteen of his clergy, and Nemesius the deacon'.*' 

These three roads meet, and become the Via Latina ; this road 
crosses the Via Appia Nova, and runs on the eastern side of the 
Via Appia Antiqua^ and not distant from it for the first mile or two 
from Rome. 

Fabretti, in his work on Inscriptions (c. viii.), mentions the dis- 
covery of catacombs on the Via Latina, one of which he considers 
to be that of TertuUinus, and gives a plan of it. 

On the Via Appia Nova, at the fourth mile from Rome, the 
Cavaliere Guidi found a Christian tomb, with a fine sarcophagus, on 
which was a sculpture of Jonah cast into the sea ; and in a coffin the 
remains of a body wrapped in a dress of cloth of gold, and on the 
mouth was a coin of Julian the Apostate. The sarcophagus he pre- 
sented to the Lateran Museum. 

The catacombs on the Via Latina can hardly be separated from 
those on the Via Appia. 

<* For a detailed catalogue of the sub- Bosio; Ferret, plates 15 to 34; and 
jects of the paintings in this catacomb, De Rossi, 
see the Appendix to this chapter ; ' William of Malmesbury, p. 423. 


"The seventh is called, at present, the Greater gate (Porta Maggiore), for- 
merly the Sircurina (Esquilina ?) ; and the way the Lavicanian, which leads to 
S. Helena. Near this are Peter, Marcellinus, Tyburtinus, Geminus, Goigonius, 
and the forty soldiers \ and others without number ; and a little farther the Four 

SS. Peter and Marcellinus. 

The Mausoleum of S. Helena ■ was built by herself, at the en- 
trance to this catacomb, and was intended to be not only her own 
burial-place, but the burial<hapel for the Catacombs. She died 
in Palestine in her eightieth year, and her sarcophagus must have 
been prepared for her by herself, or her daughter in her lifetime. 
There is not the least probability that Constantine, who never resided 
at Rome, would have gone to all this expense merely for a memorial 
tomb, to which he did not send the body of his mother *. 

The principal entrance to the catacomb was by this chapel, pass- 
ing through the sacristy, and then descending by forty steps to the 
level of the first corridor. Over the entrance from the sacristy 
is an inscription, recording that these steps were repaired by 
Cardinal N. Corsini in 1769. Within is one of the effigies in 
honour of the two martyrs after whom the catacomb is named. 
This is placed in a chapel on the left-hand, rebuilt in 1779, but 
shewing that there was a chapel at the entrance of the catacomb 
before the time of S. Helena. A number of inscriptions found in 
this catacomb have been preserved in various places, and printed 
by Gruter and others; some are let into the wall at the en- 
trance to the Mausoleum. From this it is evident that this was 

^ The forty soldiers suffered martyr- 
dom under Licinius, at Sebastia, in 

' So called, because for a long time 
after they had suffered martyrdom (mar- 
tyrio coron<Ui\ their names were un- 
known ; and though afterwards their 
real names were revealed to a certain 
priest, yet they still continued to retain 
their former designation. See Sharpens 
William of Malmesbury, p. 422. 

■ '* . . . Augustus Constantinus fecit 
basilicam beatissimis martyribus Marcel- 
lino presbytero et Petro exorcistae inter 
Duas LauroSy et mausoleum, ubi beatis- 
sima mater ipsius sepulta est Helena Au- 

gusta, in sarcophago porphyretico, Via 
Lavicana, milliario ab urbe Roma tertio. 
In quo loco . . . posuit dona voti sui,'* 
&c. (Anastasius ciblioth. in vita S. Sil- 
vestri, xxxiv. 44.) 

' "Her body was honoured with 
special tokens of respect, being escorted 
in its way to the imperial city by a vast 
train of guards, and there deposited in 
a royal tomb." (Eusebius, Life of Con- 
stantine, iii. 47. ) The imperial city in 
the time of Constantine was Constan- 
tinople : if the body had been sent to 
Rome, it would have been sent by sea ; 
and this tomb is not in the city, but 
three miles from it 

SECT. VII.] Via Labicana. — SS. Peter and Marcellinus. 93 

the burial-place of the foreign legion of the guard of the Emperors, 
which they always had in their character of Pontifex Maximus, 
a custom continued by the Popes to our own day *. 

This catacomb was formerly called after S. Helena, as it is in fact 
the family buiying-place under her tomb, and the entrance to it was 
as usual through the tomb itself, as we have said. In it is a chapel 
witii an altar cut out of the tufa rock, the flat roof supported by four 
detached columns, and at the opposite end an arm-chair cut out of 
the rock, of which an engraving is given by Boldetti, and by Perret '. 

S. Goigonius, S. Tiburtius, and S. Castulus, are also said to have 
been buried in this catacomb. 

It is very extensive, and four stories deep; being made in 
a harder stone than usual, the corridors are more narrow. Some 
of the original work is probably as early as the third century, but 
nothing of that period of any definite chamcter remains visible. 
A tombstone dated a.d. 292, and another of a.d. 307, were found 
in it It has been much repaired and restored in the seventh and 
eighth centuries by Honorius I., a.d. 626, and again by Hadrian I., 
A.D. 772. There are several brick walls and arches of those periods, 
some round-headed, others triangular. All the paintings are of those 
periods, chiefly the latter ; some of them are fine of their kind and 
well-preserved, others are inferior and mutilated; the. subjects are 
the usual ones '. 

In the first chapel described by Bosio, the paintings are much 
decayed; but enough remains to shew the style and the subjects. 
They are very rude, the heads coarse and vulgar-looking, but very 
expressive ; the costumes are those of the seventh century. 

Second painting: a chapel with painted vault and arohsoHum; 

^ One of these inscriptions is as fol- 
lows, and serves as an example of the 
others. The person interred was evi- 
dently a Pagan. 

D. M. 







Dils Manibus. Titus Aurelius Summus 
eques singularis Augusti Claudio Vi- 
runo natus Noricos. Vixit annos xxvii. 
militavit annos viii. Publicus iClius 
Sevenis, heres, amico optimo fieri cu- 

* S. John III. is said to have re- 

mained and dwelt in the catacomb of 
SS. Tiburtius and Valerianus, which is 
part of that of SS. Peter and Marcelli- 
nus, and to have consecrated bishops 
there. The probable explanation of 
this is that he dwelt in the great tomb 
of S. Helena, at the entrance to this 
catacomb, and consecrated in the chapel 
there. A modem church has been made 
in a small part of the tomb, which has 
no longer any roof; but the tomb itself 
was originally used as a chapel also. 

w Bosio gives a plan of this catacomb, 
and views of fourteen cubicula and three 
arco'solia and a hundred paintings, 
mostly repetitions of the same subjects. 
Several of these have been repeated in 
the great work of Perret, and by others. 
See Appendix. 

94 Catacombs. — Via Labicana, [SECT, 

the paintings are much mutilated, but can be made out. Under 
the arch is an agape, or the marriage-feast of Cana, with the urns 
or water-vases ; on the vault, in the centre, is the Good Shepherd, 
with goats and other animals ; on the sides, the history of Jonah, 
and orantes draped in surplice and stole, as usual ; two of these are 
females, one with a crown on her head and flowing locks. In one 
comer is a seat, built of brick, plastered over. 

Third painting : a burial-chapel or cubiculum^ the paintings well pre- 
served, but late. The subjects are the usual ones, from the history of 
Jonah. Under the arch an orante, with a veil, and two other figures 
addressing her, one on either side, with trees between. On the rest 
of the arch, Noah in the ark, Moses striking the rock, Adam and 
Eve, birds, and festoons of flowers ; the panels separated by broad 
red borders. On the vault, in the centre, the Good Shepherd ; on 
the sides, four subjects from the life of Jonah, four orantes. 

Fourth painting : a chapel or cubiculum, with an air-shaft or lumi- 
nare. On the vault, a large figure of Christ, with the A and O. 
Over the tomb, four figures, with the names of SS. Peter and Mar- 
cellinus, Claudius, Tiburtius. 

Fifth painting: a small cubiculum or burial-chapel, the paintings 
fairly preserved, the usual subjects. On the vault, in the centre, the 
Good Shepherd ; on the sides, four subjects from Jonah, four orantes, 
one has the name haio over her. The lines separating the panels 
are the usual broad red lines, and some of them are engrailed at the 
edges. Under the arch is a Madonna with the Child, and two Magi 
with offerings. On the wall, Moses striking the rock, Noah in the 
ark, four orantes. 

Fabretti, in his work on Inscriptions (c. viii.), mentions the finding 
of a catacomb on the Via Labicana, which he considers to be that 
of Castulus \ and gives the inscription found there. 

About half-a-mile farther down this road than the monastery of 
S. Helena, is another catacomb called after her name. It was dis- 
covered only a few years since, and there is said to be a subterranean 
passage from this to the great catacomb of SS. Peter and Marcelli- 
nus. One end of a passage or corridor going in that direction is 
visible, but how far it extends has not been ascertained. This cata- 
comb diff"ers from many others in having fine mosaic pavements, 
and a gradual descent into it, ornamented in the same manner, 
instead of stairs. It has evidently been the burial-place of some 
family of importance and wealth, and not of the poor, as so many of 

» For an account of this catacomb road, see our Chronological Table, A. D. 
of S. Castulus at the first mile on the 300. 

VIL] Via Nomentana.—S, Agnes, 95 

the others have been. It is situated in the garden of a gentleman's 
villa, and this has probably been always the case. The present 
modem villa only replaces one of the time of the early Empire. 
Many fragments of fine sculpture and terra-cotta ornaments found on 
the spot are now built into the walls of the modem buildings. The 
ground on which it was called after S. Helena seems rather doubtful ; 
but it was so considered by the antiquaries of the day at the time it 
was found, and the Pope gave it that name in accordance with their 
opinion. The style of the pavements and the ornaments agree with 
the second century rather than the time of Constantine. There are 
several pattems in the mosaic pavements, and all of them good. 
The approach by an incline, instead of stairs, is a very unusual fea- 
ture, believed to be unique in the Catacombs. Whatever sarcophagi, 
or tombstones with inscriptions, may have been there, have been all 
carried away. 

Via Nomentana. — S. Agnes. 

** The fifth is called the Numentan gate. There lies S. Nicomede, priest and 
martyr ; the way too is called by the same name. Near the road are the church 
and body of S. Agnes ; in another church, S. Ermerenciana, and the martyrs 
Alexander, Fcelix, Papias ; at the seventh stone on this road, rests the holy Pope 
Alexander, with Eventius and Theodolus ^ " 

S. Agnes is one of the great saints of the Church and the special 
patroness of purity. She suffered martyrdom at the age of thirteen, 
in the beginning of the great persecution of Diocletian, about 
A.D. 303, and is described by Pradentius, in his hymn upon her 
passion, as a model of courage and purity '. He mentions her tomb 
as within sight of Rome, and in her own house, that is, under the 
church erected in her honour. This catacomb is just beyond the 
church of the same name, about two miles from Rome ; the ori- 
ginal entrance to it was through the church, which for that reason 
is partly subterranean, having been originally a cemetery chapel. 
The earliest dated tombstone found in it is a.d. 291. Part of 
this catacomb was made by Constantia, the daughter of Constan- 
tine; it is one of the finest of Rome: the galleries are higher 
and wider, and the chapels have more architectural character than 
most of the others. The present entrance has been broken through 
in comparatively modem times; and there was another entrance 
through an arenarium or sand-pit, which remains, and in this is 

y William of Malmesbury, p. 422. Servat salutem Virgo Quiritium : 

■ ** Agnes sepulchrum est Romulea in Necnon et ipsos protegit adyenas, 

domo, Puro ac fideli pectore supplices," &c. 

Fortis puellae, martyris inclytae. (Aurel. Prudentii Peristeph. hymn. xiv. 

Conspectu in ipso condita turrium " Passio Agnetis Virginis," v. I. ) 

96 Catacombs. — 5. Agnes. [SECT. 

a square opening down to the upper gallery of the catacomb 
below, evidently for hoisting up the sand excavated in the sand- 
pit, and over it is a recess, above the line of the vault, for the 
pulley to work in. There is a great original flight of steps, or 
staircase, cut in the tufa down from the sand-pit to the catacomb, 
and there are two other flights of steps from one gallery to another. 
The material is hard tufa, but with a thin bed of Fozzolana sand 
at about 4 ft. from the ground of the corridors and citbictday through- 
out the whole catacomb, which is very extensive, and only partially 
excavated. The present entrance is by a steep flight of steps, pro- 
bably of the sixteenth century. 

This catacomb was sometimes called Cameterium majus^ also Ostri- 
anunty and " ad Nymphas S. Petri,'* " Fons S. Petri," and S. Nico- 
medes. All these names probably belong to different cubictda in the 
great cemetery. Bosio describes some parts which have not since 
been discovered. 

Signor de Rossi is of opinion that one of the two chairs of S. Peter 
was placed in one of these chambers, and was an object of pilgrim- 
age, as mentioned in the Mirahilia. Panvinius considers this as 
the earliest of the Catacombs. 

A part of this great catacomb was probably made during the per- 
secution under Julian the Apostate, a.d. 360, 363. The remem- 
brance of the great persecution at the end of the third century was 
then fresh in the memory of the people, and they were anxious to 
provide against the recurrence of another persecution of the same 
kind. Such precautions as were here taken are just such as would 
be dictated by experience and prudence. The present appearance 
of this catacomb is just as early as any of the others ; the corridors 
are rather wider and higher, but that is the only difference. 

It is in this catacomb that Bishop Liberius is said to have taken 
refuge for a time on his return from exile, during the persecution of 
Julian the Apostate. He resided with his relation Constantius, in 
order that, by his intervention, he might be brought back to the city, 
which was eventually done. The probability is that he resided with 
the Emperor Constantius II. (a Christian) in the Imperial Villa, to 
which the large building called the Hippodrome of Maxentius be- 
longed. This is close to the church and catacomb of S. Agnes, and 
he could be hidden there in case of need. It is possible that the 
whole of this passage in Anastasius * is one of the interpolations, but 

■ "Rediensautem Liberius deexsilio, per ejus interventionem, aut rogatum 
habitavit in coemeterio sanctse Agnetis rediret Liberius in civitatem. Tunc 
apud germanam Constantii, ut quasi Constantia Augusta, quae fidelis erat 

VII.] Via Nomentana* — 5. Agnes, 97 

not probable; the explanation proposed is consistent with the ac- 
count given by Liberius himself, or his successor in this Pontifical 
Register, supposing it to be genuine. 

In the year 1870 the monks of the monastery attached to the 
Church of S. Agnes excavated a small portion of this catacomb 
where it joined on to the church ; but they were not then able to 
carry on the excavations far enough to shew the connection between 
this portion and the great Catacomb, as the vault had there fallen 
in between the recent excavations and the great Catacomb, the pre- 
sent entrance to which is at some distance further down the road. 
They had the good sense to leave everything exactly as they found 
it, with the graves unopened. The face of each loculus (or grave 
cut in the rock) is covered by either tiles or marble slabs, fragments 
of earlier tombstones. The inscriptions are sometimes painted on 
the tiles, sometimes scratched on them, and in the case of marble 
generally rudely cut. One is in mosaic letters, the only one in the 
Catacombs ; the character of the letters is of the fourth century. In 
this small branch of the Catacomb a tombstone, with a Pagan in- 
scription, remained on the floor standing against the wall, the back 
of the slab left rough with the plaster on the edges, evidently for 
fixing it against the wall. According to the theory of the Roman 
Church, this was merely brought down into the Catacomb for the 
purpose of being there polished and engraved on the reverse, now 
rough, then cut up and fixed across the openings of loculi. This 
theory appears very improbable : the Catacombs were not likely to 
be used as stonemasons' yards, even in the times of persecution, and 
at other times there would be no need for it 

The excavations were continued to a much greater extent in 187 1 ; 
but the good monks soon arrived at a part of the Catacomb that had 
been thoroughly rifled, as is usual in the other Catacombs, and here 
they found the name of bosio written on the wall, which shews the 
period when much of the rifling of the Catacombs took place. The 
part first opened was just as it was left in the ninth century, after 
the restoration by the Popes. 

On the grand staircase leading down into the church of S. Agnes, 
the walls are covered with the remains of old tombstones and frag- 
ments of carved sarcophagi, some of which give the dates by the 
names of the consuls, and some are of distinctly Pagan character. 

Domino Jesn Christi, voluit rogare Con- quia senserat consilium doli." — Anast., 
stantium Augustum germanum suum, c. xxxvii. p. 30. 


98 Catacombs. — 5. Agnes, [SECT. 

One of the sculptures is of a fawn, with other figures, and one of 
the inscriptions begins with the usual d. m. for Diis Manibus. 

The six painted chambers described and published by Bosio, and by 
others after him, remain unaltered ; but the paintings are much da- 
maged, and this has evidently been done wilfiiUy in some cases. 
Others are very black, probably from the use of torches to shew them 
in former times, as at S. Priscilla and others ; at present, in all cases, 
wax tapers only are used. The paintings are chiefly of the fourth 
and fifth centuries, and some appear to be by the same hand as 
some of those in S. Priscilla. 

1. The first cemetery chapel from the present entrance has evi- 
dently been made for a school-room : there are two seats for the 
teachers, resembling two plain arm-chairs, one on each side of the 
door, and a bench for the children, all cut out of the tufo rock. 
The chamber is about 8 ft. square, with a quadripartite groined 
vault ; and there are locuH for bodies, or graves in the walls, as usual. 
It may have been painted ; but if so, the plaster and painting has all 
fallen off. Many parts of this catacomb are very damp, as is seen 
by the stalactite upon the vault and walls, and this would account 
for the falling off of the plaster. 

2. The second cemetery chapel, appears to be quite plain ; it seems 
to be small also, but is only excavated to a short distance firom the 
door. It is passed over by Bosio altogether; probably the door- 
way to it had not been observed in his time. 

3. The third chapel is painted; this is the first on the list of 
Bosio, who calls the school-room " Cubiculum in aditu Coemeterii." 
This chapel is small, and has been richly painted, but the painting 
is not early. The principal subject is an agape or marriage-feast, 
or funeral-supper. Seven persons are seated round a semicircular 
or lunette table, with the triclinium or cushion to lean upon between 
them and the table ; in front of the table, in the hollow space in 
the centre, are seven water-pots, probably the vases for the water 
turned into wine. This painting is now much mutilated, but the 
design is given by Bosio. On the vault is the Good Shepherd, and 
on the side Daniel and the lions. The panels are divided by broad 
bands, with festooned edges like ingrailed work of later times, and 
there are remains of four orantes on the angles of the groined vault, 
draped in white surplices with black stoles or borders. 

4. The fourth cemetery chapel is small, and also richly painted 
with the usual subjects, but late, with festoons of flowers and baskets 
of fruit, birds, and other ornaments. 

VII.] Via Nomentana. — 5. Agnes. 99 

5. The fifth cemetery chapel (the third of Bosio **) is also richly 
painted with many of the usual subjects : the ten Virgins with 
their lamps ; the three Children in the furnace, in a remarkable cos- 
tume, in trousers, with stripes, continued over the shoulders. 

In the work of Father Garrucd (plate ix. fig. 6) is the foot of a glass 
vase from this catacomb, with three figures and two scrolls or rolls of 
parchment between them. Over the head of the central figure, 
a female, is the name maria, by the side of the right-hand figure 
PETRVs, and on the left pavlvs. The costumes, the attitudes, the 
style of art, and the form of the letters, seem to agree with the fifth 
century. Maria is holding out her hands to the two Apostles, who 
are addressing her j but neither of these three figures is in the atti- 
tude of prayer or adoration. On another vase on the same plate, 
Maria is represented more decidedly in the attitude of prayer, be- 
tween the same two Apostles ; and in this they are also addressing 
her, but not praying to her, and each has his roll or volume of 
Epistles in his hand. On several other vases Maria is standing 
alone in the attitude of prayer; in one between two trees, with 
tongues of flame ; in another with a bird speaking in each ear \ in 
another two rolls or volumes (the Old and New Testaments?), and 
in each case she stands between two trees. In each case Maria 
has the well-known badge of servitude over her shoulders, in other 
respects the costumes are different, but all agreeing with the period 
after the fourth century rather than before it, as does the style of 
drawing. Maria seems to be symbolical of the Christian Church. 

Another vase from this catacomb is engraved in Garrucci's work 
(plate xlii. fig. 2) ; it was found here in 1698, and engraved in the 
work of Buonarroti (p. 216). It represents the usual personifi- 
cations of the earth and water, or Neptune in the arms of Amphi- 
trite, with the usual genii and other attributes ; the legend round the 
margin of the picture is rib . vivas . valeas . vincas, and round the 
border of a crown, carried by one of the genii, is the Greek word 
KAnEe. This seems to admit of no other interpretation than a 
Pagan one. The character of the art is of the third century. Another 
vase, said to have been found in this catacomb, and engraved in 
Aringhi, vol. i. p. 508, and in Garrucci, plate xli. fig. 2, is of Pagan 
character, but this is pronoimced by Garrucci to be spurious. 

^ For more full particulars of the tents of Bosio, Roma Sotterranea, p. 

paintings in this catacomb, see the 441 to 475, and Ferret, Catacombes 

Appendix to this chapter, in the con- de Rome, vol. ii., p. i to 54. 

H 2 


Catacombs. — S, Cyriaca, 


S. Alexander'. 

The catacomb of S. Alexander was discovered in 1855 by ac- 
cident, and excavated by Ch. Guidi. It is situated on the Via 
Nomentana, at seven miles from Rome, by the side of the ruins 
of the church through which is the entrance to it. 

S. Alexander is said by Oldoini the Jesuit, in his additions to 
Ciaconius, to have been the son of Victoria, and a pupil of Pliny 
the Younger and Plutarch, and to have received martyrdom by 
being chained to the ground. His relics were translated from this 
catacomb to Lucca by Alexander II., in 1070, and deposited under 
the high altar there, together with the chair with which he was 
buried, as stated on an inscription. The possession of his relics 
is however claimed also by several other churches. They are said 
to have been given by Leo III. to Charlemagne, and deposited at 
Saint-Denis, near Paris. The churches of S. Sabina on the Aventine, 
and S. Lorenzo in Lucina, also lay claim to them, and have inscrip- 
tions to that effect, the latter dated in 1196. 

Three letters of this saint are extant, besides his decrees, which 
are considered important According to some modem authors, he 
took refuge in the Catacombs during the persecution, but there 
is no early evidence of this. 

SS. Primus, Felicianus, and Maximianus **. 

The catacomb of SS. Primus, Felicianus, and Maximianus (who 
were martyrs in the great persecution under Diocletian, a.d. 303), 
is situated on the Via Nomentana at the fourteenth mile from Rome, 
in the district called Ad Arcus Nomentanos, There is a small church 
over the entrance to it about a mile from Mentana, on the field of 
battle in 1867 between the Garibaldians on one side, and the Pon- 
tifical army supported by the French on the others These saints 
and mart>TS are commemorated on the fifth of June in the Roman 
Martyrology. This catacomb was originally a sand-pit, and the 
bodies of the martyrs, or the relics of them, were carried by Pope 

« See the Church of S. Alexander in 
section xii. 

* **Corpus beatissimi Alexandri primi 
Pont Max. martyno coronati una cum 
catena qua vinctus custodiehatur, ab 
Alexandra secundo in ara hujus templi 
sublerranea conditum debita cum reve- 
rcntia fuit in hoc altare translatum cu- 

lantc nobili viro Joanne Amolphinio 
aedi." (Inscription.) 

• F. Gori (Dal Ponte Salario di Roma 
a Fidenc, &c., Roma, 1863, i2mo., pp. 
74. 75) says that the catacomb of S. 
Restitutus is also visible near Monte Ro- 
tondo, at the sixteenth mile on the Via 
Nomentana. SeeAringhi, lib.iitcap. 19. 

VII.] Via Tiburtina, — S. Cyriaca. loi 

Theodoras I., a.d. 686, to the church of S. Stefano Rotondo on the 

Via Tiburtina. 

*' The sixth is the Tiburtine gate and way, which is now called S. Lawrence's ; 
near this way lies S. Lawrence in his church, and Habundius the martyr; and 
near this, in another church, rest these martyrs, Ciriaca, Romanus, Justinus, Cres- 
centianus ; and not far from hence the church of S. Hippolytus, where he himself 
rests, and his £%mily, eighteen in number ; there too repose S. Trifonia, the wife 
of Decius, and his daughter Cirilla, and her nurse Concordia. And in another 
port of this way, is the church of Agapitus the martyr'." 

S. Cyriaca and S. Lorenzo. 

In the Pontifical Register of S. Silvester, a.d. 320, given in An- 
astasius », it is recorded that the church of S. Laurentius, martyr 
(S. Lorenzo, f.m.), was built upon the sand-pit crypt, with steps to 
descend into it, and ascend from it As the apse is mentioned im- 
mediately afterwards, there can be no doubt that the high altar was 
placed over this sand-pit, which must also have been the burial-place 
of the martyr. The custom of having under the altar a crypt called 
a confessioy with descending and ascending steps, which was so gene- 
rally followed in the Middle Ages, probably had its origin in this 
manner, by building the altar over the sand-pit crypt in which the 
martyr had been buried. 

S. Cyriaca is said to have been a lady of noble family and high 
rank, and to have been made a martyr under the Emperor Valerian •*. 
She is said to have lived on the Coelian, and the church of S. Maria 
Donmica to have been originally in the hall of her house. Her cata- 
comb (which was probably made on one of her &rms) is adjoining 
to the church and monastery and burial-ground of S. Lorenzo fuori 
delle mura, and was one of the most celebrated catacombs or ceme- 
teries. It was discovered, or rather re-discovered, by Bosio, in 1593, 
and he has published a number of inscriptions from tombstones found 
in it, but no paintings. Of these inscriptions some have the dates 
of A.D. 295, 296, 297, 298, 301, and one is dated by the name of 
the consul Phocas, as late as a.d. 604. 

' Will. Malmesb. Gesta Angl., vol. ii. que ad corpus B. Laurentii martyris, in 

p. 541. The catacomb of S. Cyriaca (^ua fecit gradum ascensionis et descen- 

IS called by Panvinius also Crypta Ti- sionis. In quo loco construxit absi- 

burtina. dam." (Anastasius, 43.) 

» ** Eodem tempore Constantinus •* Her legend is given in the Roman 

Augustus fecit basilicam beato Lau- Martyrology, on the 12th of September, 

rentio mart3rri, via Tiburtina in agrum and in the Acta Martyrum. 
Veranum supra Arenarium cryptse et us- 

I02 Catacombs, — 5. Cyriaca. [SECT, 

S. Laurentius, or Lorenzo, is one of the great saints of the Churchy 
whose praise has been recounted in all ages. He is said to have 
been a Spaniard, and to have been a martyr in the persecution 
under Valerian, a.d. 258. Prudentius has a hymn on his passion', 
which relates all that is really known about him, the acts of his 
martyrdom being of late compilation and of no authority. He was 
ordained deacon by S. Xystus, and called his archdeacon, though 
very young. He is mentioned by nearly all the fathers of the fourth 
century, and the great church over his tomb was originally built in 
the time of Constantine, although it has been rebuilt. It was one 
of the five great Basilicas or Cathedrals of Rome endowed by 
that emperor, who established the first Deans and Chapters in these 
cathedrals, and divided the Imperial estates in the Campagna of Rome 
among them. He is said to have been buried in this catacomb by 
S. Justin the priest, with other martyrs, Claudius, a sub-deacon, Seve- 
rus, a priest, Crescentius, a reader (Uctor\ and Romanus, a porter. 
The bodies of S. Irenaeus and Abundius are also reported to have been 
saved from the cloaca into which they had been thrown, and buried 
in this catacomb also by Justin, near to the body of S. Laurence. 
The remains of S. Triphonia, wife of the Emperor Decius, and her 
daughter Cyrilla, who were made martyrs on the fifth of November, 
were also buried here by Justin, with those of several other saints 
and martyrs. S. Justin himself was sacrificed on the first of August, 
and deposited in this catacomb. Three bishops or popes were also 
interred here, Zosimus, Sixtus III., and Hilary''. 

The entrance to this catacomb was originally firom the church of 
S. Lorenzo fuori deUe mura, which had been built over the original 
small chapel at the entrance, and the memory of this was preserved 
by a chapel in the aisle to the left of the altar, or north side, called 
the " Chapel of the Souls of the Saints" (Cappella delU anitne sanic\ 
as recorded by an inscription in gold on the screen \ On the side 
of the steps, are sculptures to represent the taking of souls out of 
purgatory. The altar of the chapel is placed under a baldachino or 
canopy, supported by two separate shafts, and on it is a sculpture 
of the body of Christ as dead. These belong to the decorations in 

* Prudentii Peristeph. hymn, ii ex coemeterio s". ciriacae ma- 

^ The conslniction and present state tronae 

of this catacomb has been partly de- vbi sacrvm si qvis fecerit pro 

scribed in the third section of this defvnctis 

chapter. eorvm animas e pvrgatoriis poenis 


VII.] Via Tiburtina. — 5. Cyriaca. 103 

marble, executed by the Canons in 1677. The door has been walled 
up since 1821, and a grating is placed to look into the catacomb, 
or rather from the catacomb into the church. At the foot of the 
steps is another semi-circular chapel, in which are an altar of white 
marble and three antique busts in alto-relievo, with the names of 


This catacomb is very extensive, but very plain, and not very 
interesting. The corridors are about half-a-mile long, and there are 
three stories but only partially excavated and quite plain, no paintings 
and no cubicula being in the parts that are accessible. In some of the 
corridors the loculi or graves cut in the rock have not been opened ; 
the bones remain in them, and the tiles with which the mouth of 
each grave is closed have not been moved. The rock is unusually 
hard for the purpose: consequently the corridors or passages, or 
streets as they are sometimes called, are very narrow, and not lofty, 
some being not more than 5 ft. high at the present time ; but this is 
probably because the earth has not been entirely cleared away in 
the foot-paths. There is one doorway with the arch closed with 
a piece of marble, in which is the monogram of Christ, with the 
A and Qy marking the fourth century ; but this is probably an altera- 
tion or filling up of the doorway at the end of one of the passages. 
The work itself appears to be early. It is entirely cut out of the 
hard rock as tunnels ; in one place only, as far as could be seen, is 
there any repair with bricks. The entrance is about a quarter of 
a mile from the church, and at the other end of the corridor is 
the grating opening into the church. There were cubicula or painted 
vaults on one side, until about the year 1 860, when they were cut 
away with a part of the rock itself and some of the corridors, to 
enlarge the great public cemetery of S. Lorenzo. At the present 
time one side of several of the corridors, and two of the cubicula^ 
have been cut away ; so that we have an actual section of this cata- 
comb, not merely an imaginary one made by an artist. We see 
how the passages go up and down, and in various directions, ac- 
cording to the hardness or softness of the rock in which the fossores 
or grave-diggers had to work. 

Three inscriptions, given by Bosio and Aringhi, shew that this 
catacomb was in use in the fourth, fifth, and seventh centuries, by 
the names of the consuls " upon them. The relics of S. Cyriaca (or 






Catacombs. — S, Hippolytus* 


Doninica), the holy widow, who had been originally the proprietor 
of this cemetery, and interred here, were translated from the cata- 
comb to the church of S. Martino in Monte, by Sergius II., a.d. 844. 


The catacomb of S. Hippolytus is distinct from that of S. Cyriaca", 
although it has often been treated as part of the same. It is very 
large, the entrance is in the vineyard of Monsignor Gori on the left 
of the Via Tiburtina, near the church of S. Lorenzo fuori delle mura. 
There S. Hippolytus was buried by S. Justin the priest; a tombstone 
of A.D. 290 was found in it ; and at the entrance are remains of the 
church of S. Stephen, a Roman martyr ®. In this catacomb was 
this inscription : refr[i]geri tibi domnvs ipolitvs bid. 

S. Hippolytus is said to have been a martyr in the persecution of 
Gallus, A.D. 252, and to have been torn to pieces by wild horses at 
Ostia. Prudentius has a hymn on his passion, which contains an 







(A.D. 400.) 
.... OCAE III cos 

This fxagment relates to the third con- 
sulate of Phocas, A D. 6ia 

Another inscription on a tombstone 
begins thus : in CRYPTA noba, or tuwa^ 
a 'new' crypt. 






In the Kircherian Museum a palim- 
psest inscription is preserved, mentioned 
by Ficoroni as found in this catacomb. 
One side is Pagan, the other Christian, 
evidently one of the instances of an old 
marble plate being used again. 

D. M. 









* F. Gori, della Porta e Basilica di 
S. Lorenzo, delle Catacombe di S. Ci- 
riaca, della Basilica di S. Stefono mar- 
tire Romano, delle Catacombe di S. 
Ippolito soldato e ad Nymphas, e del 
Camposanto di Roma. Roma, 1862. 
"Talibus Hippol}rti corpus mandatur 

Propter ubi apposita est ara dicata 
lUa Sacramenti donatrix mensa, eadem- 

Custos fida sui Martyris apposita. 
Servat ad setemi spem judicis ossa 
sepulchro ; 

Pascit item Sanctis Tibricolas da- 
(Aurel. Prudentius, Peristeph. hymn. 

xi. V. 169.) 

For more full particulars of the paint- 
ings in the catacomb of S. Cyriaca, see 
the Appendix to this chapter, Bosio, 
lib. iil c. 41, p. 405 to 413 ; and Perret, 
37 to 48. 

^ ''(Adrianus Papa I.) simul et 
coemeterium beati Hippolyti juxta sanc- 
tum Laurentium, quae a priscis mar- 
cuerant temporibus, a novo renovavit : 
pari modo et ecclesiam beati Christi 
martyris Stephani, sitam juxta praedic- 
tum coemeterium' sancti Hippolyti, si- 
militer restauravit." (Anastas. Biblioth. 
inS. Adr., 97.) 

"VII.] Via Tiburtina. — S. Hippolytus ad Nymphas. loS 

admirable description of a catacomb ; it has been thus translated by 
Dr. Northcote : — 

"Not far firom the city walls, among the well-trimmed orchards, there lies 
a crypt buried in darksome pits. Into its secret recesses a steep path with 
winding stairs directs one, even though the turnings shut out the light The 
light of day, indeed, comes in through the doorway as far as the surface of the 
opening, and illuminates the threshold of the portico ; and when, as you advance 
further, the darkness as of night seems to get more and more obscure throughout 
the mazes of the cavern, there occur at intervals apertures cut in the roof which 
convey the bright rays of the sun upon the cave. Although the recesses, twisting 
at random this way and that, form narrow chambers with darksome galleries, yet 
a considerable quantity of light finds its way through the pierced vaulting down 
into the hollow bowels of the mountain. And thus throughout the subterranean 
crypt it is possible to perceive the brightness and enjoy the light of the absent 
sun. To such secret places is the body of Hippolytus conveyed, near to the spot 
where now stands the altar dedicated to God. That same altar-slab {mensci) gives 
the sacrament, and is the fiiithful guardian of its martyr's bones, which it keeps 
laid up there in expectation of the eternal Judge, while it feeds the dwellers of 
the Tiber with holy food. Wondrous is the sanctity of the place ! the altar is at 
hand for those who pray, and it assists the hopes of men by mercifully granting 
what they need. Here have I, when sick with ills both of soul and body, often- 
times prostrated myself in prayer and foimd relief. Yes, O glorious priest 1 I will 
tell with what joy I return to enjoy the privilege of embracing thee, and that I 
know that I owe all this to Hippolytus, to whom Christ, our God, has granted 
power to obtain what any one asks of him. That little chapel {tedicula) which 
contains the cast-off garments of his soul [his relics] is bright with solid silver. 
Wealthy hands have put up tablets glistening with a smooth surface [of silver], 
bright as a concave mirror ; and, not content with overla3ring the entrance with 
Parian marble, they have lavished large sums of money on the ornamentation of 
the work." 

He goes on to describe the pilgrimages to the shrine, and with 
somewhat of poetic licence continues : — 

'' Early in the morning they come to salute [the saint] ; all the youth of the 
place worship there, they come and go until the setting of the sun. Love of reli- 
gion collects together into one dense crowd both Latins and foreigners ; they 
imprint their kisses on the shining silver ; they pour out their sweet balsams ; they 
hedew their faces with tears.'' 

His description of the scene on the festa of this mart3nr, his dies 
nataliSy reminds one forcibly of the way in which the modem 
Romans stream out to San Lorenzo, or to San VzxAo/uori delle mura^ 
or to any other of the old churches, when a festival or a station is 
held there : — 

"The imperial city vomits forth her stream of Romans, and the plebeian crowd, 
animated by one and the same desire, jostle on equal terms their patrician neigh- 
bours, faith hurrying them forward to the shrine. Albano's gates, too, send forth 

io6 Catacombs. — Via Tiburttna, [SECT. 

their white-robed hosts in a long-drawn line. The noise on the various roads on 
all sides waxes loud ; the native of the Abruzzi and the Etruscan peasant come, 
the fierce Samnite, the countryman of lofty Capua and of Nola is there ; each 
with his wife and children delights to hasten on his road. The broad fields 
scarcely suffice to contain the joyful people, and even where the space is wide, the 
crowd is so great as to cause delay. No doubt, then, that that cavern, wide 
though its mouth be stretched, is too narrow for such crowds ; but hard by is 
another church {templum)^ enriched with royal magnificence, which this great 
gathering may visit p. " 

The church of S. Lorenzo seems to be the one described. This 
is very near to the catacomb of S. Hippolytus, and the expression 
used is, " near to this is another church so much frequented." There 
are remains of another church or chapel over the entrance to S. Hip- 
polytus, but it could not have been of the rich character of the one 
here described, with columns and rich ceilings, and steps up to the 
front. These steps are indication that the deep foss-way in front of 
S. Lorenzo has been filled up. 

There is considerable doubt or confusion respecting the history of 
this saint and martyr ; it appears certain that there were two or three 
persons of the same name, who are not well distinguished one from 
the other by early authors : consequently it is doubtful of what country 
he was a native, and of what place he was bishop. Still he is men- 
tioned by S. Jerome, and several of his writings are extant, if this is 
the same S. Hippolytus. The most probable account is that he was 
a Greek, and was Bishop of Porto ; but some say he was a native of 
Gaul, and Bishop of Ostia. S. Jerome says that he was a bishop, 
but that he did not know of what city. There is a very curious early 
Christian statue of this author, who probably was also the martyr, 
which is now placed in the museum of Christian Antiquities at the 
Lateran. The head is that of a modem ecclesiastic, but the figure 
is ancient. The saint is seated on a marble chair, and on the 
back of it are two Greek inscriptions incised, one a catalogue of 
his works, but incomplete, as it was made in his lifetime ; the other 
a calendar and cycle, which shews that it was made in the time of 
the Emperor Alexander Severus. This statue was found in 155 1, 
" outside of the walls of Rome, near the church of S. Lorenzo," 
therefore probably on the site of, or in his catacomb. It has given 
rise to much discussion, and several works or essays have been written 
upon if*. This statue is conjectured, with some probability, to have 

p The description of the crowd of "J S. Hippolyti, episcopi et martyris, 

people might apply almost equally well Opera, &c., cur. Jo. Alb. Fabricio. 

at the present day, when the catacomb Hambuigi, 17 16- 18, 2 vols. fol. 

of S. Calixtus is lighted ,up for the Kimmel de Hippolyti vita et Scriptis. 

modem pilgrims. * 8vo. Jenaj, 1839. 

VII.] Via Tiburtina, — 5. Hippolytus ad Nymphas. 107 

been made at the expense of the wife of Alexander Severus, 
Mammea, who was a Christian. 

The body of S. Stephen ', the first martyr, is also said to have hem 
translated from Constantinople to this catacomb, on the seventh of 
May, A.D. 557. 

It was also called after S. Maximus ; and there was a church at 
the entrance to it dedicated to S. Hilary. The crypts of S. Chrys- 
anthus and S. Daria are also mentioned as in this cemetery, which 
was also called the cemetery of Novella ; at least this was on the 
same road, whether the same cemetery or not is uncertain. 

In the Index Oleorum, the catacomb of S. Syxtus, or Systus, is 
also placed on this road. In the Saltzburg Itinerary, it is Agapetus, 
m. and deacon of S. Syxtus, as already given from William of Malmes- 
bury. This latter is probably correct ; that of S. Systus was on the 
Via Appia. 

Bianchini, de Calendario et Cyclo 
Caesareo ac de paschale canone S. Hip- 
polyti Martyris, etc Folio. Romse, 


Vignolii, de Anno primo imperii Se- 
ven Alexandrini Aug. quern praeferit 
cathedra marmorea S. Hippolyti. 4to. 
Romx, 1 71 2. 

Notes historiques, biogiaphiques, 
archeologiques et litt^raires concer- 
nant les premiers siMes Chretiens par 
J. G. H. Greppo. 8vo. Lyon, 1S41. 
(These Notes were written for the 
CEuvres choisies de S. Jerome. 8 vols. 
8vo. Lyon, 1841. Only a few copies 
of the Notes were printed separately ; 
they contain a great deal of valuable 

Ch. Car. Josias Bunsen, Hippolytus 
and his Age ; or the Doctrine and Prac- 
tice of the Church of Rome under Com- 
modus and Alexander Severus, &c. 
London, 1852, 4 vols. i2mo. A second 
edition, enlarged, appeared in 1854, 
7 vols. i2mo. ; and a German translation 
of the first edition was printed at Leip- 
zig in 1852-3, 2 vols. 8vo. 

' Persons not acquainted with the 
legends of the Roman martyrs have 
frequently never heard of any other 
S. Stephen than the Proto-martyr ; but 
the name of Stephen was always a 
common one, ana it is perfectly clear 
that the S. Stephen of the Roman 
Church was S. Stephen the Deacon, 
one of the mart3rrs in the Persecution 
under the Emperors Valerian and Gal- 
lienus, towards the end of the third 

century, along with S. Sixtus, who 
was csdled Bishop of Rome at that 
time, and Pope. The words of the 
Pontifical Registers of Sixtus II., used 
by Anastasius, the Pontifical librarian, 
in the ninth century, are quite conclusive 
on this point: — ** Eodem tempore hie 

(Sixtus II. , A. D. 259] comprehensus a Va- 
eriano, et ductus ut sacrificaret daemo- 
niis, quia contempsit prsecepta Valeri- 
ani, capite truncatus est, et cum eo alii 
sex diaconi, Foelicissimus et Agapitus, 
Januarius et Magnus, Vincentius et Ste- 
phanus, sub die sexto Idus Augusti.'* 
(Anast. Bibl., 26.) In the Register of 
Bishop Simplicius [A.D. 480] it is also 
stated that he dedicated a church to this 
S. Stephen, near that of S. Lorenzo or 
Laurentius, which is no doubt the one 
of which we have the remains, "Hie 
dedicavit aliam basilicam sancti Stephani 
juxta basilicam sancti Laurentii." 

S. Stephen, Abbot of Rieti, in Italy, 
is also commemorated in the Roman 
Martyrology on Feb. 13, and he is 
mentioned by S. Gregory. 

In the trial of S. Cyprian by the Pro- 
consul Patemus, that magistrate re- 
ferred to the above precepts in these 
terms : — ** Praeceperunt etiam (Valeri- 
anus et Gallienus) ne in aliquibus 
locis conciliabula fiant, nee coemeteria 
ingrediantur. Si quis itaque hoc tam 
salubre pneceptum non observaverit, 
capite plectetur." (Acta Proconsularia, 
ap. Bolland. Acta Sanctorum Septem- 
bris, tom. iv. p. 332, col. 2, F, ) 



"The second is the Flaminian gate, which is now called the gate of S. Valen- 
tine, and the Flaminian way, and when it arrives at the Milvian bridge, it takes 
the name of the Ravennanian way, because it leads to Ravenna ; and there, at the 
first stone without the gate, S.Valentine rests in his church *." 

"The fourth is the Salarian gate and way, now called S. Silvester's. Here, 
near the road, lie S. Hermes and S. Vasella, and Prothus and Jacinctus, Maxi- 
lian, Herculanus, Crispus ; and in another place, hard by, rest the holy mart3rTS 
Pamphilus and Quirinus, seventy steps beneath the surface. Next is the church 
of S. Felicitas, where she rests, and Silanus, her son ; and not far distant, Boni- 
face the martyr. In another church there are Crisantus and Daria, and Satuminus 
and Maurus, and Jason, and their mother Hilaria, and others innumerable. And 
in another church, S. Alexander, Vitalis, Martialis, sons of S. Felicitas ; and 
seven holy virgins, Satumina, Hilarina, Duranda, Rogantina, Serotina, Paulina, 
Donata. Next the church of S. Silvester, where he lies under a marble tomb ; 
and the martyrs, Celestinus, Philippus, and Foelix ; and there, too, the three hun- 
dred and sixty-five martyrs rest in one sepulchre ; and, near them lie Paulus and 
Crescentianus, Prisca and Semetrius, Praxides, Potentiana*." 

On the Via Flaminia, at a little more than a mile from the gate, 
are the catacombs of S.Valentine. They are on the right of the 
road in going from the Porta del Popolo towards the Ponte Mallo, 
in a vineyard belonging to the Monastery of S. Augustine. 

This is mentioned in the Saltzburg Itinerary, with a notice also 
of a large church or chapel, repaired by Honorius ; and other martyrs 
were buried there ^ In the Wurtzburg Epitome it is also mentioned, 
and the church is said to be marvellously ornamented ' ; but neither 
the catacomb nor the church are mentioned by Anastasius. 

This road is noted as having been made illustrious by the number 
of glorious martyrdoms that have taken place upon it Many of their 
bodies were thrown into the Tiber, and their names do not appear 
to be those of any very celebrated persons. Getulius, and his com- 

■ This old road turns off to the left 
from the Via Pinciana, which is outside 
of the Porta Pinciana, at the Clivus del 
Leoncino, and again to the left at the 
Tre Madonne. The Via Salaria Nova 
is considerably to the right of this. 

* William of Malmesbury, p. 42 1. 

* See Will. Malmesb., quarta porta, 
in the Appendix to this chapter. 

* ** Ubi S. Valeiitinus martyr quiescit 
via Flaminia in basilica quam Honorius 
reparavit, et alii martyres in aquilino 
plaga sub terra.'* (Itin. Salisb., ap. De 
Rossi, vol. i. p. 176.) 

y ** Juxta viam Flaminiam apparet ec- 
clesia mirifice omata S. Valentini m. 
Epitome Wirtzbui^g. (Ibid.) 


SECT. VIII.] Via Salaria Vecchia, — 5. Hermes, 1 09 

panions Cerealis; Amantius and Primitivus, are commemorated in 
the Roman Martyrology in the month of June. Getulius is said to 
have been burnt on this road, thirteen miles from the city, and his 
remains collected by his widow, S3m[iphorosa, who buried them in 
a sand-pit on Iter property \ This is related to have been under the 
Emperor Valerian (a.d. 253). The road is called Via Pincia in the 
Einsiedlen Itinerary, and the following places of pilgrimage on 
this road in the eighth century are recorded, — SS. Pamphilus, Ba- 
silissa, Protus, Hyacinthus, Hermes, "where the Lord gave sight 
to the blind" 

Both the Via Salaria Vecchia and the Via Salaria Nova, are a little 
to the east of the Via Flaminia, and of the Tiber, before arriving at 
the junction with the river Anio. 

S. Hermes. 

The catacomb of S. Hermes is situated at about half-a-mile from 
the Porta del Popolo on the Via Salaria Vecchia, high up on the 
hill called Monti Parioli. At the entrance to this catacomb is 
a large and lofty chapel, called the Chapel of Basilla, with a /umi- 
nare at the top, in front of the apse ; the nave, or body of the 
chapel, is of three bays, with arches rebuilt, and the apse of the fourth 
century. From this we descend into the catacomb, made in a very 
bad soil, much worse than any of the others, a soft dark-coloured 
tufa; it is in a very bad state of repair, and bears all the marks 
of having always been used by the poor chiefly. The vaults of the 
tufa rock are supported in many places by brick walls of very bad 
construction, some of the fourth century, others of the fifth. In 
one place is a very wide low arch of the fourth, by the side of 
a corridor, with a transverse wall carried across the middle of it, 
supporting the entrance to another corridor, and this is covered for 
a short distance, a few feet only, with a triangular vault formed of 
two tiles meeting at the angular point On one of them is a stamp, 
the letters of which may be distinguished, "Oflicpum] Domus . . ibus." 
This work looks like the sixth century. 

There are no crypts or burial chapels {cubiculd) in this catacomb, 
and only a few arco-soiia, or tombs with recessed arches over them, on 
which the paintings are usually found. There, are, however, a few 
of these, and one very remarkable one, with remains of a mosaic 
picture, the only one now remaining in the Catacombs. Many of the 

* "Cujus corpus colligens Sympho- arenario pnedii sui." (Aringhi, Kotfta 
rosa, oxor ejus, honorifice sepelivit in Subterranean lib. iii. c. 32.) 

I lo Catacombs. — 5. Hermes, [SECT. 

tombs have straight horizontal brick arches over them of the fourth 
and fifth centuries ; but in the lowest corridor in which there are 
three, the rock is harder, and the brick walls and arches were not 
required and not used. The lowest corridor is in the best state and 
the most interesting ; the upper one is almost dangerous, and the 
corridor is often not more than five feet high, in a few places even 
less. In the lowest corridor several of the tombs have the impres- 
sion of a round seal or stamp on the plaster, and some have a dif- 
ferent rude mark, as the mark of the/ossores, or grave-diggers. Some 
have the impression of an ivory ring, one has a fragment of one of 
the rings left in the plaster, another a fragment of a small round 
ivory tetotum or counter, and another the impression of an eggy 
with a part of the egg-shell still attached to the plaster. In the 
church and in the upper corridor are several marble slabs with Pagan 
inscriptions, with the plaster on the edges and at the back, shewing 
that they have not been used a second time, but intended to be 
placed against the wall in this catacomb. 

An arca-soiium, or arched tomb, in the second corridor, has some 
small and curious paintings of very rude character, probably of the 
sixth or seventh century ; round the edge of the arch are very small 
figures of Christ and the twelve Apostles, all seated in chairs, the 
faces without beards and without the nimbus, and some of the faces 
very ugly. On the soffit of the arch are trees with birds on the 
branches and houses under them, two red and two black, one of 
each on either side ; those on the left continuous, those on the right 
dividing at a brook which proceeds from a cascade. On the wall 
of the tomb is the Good Shepherd, but much mutilated ; the head, 
however, is preserved. On another arco-solium are three figures on 
the wall at the back : the central one is Christ seated on a throne, 
with steps to ascend to it, holding out each hand to an Apostle, who 
holds a scroll or book ; all three are dressed in surplices with the 
black border, and have the nimbus over their heads. On the soffit 
of the arch on the right are the three Children in the fiimace, on 
the left Daniel and the lions. 

The most remarkable feature in this catacomb is the mosaic 
picture, or rather the fragment of one, for a portion only remains of 
one which has been of considerable size. The work is of very rude 
character in drawing, and barbarous execution, not very early, pro- 
bably of the sixth century. It is on the soffit of the arch of an arco- 
soliumy with the wall behind it On the right is Daniel and the lions, 
in a small square panel, under one arm of a jewelled cross, with 
a picture in each of the panels. The outline of the cross is a broad 

VIIT.] Via Salaria. — 5. Hermes, 1 1 1 

red line, with a gold ground, and jewels upon it The mosaic cubes 
are entirely of glass enamel, not marble ; the gold is laid on one side 
of the glass, but not glazed over \ as to the ground of the picture, it is 
alternately blue and yellow. On the soffit of the arch are two 
figures, much mutilated : one, from the attitude and costume, seems 
to be one of the Magi ; the one on the other side was probably an- 
other ; the central figure is wanting, but must in this case have been 
the Madonna. On the wall under the arch are fragments of three 
figures : one of the heads is tolerably perfect, and fine of its kind, 
with the peculiar expression of the eyes so often observed in mosaic 
pictures of the seventh and eighth centuries ; the upper part of the 
other two heads is all that remains of the other figures, but this is 
enough to shew that none had the nimbus. 

It is difficult to distinguish between the catacombs on the Via 
Salaria \ and as they have all been much damaged and imperfectly 
excavated, the opinion of Aringhi that they were originally all one 
is probably correct. This of S. Hermes was often called by other 
names, fi-om other martyrs interred in it along with him, SS. Basilla, 
Protus, and Hyacinthus. S. Hermes is said to have been one of the 
martyrs in the third persecution under the Emperor Hadrian (?), 
along with Bishop Alexander and others, a.d. 119; S. Basilla in the 
eighth persecution, under the Emperors Valerianus and Gallienus, 
A.D. 259 ; Protus and Hyacinthus at the same period ; they were 
eunuchs and slaves of S. Eugenia'. The earliest dated inscription 
from this catacomb that is known is of a. d. 234; another tomb- 
stone is dated 298. 

In the time of Constantine, Bishop Silvester is said to have spent 
a large sum in the ornamentation of this catacomb or cemetery, and 
reducing it to a better form. We are probably indebted to him for 
the subterranean church at the entrance. Some fragments of a marble 
sarcophagus ^ and sculptured foliage of that period are lying about in 
it. The cemetery was repaired and restored by Hadrian I., a.d. 772, 
and again by Nicholas I., a.d. 860, along with that of Priscilla and 
others. The relics of Hermes, Protus, and Hyacinthus appear to 
have been translated into Gaul by Gregory IV., a.d. 827, in the time 
of Charlemagne, as related by Eginhard \ but William of Malmes- 
bury states that those of Hermes were carried to the church of 

* For further particulars respecting ander ; but Eventius and Theodoras 

the paintings in the Catacomb of S, only. The restoration by Hadrian I. 

Hermes, see the Appendix, Bosio, is mentioned (345). 

p. 561 to 571. Hermes is not men- *» Perhaps this was the marble tomb 

tioned in Anastasius as one of the or sarcophagus of Bishop Silvester 

martyrs who suffered with S.Alex- spoken of by William of Malmesbury. 

112 Catacombs. — 55. Saturninus and Thrason. [SECT. 

S. Marcus, in Rome, by the same Pontiff, where they are said still 
to remain. T^ose of Protus and Hyacinthus are also said to have 
been translated, by Clement VIII., from the church of S. Salvator 
in Rome to the church of S. John Baptist de* Fioreniini in Rome, 
and those of S. Basilla to the church of S. Praxedes by Paschal I. 

Notwithstanding these distinct statements that the relics of these 
martyrs had been translated to various churches centuries ago, in 
the year 1845 Father Marchi found distinct proof that at least one 
of them had not been moved at all. On a stone enclosing a grave, 
unopened, he found the inscription — d p. hi. idvs septembr. .... 
VACINTVS . MARTiR., and near it, in moving the earth then just ex- 
cavated, he found the fragment of another inscription with the words 

SEPVLCHRVM PROTi M °. In the church of S. Salvatore there is 

an inscription on a stone of the pavement stating that the relics of 
S. Protus and S. Hyacinthus repose under that stone. They also 
have half of an inscription of Damasus recording the names of Protus 
and Hyacinthus, the other half of which is in the church of the Santi 
Quattro Coronati, where parts of these relics were placed by Leo IV. 
The relics were divided between the two churches, and the stone 
was broken in two, half being given to each ; but it appears now evi- 
dent that no reliance can be placed on the authenticity of the relics 
of these martyrs. Here the remains were found in their original place 
after, apparently, the most distinct evidence that they had been 
removed. De Rossi explains this away in a very clever and ingenious 
manner ; but the facts remain, and are not very satisfactory to those 
who have faith in relics ^. 

SS. Saturninus and Thrason. 

The construction of this catacomb has been already described. 
(Sect IV. p. 39.) The chapels or cubicula are mostly small, pro- 
bably on account of the hardness of the stone. The paintings are 
of the fourth century and later, and the subjects the usual ones : — 
the raising of Lazarus, Noah in the ark with two doves, Daniel and 
the lions, Moses striking the rock, Tobit and the angel with the fish, 

* The inscription of Damasus, pre- comb, but does not mention the date 

served in the Einsiedlen Itinerary, re- of Leopardus ; it is probable that he 

cords that SS. Protus and Hyacinthus was of the time of the writer, and 

were buried here. This catacomb was that it is to him we are indebted for 

then called afler S. Stephen the Proto- some of the paintings of the eighth 

martyr, and the road called Via Pincia. century. 

The Chronicle also records that Leo- •* See De Rossi, and Northcote, pp. 

pardus presbyter ornamented this cata- 379 to 383. 

VIII.] Via Salaria. — 55. Saturninus and Thrason. 113 

the three Children in " the burning fiery furnace." On one of the 
tombs in the second corridor are two orantes perfect, female figures 
in long robes of a light red colour, with black stripes or borders 
resembling stoles, and crowns on their heads ; one of these dresses 
is very richly ornamented, the other plain. These figures are at each 
end of the tomb, — (with Scripture subjects, Jonah imder the ivy-bush, 
and Moses striking the rock — between them) ; they are supposed to 
be portraits of the persons interred The drawing of the figures on 
this fresco painting, and the costumes of the ladies, clearly indicate 
the time of the restoration by Hadrian, a.d. 772. On another tomb, 
one of the figures of the same period holds the scroll of an inscrip- 
tion, also painted with the words, " Dormitio Silvestri." Some frag- 
ments of incised marble inscriptions remain, and pieces of some 
terra-cotta lamps, with the recess and shelf for many others and for 
the small phials called lachrymatories. There are also in some places 
concha shells, one of which has the inside gilt, probably as a re- 
flector to a lamp. 

S. Thrason is said to have been one of the martyrs in the time of 
Diocletian, along with two others, Pontianus and Praetextatus, all 
of them Christian labourers in the therma and other works, put to 
death by order of Maximianus, c, a.d. 300 •. They were all interred 
in separate catacombs ; and after " the peace of the Church," a.d. 
314, chapels were erected in their honour, which were afterwards 
painted and decorated by pious pilgrims. Many of these paintings 
remain, though generally much damaged and decayed. It was con- 
sidered an honour to be interred near to the remains of a mart3nr, 
as has been stated. This honour was much sought after in the fourth 
and fifth centuries, and the families of persons so interred were 
naturally willing and anxious to decorate their burial-places. Thrason 
is said to have been baptized by Bishop Caius, a.d. 283 — 296, and 
to have been the friend of S. Maximus ', a senator and a man in 

* " RonuB passio S. Thrasonis, qui 
cmn Chiistianos laborantes in Thermis 
aliisqae operibus haberet, jubente Maxi- 
miano tentus, cum aliis duobus, Pontiano 
et Praetextato, mart3nrio coronatns est." 
(MartyroL Rom. 11 Dec, ap. Petr. de 
Nat, lib. X. cap. 58.) 

'*£odem die dedit eis capitalem 
sententiam subire. £t depositi de 
Esquileo ducti sunt Via Nomentana, 
milliaiio secundo ; et ibi capite sunt 
tnmcati Quorum corpora collegit Thra- 
son cum Joanne Presb3rtero, et sepeli- 
Tit in prsdio sno, Via Salaria, sub die 
quarto Kalendarum Decembns." (Cod. 


' " Maximus autem omnia noctu ve- 
nundabat facultatem suam per quendam 
amicum suum, Thrasonem,Christianissi- 
mum togatum, qui occulte adsidebat, 
publice babens in corde suo cum reve- 
rentia Religionem Christianam, quem 
ante multos annos Caius Episcopus bap- 
tizaverat, qui magis gesta Martyrum 
Sanctorum coUigens omabat, et omnia 
noctumis temporibus Christianis eroga- 
bat, drcumiens per vicos et carceres 
et custodias." (Cod. S.CseciL ap. Petr. 
NataL, lib. vii. c 49.) 


Catacombs. — S> Priscilla. 


power, and of high character. He also supported the Christians, and 
helped to feed with his own hands the martyrs Sisinius, Ciriacus, 
Smaragdus, and Largus » ; and when two other martyrs, SS. Satur- 
ninus and Sisinius, were led from the court on the Esquiline, and 
beheaded at the second mile on the Via Salaria, he, with John the 
priest, collected their remains, and buried them in his meadow in 
the same neighbourhood. A church was afterwards erected in honour 
of S. Satuminus, over the place where he was buried. This chapel 
was also ornamented by Damasus, and the inscription he placed 
there is preserved Tombstones dated a.d. 269 and 279 have been 
found in this catacomb. This church of S. Satuminus was restored 
by Felix IV., and again by Hadrian I. and Gregory IV. 

In a bull of Nicholas IV., preserved in the Vatican archives, cer- 
tain indulgences are granted to it, which is then described as in 
the cemetery of Priscilla and Basilla : which shews that this of Thra- 
son was part of the same extensive Catacomb. 

This building being destroyed during the calamitous period, the 
body of S. Satuminus was translated to the Titulus of Pammachus, 
now called the church of S. John and S. Paul, and his head to the 
Titulus of Eudoxia, now known as of S. Peter ad vincula. The 
bodies of S. Sisinius and S.Thrason were translated by Seigius 11. to 
the Titulus of Equitius, now S. Martino ai Montis 

S. Priscilla. 

The constmction of this catacomb has been partly described in our 
chapter on that subject *. One entrance to it, not now used, is through 
an ancient arenarium or sand-pit gallery i, with the catacomb made 
under it in some parts, and corridors on the same level in other parts. 
In some places the passages or corridors are cut in the rock, leading 
from the sand-pit to the catacomb, but have no tombs cut in them, 
though evidently prepared for this purpose. Some of the tombs are 
unopened, and two of them have names painted in red on the tiles 

» "In ipso itaque tempore erat vir 
Christianissimus, nomine Thrason, vir 
potens, et facultatibus locuples, et vita 
fideiis. Hie cmn vidisset affligi Chris- 
tianos in iatigatione et labore, ccepit 
de sua facultate Sanctis Martyribus 
alimoniam et victum ministrare per 
manus virorum Christianorum Sisinii, 
Ciriaci, et Smaragdi, et Largi." (Cod. 
S. Cacil.) 

^ For further information respecting 
this catacomb, see the Appendix to 
Marangoni, dc CoemeUrio Sanctorum 

Thrasonis et Satumini ; also his 2>u'j'^rw 
tazioni, &c. Faenza, 1785, 4to. 2 vols. 

» See Sect. IV. 

J The old specus of an aqueduct passes 
through the sand-pit, near the en- 
trance, as previously mentioned ; it is a 
tunnel cut out of the rock, of the usual 
dimensions, 6 ft. deep and nearly 3 ft. 
wide, but filled up to more than half 
its depth with a bed of fine clay, evi- 
dently a deposit from the muddy water 
passing through it 

vni.] Via Salaria Nova.—S. Priscilla. 1 1 5 

that cover the aperture. There is nothing to indicate any very early 
date for the catacomb, none of the paintings appearing to be earlier 
than the time of the restoration by John I., a.d. 523. Most of those 
published by Bosio and others after him remain, but generally in 
a bad state, much damaged in various ways, and often very black. 

According to the Roman legends, Priscilla is said to have been the 
mother of Pudens ; and as this catacomb is named after her, and 
the chapel in which tfie paintings are found is the first after descend- 
ing the steps into the catacomb, after a passage only, it would seem 
probable that this was the burial-place of the person after whom the 
catacomb is named. It is, however, stated in Anastasius^ that 
this cemetery was made by S. Marcellus, a.d. 307. The whole 
legendary history of this cemetery and chapel is of very doubtful 
authority ; there is no evidence that it was the buiying-place of the 
Pudens &mily, or that the paintings relate to them. 

These are on the walls on either side and over the doorway; 
on the right hand, they represent a lady coming out of a wooden 
house or cottage, with a curtain over the door, she then appears in 
the centre of the picture standing as an orante, with her arms raised 
in the attitude of prayer. This figure is called a Madonna, without 
any apparent reason. She is next represented in conversation with 
two men, their hands extended horizontally as addressing her ; on 
the opposite side, she is again placed in the centre of the picture 
as an orante ; on her left hand are two figures, one of whom appears 
to be leading her forward. On the left, she comes again between 
two male figures, apparently two Apostles, leading her into heaven, 
a well-known subject in the catacombs both in the paintings and in 
the figures on the glasses. The drawing of the figures is extremely 
rude, not at all like the beautifiil works of art in the Pagan tombs 
of the first or second century in Rome, such as those in the Pyramid 
of Cestius or in the tombs on the Via Latina. The costume is singu- 
larly plain ; the male figtures wear the tunic only, without any border 
or stole, and the tunic is so short that the bare legs are shewn. 
The female figures are attired in long plain robes covering the feet ; 
all the dresses are tinged with a pale red colour^, but there is no 
other colouring. 

^ *'Biarcellas . . . fait autem tern- lirit in coemeterio Prisdllae, Via Sala- 

poribus Constantii et Galerii et Maxentii, ria, " &c. ( Anastas. , xxxi. 31. ) 
e oonsulatu Maxentii quarto et Maximi * It may be well to mention that, 

nsqae ad consulatum. Hie rogavit according to a statute of Pope Euty- 

quamdam matronam nomine Priscillam, chianus (a.d. 275 — 283), no martyr 

et fecit oemeteria Via Salaria. . . . Cujus should be buried without a purple dal- 

ooipus ooUegit beata Lucina, et sepe- matic or tunic See Anastas., xxviii. 28. 

I 2 

1 16 Catacombs. — S, Prisdlla, [SECT. 

Another entrance was at some distance from the present one, 
by a flight of steps, which remain, though the upper part is blocked 
up with a wall and earth, and it can only be seen from below, near 
the chapel called the Cappella Greca, said to be that of the Pudens 
family. In the wall by the side of the steps is a brick arch of the 
third century, with later alterations ; and in the catacomb itself, near 
the chapel, a wall of the third century can be seen behind later 
work attributed to Bishop Damasus. Many of the decorations of 
the chapels appear to be of his time, or later, probably of the 
time of John I., a.d. 523, who renewed it, as we have shewn in 
our Chronological Table. 

Upon the end wall, on a low arch, are the three Children in ** the 
burning fiery furnace." The arch is ornamented with stucco patterns 
of rude, shallow, clumsy work, of the third or fourth century. On 
the floor of this are the fragments of a small sarcophagus, also of the 
fourth century, with shallow carvings, among which is Jonah under 
the gourd, and on another the whale or dolphin, of the usual type. 
The lines of ornament dividing the panels on the wall are broad and 
flat, some hollow in the stucco, others painted red, quite different 
from the thin lines, or the double lines of the first centiuy. On 
the floor of the chapel are many fragments of the large tiles of the 
Empire, some of which bear stamps upon them. 

One chapel near that of the Pudens family has the remains of 
an altar in it, sufficient to shew the old arrangement; it is about 
thirteen feet square, with the altar in an apse projecting from it; 
a sarcophagus has been used for this purpose. There is an opening 
at one end of this for the priest to pass, and just room enough for 
him to stand in the apse behind it ; he must have officiated behind 
the altar, as was the custom in all the early churches before the 
fourth century. The chapel is very plain, but has been a platonia, 
that is, had the walls covered entirely with slabs or plates of marble. 
Some portions of them remain, and the plaster has evidently had 
marble plates fixed up against it, both from the appearance of 
the plaster and fi-om the nails, many of which remain projecting 
from it; unless in this, as in the adjoining chapel, plates of hard 
stucco were used instead of marble. The fact of their having 
been all carried away to be used elsewhere, indicates however that 
in this chapel rich marble was used ; in the other, where the imita- 
tion was used, it was suffered to remain. It may probably be of the 
end of the third century or the beginning of the fourth. It is full of 
graves in all parts, even behind the altar, which was itself probably 
the tomb of a mart3rr; and as the chapel of the Pudens family opens 

VIII.] Via Salaria Nova, — 5. Priscilla, 1 1 7 

out of this, S. Priscilla may very probably have been interred here, 
if the legendary history can be relied on. 

This chapel is oblong, and forms a passage between the one 
where the altar remains, and another larger one, called a basilica, 
with three apses, one at the end, and one on each side, forming the 
head and arms of a cross ; these may have been merely arched 
tombs, or may have had altars in them (of which, however, there 
are no traces). On the vault of one of these are two inscriptions, 
painted in Greek characters. The left hand transept is square, and 
not rounded at the end, as the other two are. 

The paintings on the vault are the Good Shepherd ; on the walls 
or sides of the vault are four orantes, and the same number of birds, 
perhaps doves. The lines dividing the panels are here thinner, and 
some of them in dots ; this is of earlier character than the others. 

In another chapel is a painting representing three barrels of wine, 
two on the ground, the third being carried by seven men to shew its 
large size ; this painting is probably of the sixth century ■. In an- 
other chapel, with the Good Shepherd in the centre of the vault, 
as usual, is a Madonna seated with the Child in her arms, and one 
of the Magi ; the rest of the painting is mutilated. This painting 
appears to be of the same period. 

Fart of this catacomb seems to have been used as a sand-pit 
gallery again, after it had been deserted as a catacomb, and the 
graves have been cut away to widen the passage to admit carts. 
Although this catacomb is very extensive, it is all nearly on a level ; 
but in one part, near the chapel of the Pudens family, there is 
a lower gallery of earlier character, in a very bad state, not altered 
or restored as the upper part is. There is, indeed, a fine staircase 
made to it, with a balustrade of pierced marble, in imitation"^ of 
the work of the early Emperors ; but this grand approach is only 
for theatrical effect in a picture of it, and leads to nothing but the 
ruined old catacomb. 

An inscription of the year 204, from the gravestone of a ioculus in 
this catacomb, was published by Signor de Rossi. In the excava- 
tions made by him in 1870 in the catacomb of Priscilla, many other 
inscriptions were found, some of tliem in Greek, others in Latin, 
sometimes painted with vermillion on the tiles with which the graves 

"* Allegorical meanings are attached pendix, Bosio, Roma Sotterraneay p. 489 

to this subject by one party, while an- to 557, and Ferret, les Catcu:omb€s de 

other considers it only as the burial- Rome^ vol. lit p. i to 13. 
place of a wine-merdiant. For more ^ An engraving of this imitation is 

full particulars of the paintings in the given by Signor de Rossi in his Ronui 

catacomb of S. Priscilla, see the Ap- Sotterranea, 


Catacombs, — 5". Felicitas. 


or loculi are closed. A mixture of Greek and Latin inscriptions 
has often been seen before **, and such remain in the Jews' catacomb. 
They indicate a late date rather than an early one, probably the 
fourth century. 

Panvinius calls the catacomb " S* Priscilla alias S. Marcelli papae, 
Via Salaria vderi;'' also " Novella," at the third mile on the Via 
Salaria. These two ancient roads — ^the Via Salaria Vetus and Nova — 
are in parts near together and the catacombs between them, so that 
it is impossible to say to which road each belongs. 

S. Fblicitas. 

The catacomb of S. Felicitas is about half-a-mile outside of the 
Porta Salaria on the Via Salaria Nova, to the right hand in going 
from Rome. It was restored in 419 by S. Boniface, in 523 by John I., 
and in 772 by Hadrian I. 

The Via Salaria Vetus appears to be the road called by William of 
Malmesbuiy Forsiniana, (evidently an error for Pinciana,) of which 
he gives the following account : — 

" The third is called the Porcinian gate, and the way the same ; but where it 
joins to the Salarian, it loses its name, and there, nearly in the spot which is called 
Cucumeris, lie the martjrs Festus, Johannes, Libendis, Diogenes, Blastus, Ludna, 
and in one sepulchre, the two hundred and sixty', in another, the thirty 1." 

^ The number of Greek inhabitants 
and Greek soldiers in Rome in the third 
century, just before the transfer of the 
seat of Empire to Byzantium, is in- 
dicated in many ways, such as the 
graffiti or names scratched in the plas- 
ter of the walls of the barracks ot the 
guards. Of course many of these must 
have died in Rome, and the Catacombs 
were then the usual place of burial. 
It does not follow that they were Chris- 
tians ; they may or may not have been 

so ; there is abundant evidence that 
many Christian martyrs and other Chris- 
tians were interred there, without any 
necessity for proving that all who were 
buried there were martyrs, or even 

' The two hundred and sixty are 
said to have been shot with arrows in 
the amphitheatre, by order of Claudius. 
See our Chronologiod Table, A. D. 29a 

' The thirty suffered under Diocle- 
tian. (William of Malmesbury, p. 42 1 . ) 


Jews* Catacomb, Via Appia. 

On the opposite side of the road to the catacomb of S. Sebastian, 
and a little nearer to Rome, is the catacomb of the Jews, discovered 
or re-opened only in i860 ^ It is more perfect than most of the 
others, more things being left in their original places ; and it contains 
two painted chapels of early character, as good as any that have been 
found in the other catacombs. Nearly all the inscriptions have the 
seven-branched candlestick, the distinctive mark of the Jew % and many 
more of these tombstones also are left in their places than in any 
of the others. There are several sarcophagi, one of which appears to 
be distinctly Pagan, having among the sculptures a figure holding 
the inverted torch; another appears to be Christian, with a figure 
of Christ in the act of benediction. The paintings in one of the 
painted chapels are of the second century; there is nothing in 
them that is distinctly Jewish, and some of the emblems are 
those usually considered as Christian, such as the peacock, two 
birds with a vase between them, and others. Several of the in- 
scriptions have the palm-branch, usually said to be the mark of 
a martyr, but also one of the characteristics of a Jew \ One of the 
fiunily chapels (ctdncula) in this catacomb has a palm-tree painted 
on each of the four comers, and many of the slabs have the palm- 
branch incised upon them, sometimes on the same slab as the seven- 
branched candlestick, or candelabrum. Most of the inscriptions are 
rudely cut in Greek letters ; but the words of some are Latin, of 
others Hebrew, and some are Hebrew in the Latin characters. 

' The Jews' catacomb described by 
Bosio and Aringhi (cap. 18), is the one 
on the Via Portuensis, on the other side 
of the Tiber ; and they do not mention 
another on this road, where two have 
since been found. 

* This well'known emblem of a Jew, 
which is seen in sculpture on the Arch 
of Titus as a characteristic of the nation, 
has its origin in Scripture, according 
to the description in the Book of Ex- 
odus, XXV. 31, 32, and in Zechariah, 
chap, iv, ver. 2, 3. The two olive-trees 
mentioned in that chapter as on each 
side of the candlestick, are also some- 
times represented both on the incised 

tombstones and on the gilt patterns on 
glass vases found in the Jews' cata- 
comb. There is an engraving of one 
in the pamphlet of Padre Garrucci, pub- 
lished at Rome soon after the discovery. 
The inscriptions on the tombstones, and 
other emblems incised upon them, are 
given in the same work, entitled "Ci- 
mitero degli antichi Ebrei scoperto re- 
centemente in Vigna Randanini, illus- 
trato per Raffaele Garrucci, D« C. D. G. " 
Roma, 8vo., 1862. 

* On a coin of Vespasian is a figure 
of Judea weeping under a palm-tree. 
See Fr. W. Madden, History of Jewish 
Coinage, &c., pp. 183 — 196. 

1 20 Catacombs. [SECT. 

At the principal entrance * is a chamber, now uncovered, but ori- 
ginally vaulted, with a good mosaic pavement, in which are drains 
for letting water run off. This appears to have been the place for 
washing the bodies, and in the adjoining chamber was a lavatory 
for ablution, now destroyed. The greater part of the catacomb is, 
as usual, merely dug out of the soft rock, and of course has nothing 
to indicate a date, nor are there any dates to the inscriptions ; but 
what architectural character there is in the upper part belongs to 
the first century, as well as the brickwork of the recesses round the 
washing-chamber, with a wall of reticulated masonry, and several 
doorways of ashlar. Here also each successive corridor one under 
the other is of a later date, and considerably later. In this cata- 
comb the same system of family burying-places is employed as in 
the others ; and it appears that in cases of intermarriages it was 
considered that the right of sepulture in the family burying-place 
was not forfeited. Respecting the Pagan sarcophagi in some of the 
chapels, it has been suggested that these may have been used again, 
as the remains of many Christian bishops of the twelfth and thir- 
teenth centuries are found in rich Pagan sarcophagi, for instance 
at Salerno ; but this implies that the catacomb was used at a much 
later period than is probable. Another suggestion is that the sarco- 
phagi were an article of manufacture kept ready made, and that one 
may have been bought in a hurry without considering the Pagan 
emblems upon it ; but it does not seem likely that any Jew would 
be so careless in such a matter. At another entrance, now used as 
the exit, is a wall of the fourth century, so that it appears to have 
continued in use for the first four centuries, and not to have been 
exclusively, though chiefly, confined to the Jews. 

In some parts of the catacomb, the looili or holes for bodies are 
arranged in such a manner that one end is towards the passage, 
as in the catacomb of the Scipios, instead of the side, as usual 
in the Christian catacombs ; sometimes both plans are adopted within 
a few yards of each other. Ledges are cut or built for placing three 
or four coffins, one over the other, in the same vault ; and in some 
places bodies are buried in the floor of the passages. In most parts 
there are indications of great poverty, and a crowding of the bodies 
to save expense. The same may be observed in most of the Chris- 
tian catacombs also. 

■ Near the entrance to this catacomb, scarcely any mottar between the joints, 

and in the same vineyard, is a square Within are niches for figures, lome 

tomb of the first century of the Chris- round-headed| others square, 
tian era, of excellent brickwork, with 

IX] The Jewi Catacomb on the Via Portuemis, 121 

The Jews' Catacomb on the Via Portuensis. 

The hill in which this catacomb is situated is part of the Monte 
Verde, or Janiculum, outside of the Porta Portuensis, or Portese, in 
the Trastevere, near the quarter formerly occupied by the Jews, 
where the hired house of S. Paul is said by some authorities to 
have been situated. This catacomb is described by Bosio (lib. i. 
c, 18), but is now covered up again. 

During his researches he found, in 1602, another catacomb on 
this road, in a hill on the bank of the Tiber, called Rosato, with 
several inscriptions or tombstones of the Jews, and the seven- 
branched candlestick both on the tombstones and on lamps. It 
was of very rude and early construction, and the inscriptions were 
also rude, in Greek characters, but not always Greek words ; the name 
of the Synagoga occurs. 

Philo Judasus mentions that in his time the Jews of Rome resided 
in the Trastevere % and the situation of this catacomb was therefore 
convenient for them. It is mentioned in the Itinerary of Benjamin 
of Tudela ", who says that ten martyrs were interred in it, but does 
not mention their names, or whether they were Jews or Christians, 
and nothing more is known about them. 

Holstein, a canon of the Vatican, who was one of the most 
learned men of his day, c, a.d. 1650, and who had studied the sub- 
ject, considered that they were Jews put to death under Hadrian ; 
but no persecution in his time is recorded by Eusebius, or any other 
Christian historian, as far as has been observed. Holstein, however, 
said that he found them mentioned, with their names, in a Jewish 
service-book or martyrology, called Manzor. 

In 1866, another catacomb for the Jews was partially excavated in 
the Vigna Cimarra, on the Via Appia, just beyond S. Sebastiano. The 

'^^ " Magnam partem urbis Romse we are aware that it is very bad. (See 

trans Tiberim, non ignoravit teneri et £. Carmoly, Notice historique sur Bert' 

habitari k Judaeis, quorum plerique jatnin de Tud^tt &c., p. lo. Bruxelles, 

erant libertini/' &c (Philonis Judaei, 1858, 8vo. The Peregrinations of Ben* 

de FUrtiMuSf Opera ed. Mangey, vol. jamin the Sonne of Jonas, a Jew, written 

ii p. 568, L 27. FoL Lond. 1742.^ in Hebrew, translated into English from 

* ''Est etiam cr^ta altera juxta the Latin version of Arias Montanus, 

Tiberis fluvii ripam, m qua sepulti sunt had appeared in Harris's Collection of 

decemjttstioccisiregni(delendicaussa)." Voyages and Travels, vol. i. pp. 546 — 

(Benjaniini Tudelensis Itinerarium ex 555 (fol., London, 1744-48); they were 

▼ersione Aris Montani, &c Lipsiae, again translated into Enp^lish and edited 

IIDCCLXIV., 8vo. p. 21.) by A. Asher at Berlin in 1840, 2 vols- 

We quote this translation, although 8vo. 

122 . Catacombs, [SECT. 

seven-branched candlestick and other emblems and inscriptions found 
there leave no room for doubt that it was for Jews, but it appears to have 
been of small extent and extremely poor. The soil is clay, which is not 
well suited for a catacomb, and it has more the appearance of having 
been the burial-place of a particular family than a general one. 

The glass vases represented in the fifth plate of the work of 
Father Garrucci are evidently taken from the Jews' catacomb ", from 
the subjects represented on them. They all have the candlestick 
of seven branches, and the arch or tabernacle guarded by two lions, 
with wine-pots, drinking-horns, and scrolls. One of the best of these 
is now preserved in the Museum of Boigia, at the Propaganda ; in 
this the lions are under curtains, in festoons. Under the upper 
picture are laige candelabra, with lamps burning at the top of each 
branch ; in the centre, between the two candelabra, is a palm-branch. 
On each of the outer sides of the stem of the candelabra is a wine- 
pot, and between them a drinking-horn and a cedar-tree (?). This 
picture is enclosed in a square border ornamented with a series of 
round studs, alternately large, coloured red, and small, coloured blue. 
These colours are repeated on the candelabra ; the ground of the 
panel is light red. Over the picture are the words in Roman 
capitals, pie . zeses . elakes, that is to say, pie zeses hilariSy the 
aspirated h being omitted, and the i being changed into ^, according 
to the vulgar pronunciation in Rome. 


In addition to the catacombs or subterranean cemeteries in the 
environs of Rome, mentioned in the Pontifical Registers, several of 
the crypts or vaults under the churches, within the walls of Rome, 
are also called Catacombs ; but these were only the places to which 
the bones and relics of the persons interred in the Catacombs, pro- 
perly so called, were brought for safety, at the time of the invasion 
of the Lombards in the eighth century. At that period, the Cata- 
combs had been discontinued as places of interment ; for two or three 
centuries, it had become customary to bury the dead in and under 
the churches within the walls, at least persons of importance, and the 

* Veiri omati di figure in oro trovoH sopra alcuni frammenti di vast aniicki 

nti cimiUri del Cristiani primUrui di di vetro, &c. Fol. min. Firenze, 1 716, 

Romoj &C. Fol. Roma, 1858, pp. 14 — tav. iii., and Perret, Us Caiacombes (U 

19. See also Buonarotti, Osservazioni Rome^ xxiv. 23. 

X.] Catacombs within the Walls, 123 

monks in their own cloisters. The great burial-ground of S. Lorenzo, 
called the Campo Santo, is modem; the pits are of the years 1836 
and 1837, but they are no longer used. At one period it was usual 
to consider all the persons buried in the Catacombs as saints or 
martyrs ; their relics were eagerly sought for, and for that reason per- 
haps the Lombards rifled and destroyed the Catacombs at the time 
of their siege of Rome. Great efforts were made by the bishops and 
clergy to preserve what were left, and laige numbers were brought to 
Rome and re-interred in vaults or crypts built for the purpose. Altars 
and chapels were made at the entrances of those crypts, and richly 
decorated. It was expected that the pilgrimages .would have been 
transferred from the original vaults in which the saints had been 
interred, to these new vaults in Rome itself; but this appears to 
have been only partially the case. The original Catacombs were also 
restored and re-painted for the benefit of the pilgrims, as soon as 
peace was restored, and these are for the most part the paintings in 
the Catacombs now visible. They are larger and finer than the 
original firescoes of the fourth and fifth centuries, which are always 
small, and very poor as works of art. Those of the eighth and ninth 
centuries are not copies of the old ones, but are in the style of 
their own period, corresponding with the mosaic pictures in the 
churches in Rome, and executed by the same persons. 

The catacombs in Rome had, however, a certain celebrity, and 
were objects for pilgrimages at a time when the original Catacombs 
had been forgotten and were no longer accessible. One of the 
largest of these so-called Roman catacombs is under the altar and 
presbytery of the church of S. Praxedes, now called S. Prassede ; 
the long passage which formed the vestibule of this great cr3rpt 
is still open, and has an altar with rich decorations renewed in the 
thirteenth century, as shewn by the ornamentations in Cosmati mo- 
saic work, in bands round the altar frontal, and on the edges of the 
sarcophagi of the saints, placed on either side of this passage. The 
walls and flat roof of the passage are built of slabs of stone and 
marble brought from the old Catacombs, some with the inscrip- 
tions visible, others with the inscriptions turned inwards, and there- 
fore hidden. These slabs have been used merely as old building 
materials, and were covered over with stucco ornament, some of 
which remains. 

The monastery and church of S. Prassede were entirely built or 
rebuilt in the time of Paschal L, probably, among other objects, in 
order to receive these relics. It was an offshoot from, and closely 
connected with, the monastery and church of S. Pudentiana, the 

124 Catacombs, [SECT. 

sister of S. Praxedes, and Id the crypt of that church also a large 
number of relics from the Catacombs were re-interred. It is probable 
that the whole of those which then remained in the catacomb of S. 
Priscilla, were removed for safety to these two churches. Inscriptions 
in one church state that 3,000 martyrs are interred under the altar, 
and 2,300 in the other. Bosio and Aringhi ' have a chapter on this 
subject, and give the inscriptions. The well in the church of S. 
Pudentiana probably represents, the original well in the catacomb, as 
in other instances the Miracle Play repeated every year gradually 
led the representation to be mistaken for the original, without any 
intention to deceive in the first instance; and then, after ages of 
ignorance, it is difficult to make people see the real meaning. 

Under the choir and presbytery of the church of S. Maria in 
Cosmedin, is another large crypt of this description, with a series of 
arched recesses or niches in each side, and shelves for the caskets 
which contained the relics. These were afterwards removed to some 
cupboards in the wall of the presbytery, behind the altar, in the upper 
church ; but once a year, on the festival day, they are still exhibited, 
and the cr3rpt is lighted up for the occasion. 

It is hardly necessary to mention that by the law of the Twelve 
Tables any interment within the city of Rome was strictly prohibited, 
and this law was rigidly enforced until after the time of Constantine ; 
but under the government of the Church this was relaxed, and some 
churches, especially that of Ara Cceli, became fashionable burying- 
places. The earliest persons permitted to be buried within the city, 
are said to have been the martyrs John and Paul, who were executed 
by order of Julian the Apostate. They had been officers of the Im- 
perial household, and resided in a part of the Claudium. Their 
bodies were allowed to be buried in their own house, and a church 
was built on the site where the present church stands. 

It appears that in the fifth and sixth centuries, when the extra- 
mural catacombs were going out of use, a large burial-ground was 
formed in the locality where the church of S. Bibiana was built, and 
this was another place to which large quantities of the bones from 
the Catacombs were transferred. It is mentioned by Camerarius 
and Manlius, and is thus described: "Coemeterium ad Ursum 
Pileatum, ad Sanctam Bibianam "." The bones of the martyrs in the 
Julian persecution, Flavianus and Fabianus, are said to have been 

Jf Aringhi, Roma Subterranea, lib. known to have been on the Via Portu- 
iii. c. 38. ensis, at the entrance to the catacomb 
■ This must, however, have been a of Pontianus, as is mentioned in Anas- 
mistake, as the ** Ursum Pileatum" is tasius, cvii. 601. 

X.] Catacombs within the Walls, 125 

interred here; this is mentioned in the acts of the martyrdom of 
S. Bibiana, who was herself buried here, with her mother, Dafrosa, 
and her sister, Demetria, all mart3rrs in the same persecution. In- 
scriptions in the church record that their bodies were found here in 
the time of Simplidus, and re-interred by Honorius III. and Urban 
VIII. Their relics were put into a sarcophagus under the high 
altar in 1626, and statues made by Bernini. Another inscription 
states that 5,266 bodies of martyrs were interred here, exclusive of 
women and children. These were translated from the catacomb of 
SS. Peter and Marcellinus. It is stated on another inscription that 
the holy martyrs, Simplicius, Faustina, and Beatrix, are also interred 
here, with 4,257 bodies of saints, besides women and children. 

The martyrs Abdon and Sennen are said to have been buried in 
a leaden coffin by Quirinus, the sub-deacon, in his own house, near 
the amphitheatre, in the time of Claudius, and to have been removed, 
in that of Constantine, to the catacomb of S. Pontianus, where the 
paintings of them now remain ; but these are of the eighth centuiy. 
Other instances of second interments of martyrs within the city are 
mentioned*, but all on very doubtful authority, as to the identifica- 
tion of these relics, or the proofs of their being those of martyrs. 


The catacombs of Naples help to throw considerable light on those 
of Rome : we can see that they are much finer than those at Rome, 
although only a comparatively small portion of them is visible. 
They are made in a harder kind of tufa : consequently the corri- 
dors are wider and higher, the chapels larger, and they are not so 
dirty as most of those at Rome. There is no appearance of any 
concealment in the matter, each being a hall of considerable size 
supported on columns cut in the tufa. 

The original entrance was through the church of S. Gennaro ^ ; 
but the connection has long been cut ofif, and at present it is 
through the broken cliff of the ancient stone-quarry, and has a 
rather rough appearance; it is seen at once that the corridors 

* Aringhif Roma Subterranea navis- double cloister, one over the other, and 

sima, lib. iii. c. 37. the plan is long and narrow, not square 

^ This is now called S. Gennaro de' as was usual ; it is a very picturesaue 

Poveri, the monastery adjoining having building. These catacombs were also 

long been converted into a poorhouse. called extra mania, because they were 

The building is late medieval with a outside the walls of the town. 

126 Catacombs, [SECT. 

are far more lofty and spacious than those of Rome, though the 
arcfhsolia and the paintings are of much the same character. There 
are remains of paintings on what is now the external wall, which 
has originally been covered over ; the general effect of the present 
entrance is striking, and immediately attracts interest, and a desire 
to explore further*. 

The present vestibule is also of a good size, and has a vault 
painted in the style of Pompeii, evidently of the same period, the 
first half-century of the Christian era, some of the paintings being 
distinctly Pagan. This has been plastered over, and a second set 
of the eighth century painted over it ; but this second coat of plaster 
has not adhered well, and has fallen off over nearly the whole ex- 
tent, leaving the original painting fresh and nearly perfect The 
corridors themselves are not painted, but a few tombs in them are 
so, as well as many family chapels. These also have columns at 
the entrance, on each side of the door, better worked and more 
distinct than those in Rome, arising probably from the material 
being better. One corridor is called the Tombs of the Nobles, 
and the loculi are finer and better worked than the rest. Amongst 
these is a painted tomb of the time of Constantine, with pictures 
of that prince and his mother, S. Helena, which appear contem- 
poraneous, with his badge, the iabarum, and an inscription, italia 
IN PACE. In the next corridor is the chapel of S. Gennaro, or 
Januarius, who was martyred under Diocletian in the tenth per- 
secution at the end of the third century, and was interred with 
pomp under Constantine ; the paintings in the chapel of this cor- 
ridor are possibly soon after his time, and this was probably his 
burying-place. A church was afterwards erected in his honour at the 
entrance of the catacomb. Other chapels in another corridor have 
paintings of the eighth century, among which is a Holy Family and 
SS. Peter and Paul ; another has figures of saints, with the names 
of Desiderius and Agatius. There is also a good painting of a pea- 
cock, with vases and flowers, of earlier character. 

In the upper chapel, near the entrance, is a seat cut out of the 
tufa rock, like what is called the bishops' seat in one of the cata- 
combs at Rome ; this is called the chair of S. Severus. 
: These catacombs at Naples'* are said by tradition to be the work 

* Slgnor de Gennaro Galante, of <* A description of these Catacombs, 

Naples, has long had a work in hand and a dissertation upon them in Ger- 

on the Christian antiquities of that city, man, was published in 1839, by Ch. Fr. 

It is expected to throw new light on the Beilermann, with this title : '* Ueber 

subject, which has hitherto been much die altesten christlichen Begrabnissstat- 

n^lected. ten und besonders die Katakomben zu 


Catacombs of Naples. 


of Greek settlers. This kind of burial is an Oriental custom brought 
to Europe by the Jews and the Byzantine Greeks. 

There is a series of family burying-places or cubictda or ojemeteriay 
down each side of the corridors, always said to be burying-places 
of families, and in several instances the names of the families are 
mentioned by the guide, on pure tradition. The paintings of these 
shew that they belong to several distinct periods, from the first 
century down to the ninth. Several are of the eighth and ninth, 
and original, that is, not painted over others, but on the original 
and only coat of plaster. One of the arco-solia^ near the entrance, is 
inscribed ossvario, and has the arch enriched with mosaics in pat- 
terns only, a star within a circle, just like one at Pompeii. This 

Neapel,'' &c. Hambuig, 1839, 4to., 
with 12 coloured plates and two plans. 
The following is a list of the plates, 
which aire important, because the greater 
part of the paintings there given are no 
longer visible : — 

1. View of the entrance hall or 
chapel (?), called the vestibule. 

2. A partition-wall in the lower story 
with loculi^ and an arco-solium with a 
painting of the peacock. 

3. Vault of the vestibule of the lower 
storv, with an early pattern upon it of 
circles, &c., and with birds and animals 
on the side walls. 

4. Drawings of birds, vases, and ani- 
mals (lions, stags, panthers, &c.), on 
a partition-wall of the upper story. 

5. i. Adam and Eve. ii. An un- 
finished tower of medieval character, 
with battlements, and with three female 
figures in the act of building it, possibly 
alluding to the third vision in the Pastor 
of Hennas. See Galland, ^»^/u7/>i. Va, 
Patr., t. L p. 63, seq. 

6. A cubiculum in the upper story, 
painted with an anchor, a dove, two 
dolphins, and a goat, with a shepherd's 
staff and a drinking-muf hanging to it. 

7. Figures of S. Paid with a scroll, 
and S. Laurence with his crown of mar- 
tyrdom in his hand. These figures have 
not the nimbus, and the inscriptions are 
of an early character. This painting is 
probably of the fifth century. 

8. An arcO'SoUumy with figures of 
three persons buried in it ; a man, and 
two children, one aged fourteen, the 
other two. 



iii. NONNOSA. vix(it) AN(nos) II. 
ii(enses) x. 

9. Figures in two picttires. 


head, with hands uplifted, stand- 
ing between two candlesticks. 

2. A group of three figures. In the 
centre a tall figure with the in- 
scription, — 


10. A painting in the chapel of the 
martyrs : three f^res much mutilated. 
In the centre a bishop with his pall ; 
he has the nimbus, and was probably 
a martyr. On either side is a female 
figure addressing him. 

11. Two figures. L A bishop with 
his palL ii. A deacon. 

The costumes of these figures in 10, 
II, and 12, belong rather to the Greek 
than the Roman Church. The paint- 
ings are probably of the eighth century. 

12. A head of Christ in the attitude 
of benediction, and two lamps of the 
fourth century, such as are common in 
idl the catacombs. Lights to be burnt 
before the dead, were forbidden by the 
Council of Illiberis in a.d. 305, but 
recommended by Athanasius in A.D. 

There is also a good description of 

the Catacombs of Naples in Keyss- 

ler's Travels {Reisebeschrdbunfftn, th. iL 

p. 796, ff.), translated from the second 

edition of the German, and published 

in London in four quarto volumes in 

See also Notizie sulle cripte mor- 

tuarie dell Catacombe di S. Gennaro 
de' Poveri, del Can. Andrea di Jorio, 
in a periodical, Progresso ddle scUnze^ 
lettere ed arHy 1833, fasc. 7, and pub- 
lished separately. 

128 Catacombs. [SECT. XI. 

is in the earlier part, near the entrance, and in that part some of 
the family tombs are distinctly Pagan. Others are as evidently 
Christian, of various periods down to the ninth century. 

In 1866, a cubiculum was found dug out of the chalk-rock in 
a sort of side chapel of the church of S. Severus, which is supposed 
to have had a communication with the great catacomb of S. Gen- 
naro. It was painted with figures of saints of the usual style of the 
Catacombs, with the names inscribed of sanctvs EVTYc(hes) and 
SANCTVS PROTASivs. An account of this discovery was given in 
the BulleUino^ of De Rossi for 1867. The paintings are attributed 
to the fourth century, but appear far more like the restoration of 
the time of Pope Hadrian in the eighth. 

The Commendatore de Rossi, who has been well acquainted ¥dth 
the Catacombs of Rome from his boyhood, and has now for several 
years had charge of them for the Pontifical Government, also takes 
a natural interest in those of other countries, and his BuUettino is 
full of information on the subject. When anything fresh is ob- 
served, it is sure to be found there ; but the subject is obviously too 
wide to be entered upon here. In the neighbourhood of Rome, he 
has accounts of them at Ostia and at Porto, in his fourth volume, 
and at Albano, Aricia, and Bovilla, in his seventh. He has also 
notice of others in Egypt, at Catana, Cesarea in Mauritania, Chiusi 
in Etruria, Cumena in Phrygia, and Milan, besides these in Naples, 
which are only equalled by those in the ancient latomue of Syracusa, 
hewn out in hard and compact calcareous stone, which had supplied 
materials for so many fine edifices. 

• BulUttino di Archeologid CrisHana^ 1867, PP- 73* 74* 



Via Ostiensis. Church of S, Paul outside the Walls. 

This celebrated church is one of the great Patriarchal Basilicas 
of Rome, or what we should call Metropolitical Cathedrals, which 
were so largely endowed by Constantine out of the imperial estates 
in the Campagna and elsewhere. It is also a parochial church, 
and has a monastery of Benedictines attached to it, governed by 
an abbot, and therefore called an abbey. The church is said in 
the Martyrologies to have been originally founded in a.d. 254, under 
Pope Cornelius, on the occasion of the finding of the bodies of SS. 
Peter and Paul by the Roman lady, Lucina, on her farm, or in 
her family catacomb near this spot Independent writers consider all 
this story as a fable, a pious fraud invented by the priests, asserting 
that this and some other passages were inserted in the Pontifical 
Records by Anastasius, who was the most skilful forger of manu- 
scripts of his day. Another of these passages of apocryphal character 
is that relating to Pope Silvester and the Emperor Constantine, 
A.D. 314. In this it is stated that S. Paul's was one of the eight 
churches which Constantine made in Rome ' 

At the same time he is said to have made churches at Ostia, Albano, 
Capua, and Naples. It has been usually supposed that this expression, 
fecit basilicas isias^ means that he built churches at all those places; but 
as no work of his time has been observed in any of them (excepting 
at S. Croce in the Sessorium, where his mother resided), it seems more 
probable that he only endowed them by attaching a grand cathedral 
establishment to each, leaving the canons to build the churches and 
houses for themselves out of the handsome income with which he 
had endowed them. As he gave to each some square miles of the 
then rich and fertile land of the Campagna, they had ample funds 
to build all that they required for many years after his death. He 
could not anticipate that in time all those fertile lands would be 

' Constantine is also said to have basilicam beato Paulo apostolo ex sug* 

enclosed the relics of the Apostle in gestione Silvestri episcopi. Cujus corpus 

a bronze sarcophagus, three hundred sanctum ita recondidit in eere et con« 

years after his martynlom : '* Eodem clusit, sicut et B. Petri," &c. (Anas* 

tempore fecit Augustus Constantinus tasius, xxxiv. 40.) 


Churches connected with the Catacombs. 


converted into a desert, or at best pasture-land for sheep and cattle 
during part of the year only. By neglecting to repair the aqueducts 
and the drains, the whole of the admirable system of irrigation and 
drainage established under the Empire has been destroyed, and by 
the malaria^ or poisonous smells of decaying vegetable and putrifying 
matter, this splendid establishment has been rendered uninhabitable 
during the greater part of the year*. The great cathedral is only 
used publicly three times in each winter season; the Benedictine 
monks use one of the small chapels for their daily services. 

The bodies of S. Peter and S. Paul are said to have been interred 
under the high altar of this church ; and their heads were translated, 
the one to S. Peter's Church, and the other to the Lateran. An in- 
scription records that the bodies were re-interred there by Silvester 
when the church was built or rebuilt, that is, made into a church 
from a mere burial chapel. 

The bones of several martyrs are also said to lie in this church, 
and their memory is recorded on inscriptions : — SS. Bridgetta, Timo- 
theus, Julianus, Basilissa, Celsus, and Martianilla, under one altar ; 
the date of their martyrdom does not appear. Others have the names 
of the consuls, which thus are dated, Mandrosa, Anicius Faustus, 
cons. A.D. 298. There are several inscriptions on tombs, with the 
names of consuls of the fifth century ; but these are after the time of 
the persecutions. Two fine sarcophagi of the fourth century found 
here, were engraved by Bosio and Aringhi. One, with the sculptured 
heads of S. Peter and S. Paul, was formerly under the high altar 
here, but was translated by Sixtus V., in 1586, to the church of 
S. Maria Maggiore ; the other, with rich sculptures of Christ and 
some of His principal miracles, was carried to the church of S. Mary 
on the Aventine. 

Among the celebrated persons interred in this church is Paul I., 
who retired from his bishopric to this monastery, and wtis buried 
here a.d. 767 ; but his remains were translated to S. Peter's. 

John XIII, was buried by his own directions in the middle of the 
nave of this church, a,d. 972, and Petrus Leo, better known by his 

« The blocking-up of the port of 
Ostia, by order of the Pontifical go- 
vernors of the period, in order to keep 
out the Saracens and the Nonnans, has 
caused a large district to become only an 
Unhealthy swamp. The cutting down of 
the forests, also by order of the Ponti- 
fical Government, for the benefit of the 
pockets of the priests for the time, 
has greatly increased the malaria which 
is now the curse of Rome. It is well 

known that the leaves of trees and of 
other plants help very much to purify 
the air, as all plants live on nitrogen, 
which they absorb largely, and give out 
oxygen in exchange ; and as oxygen is 
essential to human life, and nitrogen 
fatal to it, cutting down miles of forest 
in a hot climate, previously to some 
extent affected with malaria^ was a 
great mistake. 

XII.] Via Ostiensis. — 5. Paulfiiori delle Mura. 131 

Italian name Pier Leone, Count of the Aventine, a celebrated 
Roman noble and warrior, a.d. 1144. The splendid sarcophagus 
made use of for the burial of his remains in the twelfth century ** 
is still to be seen under the portico of the church, and represents 
the fable of Marsyas. There is a long inscription to his honour, 
recording, among other things, the building of his castle in the 

Such is the account given by Bosio and Aringhi; others of 
doubtful authority, say that the catacomb of S. Paul was made 
about A.D. 70, in her meadow, by the lady Ciriaca, or Domnica, 
niece of the Emperor Vitellius, who also allowed the Christians to 
assemble in her house on the Coelian for worship, and thus origi- 
nated the church of S. Maria in Domnica, which was the basilica 
or hall of her house. 

There is no building of the time of Constantine Temaining at 
S. Paul's. The only vestige of that period which has been observed 
is an inscription in the confessio, pavlo apostolo MA[rtyri], which 
seems to shew that the relics were deposited there at that period. 
On the arch across the transept is the inscription : — 



thus recording that it was built in the last twenty years of the 
fourth century, between 380 and 400. 

The next notice of this church is that it was repaired or restored 
by Pope Leo, a.d. 440^, under Galla Placidia, according to the in- 
scription on the arch of the transept : — 


The mosaic picture on this arch with the fine head of Christ 
was probably of the same period. 

In the time of King Theodoric and Pope Symmachus, a.d. 498 — 
514^ a considerable amount of building was done here: the apse 
was rebuilt, the confessio adorned with pictures, a chamber appro- 
priated for the canons, and another for the maixonB (ma/ronium) ; 
and steps were made before the doors of the church in the court, or 
quadri'porticus, A sacristy was also erected behind the apse, and 

^ It was engraved in the work en- pp. 273 — ^286. 

titled Ddla Basilica di S. Paolo, opera * This was restored by Hadrian I., 

di Nicola Maria Nicolai, &c., con (18) a.d. 772. 

Siante, e disegni incisi. Folio maj. ' Anastasius, xlvii. 67, 

Loma, 1815, tav. x., and described ^ Ibid., lili. 79. 

K 2 

132 Churches connected with the Catacombs. [SECT. 

water brought in by an aqueduct. In 701, there were repairs 
under Sergius I. ; in 714, the roof was restored under Gregory II. *, 
and a new altar made, with a silver cihorium or canopy over it. 
The church was damaged by the Lombards, under Liutprand, in 
730, and repaired by Gregory III. in 732 ; it was again damaged 
forty years afterwards under Desiderius. Hadrian I. gave hand- 
some donations, and Charles the Great, about a.d. 800, presented 
a silver altar and vases to it. The same Pope inclosed the body 
of S. Paul in plates of the same metal ; and one of his successors, 
Leo III., gave to this basilica a gold figure of Christ and the twelve 
Apostles, weighing seventy-five pounds, probably the frontal of an 
altar. All these treasures were carried off by the Saracens in 846. 
In 946, Leo IV. restored the church after it had been damaged by 
them. Benedict IV. gave a gold corona of two pounds weight, and 
seven silver crosses of fifty pounds. 

The fine mosaic picture on the apse or tribune, as it is called, 
was erected under Innocent IV. (a.d. 1243 — 1250), when Gaetano 
Orsini was abbot, the same who became pope by the name of 
Nicholas III., in 1277. This picture was damaged by the great fire, 
but has been restored. 

In 1285, the handsome cihoriuniy or canopy, was made under 
Abbot Bartolomeo. In 1338, the church was much damaged by 
a violent storm and an earthquake ; it was restored in 1350, and 
a gothic campanile was added. This is shewn in Nicolai's view, 
and was only replaced by the hideous modem structure after the 
fire in 1823. 

Sixtus V. made various repairs and changes in the church, ac- 
cording to the ideas of his time, of which an exact account is given 
by Ugonius. 

The ancient quadri-porticus was destroyed in 1725 by Bene- 
dict XIV., to make way for a new portico. The mosaic pictures 
of Honorius III. were restored at the same time. The three bronze 
doors were made in Constantinople in the eleventh century, at the 
expense of Pantaleon the Consul, and presented' to the church in 
1070, under Alexander II. The subjects engraved on the brass or 
bronze plates were a series of prophets and apostles ascribed to 
Pantaleon himself, and drawn according to the fashion of his day, 
in very rude outlines. They were enamelled, and the enamel 
varnish was melted in the great fire in 1823, in which the wood- 
work also was destroyed ; but the bronze plates are preserved "*, 

* Anastasius, xci. 178. 

■ They were engraved in Ddla Basilica di S, Paolo^ &c., tav. xL— xvi. 

XII.] Via Ostiensis, — S. Paulfuori delle Mura, 133 

The plan of the church is a Latin cross, 354 ft. long by 202 wide, 
with double aisles. There are forty columns in the nave, and forty 
more in the aisles. The whole style and character of the work as 
rebuilt is that of a grand Pagan temple, very handsome, but very cold 
looking, and not conveying to the mind the idea of a Christian 
church. Signor Poletti, the architect of this new building, prided 
himself on having strictly followed the rules of Vitruvius in every- 
thing, and on the consequently substantial character of the fabric. 
The old church was almost entirely destroyed in the great confla- 
gration in 1823, the apse excepted. The mosaic picture in the vault 
was much damaged, although not destroyed, and it has since been 
restored ; but a large series of tombs and figures in marble and 
bronze were entirely lost. This fire made a great sensation all over 
Europe, and a large fimd was raised by public subscription to re- 
build the church; all the Catholic bishops were called upon to 
appeal to their flocks, and did so with great success, many contribu- 
tions in kind being sent as well as money. The Emperor of Russia 
gave malachite and even the Pasha of Egypt granite columns^ which 
are used in the church with Corinthian capitals of Cairara marble. 

The old altar was preserved with its very beautiful canopy or 
dbcrium of the fourteenth century, a remarkably elegant piece of 
work, with trefoil arches and most elaborate details, of which an ex- 
cellent series of engravings have been published ^ \ but this elegant 
Gothic structure did not harmonize with the Grecian temple in which 
it now stands: it is therefore covered over by a small circular 
Grecian temple to hide it The monastery, although damaged by the 
fire, was not destroyed ; a great part of the walls of the thirteenth 
century remain, and the very beautifiil cloisters are of that period. 
These are almost identical with those of S. John Lateran, and both 
are richly ornamented ; being one of the best examples of the 
beautiful ribbon mosaic, the work of the celebrated family of the 

This Benedictine monastery was connected with that on Monte 
Casino in 142 1, and the connection is still continued. 

■ See Ddla BasilUa tH S. Paolo, &c., tav, iii. 

134 Churches connected with the Catacombs, [SECT. 



This establishment is situated about three miles from Rome, on 
the road to Ostia, and beyond the church of S. Paul fuori delle Mura. 

The church and monastery are said to have been built by Hono- 
rius I. in 626, enlarged and repaired by Leo III. in 796, with the 
help of Charlemagne, who endowed it with lands at Siena ; but it 
was almost entirely rebuilt, as we now see it, in the twelfth century. 
The rebuilding was begun by Innocent II. in 1128, and given to 
S. Bernard and his Cistercian monks of Clervaux ; the Pontiff sent for 
the first abbot Pietro Bernardo of Pisa, who became Pope under the 
name of Eugenius III. in 1145, and completed this, the first Cister- 
cian monastery in Italy ®. The church is distinguished by its remark- 
able simplicity and plain massive character, the arches being carried 
on solid brick piers, over which is the clerestory, with the original 
windows of thin slabs of marble, pierced with small round holes for 
the glass, the original plate-tracery of which remains unaltered. The 
church must have been built expressly for S. Bernard after his own 
heart, as bare and as plain as it was possible to make it, without the 
slightest attempt at ornament of any kind, and with the plain open 
timber roof. He had preached vehemently against the rich orna- 
mentation of churches, and this church should be compared with that 
of S. Maria in Cosmedin, which had been built about twenty years 
before ; it was named from its extreme richness, and therefore was 
probably one of those which excited the especial ire of S. Bernard. 
One was as rich as possible, the other as plain as could be. 

The outer walls of the aisles, and part of those of the transepts, 
belong to the earlier church of the eighth century, as do part of the 
walls of the monastery on the north side of it, which has a cloister 
of the twelfth century inserted in the earlier walls. The gatehouse 
is chiefly of the twelfth century, and the vault entirely so ; but part 
of the side walls are of the older work. 

The church has a square east end. In the sixteenth century, figures 
of the Apostles were painted on the square piers by the pupils of 
Raphael, and from his designs; these have been re-painted under 

• The donation is recorded on this s. bernardi opera svblato ana- 
inscription over the porch : — cleti schism ate, eidem ac svis cis- 



Xll.] Tre Fontane. — 55. Vincentius and Anastasitis, 135 

Pio IX., at the expense of the Pontifical government, by one of the 
worst painters of modern Rome. The exterior has the usual cornice 
of the twelfth century, flat buttresses, and marble guigoyles. The 
chapter-house, of the time of S. Bernard, remains among the buildings 
of the monastery on the north side. 

The church was dedicated to SS. Vincentius and Anastasius by 
Pope Clement III., 11 87 — 1191, when the works were completed. 
It was called in 1145, ^^ S. Anastasius ad Aquas Salvias." An altar 
was dedicated in 1221, but that can have nothing to do with the 
date of the building. 

The vault of the gatehouse has paintings of the twelfth or thir- 
teenth century ; in the centre, the figure of Christ surrounded by the 
four emblems of the Evangelists, and angels, on a white ground, 
ornamented with griffins, parrots, dragons, lions, &c. On the walls 
are paintings representing the donations made to the monks, with 
perspective views of the farms given to them at the close of the 
twelfth century, and amongst them is the figure of Honorius III., 

A.D. I216 1227, 

S. Paolo alle Tre Fontane. 

Within the walls of the monastery of S. Vincentius and Anastasius, 
two other small churches have also been built. One is called 
" S. Paolo alle Tre Fontane," supposed to be on the site of a very 
early chapel, built over the spot on which S. Paul was beheaded, 
where after his head was cut off it rebounded three times, and 
at each place as it touched the ground a fountain sprang up. The 
whole history of the martyrdom of S. Paul is, however, an apo- 
cryphal legend ; and all that we really know about this church is 
that the present building was erected from the ground by Cardinal 
Aldobrandini, a.d. 1599, in the usual bad taste of that age, by 
Giacomo della Porta »*. 

The altars are ornamented with columns of green porph3rry and 
paintings of the crucifixions of S.Peter and S.Paul; that of S.Peter 
being a copy firom Guido, that of S. Paul an original by Bernardino 
Passerolo, a Bolognese artist. This church contains also three 
statues by Niccol6 Cordieri, and, enclosed in an iron grating, the 
short marble pillar on which the Apostle is said to have been be* 
headed, a singularly ill-suited block for the purpose, 

» The following inscription records saltv emanarant, miracvlo in- 
tfae history of the church : — signem, vetvstate deformatvm, 





136 Churches connected with the Catacombs, [SECT. 

S. Maria Scala Ccell 

The other church is called "S. Maria Scala Cceli," and is built 
over the cemetery or catacomb of S. Zeno, in which, according to the 
legend, the 12,000 Christians who had been employed in building 
the baths of Diocletian were buried. The church derives its name 
from a vision of S. Bernard, in which, while celebrating mass for 
certain souls, they appeared to him ascending by a ladder to heaven. 
The church was rebuilt by Cardinal Famese from the designs of 
Vignola, and completed by Giacomo della Porta ; it is an octagonal 
building, with a central cupola, on which are the arms and name 
of the Cardinal, and the date 1584. It has a mosaic pavement 
of the twelfth or thirteenth century, and the altar in the crypt is 
enriched with mosaics. It has also one of the ancient stone weights 
called martyrs' weights, from their having been commonly used for 
drowning the martyrs. 

On the vault of the apse is a fine mosaic picture by Francesco 
Zucca, from the cartoons of Giovanni de' Vecchi. It represents 
the legend or vision above stated, with the figure of Clement VIII. 
and Cardinal Famese. The mosaics are so finely executed as to 
have quite the effect of an oil-painting, and it is necessary to look 
at them with some care to be satisfied that it is not a painting. 
This is considered the perfection of modem mosaics ; the old ones 
were far more coarsely executed, for effect at a distance, and it may 
be added that there is the same difference between an old mosaic 
and a modem one, as between an old painted glass window and a 
window of the Munich school of the present day. In the confessional 
under the apse is the altar at which S. Bemard is said to have had 
the vision ; and partly behind it is a small cell, in which S. Paul is 
supposed to have been confined previous to his execution. 

On the road to the Tre Fontane is a small modem chapel, erected 
in 1558, on the spot where S. Peter and S. Paul are said to have 
embraced and parted on their way to martyrdom. There is a cross 
of travertine on the gable, and, under a marble arch of the thirteenth 
century, by the side of the door, a modem bas-relief of the sixteenth, 
representing the two Apostles as embracing, and an inscription from 
the apocryphal Epistle of Dionysius to Timothy'. 







XII.] Via Appia, — 5. Sebasiianus ad Catacumbas, 137 


S. Sebastianus ad Catacumbas. 
Church of S. Sebastian outside the Walls. 

This church has the title of a basilica^ and it is both monastic 
and parochial. Its origin is involved in obscurity, and has been 
much disputed ; it is certainly very early, probably on the site of 
one of the earliest of the Christian chapels erected outside the walls 
at the entrances to the Catacombs, of which we have so many. An 
inscription in the church attributes the foundation of it to Innocent I., 
A.D. 401 — 417, a probable date for the first church, built after the 
reign of Constantine on the site of an earlier cemetery chapel. 

In the time of Bishop Cornelius, a.d. 254, the heads of S. Peter 
and S. Paul ^re said in the legends ' to have been buried in this 
catacomb by the matron Lucina. The body of S. Paul she depo- 
sited in her residence on the Via Ostiensis, over which the great 
basilica of S. Paul was afterwards built, this being near the place 
where he was beheaded. The body of S. Peter Cornelius she took, 
and put it under the spot where he was crucified, among the bodies 
of holy bishops, in the temple of Apollo, in the Vatican palace. 

The heads of S. Peter and S. Paul are said to have remained here 
for several months before they were removed to their final desti- 
nation, and to have been deposited in the crypt. The small classical 
confessio of white marble, with two small square openings to see the 
relics, is an imitation of the original one, when the heads were placed 
here. The character of the present one is of the twelfth century ; it 
has small twisted marble shafts and ribbon mosaics. 

The walls of the apse, and a considerable part of those of the 
nave, are of the fifth century ; but those of the crypt, or chapel of 
the relics by the side of it, are at least as early as the third, if not 
earlier. This ciypt is covered by a vault of the fifth, which is an 
evident alteration, resting on the outer edge of the ancient thick 
wall, in which are the recesses for the bodies. This chapel has all 
the appearance, firom its size and form, of having been the crypt 
under the apse of an earlier church, which originally stood by the 
side of the present one, as at S. Crisogono and several other in- 
stances, where the old church has been left standing until the new 
one was built, and portions of it used for a sacristy or for other pur- 

' Anastasius, xxiL 22, mentions the bodies only, and says nothing about the 
heads separate from the bodies. 


Churches connected with the Catacombs. 


poses. The recesses or arco-solia in the walls of the ancient crypt 
are exactly the same as those in the Catacombs, to which it was 
the entrance ; they are ranged in the wall all round the apse. This 
chapel was called the Platonia^ probably from the plates of marble 
{platonia) on which inscriptions were placed, and with which the 
walls of this chapel were covered ■• 

On the staircase leading to the ciypt is a small chapel of the 
thirteenth century, with the original paintings on the walls, also of 
that period, and a tall marble altar after the Pagan fashion. The 
subjects of the paintings are : — Christ in an aureole, or vesica, sup- 
ported by two angels ; S. Peter and S. Paul to the left, the massacre 
of the Innocents to the right ; the Madonna on a throne, with two 
angels and four prophets, and under them S. Sebastian, S. Fabian, 
two angels, and the Crucifixion. On the vault there are various 
patterns interspersed with birds, and other older frescoes under them 
are visible in places. 

In the gardens of the monastery are ruins of other small early 

* Most of these inscriptions have been 
remored, and dispersed in museums, 
cloisters, porticoes, and other places, 
as usual with all the inscriptions from 
the Catacombs ; but one relating to 
S. Bridget has been preserved, and is 
worth printing : — 

































XII.] Via Appia. — 5. Sebastianus ad Cataaimbas. 139 

chapels, of which the walls only remain, and these in a ruinous state. 
One is a small round chapel of the third century, with niches, and 
with a square recess for the altar. This may have been built over 
the sand-pit of Lucina, now the Catacomb, as described by Anas- 
tasius. It is situated between the road and the buildings of the 
Monastery. A wall of the eighth* or ninth century cuts off part 
of the apse of this old chapel, shewing that it was out of use at that 
period. This wall itself belongs to another chapel, which was ob- 
long, with an apse at each end. Around the entrance to each of the 
catacombs there were usually several burial-chapels. A few of these 
were earlier than the time of Constantine ; but the existing ruins of 
these chapels are generally of the fourth or fifth century. Those 
at the entrance to the recently discovered catacomb of S. Alexander 
have been better preserved than usual, with three rude mosaic pave- 
ments and altars, and are very interesting. 

S. Sebastian's was in a great degree rebuilt by Cardinal Scipio 
Borghese^ in 1612, as recorded on an inscription, and the present 
appearance of the church is of that period. It stands back from the 
road, with a square court in firont, as if intended for a quadri- 
partutts; but there is only a portico of three arches, with six granite 
colmnns. There are no aisles, but several side chapels ; one called 
the chapel of S. Sebastian was built by Cardinal Barberini, and the 
body of the saint is said to rest under the altar. There are other 
chapels with modem paintings, some of which are in good esti- 

Jn the present church, there is a subterranean chapel or crypt of 
S. Sebastian under the altar, with sculpture of 1672. The relics are 
usually exhibited and made much of; they consist of the column 
to which S. Sebastian was tied, and one of the iron arrows with 
which he was shot. There is also a plate of marble, on which 
are said to be the impressions of the feet of Christ ; but it can be 
seen to be evidently worked with the chisel. 

A marble slab with one of the many inscriptions of Pope Damasus, 
A.D. 367, is preserved here ; it is in honour of Eutychius, pope and 
martyr \ Damasus also placed an inscription on a plate of marble 

* This may be part of the work re- carnificvmq . vias . pariter . tvnc . 
eordecl as erected by Nicholas I., A.D. mille . nocendi . 

858—867. (Anastas. in Vita Nic L vincere . qvod . potvit . monstra- 

Cvii. 601.) VIT . GLORIA . CHRISTI . 

• This cardinal also rebuilt the church carceris . inlvviem . seqvitvr . no- 
of S. Crisogono. VA . poena . per . artvs . 




Churches connected with the Catacombs, 


{piatoniam^) in the catacomb where the bodies of S. Peter and S. Paul 
were found, and which certain Greeks had endeavoured to steal and 
carry off to their own country". There are also inscriptions relating 
to the history of the fabric, recording that it was built by Proclinus 
and Ursus, priests of the Titulus (afterwards called cardinals), in the 
time of Pope Innocent I., a.d. 411 — ^41 7*. 

A modem inscription states that 74,000 martyrs were interred in 
this church and catacomb. 

In the catacomb are an inscription testifying to the site of the tomb 
of S. Cecilia, by William archbishop of Bourges, a.d. 1409; a figure 
in stucco of Pope Urban ; a chapel of S. Maximus, with the column 
on which he was beheaded ; a chapel of Lucina, with a mosaic pave- 
ment of the twelfth century, and a carved image of the fifteenth. 

The church of S. Sebastian is situated on the Via Appia, about 
two miles from Rome. This road is still in many parts between 
this church and the town at its original level, at the bottom of a foss ; 
the earth on both sides is nearly as high as the top of the high walls, 
and these banks are occupied by a series of tombs and catacombs. 
Many of the tombs are now merely masses of rough brick, or tufa, 
entirely stripped of all their ornamental work, and some of them 
have been turned into houses, or have had cottages built upon 
them, — some at an early period, as there are the stone corbels for 
carrying a hourd for defence on one near the catacomb of the Jews\ 








f Anastasius, xxxix. 54. 

■ The original of this inscription is 
not in existence ; the present one is a 
copy of the thirteenth century, in Gothic 
characters : — 















^ See the Section on Tombs, 

XII.] Via Appia.—S, Urbano, 141 

Church of S. Urbano a la CAFFARELLA^ 

This temple is of the time of the Antonines, or about a.d. 150, if 
not earlier ; it is nearly complete, though in a decayed and neglected 
state. It consists of a square ceiia with its vault complete, panelled 
in sunk caissons, and a portico of four Corinthian columns, the in- 
tervals between which have been walled up to make a habitation 
for the priest or hermit It stands on the brow of a cliflf in a solitary 
place, near the tomb of Caecilia Metella, and what is called the 
Grotto of Egeria, an antique fountain in a cave in the cliflf below, 
and is about two miles beyond the gate of S. Sebastian. 

S. Urban I., who was Pope a.d. 223 — 230, is said to have used 
the crypt under it as a hermitage and place of concealment during 
the time of the persecution under Septimius Severus; it is far 
more probable that this was in the catacomb adjoining. There is 
also another tradition that the same Pontiff here instructed in the 
Christian faith Valerianus, Tiburtius and Maximus, all of whom 
were martyrs, whom he buried in the chapel of S. Cecilia, in the 
catacomb of S. Calixtus, and that he was himself buried by their 
side. This old temple is supposed to have been dedicated as a 
church in his honour by Paschal I. in the ninth century, and re- 
stored by Urban VIII. in 1694; but neither Anastasius nor any 
other ecclesiastical historian mentioning this dedication, there seems 
reason to doubt whether it was ever consecrated as a church at all 
before the time of Urban IV. in 1694. It had previously been 
considered as a hermitage, and a place of pilgrimage, like the 
chapels in the Catacombs, and it was decorated with paintings 
on the walls in frescoes, in the same manner, and at the same 
periods. Accordingly the walls are covered with a series of paint- 
ings of the eleventh century, in a very decayed state j they are sub- 
jects from the Evangelical history, and from the lives of S. Cecilia 
and S. Urban, and the work of a hermit called Bonizzo, who resided 
here in looi. These frescoes are extremely curious and interest- 
ing, in spite of their bad state ; as works of art, they are of very 
early character. There is a long series of them, in two tiers along 
both sides and both ends ; those at the ends have been partly re- 
stored, those at the sides have not. In the crypt or confessio, 
which is very small and early, and unusually deep, is, over the small 
altar, another painting, which entirely fills up the end of it. This 

' This is called by some a Temple of called by others the Tomb of Hcrodes 
Bacchas, from an altar found there, Atticus, but without any authority. 
and now preserved in the porch. It is 


Churches connected with the Catacombs, 


fresco represents the Madonna, with the Christ clothed as a little 
man, not as a child ; S. Urban on her right, and S. John on her 
left, with their names inscribed vertically. The figures are well 
drawn, and correspond nearly with others of the time of Paschal I., 
A.D. 817 — 824, as in the mosaics and the paintings in the chapel 
of S. Agnes, in the church of S. Prassede. There was no persecution 
of the Christians going on at the time of the death of S. Urban, and 
there is no evidence that he was a martyr. 

The real construction of the walls is, as usual, a mass of concrete 
faced on the exterior with the most admirable brickwork ; the vault, 
the cornice, and the mouldings are of terra-cotta **. The same 
brickwork and the same details of terra-cotta occur in the doorway 
and portico at the entrance to the catacomb, in the bank by 
the side of the paved via or cross-road between S. Urbano and 
S. Sebastiano, now underground in consequence of the filling up 
of the via in fossa^ as in so many other places in Rome and the 

Since this was wTitten, I have been favoured by Mr. J. C. Hemans 
with the following notice of the Church of S. Urbano, and the curious 
paintings on the walls. 

" We must pass to the eleventh century in order to consider a more 
interesting series of wall-paintings — the date, 10 11, being fortunately 
preserved, though but in a copy — ^in the antique edifice above the 
valley of the Almo, popularly called ' Temple of Bacchus,' and con- 
verted into a church dedicated to S. Urban I., by Pope Paschal I., 
about A.D. 820 ; modernized by Urban VIII., as we now see it, in 
1634. The antique brickwork and terra-cotta mouldings are of 
almost the finest description. This picturesque building was not in 
fact a Pagan temple in any strict sense of that term, but one of that 
class of patrician Mausolea called horreum^ that might be described as 
chapel-tombs, where the altar and occasional religious rites had their 
place in the home of the dead. Around its interior walls is carried 
a double file of frescoes, representing the evangelic history from the 
Annunciation to the Descent into Limbo (or Hades), the story of 

•* There is some doubt whether it ever 
was a temple at all. No notice of it has 
been found in any ancient author, and 
some good antiquaries think that it was 
only one of the chapels built at the en- 
trance to the Catacombs ; but we have 
no other instance of a portico to one of 
them, and the second century is rather 
too early a date to make this probable. 
The construction may be rather earlier 

than the time of the Antonines, men- 
tioned in the text as the period to which 
it is usually assigned. The moulded 
brickwork is remarkably good, and the 
marble columns belong to the best 
period of art. 

A good set of engravings of a re- 
storation of this temple has been pub- 
lished by Canina. 

xn.] Via Appia. — S, Urbane. 143 

Pope S. Urban (mart)n*ed a.d. 233), and that of S. Cecilia and her 
aflianced, Valerian, with his brother Tiburtius ; also, quite distinct 
from these, the martyrdom of S. Laurence. The introduction of 
this last subject may be accounted for when we refer to the inscrip- 
tion under the Crucifixion-scene, bonizzo fecit anno christi mxi, 
a person of that name, Bonizzo, having been abbot of the S. Lorenzo 
monastery, where his epitaph has been found, with the date of his 
death, 1022 ; and we may conclude that the church of S. Urbano had 
passed under his jurisdiction before these pictures were ordered by 
him, with especial desire to honour the saint to whom his own 
monastery was dedicated. Before observing the frescoes here in 
detsul, we might examine two sets of coloured drawings from them 
in the Baiberini library, one executed beforcy the other after ^ the ori- 
ginals had been repainted by order of a cardinal of the Barberini 
frunily. We cannot certainly commend for correctness or scrupu- 
losity the artist, who did not hesitate to alter, in several instances, 
costumes, attitude, symbolism, and even the character of counte- 
nances. In the Crucifixion-scene, and in that opposite, of the Savi- 
our between SS. Peter and Paul and two archangels, this alteration 
has been so unreservedly carried out, that we cannot regard the ex- 
isting pictures as in any degree identical with the antique. To the 
figure of S. Peter has been given the keys, to that of S. Paul the 
sword, though both attributes are wanting in the original ; but the 
other scenes from the New Testament, and from the legend of saints, 
are fortunately in better condition, generally free from alteration, or 
rather (as we may infer) exempt from the destroying touch of that 
ill-counselled artist The epigraph with dates (under the Crucifixion) 
is also a restoration ; but in the original a part of it is seen, to which 
we may suppose the date was added, according to a tradition as to 
what had once been read after the name of Bonizzo. At least it seems 
incredible that the learned Cardinal should have allowed the artist 
to follow his own fancy in a matter so important. 

" Most beautiful among the external features of S. Urbano is the 
classic Corinthian colonnade of the peristyle, the intercolumniations 
of which have been built up, probably in the works ordered by 
Urban VIII. Below the altar is a crypt, into which we descend 
by steps, containing a rude altar, and some Christian paintings of 
the most barbaric description — a Madonna and child, with Pope 
S. Urban and S. John the Evangelist ; the title of Mary is inscribed 
above her head in Greek," 


Churc/tes connected with the Catacofnbs, 


Tomb of S. Helena, and Church of SS. Marcellinus and 

Peter the Exorcist. 

A church was made by Constantine under this dedication, and 
this has been supposed to have been in the mausoleum • where his 
mother, S. Helena, was buried in a sarcophagus of porphyry, at the 
third mile from Rome on the Via Lavicana, or Labicana. 

The interior of the mausoleum was used as a burial-chapel, with 
a series of niches or recesses formed in the thickness of the wall, 
both outside and inside, which remain, and one of these in the 
inside is fitted up with an altar. A small modern church has been 
made within the walls since the vault was destroyed; but it was 
originally a circular church, or burial-chapel, with the sarcophagus 
in the middle and the recesses round, and the vault above, which 
was built of earthenware pots or vases, like many others of the 
same period, portions of which may be seen at the springing of 
the vault 

To this church and mausoleum Constantine gave a number of 
gifts, altar furniture, images, &c., of gold and silver, similar to those 
presented to S. Peter's ; they are enumerated by Anastasius ', but it is 
sufficient here to refer to them. 

The magnificent sarcopliagus, of red Egyptian porphyry*, was found 
in the mausoleum in the time of Anastasius IV., and was removed by 
him for his own sepulture to Saint John of Lateran, from which it 

* Eusebius mentions this royal tomb, 
and the honours paid by Constantine to 
his mother. See De Ptta Constantini^ 
lib. iii. cap. 47. 

'**... Augustus Constantinus fecit 
basilicam BB. MM. Marcellino pres- 
bytero, et Petro exorcistse, inter duas 
Lauras, et mausoleum, ubi beatissima 
mater ipsius sepulta est Helena Augusta, 
in sarcophago porphyretico, Via Lavi- 
cana, milliario ab urbe Roma tertio. . . . 
posuit dona voti sui." (Anastasius in 
Silvestro, A.D. 314, xxxiv. 44.) 

There is some doubt whether the 
construction and dedication of a mo> 
dem church to SS. Peter and Mar- 
cellinus, within the tomb of S. Helena, 
is not altogether a mistake. The tomb 
itself was originally a church or chapel 
dedicated to S. Helena herself, as was 
natural with her tomb in the middle of 
it. The church of S. Marcellinus and 
S. Peter the exorcist was inter duas Lau' 

ras, that is, between the two great mo- 
nasteries of S. Maria Maggiore and 
S.John of Lateran, where a small church 
under this vocable has existed ever 
since the time of Constantine, and has 
been rebuilt. It is not probable that 
Constantine built and dedicated two 
churches to the same saints in the 
same year. Vide Ducange, Glossarium 
tned. et inf. latin., sub voce Laura^ 
vol. iv. p. 46, col. 2. 

V It was considered by the antiquaries 
of the last century that this um of por- 
phyry, with its sculptures in basso re- 
lievo, was a monument of antique and 
profane work. See Bottari, Sculiure 
e pitture sa^e esiraUe dai cimiterj di 
Roma, &c., vol. iii. tav. clxcvi. But 
the great resemblance between this sar- 
cophagus and that of Constantia, the 
grand-daughter of S. Helena, is now 
considered to render it probable that 
both are of the time of Constantine. 


Via Labicana, — Tomb of S, Helena, 


was transferred to the museum of the Vatican by Pio VI. It is 
covered with sculpture in basso relievo, representing a battle, with 
portraits of Constantine and Helena, and the cross is ornamented 
with figures of Victory, and festoons of flowers and fruit The 
sculpture is very fine ; but it was unfortunately so much damaged in 
the removal, that it had to be very much restored, and a great deal 
of the actual work is consequently modem, of the old design. 

This mausoleum stands over the entrance to the catacomb now 
called that of SS. Pietro e Marcellino, which is of considerable ex- 
tent, but is in the same melancholy desecrated state as the other 
catacombs, the inscriptions on the slabs which closed the graves 
having, as usual, been removed to be put into museums or cloisters, 
and the bones to be sold as relics \ 

Constantine had near this spot a country palace, which has been 
entirely destroyed, having been used as a quarry by the neighbouring 
^rmers ; but a branch aqueduct to supply it with water still remains, 
sufficiently perfect to indicate the site. This palace and the large 
estate belonging to it formed part of the donation of Constantine to 
the Chapter of the Lateran, and the estate still continues to be their 
property. The present state of the mausoleum, the catacombs, and 
the palace, is lamentable ; and the whole estate is almost a desert. 
Whether really owing to the alleged causes, the devastations of the 
Goths, who destroyed the aqueduct, which has not beien restored, 
and the increase of malaria, or simply to neglect, and the want of 
irrigation, may be doubtful. The admirable system of irrigation and 
drainage which was in use under the Empire, and of which remains 
or traces are found every day, must have made the Campagna around 
Rome some of the most fertile land in the world ^ 

^ See an account of that catacomb in 
Sect vii. 

* The want of vegetation in the sum- 
mer months, caus^ by the want of 
water, and especially the want of trees, 
is believed by some well-informed per- 
sons to be the principal cause of the 
malaria. The disease existed from a 
very early period, and one of the ob- 
jects in making the great aqueducts in 
the first century of the Christian era 
was to remove it, as is mentioned by 
Frontinus in his account of them. 
When Anselm, Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, paid a visit to Rome, he was 
taken out of town, on account of the 
malaria, chiefly dangerous to the pil- 

grims : ** Verum quia calor sestatis in 
partibus illis cuncta urebat, et habitatio 
Urbis nimium insalubris, sed przedpue 
peregrinis hominibus erat, Johannes . . . 
Abbas coenobii Sancti Salvatoris Tele- 
sim . . . eduxit (eum) in suam viilam 
Schlaviam nomine, quae in montis ver- 
tice sita sano jugiter acre atque tepenti, 
conversantibus illic habiliserat.'' (£ad- 
merus, de Vita S. Anselmi, ad calcem 
ejus Operum, ed. Bened. Lut. Paris., 
1721, loL, p. 20, col. 2, A. **Hic 
(Johannes) . . . deprecatus est, quate- 
nus ad se veniret ... ad evitandas Ro- 
manae Urbis segritudines,^' &c. (Id. 
Hist. Novorum^ lib. u. ibid., p. 51, 
col. I, D.) 


Churches connected with the Catacombs, 


S. Agnes outside the Walls. 

The basilica of S. Agnes beyond the Walls is one of those founded 
by Constantine^, a.d. 314; it retains nothing of his time, except 
the antique columns, which may be earlier. 

The church was probably repaired or enlarged about fifty years 
after the time of Constantine, by Pope Damasus, as two of his in- 
scriptions are placed in it, one of which has been removed ; but the 
words are preserved by Gruter^. The other is still in the church. 

It was entirely rebuilt by Pope Honorius, a.d. 626 — 638 ; the 
words of Anastasius * are quite distinct on this point : — 

" At the same time he made the church of the blessed Agnes the 
Martyr, at the third mile from Rome, on the Numentana road, from 

J "Eodera tempore fecit basilicam 
sanctse martyris Agnetis ex rogatu Con- 
stantbe filix suae, et baptisterium in 
eodem loco, ubi et baptizata est soror 
ejus Constantia cum filia Augusti a Sil- 
vestro episcopo, ubi donum constituit 
hoc. . . . Via Salaria sub Pavetinas usque 
omnem agrum S. Agnes, prsestantem 
solidos centum et quinque ; agrum Muci, 
prsestantem solidos octuaginta ; posses- 
sio Vicopisonis, praestans solidos ducen- 
tos et quinquaginta ; agrum Caculas, 
praestantem sohdos centum." (Anasta- 
sius, xxxiv. 42.) 

It would be curious to see whether 
these lands can be identified as still be- 
longing to this monastery. 













(Gruter, Inscr, AH/.,p.U CLXI. n. 9.) 
On a marble slab, in a chapel on the 

lefl-hand side of the nave, is the other 

inscription in verse in honour of S. 

Agnes, written by Pope Damasns, and 

engraved in the beautiful letters of his 

period, A.D. 365—385 :— 











' "(Honorius) . . . fecit ecdesiam 
beatse Agnetis martyris milliario ab 
urbe Roma tertio. Via Numentana, a 
solo, ubi requiescit, quam undique or- 
navit et exquisivit, ubi posuit multa 
dona. Omavit autem sepulcrum ejus 
ex argento, quod pensan. libras 252. 
Posuit et desuper aburium aereum de- 
auratum mirae magnitudinis. Fecit et 
gabathos aureos quatuor, pensan. sing, 
libras singulas. Fecit absidam ejusdem 
basilicas ex musibo, ubi etiam multa 
b^na obtulit*' (Anastas., Ixxii. 119.) 

XII.] Via Nomentana, — S. Agnes f oris Murutn, 


the ground (in which she is buried), which he everywhere adorned 
and ornamented, to which he also gave many gifts ; and her tomb 
he ornamented with silver of the weight of 252 lbs., and over it 
he placed a ciborium " of bronze gilt, of great magnificence ; and 
then he made the apse of the church with a mosaic picture, and 
he added many other donations." The gold and silver vessels have 
disappeared, as usual ; but the mosaics remain. 

It is probable that among the gifts of Constantine for the endow- 
ment of this church and monastery was the imperial villa of Max- 
entius, in the grounds of which this and S. Constantia are built 
There are evident traces of some lai^e buildings of the period near 
the baptistery, and the ruins called the Hippodrome of Maxentius, 
in the valley adjoining, are still of considerable extent It was here 
that Liberius took refuge on his return from exile before he ven- 
tured into the city, as mentioned in our account of the catacomb to 
which this church was the entrance. In the time of Innocent I., 
A.D. 402 — 417, it was richly ornamented by the presbyters Leopardus 
and Paulinus. About a century afterwards S)rmmachus restored the 
apse or tribune, then in a ruinous state. 

The mosaic pictiu-es which adorn it are of remarkable character and 
good of their kind, although of a bad style of art The central figure 
on the vault of the apse is S. Agnes herself, richly attired in a Greek 
costume with jewels, tall and stately, rather stiflf, but with a certain 
air of dignity, holding a book ; and the hand of the Almighty ", issuing 
out of a cloud, holds the jewelled crown of martyrdom over her 
head. To her right is Pope Honorius, with a model of the church 
in his hand, as the builder of the actual church ; to her left. Pope 
Symmachus, with a book, as the original founder. Under their feet 
is a long inscription in gold letters, on a blue ground, formed of 
lapis lazuli. The heads of the two popes have been restored, but 
the character of the original drawing is preserved. 

• Or a cupola. On the etymology of 
ciborium, the exact meaning of which is 
uncertain, see du Cange, Giossar. med, 
et infim. Latinit, sub voce, et Canstan- 
Hnopolis Christiana^ No. 57 ; Macri, 
HieroUxicon^ sub voce ; Bingham, Ori- 
gifus d AnH^uUates Ecclesiastic^^ t. iii. 
Kb. viii c. VI. $ xviii. An older name 
for this, the trae origin of which is no 
less uncertain, is that of appallarea or 
appdlaria^ used by Anastasius (bcxxvL 
162), and about which one may consult 
Pacciaudi, de Umbell. Gestat.^ pp. 56, 57. 

■ This way of representing the Al- 
mighty, by an arm issuing out of a doud, 

is a symbolism which must be derived 
from the traditions of oriental art. At 
any rate, it is a curious fact to note 
that the Almighty never figures in per^ 
sona in the pictures of the Catacombs ; 
either the art of the primitive Christians 
being considered as thoroughly power- 
less to represent that great figure of the 
Supreme Being, or because a sacred 
motive forbade them to conceive so bold 
an idea. We are disposed to adopt the 
latter opinion, since we see, even in the 
medieval manuscripts of the Psalter, the 
presence of God always represented as 
m the mosaic of S. Agnes. 

L 2 

148 Churches connected with the Catacombs, [SECT. 

It was again repaired by Hadrian I., a.d. 772, after it had 
been damaged in the siege by the Lombards. The church has 
been thoroughly modernized ; but the old plan and arrangement 
have been retained, and it is one of the few churches in Rome 
which has a triforium gallery. The original church of S. Lorenzo 
fuori le Mura appears to have been on the same plan, and that 
of the Santi Quattro Incoronati very similar. The body of the 
church is below the level of the ground, so that the entrance to it 
is down a flight of steps, while that to the triforium is on the level ; 
this gallery is' continued across the west end as well as the sides. 

In 1256, three altars were dedicated in this church by Pope 
Alexander IV. % in honour of S. John Baptist, S.John Evangelist, 
and S. Emerantiana. The church has been re-decorated in 1856 
at the expense of Pope Pio IX., and is now considered one of the 
handsomest in Rome. Its archaeological interest, of course, could 
not be improved by the process; but neither was it deteriorated, 
the modernization having been effected at a previous period. Some 
considerable alterations had been made in the thirteenth century, 
at the time when the three new altars were consecrated. 

The nave has a rich ceiling of carved wood, with the arms of 
Cardinal Sfirondati, 1606; the sculptures in this ceiling represent 
S. Agnes, S. Cecilia, and S. Constantia. The grand staircase, a flight 
of thirty-two marble steps, was made about that time, and the death 
of Paul V. was caused by the chill that he received here in perform- 
ing Mass on the re-opening of the church after these alterations. The 
six antique columns in the nave are not all alike ; four are of one 
kind of marble, and two of another. Those of the triforium gallery 
are different again, and fluted, some vertically, others spirally. In 
a side chapel is a marble altar with mosaic patterns of a.d. 1256. 
The outer walls of the church are chiefly of the twelfth century. 

This church is the entrance to one of the principal catacombs. 
On this spot S. Agnes herself was buried ; and here also was the 
cemetery of the family of Constantine, it being under one of the 
imperial farms. (See Sect, vii.) 

The campanile is of the fifteenth century, badly built, and sup- 
ported by ugly buttresses ; but it is ornamented with paterae of ma- 
jolica, and has somewhat of the character of the older campaniles. 


XII.] Via Nomentana, — 6". Constantia. 149 


The Emperor Constantine is said by Anastasius to have built 
several churches in Rome, the most important of which was the 
one known as the Basilica of Constantine, now the Lateran, and 
to have also founded the basihcas of S. Peter and of S. Paul, of 
Holy Cross, S. Agnes, and S. Laurence, in none of which (except 
the Holy Cross) are there now any remains of his time, and the church 
of S. Marcellinus and Peter the Exorcist, in the mausoleum of his 
mother Helena >*. The baptistery at the Lateran is also said to 
have been built by him ; but little, if anything, of his time is there 

The Church or Baptistery of S. Constantia is in the grounds 
of the monastery of S. Agnes, near the church, and may have been 
built by Constantine as the sepulchral chapel of his daughter and 
sister, both of the same name. If so, this seems to be the only 
perfect and unaltered building of his time now remaining in Rome ; 
but it is the opinion of well-informed Roman archaeologists that it 
was erected by his sons \ It is a circular edifice with an aisle round 
it, separated from the central space by twenty-four coupled shafts, 
carrying small round arches. The vaults of the aisle are ornamented 
with very rich mosaics in various patterns, the most remarkable of 
which is the cultivation of the vine ; which led Ciampini and other 
authors to think that it had been originally a temple of Bacchus. 

The outer walls are ten feet thick, built of rubble stone or con- 
crete, plastered on the inside for painting, and cased on the outside 
with brick or tiles ; this casing has been a good deal repaired, but 
a considerable part of it seems to be original. Opposite to the 
entrance is the arch of a small apse or tribune for an altar, which 
has been destroyed ; but in that part of the aisle the vault is carried 
considerably higher, as if for a baldaquin over the sarcophagus. 

The whole of the exterior is as plain as possible, as is the case 
with all the ancient churches in Rome. S. Constantia was conse- 
crated as a church by Pope Alexander IV., and an altar dedicated 
there in 1256. The sarcophagus of the saint was found buried in 
the small apse in which this altar is placed, and was removed to 
the Vatican Museum by Pope Pio VI. in 179 1, as recorded on an 
inscription now placed in the apse over a picture representing it. 

^ Anastasius, xxxiv. 42. more probable that this was the case, 

^ The Life of Constantine, as nar- though there is no direct testimony 
rated by Eusebius, seems to make it either way. 

150 Churches connected with the Catacombs. [SECT. 

This sarcophagus is also ornamented with the vine and the vintage. 
This church was restored by Cardinal Sfrondati in 1620; some of 
the faded painting is probably of his time. On each side of the 
doorway on the exterior is an arched recess, apparently part of 
the ancient quadri-porticus ; there are also considerable ruins of 
the ancient monastery. 

The double columns, or twin shafts, which carry the arches are 
distinguished for beauty of form and of material. The shafts are of 
granite, the capitals of marble ; they are richly carved, but quite 
consistent with the time of Constantine, and there is no reason to 
suppose that they were taken from any previous building. They are 
of the Composite order, usual at that period. 

The mosaics on the vaults also agree perfectly with the character 
of that age, and the work is rather rude, merely intended as de- 
corations to be seen from a distance; their general effect is har- 
monious and agreeable : they form a regular, methodical, and sym- 
metrical whole. They are divided into twelve bays, corresponding 
with the lower columns, which carry on one side the vaults of the 
aisles on which they are painted, and on the other side the an- 
cient cupola. The pattern is different in each bay; the scenes of 
the vintage, which were engraved by Ciampini, are constantly referred 
to as the most singular. Another is simply a meandering pattern 
of foliage, then the ploughing of the land by oxen, and the vintage 
repeated, with birds, crosses, and other Christian emblems, but not 
prominent. All are on a white ground, except the one which was 
over the altar and the sarcophagus of Constantia, or what may be 
called the chancel ; this is richer than the rest, having a gold 
ground. This church had originally an apse, now destroyed, as 
has been said The central part has been painted only, and the 
present painting is late and bad. 

Over each of two doorways in the tympanum is also a mosaic 
picture of later character, probably of the eighth century. The 
subject of one is Christ giving His blessing to two of His disciples, 
supposed to be S. Thomas and S. Philip ', with four lambs at His 
feet, and an inscription, dominvs pacem dat, on a scroll which He 
gives to one of the Apostles ; two streams of water flow from the 
feet of Christ. On the other tympanum Christ is seated on the 
globe, with a book in His left hand, and giving His right hand to 
an Apostle under a part of His cloak. 

' S. John xiv. 27. 

XII. J Via Nomentana, — 5". A lexander. 151 

S. Alexander. 

According to the legends of the Roman Church, Pope Alexander I. 
was martyred a.d. 119, by being torn to pieces by horses, along with 
EventiuSy a priest, and Theodulus, a deacon, on the Via Nomen- 
tana, seven miles from Rome. Their scattered limbs were collected 
and interred in a catacomb near the same spot, by Severa, a reli- 
gious matron ■. It has been remarked that S. Irenseus does not 
mention his martyrdom, but S. Alexander is reckoned among the 
martyrs in the Canon of the Mass, and in the Sacramentary of 
S. Gregory the Great, in the ancient Calendar of Fronto, and in 
other Martyrologies, with his two companions. Their bodies are 
said to have been translated to the Dominican church of S. Sabina, 
but according to the Roman Church the place where the body of 
a martyr has once lain is always considered sacred. 

This site had long been forgotten, until in 1853, a learned English 
botanist was much surprised to see growing on the grass-land of the 
Campagna a plant which was considered as peculiar to old lime or 
ruins. He forwarded specimens to the Linnaean Society of London, 
who sent out a commission to investigate the facts, and these gentle- 
men by a little digging soon came upon the ruins. The discovery 
excited great attention, and Cavaliere de Rossi identified the spot. 
Pio IX. ordered the space to be enclosed with a substantial wall 
sufficient to protect these remains if they had been of gold, and 
began to build an enormous cathedral over them, proposing to 
retain the old church as a cr3rpt to the new one. The church was 
never completed, and probably now never will be, as it is not 
wanted. The discovery of the site made a great sensation at the 
time, but the matter is now almost forgotten K 

These remains consist of the mosaic pavement and the lower part 
of the walls of the original small burial-chapel in a tolerably perfect 
state, with the doorway leading to the Catacombs, the whole of the 
second century. By the side of this, a large church, consisting of 
nave, aisles and chapels, was built during or soon after the time of 
Constantine, and this has been partially excavated. The arches are 
formed of the usual long thin bricks of that period. On the floor of 
the central part, which may be nave or chancel, is a portion of the 
pavement of the sacrarium, with an apsidal termination, and the 
marks of the place of two marble screens of enclosure of the choir 

■ " Qui ctiam sepultus est Via Nu- Cardinal Vicar, or his officers ; the 

mentaoa, ubi decoUatus est, ab urbe place is quite inaccessible without the 

Roma non longe, milliario vii.," &c Key, which must be bespoken the day 

(Anaslasius, vii. 7.) before it is wanted. 

' The key is kept in Rome by the 


Churches connected with tJie Catacofnis. 


or sacrarium behind the altar, which is valuable as shewing the 
arrangement of that period ; the only part perfect is the apse behind 
the altar. At the opposite end there appears to have been a second 
apse and a second altar ; but this has been so much tampered with, 
that it is impossible to see how much it is original. There is the 
marble grating of the confessio^ but whether in its original place 
or not cannot be seen. The inscription upon it seems to be of the 
fourth century *. 

This church is surrounded by a number of small burial-chapels 
and long narrow passages, with brick arches for tombs, like the 
sepulchral recesses in medieval churches, on both sides of the pas- 
sages, giving at first sight the idea of their being the tops of a long 
row of arches of an aisle, and that the earth has only been dug out 
to the level of the springing. This is, however, clearly not the case ; 
the floor of the passages was no lower than it now is, and the vaults 
above, which covered them in, have been destroyed ; they must 
have formed the upper tier of a catacomb, almost on a level with 
the surface of the ground, and they appear to be, from the character 
of the work, of the fourth or fifth century. 

Before the time of Constantine, and before the large church or 
these chapels and passages were built, the original small chapel had 
been added to, by building a porch on the side of it, of which the 
four brick piers of the vault remain, with the masonry on the right- 
hand side, consisting of large square blocks of stone, like all the 
early constructions in Rome ; and this stone wall continues on the 
right-hand side of the portico in front of the porch, of which the bases 
of the two columns remain in situ. The wall on the left-hand side 
has been destroyed or concealed by the modem wall of Pio IX. ; but 
here is placed a fine marble sarcophagus, with a good head in the 
centre, and two figures, with torch reversed and extinguished, at the 
comers, shewing that it was not Christian. 

Behind this are the mins of a small cubiculum^ with three area- 
soiia^ the door occupying the fourth side, evidently a burying-place 

* The part remaining of the inscrip- 
tion on the front of the altar is as 
follows : — 



This altar is considered as of Import- 
ance by ecclesiologists, as an early 
example of the table • form supported 
on four legs or shafts. Two of the 
bases of the three remain in their ori- 

ginal places, and bear these inscrip- 
tions : — 


Under the altar is a shallow grave 
lined with marble, in which, no doubt, 
the relics of S. Alexander were placed, 
until they were removed to S. Sabina. 
The front of the altar was panelled or 
channelled, and there was a square hole 
in the centre for viewing the relics, or 
some say, for placing a cloth over them. 


Via Nomentana, — S. Alexander. 


for a small family ; this seems to be of the third or fourth century. 
At the end of the large church of Constantine, to the left of the 
entrance, is another family burial-chapel of larger dimensions, with 
an apse, and with the entrance doorway at the opposite end, raised 
a step or two above the level of the church, but distinct from it ; this 
appears to be of the fifth or sixth century, and is very rude work. 
Part of the stone steps descending into the church are ancient, but 
the lower part has been widened to more than double the original 
width. The curved line of the pavement from the foot of the ori- 
ginal steps to the original chapel has been suffered to remain, passing 
round the apse of the choir of the church of Constantine, and in- 
cluded in the aisle. Several tombs have the names of consuls upon 
them, which give their dates. 

The character of the pavements, and of such other decorated 
portions as exist, is that which marks works of the fifth century "^ : 
it was therefore probably at that period that the originally simple 
excavation where the body of S. Alexander was laid in the second 
centuiy, was brought into the form in which we see it. The building 
was evidently partly above and partly below the level of the ground, 
the original place of interment having been a low vault, and the 
same process of cutting away the superincumbent earth and erect- 
ing a church having been gone through here as at S.Agnes and 
S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura, but on a much humbler scale. 

From the time that the body of S.Alexander was removed from 
hence ^ the building was no doubt neglected, and at last fell into 
total ruin. It became filled in with earth, and lost sight of, until 
excavations made by Sig. Guidi, and commenced in 1854, brought 
these interesting remains to light 

* A sepulchral stone found there bears 
the date of the consulate of Postu- 
mius (Rafus Praetextatus Postumianus, 
A.D. 448), and another that of Flavius 
Maburtius (Mavortius, a.d. 527). These 
probably point to the period when this 
cemetery, about seven miles from Rome, 
was specially honoured, and interment 
in it desired. 

* According to some authorities, it 
was removed to S. Sabina by Pope 
Celestinus in the fifth century. Other 
churches at Rome have, however, 
claimed the honour of possessing it, 
while some French writers state that 
it was given by Leo III. to Charle- 

154 Churches connected with the Catacombs. [SECT. 

S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura. 

The basilica of S. Lorenzo beyond the Walls is said to have been 
originally one of the usual burial -chapels at the entrance of the 
catacomb of S. Cyriaca, a Roman matron, who had interred the body 
of S. LaurentiuSy or Laurence, over the family catacomb or crypt in the 
sandpit, in the meadow of Veranus. On this site Constantine is said 
to have built a church 7 : it is more probable, from his usual practice, 
that he endowed a chapter with large landed estates, which enabled 
them afterwards to build a church themselves. It is further stated to 
have been enlarged in the fifth centuiy, by the Empress Galla 
Placidia", daughter of Theodosius, at the instigation of Pope Leo !• 
It is also probable that the original small church was rebuilt at this 
time by the chapter, assisted by the donations from the Empress 
and others. The only portions remaining of those early periods are 
the antique columns. The earliest part of the building to which we 
can assign any certain date is the arch of triumph, with the mosaics, 
which at present faces the altar instead of being behind it or over it, 
as usual. This is part of the church as rebuilt by Pope Pelagius II., 
A.D. 590. 

There were originally two churches, which were made into one by 
Hadrian I., a.d. 780*; the two apses are said to have been back to 
back **, both of whith were removed, ^nd the one continued as a long 

7 " Constantinus . . . fecit basilicam * '' Item hie idem almificus praesul 

B. Lam-entio ... in agrum Veranum, , monasterium S. Laurentii, quod m Pa- 

supra arenarium cryptae." (Anastasius, latinis in desertis reperit, noviter re- 

rxxiv. 43.) staurans, atque in omnibus ditans, con- 

■ The fact that Galla Placidia did junxit cum alio monasterio jiixta ipsum 

contribute largely to the rebuilding is posito, scilicet S. Stephani, quod cogno- 

confirmed by the following inscrip- minatur Baganda ; et ordinaWt mona- 

tion : — chos, et constituit ut in titulo B. Mard 

GAVDET PONTIFICIS STVDIO SPLEN- pontificis atque confessoris officio fiin- 

DERE LEONis gerentuf/'&c. (Anastasius, xcvii. 840.) 

PLACIDIAE PiA MENS OPERIS DECVS ^ This is the same plan as the building 

OMNE PATER called the temple of Venus and Roma, 

DEMOVIT DOMINVS TENEBRAS VT LVCB and the idea was probably taken from it. 

CREATA The fact of two churches having been 

HIS QVONDAM LATEBRis SIC MODO built in the fifth or sixth century, with 

FVLGOR I NEST their altars turned in exactly opposite 

ANGVSTOS ADITVS VENERABILE CORPVS directions, the same reredos wall sepa- 

HABEBAT rating the two altars, is a curious m- 

HVC VBi NVNC POPVLVM LARGIOR stance of the indifference to orientation 

AVRA CAPIT at that period ; but probably the altar 

ERVTA PLANiciES PATVIT SVB MONTE which faced to the west was so arranged 

RECISA that the priest stood behind it, and 

ESTQVE REMOTA GRAVi MOLE RVINA looked himself to the rising sun when 

MINAX. celebratingthe sacred mysteries,although 

(Gruter, Inscr, Ant, p. MCLXXIII., the congr^[ation looked to the west 
No. I.) 

XII.] Via Tiburtina, — S.Lorenzo beyond the Walls, 155 

nave to the arch of triumph of the other, which was thus reversed. 
The older church, now the choir, is built of very fine antique columns 
on bases of the eighth century, carved with the cross and Alpha and 
Omega \ they carry an antique fiieze, and on this a triforium gallery. 
The plan is nearly identical with that of S. Agnes ; the lower columns 
have an entablature only, with the triforium gallery above, which 
has arches and is an important part of the structure, with windows 
at the back. The floor of the choir has been very much raised in 
the thirteenth century, and a mosaic pavement of Opus Alexandrinum 
put upon it. This floor cuts off" about a third part of the original 
height of the columns, which are fully seen in the aisles only. 

During the restorations of 1864 and 1865, the ancient crypt has 
been entirely removed, and replaced by a handsome modem crypt 
of white marble. At the end behind the altar is a transverse pas- 
sage forming a square east end to the present church, which was the 
vestibule or narthex of the original church. The clerestory and roof 
are modem ; the ambo for the Epistle, on the left hand, is formed 
partly of antique marble, and partly of the two ambones of the thir- 
teenth century placed* one upon the other. On the right is a fine 
ambo for the Gospel, ornamented with slabs of porphyry and ser- 
pentine, with borders of ribbon mosaic, and formed of antique marble 
with carving on it; at the foot is an eagle carrying a hare. The 
paschal candlestick is of marble with spiral fluting and enamelled 
in the ribbon mosaic, carried upon two lions couchant ; it is work 
of the thirteenth century. The altar stands in the middle of the 
choir under a handsome baldaquino of classical type, on which is 
an inscription recording that it was made in 1148% and behind 
the altar is the papal chair of marble encmsted with slabs of 
porphyry and serpentine with mosaic ribbon borders ; it bears the 
date of 1254, and is carried on two lions couchant. A marble 
slab on which the body of S. Laurence is said to have been placed 
after his martjrrdom, is protected by an iron grille of the thirteenth 

The Nave was originally called S. Stephen's ; it is on the basilican 
plan, and has twenty-two antique columns with Ionic capitals, but 
not all alike. They have evidently come firom two different edifices. 

• The inscription is, — And on the opposite side, — 

joiir. PKTRVS . ANGELO . ET JOSEF. ^ joiii^ PETRVS . ANGELVS^ . ET . 



156 Churches conmcted with the Catacombs. [SECT. 

In the centre of the floor of the nave is a tomb in mosaic of two 
warriors'* of the time of Honorius III., c. a.d, 1220, who must have 
made considerable repairs, if he did hot rebuild the church. Its 
rebuilding is mentioned by Ciaconius among the works of Hono- 
rius III., who, he sa)rs, repaired the church and the monastery; 
but it is well known that repaired is a v^ry vague term in medieval 
registers. It often means almost an entire rebuilding. 

The two churches combined in one are not exactly in a line, as 
may be seen distinctly on the. exterior of the north side. The walls 
of the aisles are chiefly of the thirteenth century; the construction 
agreeing with that of the end walls of the portico, which is evidently 
of that period. The walls of the clerestory on both sides are of brick, 
also of the thirteenth \ some of the original windows remain, with the 
peculiar kind of tracery, which was the origin of plate-tracery, a plate 
of marble pierced with small roimd holes for the glass, or, as it is said 
originally to have been, the thinner layers of translucent marble, the 
same as at the Tre Fontane, and other original windows of the twelfth 
and thirteenth centuries, though these are now becoming rare. At 
S. Lorenzo, they are visible on the outside ; but during the recent 
restorations in 1864, under the auspices of the munificent Pio IX., 
who has the misfortune to employ very ignorant architects, these 
valuable original windows have all been very ingeniously blocked up, 
or suffered to remain so. Considering that no expense is spared, it 
is to be regretted that the persons employed should be so much 
behind the rest of Europe in arch^ological knowledge and taste. 

The Portico is of classical character, and has six columns with 
Ionic capitals ; four of these columns have twisted fluting, of a kind 
very usual in Rome in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, as in the 
porch of S. Sabina and the tomb of Pope Honorius III. The cornice 
has pattern mosaics of the thirteenth, and over them shallow carving 
in white marble, very much in the same style as that which prevailed 
in the seventh, eighth, and ninth centuries, and which was con- 
tinued in the twelfth and thirteenth, as on the wells in the cloisters 
at the Lateran, and at S. John's, near the Porta Latina, the doorway 
at S. Pudentiana, and in the chapel of S. Zeno in S. Prassede. At 
S. Lorenzo, the portico, with these shallow carvings, is without 
doubt of the time of Honorius III., and has under it the curious 
paintings relating to events of that period. They represent the 
legends of S. Stephen and S. Laurence, and the coronation of Pierre 

' It is most probable that these two all the necessary funds, although the 
warriors buried m the nave of the church Pope was given the credit of the work 
were great benefactors, or found nearly done in his time. 

xil] Via Tiburtina, — S.Lorenzo beyond the Walls. 157 

de Courtenay, Count of Auxerre, who was crowned here as Em- 
peror of the East in 12 17; but the curious and valuable original 
fresco paintings have unfortunately been restored. The original out- 
lines are however preserved, and the paintings carefully copied. 
They afford curious information as to the belief at that period of 
the legends of the saints. 

They are arranged in seven pictures : — 

1. A holy Hermit sees four Demons pass with a great noise near 
his hermitage, and asks them where are they going. 

2. The body of the wicked Saxon Count Henry, who had given 
a vase to the church of S. Lorenzo •. The four Demons discuss with 
the guardian Angel of the said Count who his soul is to belong to. 
The Demons carry the book in which are written all his bad actions, 
with this tide, opera mala qve fecit ; and the Angel carries the 
book of his good actions, with the title, opera bona qve fecit. 
The Priest or Abbot stands behind the body, with this writing, 
reqviescat in pace : amen. 

3. The Angel and the Demons put the books in a scale. The book 
of the bad actions weighs the heaviest ; but, to the mortification of 
the Demons, S. Lorenzo runs and throws into the scale with the 
good actions the vase which the deceased had given him, and thus 
the soul of Count Henry can go to Paradise amid the rage of the 

4. Presentation of the vase which the Count Henry had offered 
on the altar of S. Laurence. 

5. The Greeks sent to Rome to receive the body of S. Laurence 
for that of S. Stephen, which they had brought to the basilica of 
the former, wishing to lay hands upon the tomb of S. Laurence, fall 
to the earth nearly dead \ 

6. Burial of the body of S. Laurence after his mart3rrdom, and 
the priest, Justin, gives the communion to S. Cyriaca and other 

7. A soul clings to the foot of S. Michael at the moment that the 
balance, with the book of wicked actions, flies up under the weight 
of a Demon. 

This porch was restored by Sixtus IV. (147 1 — 1484), whose arms 
were placed on the upper part, before the recent lamentable works 
were executed at the expense of Pio IX. Some fine sarcophagi 
have been placed in the porch. 

Over the portico is a large painting on a gold ground, in imitation 

• He died in the time of Pope Alex- ' According to the legend, they died 

ander II., a.d. 1065. within the space often days. 

158 Churches connected with the Catacombs. [SECT. 

of the style of the old mosaics, with figures of Pelagius II., the Em- 
peror Constantine, Honorius III., and Pio IX. (each of the two 
latter with a model of the church in his hand, one as the founder, 
the other as the restorer)^ Xistus III., and Hadrian I. Over these 
figures are heads in niches of S. Cyriaca, S. Hippolytus, S. Stephanas, 
S. Laurentius, S. Justinianus, S. Cyrilla. 

Pope Hilary, A.D. 461 — 467, made a monastery here; Hadrian L, 
A.D. 772, added a staircase or steps from the church to the catacombs 
of S. Cyriaca, and did some other works here. There are portions of 
the outer walls of the monastery which are of great antiquity ; the in- 
terior is more modern, and is surrounded by a cloister of two stories, 
in the style of the twelfth century, which continued in Rome during 
the thirteenth with little change. The lower story has coupled shafts 
of white marble, alternately with a single one. The upper story, now 
walled up, has single shafts only ; there are flat pilaster buttresses and 
a cornice or corbel-table of brick with stone or marble corbels. The 
same cornice is repeated on the Campanile, which is built very regu- 
larly of flat bricks, and the interior wall of the cloister exactly corre- 
sponds with it. The outer wall of the cloister has the lower part of 
quite a different construction ; this is more visible on the east side 
from the cemetery. The old wall is of rough stone, and has two small 
ancient windows in it ; the upper part is of brick, the same as the inner 
wall. The lower part is probably of the time of Hadrian I. ; the upper 
part and the main construction belong to that of Honorius IIL 

In this cloister a number of ancient fragments of various kinds 
are preserved, including tombstones from the Catacombs, portions of 
sarcophagi mixed up with work of later periods, including several 
brought from the church during the recent restorations. Among 
these was (in 1865) a very beautiful cornice of a fine doorway of 
the thirteenth century, removed from the south side of the chancel, 
the space which it occupied being now walled up among the recent 
improvements; also the bases of the columns of the arcade with which 
the porch in front of this doorway was ornamented, bases which are 
enamelled with the ribbon mosaics in the style of the Cosmati. 
There were other portions of the same beautiful doorway and porch, 
irreparat)ly destroyed in the year 1864. There is little doubt, from 
a comparison of dates, that this beautiful porch was the work of the 
celebrated Cosmati family, and it was the only porch that they built 

The doorway on the north side of the nave is also walled up, so 
that the only entrance is now from the west end; and the clergy 
living in the convent, which is at the south-east comer of the church, 
have to walk the whole length of the building in all weathers to go 

XIL] Via Tiburtina, — S. Lorenzo beyond the Walls. 159 

in at the west end. In the dark ages, a covered way was always 
provided from the dormitory to the church ; but apparently modem 
Roman architects do not consider midnight services or numerous 
services to be required in these days, and on the few occasions when 
S. Lorenzo is used the clergy may as well walk through the rain, or 
the cold wind, which is frequent enough there. In the dark ages, 
the advisers of the Popes were more considerate both of the clergy 
and of the people. Hadrian I. made what was called a porticus^^ 
from the gate of the city to the entrance of this church ^ 

The present burial-ground of Rome is attached to it ; the Campo- 
santo is very extensive, having been several times enlarged both in 
length and width. A great part of the ground is occupied by graves, 
with head-stones, or crosses either of wood or stone, according to the 
fashion now usual in other parts of Europe ; but a portion near the 
entrance, surrounded by a modem cloister, contains 384 pits, in 
which the common people were buried who were too poor to have 
a piece of ground purchased in perpetuity for them ^ 

' "Imo et poTticam, qui ducit ad 
S. Laurentium foris murum, a porta 
usque in eamdem basilicam, a novo con- 
stnixit." (Anastasius in Hadriano I., 
zcviL 342.) 

The yiQxA porticus is one that is used 
in different senses in medieval Latin, 
and apparently in classical Latin also. 
Originally it signified what we still 
call a portico, the colonnade outside of 
a temple ; but it also signified an arcade, 
as in the instance of the partUus to the 
Themue of Caracalla, which was finished 
by his successor, Heliogabalus, and 
the ruins of whidi remain. This was 
clearly an arcade, not a colonnade. 
The porticus built by Nero after the 
fire in firont of the houses was also an 
arcade, of which there are a few re- 
mains. When in the early Christian 
churches the wall was put outside the 

colonnade or arcade instead of inside, 
the name of porticus was still retained, 
and thus became applied to the aisles 
of the church. 

^ For further information respecting 
this church, see a pamphlet printed at 
Bologna in i86i, under the title of 
La Basilica di S. Lorenzo fuor ddU 
mura Ulusirata per^cura dd M.R, P. 
Salvatore da MorravaUe^ cappucino . . . 
con appendice del Sig. aw, Tito BoHici ; 
and F. Gori, Ddla Porta e Basilica di 
S. Lorenzo, delle Catacombedi S^. Ciriaca, 
ddla Basilica di S, Stefano Martire Ro^ 
mano, delle Catacombe di S. Ippolito sol- 
datOf o ad Nymphas, e del CampO'sanio 
di Roma, &c. 8vo., 1862. 

* This practice is now discontinued, 
but only within a very few years, since 

i6o Churches connected with the Catacombs, [sect. xil. 


Church of S. Stephen, the Deacon. 

S. Stephen was bishop of Rome from a.d. 253 — 257, ax:cordmg 
to some authorities, and from 258 — 260, according to others^; if 
we tnist to Eusebius, the latter must be correct, as the saint took 
occasional refrige in the Catacombs during the seventh persecution, 
which lasted from 256 — 259, where he preached, and baptized 
108 persons on one day, and 60 on another. The Emperor Vale- 
rian ordered him to be taken prisoner and brought to the temple 
of Mars. He reftised to sacrifice to the idol, and took refuge again 
in a catacomb; but soldiers were sent after him, and found him 
officiating at the altar in the crypt of Lucilla or Lucina. As he 
refused to discontinue the service, they beheaded him there on his 
own seat, which was buried with him in the same crypt. 

The church of S. Stephen, on the Via Latina, near the celebrated 
painted tombs about four miles from Rome, was founded in honour 
of this saint in the time of S. Leo I., a.d. 440 — 461, by the maiden 
consecrated to God, Demetria, in her meadow, over her catacomb ^. 

The remains of it were excavated and surrounded by a wall under 
Pio IX. The plan is clearly developed, the bases of colunms 
are lefl in situ, and the columns themselves, with some of their 
capitals, are collected at one end within the wall. These evidently 
belong to a fabric of an earlier date than the fifth centuiy ; and 
the whole church has clearly been made out of some building pre- 
viously existing, either the house of Demetria, or one of the chapels 
usual at the entrance of a catacomb, or a pagan temple. On 
the north side, and within the modem wall, but parallel to it, is 
the springing of the vault of a passage ; and as this is nearly level 
with the soil, the passage itself must have been below that level, 
like the passage to a catacomb. The plan of the church is that 
of a basilica with an apse, which looks later than the rest of the 
building; and on one side of the apse is a small baptistery, with 
a well in it ; on the other side, the sacristy. ' At the west end was 
a portico, as shewn by the bases of the columns ; and the aisles 
were divided by a row of columns, as shewn also by the bases. 

There are some small remains of a catacomb attached to this 

J See Anastasius, xxiv. 24; and the pnedio suo." (Id., xlvii. 66.) AnciUa 

historians of the early Church. DH is synonymous with sacrata Deo^ 

^ " Hujus (S. Leonis) temporibus fe- used by Gregory of Tours, Ub, de Glor, 

cit Demetria, ancilla Dei, basilicam S. Confess, ^ c. cv. 
Stephano Via Latina, miUiario iv., in 


The earliest accounts of the Catacombs that we have, after the 
history of the martyrs buried in them, and the notices of these in 
the Fathers of the Church and the hymns of Prudentius, are the 
Itineraries made for the use of the pilgrims. 

In his great and exhaustive work, Signor de Rossi, so frequently 
quoted and referred to in this chapter on the Catacombs, gives 
a comparative table of all the Medieval Itineraries^ of which he 
finds eight : — 

I. He considers the earliest to be in the Notitia Urbis Roma; 
but this is not, and could not, be part of the original text : there is 
not a word on the subject there, according to Preller's text. It 
is an addition made in a transcript of the ninth century in a manu- 
script in the Vatican Library, in which sixteen cemeteries are enu- 
merated. This number agrees with the later Itineraries, and with 
the general cemeteries now known, but of course cannot include 
the separate cubicula in each cemetery ^ This first one he calls 
Index Coemeterium. 

II. The second he calls Indices oliorum quas coUegit Johannes 
Abbas, This was formed by a monk or monks, who collected oil 
firom the lamps kept burning at the tombs of the martyrs on their 
festival days, as is now done on certain occasions in the restored 
catacomb of S. Calixtus. In the dark periods of the Middle Ages, 
this oil was supposed to possess miraculous properties. These two 
Itineraries united in one, were probably made in the tenth century, 
the darkest period of all. 

* "I. Cimiterium Prisalle (Itge Pris- 
cillsie) ad Sanctum Silvestrum, Via Sa- 

II. Cimiterium Jordanorum ad Sanc- 
tum Alexandnim, Via Salaria. 

III. Cimiterium Pretextati ad Sanc- 
tum Januarium, Via Appia. 

Iv. Cimiterium Domicile {Uge Do- 
mitillse) Nerei et Archilei (Achillei) ad 
sanctam PetroniUam, Via Ardeatina. 

V. Cimiterium catecumbas ad Sanc- 
tum Sebastianum, Via Appia. 

VI. Cimiterium Calisti ad Sanctum 
Sbtum, Via Appia. 

VII. Cimiterium ad duos Lauros ad 
Sanctum Petrum et Marcellinum, Via 

VIII. Cimiterium Balbine ad Sanctum 
Vi arcum et Marcellianum, Via Ardeatina. 

IX. Cimiterium ad Sanctam Colum- 
bam ad caput sancti Johannis in clivum 

X. Cimiterium ad insulatos ad Sanc- 
tum Felicem, Via PortuensL 

XI. Cimiterium Pontiani ad Ursuni 
Pileatum, Abdon et Sennen, Via Por- 

XII. Cimiterium Bassille ad Sanctum 
Hermen, Via Salaria. 

XIII. Cimiterium Basilei ad Sanc- 
tum Marcum, Via Ardeatina. 

XIV. Cimiterium Commodille ad 
Sanctum Felicem et Adauctum, Via Os- 

XV. Cimiterium Calepodii ad Sancr 
tum Calixtum, Via Aurelia. 

XVI. Cimiterium Trasonis ad Sanc- 
tum Satuminum, Via Salaria.'' 


1 62 Appendix to the Catacombs, 

III. The third is from a manuscript at Saltzburg, ex una codice 

IV. The fourth is taken from another manuscript also at Saltzburg, 
with additions from a transcript at Wurtzburg, which has some in- 

V. The fifth is contained in the Chronicle of William of Malmes- 
bury, a monk of the twelfth century, and appears to be copied from 
the older one preserved at Einsiedlen in Switzerland, or both from 
the same source. This text is much better preserved. Sharpe's 
translation of this has been used in the description of the Cata- 
combs at the head of each of the roads. 

VI. Topographia Einsiedlensis, This has been several times re- 
ferred to and used in the present chapter, but the text is very 
confused; Signor de Rossi has been to Einsiedlen to collate the 

VII. Excerpta Topographica, in Vila Hadriani L (from Anas- 

VIII. Index Cosmeterium e libra Mirdbilium Urbis RonuEy which 
Signor de Rossi also reduces into order from the confused original. 

All these are arranged in a series of tables, according to the 
different roads, in the same manner as we have done in following 
William of Malmesbury. The limits of this summary view of the 
subject do not admit of discussion as to each of the separate 
cubicula in which a martyr has been interred. Those who wish for 
further information on the subject, will find it in the great work 
of De Rossi, and in the excellent abridgments of it, both in Eng- 
lish and French, before-mentioned. Those who take the trouble to 
compare them, cannot fail to observe that the eminent antiquary 
is himself more careful and accurate in his statements than the 
authors of the abridgments are. 

We have then nothing until the sixteenth century, when Onuphrius 
Panvinius called attention to the subject in one of his learned works. 
He was contemporary with Bosio, and it is evident that his work 
served as a guide to that indefatigable explorer ; but whether his 
book was written before Bosio began, or immediately afterwards, is 
not clear. He died in 1568, when the author of the Roma Softer- 
ranea was a young man, and this work was not published until 1622, 
but that was long after his death. The chapter of Panvinius, " de 
Ccemeteriis Urbis Romae," is the most important one for our pur- 
pose ; this is given in our Appendix. 

The engravings of Bosio are of much importance, and have pre- 
served a record of many paintings now destroyed, and catacombs 

Appendix to tlie Catacombs, 163 

not opened since his time. We have thought it desirable to give 
a complete list of them in this Appendix also. 

Bosio was followed by Aringhi, who republished his plates with 
the letter-press in Latin and some additions. These have been col- 
lated, and an account of them follows the list of his predecessor s 

The keeper of the Catacombs then became one of the officials 
of the Pontifical Government, and each succeeding holder of this 
office has in general left some record of what was found in his time. 
The opinions and conjectures of Panvinius, especially the eocclusivcly 
Christian character of the Catacombs, became established as the 
rule of the office, and are called " the Roman traditions ;" they were, 
and are still followed by the successive writers as a matter of course. 

Boldetti, who was one of the predecessors of Signor de Rossi in this 
office of Superintendent of the Catacombs for the Pontifical Govern- 
ment, and who also published a valuable work on the subject", could 
not do otherwise. He gives a catalogue of Pagan inscriptions found in 
the Catacombs during his time, beginning with one of the Emperc r 
Marcus Aurelius Pius, discovered in the catacomb of S. Hippolytus. 
In that of S.Cyriaca he found six Pagan inscriptions, beginning 
with the usual invocation to the gods, d. m. (Diis Manibus), and in 
some cases the words in full ; another in the catacomb of Gordianus 
and Epimachus on the Via Latina, two in that of Priscilla with the 
D.M., two others in that of Priscilla, and seventeen in that of Calixtus 
and Praetextatus, four in that of Pontianus, four in that of S. Agnes, 
three in that of Lucina. In his tenth chapter he gives a hst of 
other Pagan inscriptions with Christian ones at the back, and in his 
eleventh chapter some with Christian symbols, the palm-leaf, the dove, 
the monogram of Christ, together with the letters d. m. s. (Diis Mani- 
bus Sacrum), and others with d. m. only, which he explains as Deo 
Magno, He also published an inscription discovered in the catacomb 
of S. Agnes, with the dedication to Eternal Sleep : — 


In his twelfth chapter he describes the Pagan symbols found on 
sarcophagi, as that of Aurelia Agapetilla, discovered in the catacomb of 
S. Agnes, with bas-reliefs of Venus Libitina or Aphrodites, Ceres and 
Oceanus. He cites examples of the union of the sacred and pro- 
&ne found in the paintings and sculptures in the Catacombs, such 

■ "Osservazioni sopra i cimiteri de* Roma, mdccxx., folio, torn. ii. pp. 
SS. Martiri ed antichi Cristiani di 465 and 512. 
Roma (da Marco -Antonio Boldetti)." 

M 2 

164 Appendix to the Catacombs. 

as the Good Shepherd with Bacchus, and with the four seasons ; the 
agapes, with the heads crowned with laurels as in profane pictures ; 
a Christian soldier, with the Tesserm Lusorim or Games, &c. ; and 
he reproduces a drawing of a Gorgon's head, found in the catacomb 
of S. Calixtus. 

Boldetti was succeeded by Bottari, who republished Bosio's plates 
with the following title : — " Sculture e Pitture sagre estratte dai 
Cimiterj di Roma, publicate gia dagli Autori della Roma Sotter- 
ranea, ed ora nuovamente date in luce colle Spiegazioni per ordine 
di N. S. Clemente XII. felicemente regnante. Roma, 1727 — 1746, 
1 754- 3 vols, folio." 

These are Bosio's plates, with the Italian letter-press of Severano, 
revised and corrected by Bottari, and the work is known by the 
latter name. There is a short preface to the first volume, stating 
the facts honestly ; other prefaces to the two following volumes by 
other hands, contain some information, and a few new inscriptions 
on tombstones found during the time that the work was in progress. 
In the present century, the office has been held by Padre Marchi, 
a man of great learning and research, who published a valuable 
work ", one of the objects of which, as stated in the preface, is to 
correct the errors of Boldetti and Bottari. These were his prede- 
cessors in the office which Padre Marchi then held, and the ideas 
of the nineteenth century were not the same as those of the seven- 
teenth and eighteenth. 

The subjects illustrated are in the Catacombs of — 

S. Agnes, plates i, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 17, 19, 20. 

S. Helena, plates 6, 7, 8. 

S. Pontianus, plate 13. 

S. Ciriaca, plates 14, 15. 

S. Hermes, SS. Marcellinus et Petrus {cubiculd)^ plate 16. 

S. Praetextatus, plate 18. 

S. Calepodius, plate 21. 

Cubiculum in Via Latina, plate 22. 
During his time, the French Government employed a body of 
artists, under the direction of M. Perret, to make a new set of draw- 
ings and engravings from the Catacombs ; no expense was spared, 
and a magnificent work was produced in six folio volumes. The 
drawings are too highly coloured and too much dressed up ; but in 
many cases the outlines were traced from the originals, as had pre- 

■ "Monument! delle Arti Cristiane cura di G. MarchL Architettura. " 4ta, 
primitive nella Metropoli del Chris> Roma, 1844; tavole xxxviii., F. Fon- 
tianesimo, disegnati ed illustrati per tana del. 

Appendix to the Catacombs. 165 

viously been done by Seroux d*Agincourt in a few instances, in his 
great work, " Histoire de FArt par les monuraens." The coloured 
lithographic plates of Perret now appear too theatrical, and do not 
convey the idea of the originals. 

The Cavaliere de Rossi, who succeeded Padre Marchi as custodian 
of the Catacombs, not being satisfied with the great French work, 
undertook the task of producing more faithfiil representations, and 
his plates do convey the idea of the original art much better than 
the French ones \ still, being made from modem drawings, although 
better drawings, they cannot be depended on for the history of art. 
Nothing but photographs can give the exact hand of the original artist 
so as to shew the centiuy to which each drawing belongs. There 
is reason to believe that the greatest part of the frescoes were made 
for the pilgrims at the time when the various catacombs were 
restored by the Popes, and that fully three-fourths of these paintings 
belong to the eighth and ninth centuries. 

The excellent plans of the Catacombs, for which the archaeologists 
are indebted to the two brothers De Rossi, are among the most im- 
portant services they have rendered to the science. These give the 
real ancient topography, and not the modem only, as had pre- 
viously been done. They will be found in the first volume of the 
great work of the Commendatore de Rossi (pp. 175 — 183), arranged 
according to the routes. He also gives a table of the names of the 
catacombs according to the same order, with the variety of names 
often given to the same catacomb. 

The following list of the subjects engraved in these valuable works 
on the' Catacombs may be useful and interesting to those who have 
not access to the originals, nor to these large and expensive books. 
Those of Bosio and Aringhi are the most complete and systematic, 
and many paintings which they were able to draw then have almost 
disappeared now, or have been buried again. Bosio has left his name 
inscribed on the walls in several places where he had made draw- 
ings in the sixteenth century. The artists employed by the French 
Government under the direction of M. Perret, are said to have left 
their mark in a less creditable manner : in some instances, a pencil 
line remains traced in the outlines of the figures which they copied ; 
or possibly these may have been made by D'Agincourt, who has pub- 
lished facsimile tracings of some of them. In other instances, some 
chemical process has been employed by the French artists to bring 
out the colours temporarily, which has caused them to decay more 
rapidly since, until these have now almost disappeared. 


The following subjects were drawn by Bosio in the sixteenth 
century, and engraved on a series of copper-plates, which were 
published after his death in two folio volumes with letter-press in 
Italian, giving a full account of his discoveries. The same plates 
were afterwards republished by Aringhi, with a Latin text, giving the 
substance of Bosio*s Italian work, and additional matter respecting 
the saints and martyrs interred there. This new matter is chiefly 
taken from the Martyrologium Romanum^ which was enlarged in 
the acts of the Martyrs published by the BoUandists, in the order 
of the days of the months of the martyrdoms, a great work, which 
is still going on. Very few of the materials for the Acta Mar- 
tyrum can be traced to an earlier period than the eighth or ninth 
centuries, the great era of pilgrimages at Rome to the graves of the 
martyrs, lately resumed in considerable numbers, but to a compara- 
tively slight extent. A few of these acts, such as those of S. Cyprian 
and S. Justin Martyr, are believed to be genuine, and as early as the 
second or third century. 

In the catacomb of S. Peter at the Vatican, several sculptures are 
engraved by Bosio; the earliest from the sarcophagus of Junius 
Bassus in the fourth century, and several from sculptures in the 
church of the fifteenth century, of course purely imaginary. These 
sculptures comprise plates I. to XIII. of Bosio and Aringhi, and 
most of the sculptures themselves are now preserved in the Vatican 
or the Lateran Museum, or in the crypt of S. Peter's. 

1. Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus. 

2, 3, 4. Probus and Proba, still 

in the crypt of S. Peter's. 

5 to 13 are other sculptured marble 
coffins {sarcophagi) of the same kind, 
found in the pavement or in the foun- 
dations in 1590, and from that to 1607 
by Bosio or his friends. Many of the 
subjects are the same as those of the 
paintings, the Good Shepherd, Laza- 
rus, Elijah, Jonah, &c. 

14, 15. Another sarcophagus, found in 
the pavement, which contained the 
bodies of four Popes, Leo L, IL, 
IIL, IV. Upon it are sculptures of 
Christ and the Apostles, and at their 
feet twelve small sheep, and a large 

one in the centre. At the feet of Christ 
may be seen small figures of S. Mary 
and S. John ; at one end Elijah in 
the chariot, at the other end Abra- 
ham and Isaac This sculpture is 
very probably of the time of S. Leo I. 
or the Great, c. A. D. 450. 

16. Another late sarcophagus, with the 
cross and monogram ^ in the centre. 

1 7 to 28 are others of similar character. 
The one engraved on plates 19 and 
20 has foliage of Byzantine character, 
and at the two ends are buildings so 
much like those in the mosaic pic- 
ture of S. Pudentiana, that they are 
probably copied from it. This sarco- 
phagus is now in the Lateran Museum. 

The Engravings of Bosio. 


Catacomb of Pontianus. 

29. Two subjects — 

1. Head of Christ, with a cruciform 
nimbus, which is jewelled or orna- 
mented with pearls or beads, a com- 
mon feature in costumes of the eighth 
and ninth centuries. 

2, The Three Children in the 
" burning fiery furnace." 

30. I. Baptism of Christ, over an arch. 
2. The jewelled cross, under the 

same arch. This arch is over the 
well, with a flight of steps down to 
it called the Baptisteiy. 

31. Christ crowning the martyrs Abdon 
and Sennen, SS. Milex and Bicentius, 
or Vincentius. Levita standing by in 
the attitude of adoration. 


32. I. SS. Marcellinus, PoUinus, and 
Petru& The central figure holds the 
crown of martyrdom in his hand, the 
others hold each a roll of parchment. 

2. A jewelled cross over a doorway 
in a rock, probably intended for Cal- 
vary ; on the left S. Milex, on the 
right S. Pigmenius. 


137. A CUBicuLUM, found near Ostia. 
after the death of Bosio. Two views 
shewing the graves in the walls. 

139. The vault of the same Cubiculum, 
with the Good Shepherd in the centre, 
and the four seasons in four panels of 
the vault ; on the walls, the history of 
Jonah. All these paintings were exe- 
cuted in yellow ochre only, and the 
vault, which was in a tumulus or 
mound on the bank of the river, was 
obliged to be destroyed. 

Pp- I55» *57» I59i 161, are from sculp- 

Pp. 181, 183. Burial of SS. Peter and 
Paul, from a sculpture over the door of 
old S. Peter's, of the time of Martin V. , 
A.D. 142a 

P. 195. Plan of S. Sebastian's, the ori- 
ginal drawing is now preserved in 
S. Maria in Aventino. 


S. Calixtus. 

P. 197, 199, 201, are vases said to 
have contained the blood of martyrs, 
and lachrymatories \ two of the vases 
have the monogram ^l^ of Constantine, 
the others appear to be also of the 
fourth century. 

P. 203, 205, 207, 209, 211, are lamps, 
some of bronze, others of earthen- 
ware. One of them also has the mo- 
nogram, another the Good Shepherd ; 
these appear to be all of the fourth 
and fifth centuries. 

P. 219, 221, 223. First Cubicu- 
lum. View of two of the subjects 
in it. I. Christ on a throne, with 
the Twelve Apostles ; two seated, the 
rest standing. 2. The Good Shep- 
herd standing between the trees in 
a landscape, with figures S3rmbolical 
of Spring and Summer. 

P. 225. History of Jonah (third picture 
in the first Cubiculum). 

227. Moses striking the rock, dressed 
in surplice, and what appears to be 
a stole (fourth picture in first Cubicu- 
lum), and other miracles. 

229. Second Cubiculum, two views. 

231. Vault of the same. In the centre, 
miracle of the loaves, in panels of 
the vault, i. Moses and the rock ; 
2. Noah; 3. ** Fiery furnace ;" 4. 
Abraham and Isaac; 5. Miracle of 
the loaves. 

233. Under the arch, I. Adam and Eve; 

2. The Paralytic ; 3. An orante. 
235. Daniel and the lions, two Prophets 

with scrolls. 

237. Third Cubiculum, two views. 

239. Vault of the same. In the centre, 
Orpheus. In panels, I. Daniel ; 2. 
Lazarus ; 3. David with the sling ; 
4. Moses. In the intermediate panels 
are animals channed by Orpheus. 

241. Wall and arch. i. ** Fiery fur- 
nace ;" 2. and 3. Orantes ; 4. Good 

1 68 

Appendix to the Catacombs, 

243. Vault. I. In the centre, Noah ; 
2. Tobias with the fish ; 3. Jonah 
under the gourd or ivy - bush (?) ; 
4. Job ; 5. Jonah recumbent, with the 
sun hot upon him. 

245. Wall and arch. i. Moses with 
vases of manna (?) ; 2. Christ with 
bread in His bosom ; 3. The Woman 
of Samaria ; 4. An orante. 

247. Vault in the third Cubiculum. In 
the centre, Moses, with the Law in his 
hand (?) ; the remainder flowers only. 

249. Miracles of the blind and the para- 
lytic Two lambs, each with a crook 
and a vase. 

251. I. Fourth Cubiculum. View 
in two parts, right and left of the 
lucema or luminare. 

253. 2. The vault, with the head of 
Christ in the centre, enclosed in a 
circle, octagonal frames beyond, and 
on the sides vases with birds and 

255. 3. An Arco-solium, with figures 
painted on the surface of the wall. 
In the centre a Madonna, seated (the 
Magi destroyed) ; on the right, Moses 
striking the rock ; on the left, a Pro- 
phet ; a building in the background. 
Under the arch, Orpheus with the 
lyre, the birds and the beasts. 

257. Third Painting on the fourth Cubi- 
culum. On the wall, an orante, Noah, 
Lazarus ; under the arch, Elijah and 

259. Fourth Picture in the fourth Cubi- 
culum. On the wall, Moses taking off 
his shoes ; under the arch, Daniel 
and the lions. 

261. Under the arch, Christ and Dis- 
ciples ; on the wall and on the soffit, 
grapes and children. 

263. Under the arch, a head in a circu- 
lar frame, in the costume of a Car- 
dinal (?) ; on the wall, Daniel and 

265. U nder an arch, the Good Shepherd. 

267. Fragments from two paintings. 
I. Head of Christ ; 2. Moses ; 3. La- 
zarus; 4. Good Shepherd ; 5. Miracle 
of the loaves; 6. Christ blessing 
a child. 

269. I. Two orantes; 2. The Good 

271. The same subjects. 

273. I. Adam and Eve ; 2. An orante 
under an arch, of very late character ; 
3. Good Shepherd and two orantes •. 

277. Jonah, the Good Shepherd, two 

279. I. General view of Arco-solium, or 
painted arch. On the wall under it, 
father, mother, and child; in centre 
of soffit, the Good Shepherd ; on the 
left, the three children led to worship 
the image of Nebuchadnezzar ; on the 
right, offering of the Magi. 

281. In the centre, the Good Shepherd ; 
left, Moses taking off his shoes ; right, 
Moses striking the rock. 

285, 287, 289, 291, 293, 295. Sculptures. 


305. The Marriage Feast of Cana, or 

a funeral feast ; six figures seated at 

a triclinium, with four laige water or 

wine vessels in front 
First Cubiculum. View, with 

307. Vault. In centre, i. Good Shepherd. 

In panels ; 2. Christ blessing a child ; 

3. Job; 4. Lazarus; 5. Moses; 6. and 

7. Lambs bearing crosses. 
309. Second Cubiculum. View. 
311. Vault of the same, with the Good 

Shepherd and vine. Under the arch, 

an orante, with two caskets. 


SS. Peter and Marcellinus. 
323. Plan of the Tomb of S. Helena, 
called the Church of SS. Peter and 

• N.B. The drawing and costumes of long to the restoration of Leo III., A.D. 
nearly all these frescoes in S. Calixtus, 795. Those in SS. Peter and Marcellinus 
S. Cornelius, and S. Sixtus seem to be- were restored A.jy. 772 by Hadrian I. 

The Engravings of Bosio. 


335. Plan and View of the confessia 

329. First Cubiculum. Views. 

331. Vault of the same. In the centre, 
I. Good Shepherd ; 2. Jonah ; 3. La- 
zarus ; 4. Miracle of the loaves. 

333. Second Cubiculum. View. 

335. Vault of the same ; i. Good Shep- 
herd in the centre, with four orantes 
in panels. Two fossores. 

337. Third Cubiculum. View. 

339. Vault of the same. I. Good Shep- 
herd in the centre ; 2. Noah ; 3. Laza- 
rus ; 4. Daniel and lions ; 5. Abra- 
ham ; 6 and 7. Fossores. 

341. Fourth Cubiculum. View. 

343. Vault of the same. i. Good Shep- 
herd ; 2 and 3. Jonah ; 4. Noah ; 
A. Moses ; B. Christ blessing a child. 

34$. Fifth Cubiculum. View. 

347. I. Good Shepherd; 2. Paralytic, 
with bed ; 3. Job ; 4. orante. 

349. Sixth Cubiculum. Views. 

351. Vault of the same ; I. Good Shep- 
herd ; 2, 3, 4, and 5. orantes. 

353. Seventh Cubiculum. View. 

355. Feast of Cana, with four large 

357. Eighth Cubiculum. View. 

359. Paintings on the same : i. Abra- 
ham ; 2. Lazarus ; 3. Moses ; 4. 

361. Ninth Cubiculum. View. 

363. Vault of the same ; i. Good Shep- 
herd ; 2, 3, 4. Moses. 

365. Tenth Cubiculum. View. 

367. Vault of the same ; I, 2, 3. orantes ; 
4. Moses ; 5. Miracle of the loaves. 

369. Paintings in the same : i. Good 
Shepherd ; 2. Jonah ; 3. Moses ; 
4. orante. 

371. Eleventh Cubiculum. View. 

373. Vault of the same : i. Good Shep- 
herd ; 2. Paralytic ; 3. Miracle of the 
loaves ; 4. Lazarus ; 5. Daniel ; 6 and 
7. Jonah ; 8. Moses ; 9. Noah. Two 

375. Twelfth Cubiculum. View. 

377. Vault of the same : i. Daniel and 
lions in the centre ; 2. Noah ; 3, 4* 5* 
Jonah. Two orantes. 

^579- Thirteenth CrBicuLUM. View. 

381. Paintings in the same : I. A ma- 
tron, orante, with two persons ad- 
dressing her; 2. Moses; 3. Adam 
and Eve. 

383. I. Good Shepherd ; 2, 3, 4, $. 
Jonah ; A. Daniel ; K Lazarus. 

385. Fourteenth Cubiculum. View. 

387. I. Good Shepherd ; 2. orante ; 
3. DanieL 

389. I. Orante, with two figures ad- 
dressing her ; 2. Adam and Eve ; 
3. Magi ; 4. Moses. 

391. I. Funeral Feast ; 2. Good Shep- 
herd ; 3 and 4. Jonah. 

393. I. View of the Arch ; 2. Lazarus ; 
3. orante ; 4 and 5. Moses. 

395. Third Arco-solium. i. Abra- 
ham ; 2. Adam ; 3. Moses ; 4. Laza- 
rus ; 5. orante ; 6. Funeral feast. 


S. Cyriaca. 
403. In the Catacomb of S. Cyriaca, an 
inscription, with the name of 


A.D. 604 (?) or 610. 
405. Orante under an arch, with two 

408. Other inscriptions give the dates 
ofA.D.369, 405, 453. 

409. Other inscriptions give the dates 
of A. d. 428, 511. 

41 1. Sarcophagus at S. Lorenzo. 
421. Another at S. Constantia. 
423, 425, 427, 429, 431. Sarcophagi. 


S. Agnese. 
441. First Cubiculum. View. 
443. Interior of the same. 
445. Vault of the same. I. Christ 

seated, with the scroll; 2 and 3. 

Moses ; 4. Paralytic ; 5. Lazarus ; 6, 

7, 8, 9. orantes. 
447. An agape, or funeral feast. 
449. I. Noah ; 2, 3, 4, 5. Jonah. 
451. I. Good Shepherd ; 2. Daniel and 

453. Second Cubiculum. View. 
455. I. Good Shepherd ; 2. Adam ; 

3. Moses ; 4. Jonah ; 5. orante. 


Appendix to the Catacombs, 

457. I. Christ and the Doctors ; 2. 

459. Third Cubiculum. View. 

461. I. Good Shepherd ; 2. Adam ; 3. 
Daniel ; 4. feast ; 5. virgin ; 6. orante. 

463. I. Furnace ; 2. orante ; 3. Jonah. 

465. Fourth Cubiculum. View. 

467. I. Good Shepherd ; 2. Moses ; 
3. Lazarus ; 4. Jonah ; 5. orante. 

469. Fifth Cubiculum. View. 

471. I. Madonna ; 2. Head of Christ ; 
3, 4. orante. 

473. First Arco-solium. 

I. View; 2. Head of boy; 3, 4. 
orantes ; 5. Good Shepherd ; 6. Jo- 
nah ; 7. a man led by another, and 
followed by a third with a rod, 
Jacob or Samson. 

475. Second Arco-solium. 

I. View ; 2. Christ, with two Apo- 
stles ; 3. Good Shepherd ; 4. orante. 

S. Priscilla. 
489. Chapel of S. Silvanus. 

S. Priscilla. 
493. First Cubiculum. 
495. I. Furnace ; 2. Seven Virgins. 
497. Second Cubiculum. 
499. I. Head in circle; 2, 3. Ladies 
with scrolls ; 4, 5. Triumphal cars ; 
6, 7. Figure of Victory. 
501. First Arco-solium. 

I. View ; 2. A soldier with a boy ; 

3. Moses (?) 4. Head of a soldier in 
a circle ; 5. Abrahanu 

503. Second Arco-solium. 

I. View ; 2. orante ; 3. Abraham ; 

4. Good Shepherd ; 5. Moses. 
511. Sculpture. 

513. Sarcophagus. On one side, an 
agape ; on the other, three shepherds 
and six sheep ; with a Greek inscription 
to Paulina, of the fourth century. 

515. Third Arco-solium. 

I. View ; 2. Lazarus ; 3. Moses, 
with seven baskets of manna ; 4. 
Moses striking the rock. 

517. I. Good Shepherd; 2. orante; 
3. Noah ; 4. Daniel. 

519. Fourth Arco-solium. 

I. Good Shepherd ; 2. S. Paul, 
with inscription of name. 

521. Fifth Arco-solium. 

I. View ; 2. Moses ; 3. Daniel ; 4. 

523. Sixth Arco-solium. 

I. View; 2. Christ and Apostles; 
3, 4. Jonah. 

525. Seventh Arco-solium. 

I. Orante; 2. Abraham; 3. furnace. 

527. Eighth Arco-solium. 

I. View ; 2. Good Shepherd ; 3. 
Daniel ; 4. Jonah. 

529. Ninth Arco-solium. 

I, 2. Views ; 3. Noah ; 4. orante ; 
5. fossor. 

531. Tenth Arco-solium. 

I. View ; 2. Good Shepherd, two 
sheep, two cocks ; 3. orante ; 4. pea- 
cock ; 5. Noah. 

535. Third Cubiculum. Two Views. 

537. Vault of the same ; I. Good Shep- 
herd ; 2 and 3. orantes. 

539. Fourth Cubiculum. Two Views. 

541. Vault of the same. A lady seated, 
a prophet (?) addressing her. 

543. Wall of the same. I. Laxams ; 
2, 3, 4. Jonah. 

545. Fifth Cubiculum. Two Views. 

547. Vault of the same ; i. Good Shep- 
herd ; 2. Jonah, birds and lambs. 

549. Fifth Cubiculum. Under an 
arch : I. orante ; s. Consecration of 
a virgin ; 2, 3. Madonna, an ordina- 
tion of a deacon (?) '. 

551. Fifth Cubiculum. i. Abnbam; 
2. Fiery furnace. 

553. Sixth Cubiculum. Two Views. 

555. Vault of the same. i. Good Shep- 
herd ; 2. Noah ; 3, 4, 5. Jonah ; 
6) 7t S, 9. orantes. 

557. Wall of the same. i. Peacock; 
2. Eight men carrying a barrel; 
two doves'*. 

P Costumes of all, surplice, and cilia appear to belong to the restora- 
stole (?). tion of tnis catacomb by Pope John I., 

'» Nearly all these paintings in S. Pris- a.d. 523. 

Bosio and Aringhi compared. 


Via Salaria. 

561. Church or Chapel of S. Hermes, 

in that Catacomb. 
565. First Arco-solium. i. View ; 

2. Christ on a throne, seated, and an 
oidhiation of a deacon : three figuxes 
standing, all in surplice, stole, and 
cope, with the T on the edge of the 
robe, as in the mosaics at Ravenna ; 

3. Daniel ; 4. Moses ; 5. Lazarus ; 

6. Furnace. 

567. Second Arco-solium. i. View ; 
2. Christ blessing a youth ; 3. Jonah ; 

4. Moses ; 5. Shepherd ; 6. Jonah ; 

7. Lazarus ; Samson with the gates ; 

569. Third Cubiculum. i. View; 
2. Orante ; 3. Manna, or loares (?). 

571. Martyrdom of S. Sebastian in terra- 
cotta bas-relief. 






Via Flaminia. 

577. First Cubiculum. 

S. Julien or S. Valentine (?). 

579. I. Madonna [sCA DEI GENE- 
TRix. X ] ; 2. Sebastian ; 3. A 
martyr in a vase of boiling oil (?), 
of the eighth or ninth century ;^ 
4. Infant Christ, with cruciform 

581. Second Cubiculum. i. Cruci- 
fixion ; 2. S. Laurence ; 3. A martyr. 

589. Two sarcophagi 

591. I. A sarcophagus. 

2. A, Plan of the catacomb of Pon- 
tianus ; i9., of S. Calixtus ; C, of S. 
Calixtus, lower corridor; />., SS. 
Peter and Marcellinus ; ^., S. Agnes ; 
/I, S. Hermes and S. Piisdlla. 




The Title-page is copied from Bosio, but re-engraved. 
Antiquse Romse FACIES, or ancient Plan of Rome p 

Vol. I. 


S. Peter's. 

Burial of S. Peter .... 


p. 29. 

Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus 
Sculptures on other sarcophagi 

Via Portuensis— S. Pontianus. 


281 to 335 


49 to 103. 

Paintings in cemeteries .... 
Sculptures on sarcophagi 

Via Appia — S. Sebastian's. 

379 to 389 
423 to 469 

129 to 139. 
155 to 183. 

Plan ...... 

Vases, lamps, &c .... 

S. Calixtus. 


497 to 519 


197 to 211. 

Paintings ..... 
S. Sebastian's. 

527 to 589 

219 to 281. 

Sculptures on sarcophagi 

613 to 623 

285 to 295. 

' "Roma Sotterranea, opera postuma 
di Antonio Bosio, antiquario ecclesias- 
tico singolare de' suoi tempi, compita, 
disposta, ed accresciuta dal M. R. P. 
Giovanni Severani da S. Severino, sa- 
cerdote della congregatione dell' Ora- 
torio di Roma," &c. fol., Roma, 1632. 

" " Roma Subterranea novissima, in 
qua post Antonium Bosium antesigna- 

tum, Jo. Severanum, congreg. Oratorii 
presb., et celebres alios scriptores, etc., 
sex libris distincta illustrantur, opera 
et studio Pauli Aringhi, Romani, cong. 
ejusdem pr^b." 2 vols. fol. Rome, 165 1. 
This wonc was reprinted at Cologne in 
1659, fol., and an abridgment of it was 
published at Amheim, in 167 1, i2mo. 


Appendix to the Catacombs, 



Vol. II. 


Coemeteria .... 

23 to 29 

305 to 311. 

S. Hf.t.kna. 

Sarcophagus . - . . 



S. Marcellinus et Petrus. 

Paintings .... 

51 to S3 

323 to 325. 

Plans of the Tomb and Church . 



Via Tiburtina— S. Cyriaca. 


Paintings .... 

123 to 137 

395 to 405. 

S. Laurentius. 

Sarcophagus .... 



Via Nomentana— S. Constantia. 

Sarcophagus .... 



S. Agnes. 

Sarcophagi . . , , 

159 to 167 

423 to 431- 

Paintings .... 

179 to 213 

441 to 475. 


SS. Sylvanus et Bonifacius . 



S. Priscilla. 

Paintings .... 

247 to 315 

493 to 555- 

S. Agnes, by mistake, in both 



S. Hermes. 

Capella, called Templum 



Paintings . . . « 


329 to 333 

565 to 569. 

Mart3rTdom of S. Sebastian, in terra-cotta, 


the Cemetery of Priscilla 




S. Julius. 

Paintings .... 


350 to 355 

577 to 581. 

Sarcophagi .... 



395 to 401 

589 to 591. 

Plans of the Catacombs of Pontianus, Calixtus, 

Marcellinus and Peter, Agnes, Hermes, 

Priscilla .... 


408 to 416 


Additional Plans, not in Bosio, LuciNA, Cale- 

poDius, Agatha, Novella . 




Paintings not in Bosio 




List of the Engravings in the great French work on the Catacombs, 
by Louis Ferret, six volumes, large folio. Paris, 1852-56. 

VOL. I.. 
Via Appia. 
S. Sebastian. 

1. General title, with the Madonna of 
S. Liike(?), from S. Maria Maggiore. 

2. Title of the Platonia, with heads of 
SS. Peter and Paul, from a medal in 
the Vatican. 

3. Plan of the Platonia, at S. Sebas- 

4 and 5. Sections of the same. 

6. Paintings in the same, of the eighth 
century {c. A.D. 772). 

7. Christ, with SS. Peter and Paul, on 
a laiger scale (from the same). 

8. An Apostle, ¥rith a crown in his 
hand (from the same). 

9. Ascension of Christ (from the same). 
la Crucifixion (from the same). 

11. Head of S. Paul 

12. Head of a saint, with a bishop^s 
mitre ; full size. 

13. Head of a female saint ; full size. 

14. Ornamented diaper pattern, with 
birds, &C. 

S. Calixtus. 

The paintings in this Catacomb are 
chiefly of the time of the restoration 
by Leo III., a.d. 795, and many are 
modem restorations. 

15. Entrance. 

16. Plan. 

17. Plan of painted chapel, of two 

18. View in the Hall of the Men, with 

19. View in the Hall of the Women, 
with colunms also. 

20. Orpheus playing the lute. 

21. A saint in the Oriental attitude of 
blessing (r. A.D. 795). 

22. Ornamental pattern on the wall, 
and vault 

23. Noah in the ark, with the dore. 

24. Moses taking off his shoes. 

2$. Job. 

26. Raising of Lazarus. 

27. Miracle of the loaves. 

28. Head of Christ, full size. A mo- 
saic from this is now in the Vatican 

29. The Last Supper; Christ and six 
Apostles ; full size. 

30. The Last Supper; the other six 

31. Instruments of the fossores, as en- 
graved on tombstones. 

32 and 33. Inscriptions relating to the 

34. An orante, full size ; now in the 
Vatican Museum. 

34 bis. Painted vault of a chapel, with 
Orpheus in the centre. 

Called also S. Urban, restored by 
Hadrian I., a.d. 772. 

35. Title-page of the cemetery, with 
a view of the steps. 

36. Plan of a double cubiculum or 
chapel, excavated in 1846. 

37. Section of the same. 

38. View in the Hall of the Men. 

39. Plan and section of a family cubi- 
culum, or burial-vault. 

40. Plan of a chapel of two chambers. 

41. Longitudinal section of the same, 
with an ornamental cornice or corbel- 
table ; eighth century. 

42. Transverse section of the same. 

43. Plan of a painted chapel, of two 

44. Perspective view of the same, with 
figures of orantes, and inscriptions 
over their heads, as follows : — 

Inscriptions on tombstones : Dio- 


The figures are represented on a 
larger scale in the following plates. 

45. A female orante ; full size, eighth 
century (r. a.d. 772). 


Appendix to the Catacombs, 

46. A boy orante. 

47. Drocobins, a male orante ; full size. 

48. Theodora, a female orante, full 
size, with the bead necklace and 
lemon-shaped eyes, as usual in the 
eighth century. 

49. Head of a female orante ; full size, 
with inscription, DION YS as in pace. 

5a Christ and four saints, in outline ; 
three with monogram ; discovered in 

51. A peacock ; discovered in 1849. 

52. Plan of another chapel, of two 
chambers, with luminary. 

53. Longitudinal section of the same. 

54. Plan and section of two arco-solia. 

55. Paintings of the left cubiculum, front 

A cross, with shrubs, and two 
birds ; Miracle of loaves and fishes ; 
a table ornamented with the cross, 
upon it a fish. 

56. Garland of flowers. 

5 7. Moses, on three occasions, in outline. 

58. Cubiculum, or chapel of three 
chambers; two plans, and view of 
a tomb, with inscription, evnvcvs, 
and monogram of Constantine. 

59. Section of the same. 

60. A baptism ; Jonah cast out of the 
whale or sea serpent (r. a. d. 450). 

61. Seven baskets of bread, a table 
with a fish, and two loaves. 

62. Plan of a ohapel, with luminary ; 
discovered in 1845. 

63. View of the same, with columns. 

64. Two doves, with a vase between 
them, standing on a tomb. 

65. Painted vault of a cubiculum ; dis- 
covered in 1850. 

66. Painted ornament on the wall of 
the same. 

67. Jonah under the gourd ; a painting 
discovered in 1850. 

68. Plan of two arco-solia ; elevation 
of one of them. 

69. A female martyr. 

* This subject, which may be con- 
sidered as Pagan, was adopted by the 
early Christians ; we find it as late as 

The worshippers of Mithras (?) ; 
OR, The Gnostics (?). 

70. A funeral feast ; six figures seated, 
and five attendants, with the names 
on each figure, indictio bonorvm, 


(leading in vibia). Wine-jug, ser- 
vants, one kneeling, a loaf, a fish. 

71. Groups of figures; on the soffit of 
the right-hand arch, vincentivs, 
cloaks, with fibulae ; seven figures, 
three of the heads have Phrygian 
caps. It is called the mystic banquet. 

72. The painting is on the soffit of the 
arch. Left hand, a chariot with four 
horses ; a man carrying the body of 
a female, said to represent DEATH ; 
a figure, with a round shield, resem- 
bling Mercury leading the horses. 
Inscription over the chariot, 


Groups in centre of arch. 

73. The Judgment ; two figures seated 
on a throne, over i. Dis pater ; over 
2. a female figure, abracvra. On the 
right of the father, three female figures, 
with the inscription over them, fata 
DiviNA. To the left, three other 
figures, two females, with the names 
VIBIA ALCESTis ; and Mercury, with 
the name mercvrivs nvntivs. 

74. The three Fates, full size *. 

75. Coloured title-page for the mosaic 
picture in the church of S. Agnes ; 
two erect figures, with the nimbus, 
habited as priests. 

76. Rude figures in outline, from an 
arco-solium, discovered in 1849 ; 
PAVLVS, PETRVS (damaged), with a 
tower between. 

77. Two busts ; one on right, siSTVS, 
with a tower between. 

78. A sheep between two zebras. 


79. A figure with a laurel crown, under 
a tree, with a bird. 

the ninth century among the illustra- 
tions of an old and very valuable manu- 
script of the Psalter preserved at Utrctht. 

Engravings of Perret. 


8a Two figures, presenting palm- 

81. The woman of Samaria at the welL 

82. Three figures, in togas, with bare 
legs and feet. 

83. Baptistery of S. Valerian, a coloured 
plate (ninth century?), three figures. 

R S. Urban, 
B with a 
A jewelled 
It book, 

The Ma- i S. John, 

donna, o with a 

with H jewelled 

Christ as A book. 

a boy. N 



84. Three heads. In the centre Christ, 
with the cruciform nimbus ; on his 
left a female saint, with the name 
in Greek, miterthey ; on his right 
a youthful male figure, s. smaragdvs 
(r. A.D. 800). 

85. An arch, with mouldings and pi- 
lasters, which have rudely-sculptured 



S. Agnes. 

1. Coloured title-page for this cata- 
comb. Figure of S. Agnes, from 
the mosaic picture in her church. 

2. Entrance to the catacomb, with a 
view of the country. 

3. Plan of the catacomb of S. Agnes. 

4. Plan of a chapel called that of the 

5. View of an arco-solium, with figure 
of the Madonna, and head of Christ 
as a boy (mutilated), c, A. D. 800. 

6. The same, lai^ge and restored. 

7. A male and a female orante, restored. 

8. Plan of a large chapel, discovered 
in 1842. 

9. Section of the same, longitudinal 
la Section of the same, transverse. 

1 1. View of the same. 

12. View in part, called the Hall of 
the Women. 

13. Plan of a crypt of two chambers, 
connected by a passage; in one are 
two seats, in the other a third seat 

14. View in the crypt, with three seats, 
shewing two of them. 

15. View in another part of the same 
crypt, with two shelves or niches 
called credences (?). 

16. Plan of another chapel, with a ves- 
tibule and two seats. 

17. View in the same, looking towards 
the altar, and shewing one of the seats. 

18. View in the vestibule, shewing a 
seat and two credences (?). 

19. Plan of a crypt, discovered in 1849. 

20. View in the crypt discovered in 
1849, shewing two pilasters or half 

21. Plan of a chapel called of Christ 
im the midst of His DiscipUs. 

22. Painted vault of the same chapel or 
burial-chamber (cubiculum). In the 
centre, the Good Shepherd, with a 
lamb on His shoulders, a vase on each 
side, and a bird against one of them, 
surrounded by other birds. Round 
the sides of the vault : Adam and Eve, 
Moses striking the rock, Jonah under 
the gourd, an orante, birds in the cor- 
ners, and vases of flowers between. 

23. An arco-solium, or recess in the 
wall of the same chamber, with out- 
line of painting under the arch. 

24. Painting of Christ and His Dis- 
ciples, all seated ; attired in surplice 
and stole, some of these red, others 

25. The Good Shepherd, in colour. 

26. Adam and Eve, in outline. 

27. An orante, a bird, Moses, in colour. 

28. Jonah under the gourd, in colour. 

29. Plan of a chapel called of the Agape, 
This chapel is double, or in two parts, 
with a road, street, or corridor be- 

30. Painted vault of the chapel called 
the Agape, In the centre, Christ with 
two baskets of rolls of parchment. 
On each of the four sides, a shepherd 
with two sheep, between the smaller 
figures of Moses and Samson. 

31. View in the same chapel (in colour), 
side of the credence. 

1 7^5 

Appendix to the Catacombs, 

32. The figure of Christ, with two 
baskets ; in outline. 

33. Figure of Moses striking the rock, 
in colour. 

34. Figures, in outline, of Moses taking 
off his shoes, Samson carrying the 

35. A view in the same chapel, on the 
right side, in colour. 

36. The three children in the furnace, 

37. Perspectire view of the same chapel, 
left side, shewing an arco-solium with 
painting on the arch and on the wall ; 
Noah and Jonah. 

38. Crypt of the prudent Virgins. Plan 
and sections. 

39. View of an arco-solium in the same 
crypt, in colour, i. The three chil- 
dren in the furnace ; 2. An orante ; 
3. Jonah. On the soffit of the arch : 

1. Adam and Eve ; 2. Good Shep- 
herd; 3. Daniel. 

4a The Good Shepherd, in colour. 

41. Adam and Eve, in colour. 

42. I. The five prudent Virgins ; 2. 
Daniel, in colour. 

43. Plan and section of the Cubiculum 
called the Hall of the female Cate- 

44. Another plan of the same. 

45. Perspective view of the same, outline. 

46. Plan and section of a family vault 

47. I. A shepherdess milking a sheep ; 

2. An orante; 3. The Good Shep- 

48. King Herod seated on his throne, 
with the star over his head ; the three 
Magi addressing hun (a painting dis- 
covered in 1847). 

49. Head of Christ, from a terra-cotta 

50. Christ seated between two Apostles, 
with a book in His left hand. His 
right hand elevated, a basket of rolls 
on each side (a painting discovered 
in 1849 ; eighth century). 

51. The Good Shepherd, in outline 
(a painting discovered in 1849 ; eighth 

52. The Good Shepherd, with some 
sheep, outline (a painting discovered 
in 1850 ; eighth century). 

53. Noah in the Ark, outline (a painting 
discovered in 1850 ; eighth century). 

54. Angle of three galleries or corridors. 


SS. Marcbllinus and Peter. 

Restored by Hadrian, a.d. 772. 

55. Title - page ; a Good Shepherd 
seated with a crook in His hand, draw- 
ing a lamb to Him. 

56. Entrance to the cemetery or cata- 
comb, with view of the tomb of S. 

57. I. A woman crowned ; 2. An 
orante; both attired in surplice and 

58. A man and a boy, both orantes, 
and head of a female crowned with 
laurel-leaves, in colour. 

59. A Good Shepherd, with his reeds. 

60. An Agape, love-feast, or funeral 
feast (?) ; three figures seated and two 
servants, in outline. 

61. Painted vault of a chapel, in out- 
line. In the centre, a Good Shep- 
herd with his sheep, in a square panel, 
with heads in the comers. Round 
the sides, Noah in the ark, Abra- 
ham and Isaac, Daniel with the lions, 
the raising of one from the dead, from 
a tomb. In the comers four goats. 

Catacomb op S. Helena. 
Restored, A.D. 772. 

62. Plan and longitudinal section of the 

63. Mosaic pavement discovered in 1 838, 
Nos. I and 3 ; in colours. 

64. Mosaic pavement discovered in 1838, 
No. 2 ; in colours. 

65. Mosaic pavement discovered in 1838, 
Nos. 4 and 5 ; in colours. 

66. The four Evangelists in outline. The 
lower parts of the figures and the 
baskets of rolls are all that remain. 

Engravings of Ferret. 



General Title-page of the volume ; brick 
stamp of a seal, with crown and olive- 
branch, and inscription vantiorvm. 


Catacomb of S. Priscilla. 

[The style of drawing of the figures in 
these frescoes agrees with the time 
of the restoration by John I., A.D. 


1. Title-page. View of entrance and 
the Campagna. 

2. Paintings between two loculi ; the 
slabs or tiles have been removed. On 
the top line — Jonah and the whale or 
sea-serpent, Jonah under the ivy-bush, 
Moses striking the rock. Second line 
— ^birds and flowers. Third line — 
birds and flowers, and a small female 
head, at each end an orante, with 
a stole or broad hem to the gar- 
ment (?), and a crown with a veil 
over it, the hand uplifted in prayer. 

3. The orante on the right hand. 

4. The left-hand orante. 

5. Jonah and the sea-serpent 

6. Moses striking the rock ; [full aze, 
not coloured. 

7. Painting on a loculus, beginning from 
the left I. Raising of Lazarus ; 2. 
An orante, with the word gratia 
over his head ; 3. The Three Children 
in the furnace; 4. Daniel and the 
lions ; 5. Another orante, with the 
words over his head bene merenti. 

8. Outline of painted vault In the 
centre, the Good Shepherd, surrounded 
by wreaths of leaves and flowers and 
birds, with a goat in each of the four 

9. An orante attired in a red robe, with 
a broad black border, or stole, and 
black borders to the sleeves. 

ID. A figure in a yellow tunic, with 
green border and four large round 
green spots. In his right hand he 
carries a roll, in his left a book spread 

open, with the words dormitii sil- 
VESTRi. This figure is said to be 
that of a slave. 

1 1. A peacock, with the tail expanded ; 
diaper ornament for background. 

12. Painting over an altar (7), not co« 
loured, i. sancta prassede, at- 
tired in a robe and veil ; in her left 
hand a cross, in her right a crown* 
2. SANCTVS PETRVS, attired in a white 
flowing robe or cope(?), the dress 
nuuked with the tau cross; in his 
hand the keys. 3. sancta pvden- 
TIANA, with a Latin cross in her left 
hand, and her crown in her right ; at- 
tired as a nun. 

13. Three female figures, in colour, over 
the altar in the crypt of the Church of 
S. Prassede, well attired, with a pro- 
fusion of bead ornaments ; costume of 
the eighth century. In the centre, the 
Madonna, with her hand uplifted as 
blessing ; on her right, S.Padentiana, 
with the names underneath ; on her 
left, S. Prassede, each with her crown. 
All three have red cloaks, and the 
rest of the dress resembles that of 
a priest, with chasuble and pall (7). 

SS. Thrason and Saturninus, 

14. Title-page of the Cemetery. In 
the title three seals : I. A mother and 
a child on her right, not a Madonna. 
2. A sort of wheel of saints, with the 
Madonna in the centre. 3. MARIA« 
with her name over her head. On her 
right s. PAVLVS ; on her left s. PE- 
TRVS; on each shoulder a roll of 
parchment or books, all enclosed in an 
engrailed circle ; [tenth century (7)]. 

15. Plan of a second cubiculum, with 
skeletons, and a figure of a peacock 
(not coloured), tall not expanded. 

16. View in the painted chamber, shew- 
ing the vault and the figures under 
the arch. The subjects are : in the 
arch, the Good Shepherd, with two 
peacocks and four other birds on the 
vault, and on the wall Jonah and the 
sea-serpent Under the arch, a group 



Appendix to the Catacombs, 

of figures, apparently a woman preach- 
ing, and persons seated on each side ; 
on one side, a mother with a baby, on 
the other, an old man and two youths. 

17. The group of figures on a laiger 
scale. The interpretation given by 
Perret is, an orante with virgins on 
one side, and Maternity on the other ; 
but difierent symbolical meanings 
are given to this painting. The 
painting is of the eighth century. 
The orante has a veil folded like 

' a napkin upon her head. 

18. Maternity. The figure in outline. 

19. The orante (as before). 

2a The sacrifice ofAbraham, with Isaac 
carrying the fagot 

21. A peacock, not coloured. 

22. Jonah and the sea-serpent, not 

23. The Good Shepherd, not coloured, 
in a circular border. He is accom- 
panied by two goats, one sheep, and 
two birds. 

24. The crowning of a female martyr 
by two male saints. 

25. An orante, with two figures ad- 
dressing her on one side, and a single 
figure on the other side, who appears 
to be listening, and has just come out 
of a tent A Greek inscription under 
it ; not coloured. 

26. Tobit and the angel, with the fish \ 
not coloured. 

27. Plan and view of a chapel, with 
three seats. 

28. Perspective view of the same. 

29. Plan and view of a crypt 

3a Plan and view of another crypt, with 

31. Plan and section of a crypt, with 
loculi and a cubiculum with paintings. 

SS. Hbrmss and Basilla. 

32. Title-page of the Cemetery, with 
the marble covering of a well, found 
in the crypt of S. I^tus and S. Hya- 

33. Plan and section of the church of 
S. Hermes at the entrance to the 
catacomb. . 

34. View in the same church, shewing 
the brick construction. 

35. Painting of Christ and the twelve 
Apostles, seated in a semicircle, at- 
tired in surplices (7). 

36. Mosaic picture in the crypt of S. 
Protus and S. Hyadnthus, represent- 
ing Daniel and the lions, and the 
resurrection of Lazarus (in outline 
only), A.D. 629. 

S. Cyriaca. 

37. Title-page of the Cemetery. View 
of entrance to the catacomb. 

38. Three figures in colour. 


(Eighth century.) The picture was dis- 
covered in 1848. All three have the 

39. ScA Cecilia, head and bust, with 
her crown. She is richly attired in 
yellow and green, with pearl orna- 
ments, and carries a cofier. This 
painting was discovered in 1848. 

40. A female saint, richly attired, with 
bead ornaments, carrying a oofier or 

41. Outline of a bird and a fish. 

42. The Madonna, with Christ as a boy, 
and five saints. All have the nimbus. 

43. Christ seated between two saints, 
also seated ; a part in outline only. 
[The figures on these two pictures are 

in theatrical attitudes, and of late cha- 

44. Head of a female saint, in colours ; 
[eighth or ninth century, if not later.] 

45. Three loculi, with die tiles left in 
their places, i. On the upper one 
a brick stamp and a lamp. 2. A 
second loculus, with one of the tiles 
removed, shewing a skeleton and two 
palm-branches. 3. An inscription on 
a loculus, with the Constantinian mo- 
nogram, the anchor, the dove and 
olive-branch, and a palm-branch. In- 
scription — 




(This plate appears to be made up. ) 

Engravings of Ferret 


46. A female oiante, with two male 
peisons addressing her. 

47. Plan of a ciypt 

48. Perspective view in the crypt, an 
arco-solium with five loculL 

49. Title-page of the Cemetery of S. 
PoNTiANUSy with the font in the crypt 
of the church of S. Prisca, made oat 
of the capital and base of an antique 

5a Plan of the baptistexy of this cata- 
comb, with the steps down to it and 
the welL 

51. Section of the baptistery and steps. 

52. View in the baptistery, shewing the 
pointings of the baptism of Christ and 
the jewelled cross. 

53. Head of Christ, with a cruciform 
nimbus jewelled, and a book in His 
hand, with the word dominvs; not 

54. Another head of Christ near the bap- 
tistery, in colours similar to the last 

$5. Baptism of Christ, in outline. 

56. Christ putting the laurel crowns on 
the heads of SS. Abdon and Sennen, 
with two other saints looking on and 
admiring; over one BICCLIVS, the 
other name is not legible. 

57. The jewelled cross, in colours. 

58. Figures of three saints, in colour. 

scs scs scs 




Nvs (The Deacon.) 

S. Pollion has the crown of martyr- 
dom. All are attired in surplice and 

59. scs MILES, scs PVMENivs. Heads 
and busts, with the jewelled cross 
between them. 

[All the paintings in this catacomb 
are of the time of the restoration by 
Hadrian I., A.D. 772.] 


I. Tide-page, with the Constantinian 
monogram in bronze from the Vatican 


3. A bronze lamp in the museum at 

5. Vases in terra-cotta. 

4. Marble statue of the Good Shepherd. 

5. Bronze lamps. 

6. Vases in terra-cotta. 

7. Lamps and other objects in terra* 

8. Children's toys. 

9. Lamps in terra-cotta. 
la Vases of copper. 

11. Various bronze objects. 

12. Various objects. 

13. Lamps in terra-cotta. 

14. Bronze instruments. 

15. Lamps in terra-cotta. 

16. Antique gems, with Christian em- 

17. Lamps and other objects in terra- 

18. Glass ampulln, graffiti in plaster of 
palm-bnmches and names. 

19. Lamps in terra-cotta. 

2a Brick stamps and other objects. 

21. Coloured glass vases. 

22. Gilt glass vases from the Vatican 

23. 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30^ 31, 32, 
33. Fragments of gilt glass vases. 

VOL. V. 

VoL V. contains inscriptions, figures, and 
Sjrmbols, on jewels or stones. 

I to 38 inclusive. — From the Vatican 
museum or gallery. 

39. — fix)m different churches. 

4a A sarcophagus, with shallow sculp- 
ture, from the Vatican gallery. 

41. Inscriptions from the Vatican depAt 
and from Anagm. 

42. Inscriptions and incised figures firom 
the churches of S. Prassede, S. Puden- 
tiana, &c. 

43 to 52. firom the Kircherian Mu- 
seum (chiefly of the fourth and fifth 

53 — 55. from the catacomb and 

church of S. Agnes. 

56* 57- itom catacomb of S. Sixtus. 


Appendix to the Catacombs. 

58 — 6a Inscriptions from tlie cloister 
of S. Paul's. 

61 — 63. from S. ApoUinaris (fourth 

and fifth centuries). 

64. from the Quirinal (fourth cen- 

65 — 67. from Velletri (fourth cen- 
tury and later). 

68, 69. Inscriptions and incised figures 
from S. Lorenzo. 

70, 71. — firom S. Maria in Trastevere. 

72. from the Villa AlbanL 

73. Inscriptions from various places 

(fourth century and later). 
74. fix)m the crypt of the Vatican 

(fourth century). 

75. from the Palace Challais. 

76. -^— from Civita Vecchia, S. Calix- 

tus, and S. Mark. 
77» 78. — from various places. 

VOL. VI. contains the letterpress de- 
scription of the plates. 

It is the fashion in Rome to depreciate this great work of Ferret's 
rather more than it deserves. The drawings are not alwa3rs accurate ; 
they are the work of young French artists from the Academie, made 
under the direction of M. Ferret, a French architect. The style of 
drawing is rather more French and theatrical than suits the English 
taste ; but in some instances the outlines were traced^ and it is the 
colouring only that is too fresh and gay. There is every reason 
to believe that the intention of M. Ferret, and of the French Govern- 
ment which supported him, was to make his work as accurate as 
possible, and great allowance should be made for the diffiailty of 
drawing in the Catacombs with the light of wax tapers only. At the 
time these drawings were made, neither Fhotography nor Magnesium 
for light had been discovered. The use of these new inventions is 
now, in 1870, prohibited by the Cardinal Vicar in the name of the 
Fope. It is hardly probable that the great work projected by Signer 
de Rossi, of which the first two volumes only have appeared, can 
ever be completed. M. Ferref s work is therefore likely to remain, for 
a long time to come, the most complete set of drawings from the 
Catacombs that we possess ; and a careless drawing is better than 
none at all, especially as there is no occasion to suspect dishonesty, 
or any intention either to deceive, or to conceal anything. 



Volume I. 

Catacombs of S. Calixtus and Lucina — In voL L plate i, is a repre- 
sentation of the tomb or chapel, of the first century, at the entrance to the 
catacombs of Ludna and Cornelius, which form part of the great Cemetery of 
S. Calixtos. This building, the remains of which are of plain early brickwork, 
stands at the top of the flight of steps leading down into the catacomb, on the 
bank above the Via Appia. 

Crypt op S. Corneuus in the Catacomb of S. Calixtus. — Paintings ot 
lambs and of birds executed in blue ochre are represented (vol. i. plate 12). 
Other paintings, of an orante, heads of cherubs, figures of Sixtus II. and Attains, 
a bishop, SS. Cornelius and Cyprianus, — all these are chiefly painted in red and 
brown ochre, in the style of the eighth century (voL i. plates 6, 7, 1 1). 

A general view of a part of a corridor, shewing the position of the paintings, 
is also given in plate 5. All these belong to the restoroHans of Hadrian I., 

A.D. 772. 

Crypt of Cornelius. — A plan and elevation of part of this catacomb is 
given in plates 2 and 3, remains of paintings (plates 8, 9, ii — 14), and a good 
painted vault, with orantes and a figure (plate 10) closely resembling a Pagan 
genius. This may be of the fourth century, and not part of the restoration. 

Crypt of Lucina (in the Catacomb of S. Calixtus).— A series of in- 
scriptions on the slabs of loculi and on sarcophagi found in this catacomb. Some 
of these are in the Greek characters, which is very frequently the case in Rome in 
the third and fourth centuries ; the fragments of the stone cofifins and the remains 
of sculpture belong to the latter period (vol. i. plates 19 — 31). A plan and eleva- 
tion of it is also given (plates 32, 33), and a view of a painted corridor (plate 7) 
and of a cubiculum, with painted vault (plate 11). 

" Roma, 1864-67, folio, 2 vols. 

1 82 Appendix to the Catacombs. 

De Rossi — In the second volume : — 

Plates I and la. — Crypt of the Bishops of Rome or Popes (?), in the catacomb 
of S. Calixtos. The marble columns, with twisted fluting, are of the character of 
the fourth century. 

Plates 2, 3, and 4.— Inscriptions of Damasus, a.d. 367(?), or of Sixtus IIL, 
A.D. 432 (T) ', and in the catacomb of S. Ensebius. 

Plate 5. — Cemetery of S. Cecilia, bricks wide-jointed — (modem restoration). 
Paintings of saints and lantern, or luminary — eighth or ninth century. 

Plate 6. — Same cemetery, paintings of Head of Christ, S. Urban, S. Cecilia. 

Plate 7. — Figures in outline of SS. Policamus, Sebastianus, Curinus. 

Plate 8. — Same cemeteiy, painting and inscription of Damasus. 

Plates 9— 13> — ^Views in cubicula of the same cemetery. Perhaps some of 
these are of the fourth or fifth century; but some appear to be painted on 
plaster, covering brick walls of the eighth century. 

Plates 14 — 17. — Paintings of Jonah, &c., of the usual character. 

Plate 18. — Orpheus, on the wall ; the Good Shepherd, on the vault ; birds, 
flowers, genii, and a feast 

Plate 19. — Arco-solia, with paintings. 

Plate 2a — Paintings of the same, lazger ; the Good Shepherd, an orante, Daniel, 
Jonah, birds, flowers. 

Plate 21. — Group of figures firom the same, one preaching. 

Plate 22. — Arco-solium. Painting developed ; patterns and festoons of flowers, 
a figure in a circle, mutilated — ^third century (T). 

Plate 23. — ^A cubiculum with sarcophagus and painting. 

Plates 24, 25. — Paintings developed ; L4izarus, birds, flowers, nymphs. 

Plate 26. — A view in a cubiculum. 

Plates 27, 28. — ^These paintings are early, probably of the third century ; but the 
subjects are not Christian. They represent a garden, with trellis-work ; birds, in- 
cluding peacocks, and with winged genii. The cubiculum on which they occur is 
called that of the Ocean, from the head of Ocean painted in the centre of the vault 

Plate 29. — Arco-solium, with paintings of the fourth century, or later. 

Plate 3a— Graffiti 

Plates 31 — 5a— Inscriptions of the third, fourth, and fifth centuries. 

Plates 51, 52. — Elevations. 

I*lates S3, 54.— Plans. 

Plates 55 — 58. — Inscriptions. 

Plates 59— 62.— Plans. 

Plates A and B. — Supplementary paintings ; the Good Shepherd, Moses, &c. 

Plates C and D. — Elevations. 

« See Sect. iv. 



From Mr. Parker's Collection made to Illustrate this Work^ 

[ The number of the Photograph is given at the end of each paragraph,"] 

I. Chronology (pp. 14 to 24). 

Early Tombstone with Greek Cross 
under a round Arch, and Inscription 
liom S. Cyriaca, r. A.D. 800. 442 

S. Agnes — Inscriptions on Tombstones, 
built into the wall of the staircase of 
the Church. 1594, 1595 

S. Calixtus — Inscriptions of Pope Da- 
masus, I. over the Altar in the Chapel 
of the Popes ; 2. in the Chapel of S. 
Ensebius. 1795, i^^i 

IL The Martvrs (pp. 25 to 35). 

In S. Calixtus — Inscriptions on the 

Tombs of the Bishops or Popes. 

Anteros, A.D. 286. 1797 

Fabianus, A.D. 249. 1798 

S. Cornelius, A.D. 258, 1799 

Eutychianus, A.D. 288. 1 796 

In S.Agnes. Maximus. 1596 

In S. Pnetextatus. Januarius. 1 82 1 

IIL Chapels of the Martyrs 

(pp. 86 to 46). 

S. Sebastian— Section and Plan of the 

Crypt or Platonia. 483, 484 

Ancient Chapels at the Entrance 

to the Catacomb, c. ad. 860(?), and 

772. 285, 286, 287, 288 

IV. Construction (pp. 88 to 46). 

A Natural Section of part of the Cata- 
comb of S. Cyriaca, in the burial- 
ground of S. Lorenzo f. m., in three 
parts, shewing an arco-solium, or 
place for a Sarcophagus, with paint- 
ings in the arch, and the junction at 
an angle of two corridors, with the 
loculi, or graves in the walls. 

1131, 1132, 1133 

S. Agnes — Cubiculum, with Columns, 
and place for the Altar. 626 

S. Prsetextatus — A Brick Cornice and 
Wall of the first century, with another 
wall of the fourth, of stone and brick, 
built up against it, and a Brick Arch 
of the second. 16 18, 16 19, 1620 

S. Domitilla — Brickwork of the first 
century, at the Entrance. 620 

S. Pontianus — Corridor and Staircase 
at the entrance, restored A.D. 868 — 
867, by Pope Nicholas. 61 1 

S. Cyriaca — Corridor with Loculi. 1 282 

S. Pnetextatus — Doorway and Loculi 
of early character. 1 62 1 

S. Generosa — Well at the Entrance. 


^ThesemaybeseenintheAshmolean ford, and the Library of the South 
Museum and the Bodleian Library, Ox- Kensington Museum, London. 

1 84 

Appendix to the Catacombs, 

V. Via Cornelia, Aurelia, and 
PORTUENSIS (pp. 56 to 67). 

Fresco Paintings •. 

S. Pontianus. 
Head of Christ, A.D. 868—867. 607 a 
The same^ from Perrefs Drawings, 

463, 607 B 

Baptism of Christ, A.D. 868—867. 

608 A 
from Perrd^s Drawing, 608 B 

Painting of a Jewelled Cross, a.d. 

868—867. 609 a 

frrom Perrets Drawing, 609 B 

Painting of SS. Marcellinus, Pol- 
lion, and Petrus, A. D. 868— 867. 610 A 
from Perre^s Drawing, 610 B 

Christ crowning S. Abdon and S. 
Sennen, ixith figures of S. Milex and 
S. Bicelus, A.D.868— 867,y^<ww Per- 
refs Drawing, 47' 

Jewelled Cross and two Saints, 
S. Miles and S. Pymenius, A.D. 868 
—867, from Perrefs Drawing, 474 

S. Generosa, 
At the College of the Arvales. 
A Loculus or Tomb cut in the rock 
and left unopened. The aperture 
is covered by three tiles fixed with 
plaster, and in the plaster are graffiti 
or inscriptions scratched in the plaster 
when wet, of the fourth or fifth 
century. 1222 

Another Tomb unopened, with the 
tiles and graffiti on the plaster. 1223 

Loculi, with the bones remaining 
in them, c, A. D. 600. 1183 

Head of Christ from the painting 
in fresco, c, A. D. 600. 1 159 

VI. Via Ostiensis, Ardbatina, 
Appia, Latina (pp. 68 to 91). 

S. DOMITILLA— Brickwork, c, A.D. lOOy 
with a Well and a Vase(?) or Font(?), 
called a Baptistery, at the entrance. 
This Catacomb is part of the great 
one called SS. Nereus and Achilleus. 


Well near the entrance. 1610, 18 19 

Cubiculum, with Fresco Paintings 

of the Four Seasons, c, A.D. 25o(?), 

Spring and Autumn. 618,619, ^^^^ 

The Adoration of the Magi, A.D. 

623, from Perrefs Drawing. 465 

The Madonna, A.D. 628, yriTm /Vr- 
refs Drawing, 466 

SS. Nereus and Achilleus. 

A Christian Sarcophagus, at the en- 
trance to the Catacomb. 181 5 

Pagan Inscription of Tiberius Clau- 
dius Claudianus, found there. 1817 

Christian Inscription, written on 
the reverse of that of Tiberius Clau- 
dius Claudianus, /EMiLio, eta 1818 

Tombstone, with Inscription, c, AJ>, 


Loculus, unopened. The aperture 
is covered by a tile, on which is 
rudely painted an inscription, 


with a palm-branch at each end. 1611 

Painted Chamber, A.D.628. The 
ceiling is flat and painted in panels, 
with birds and flowers; under the 
arch of the cubiculum is a vase with 
two birds and two palm-branches. 
The flat soffit of the arch is also 
painted in pands. 1615 

* The Fresco Paintings in the Cata- 
combs are taken with the magnesian 
lights which has an appearance similar 
to moonlight The Caxdinal- Vicar, who 
acts in the name of the . Pope, has now 
(in 1870) forbidden anv more to be 
taken, on the pretext that the smoke 
from the magnesian lamp might injure 

the frescoes. All that was important 
had been taken before this order was 
issued. A few of the same subjects 
have also been taken from Ferret's 
drawings, to shew how much the mo- 
dem artists have developed and im» 
proved upon the originals. 



SS. NsREUS, &C., continued. 

The Good Shepherd. The figure 
is represented m shepherd's dress, 
with a Iamb on his shoulders, and 
two sheep at his feet, with flowers la 
the usual manner. 1616 

The Adoration of the Magt The 
Madonna is seated, with her right 
hand uplifted ; on her left Christ is 
represented not as an infunt, but as 
a boy, as at Ravenna, and other 
Byzantine examples. There are four 
Magi, two on either side, in order to 
complete the picture and fill the space 
under the arch of a cubiculum. The 
Magi wear the Phrygian cap, and 
have offerings in their hands. 1613 

A Feast or Agape. This may re- 
present the Last Supper, as is usual, 
but it appears more like a &mily 
feast; some of the heads appear to 
be those of mere boys. It is under 
the arch of a cubiculunu 16 14 

The head of a youth, in a circular 
firame, probably a portrait of the 
defunct. 1609 

An Orante, with a sheep. 1816 

A group of figures, to whom one 
is preaching. 1612 


Plan and Section of a Corridor. 744 

Brickwork and Doorway at the 

Original Entrance, c, A.D. 100. 616 

Fragment of a Sarcophagus with 

Bas-rdie^ and Painted Vault of 

Chapel, r. A.D.200. 614, 615 

The Cultivation of the Vine. 1822 

The Gnostics (?), or Worshippers of 
the Persian God Mithras. 

Fresco Paintings, I. a Warrior 
kneeling, and a woman crowned 
with laurel, and of a Man raising 
a dead Lramb and pointing to some 
Stars in the Heaven ; 2. Seven priests 
of Mithras seated at a table (sbpte 
PI I SACEEDOTEs). In the centre is 
the priest vincentivs. He and two 
others wear the Phrygian cap. This 

The Gnostics, continued. 

Catacomb was in communication 
with that of Prsetextatus on the Via 
Appia. 1791, 1794 

Arch, with an Inscription over a 
Cubiculum (not now legible). 1623 

A Warrior holding a lance, be- 
tween a Genius and a Man. 1792 

Four figures engaged in some cere- 
monial (very indistinct), fourth cen- 
rury(T) or later (?). 1281 

Fresco. The good angel introduc- 
ing a woman, called Vibia, to several 
persons. Over them is written IN- 
ductio VIBIES. Under the Arch are 
six figures, with Vibia in the centre, 
and over their heads the inscription 


S. Calixtus. 

The Cover of the largest marble Sarco- 
phagus discovered in the Catacombs, 
said to be that of Pope Zephyrinus, 
A.D. 218. 1810 

Sarcophagus, the sculpture repre- 
senting Genii, the Resurrection of 
Lazarus, and Daniel in the Lions' 
Den. 1807 

Fresco Paintings of the Seasons, in 
a Cubiculum. 1808, 1809 

Chapel of the Sacraments. Kfossor, 
or grave-digger, Abraham and Isaac 
in attitudes of prayer, a ram, and 
a bundle of firewood. 1806 

A figure seated holding a scroll, 
and another figure drawing water 
from a well, said to be Christ and 
the woman of Samaria. 1801 

History of Jonah, I. coming out 
of the mouth of the sea-serpent (or 
whale); 2. thrown by the sailors into 
the sea. 1802, 1803 

Seven figures upon a tricliniar bed. 
There are two dishes with fish, and 
eight baskets loaded with bread. 1804 

A fossoTf or grave-digger. In an- 
other part of the picture a small 
table, or tripod, upon which is a dish 
with fish and bread. A man, Christ, 


Appendix to the Catacombs. 

S. Cauxtus, continued. 

after the Resurrection (?), extends the 
right hand over the fish, and on the 
other side is a female figure in the 
attitude of prayer. The Church (?). 


An Orante said to be S. Caedlia 
(ninth century), of our Saviour and 
of S. Urban, Pope, with the Inscrip- 
tion sci VRBANVS. 1800 

Figures of S. Cornelius, Pope and 
Martyr, S. X3rstus II., Pope (scs 
XYSTVS pp ROM), and of S.Optatus, 
Bishop. 1813, 1814 

VII. Via Labicana, Nomentana, 


SS. Peter and Marcellinus. 

The Adoration of the Magi, A.D. 772 — 

776, from Ferrers Drawing, 627 c 

Adoration of the Magi. Two of 

the Magi only are shewn, there not 

being room for more. 21 16 

An Agape or Commemorative 

Love Feast, with the names over the 

heads of the figures. 21 17 

An Agape with this inscription, 
two children at the table. 2118 

Christ seated between two Apo- 
stles (?), standing and addressing 
Him. He has the nimbus, they have 
not; their dress resembles the sur- 
plice and stole. At the foot is the 
Holy Lamb standing on Calvary, 
with other Apostles (?). 21 19 

A female Orante, with two mem- 
bers of her family, A. D. 772(?). 21 15 

S. Agnes. 
Paintmgs of an Orante, with the Good 
Shepherd, a.d. 772—775. 628 

The Blessed Virgin and Child, 

A.D. 772— 776. 627 A 

'•^^ from Perrefs Drawing. 627 B 

S. Cyriaca. 
A female Saint, richly attired and 
crowned, A. D. 772— 795^y^OT/Vrr^j 
Drawing, 468 

S. Cyriaca, conHntud. 

Madonna, and S. Catharine, c. A.D. 
77^—796, frvm Perrefs Drawing, 479 

Figure of S. Caedlia, A.D. 772— 
796, frvm Perrefs Drawing, 472 

Three Loculi, closed with Tiles: 
I. With Stamp and small Vase; 2. 
With Skeleton and Palm-branches; 
3. With Inscription, the Labamm of 
Constantine, an Anchor, a Dove with 
Palm-branch, fi'om Perrefs Drawing, 


A Painted Vault, from Perrefs 
Drawing, 482 

Tombstone of Antonia Cyriace, 
with a dove and olive-branch on each 
side of the name, c, A.D. 260, taken 
from this Catacomb and built into 
the wall of the Church of S. Gioigio 
in Velabro. 1257 

Three Skulls, and a brick stamp 
found with them, with inscription — 
OY(ficina) s(exfi) DOUl{tii) SATVR- 
NINI [A.D. 264?]. 1283 

S. Hermes. 

Fragment of Mosaic Picture repre- 
senting Daniel in the Lions' Den, 
A.D. 677, the only Mosaic Pic- 
ture now remaining in the Cata- 
combs. 629 

VIII. Via Salaria Vecchia, and 
Nova (pp. 108 to 118). 

SS. Saturninus and Thrason— 
Paintings in the lowest stoxy, of the 
time of Pope Hadrian L, A*D. 772 — 
796. 1751 

Three Loculi, with Paintings of 
Jonah, Moses striking the Rock, bird 
with foliage, and two female Orantes, 
from Perrefs Drawing, 467 

An Orante, a lady richly attired, 
with lace borders and a veil, A.D. 
772—796. 1774 

— — yhw» Perrefs Drawing, 475 

Another Orante, A.D. 772—796. 

— yhwf Perrefs Drawing, 476 



SS. Saturninus, &C., canHmud, 

Head of the defunct, with a Bird 
and Flowers, a.d. 772. 1752 

Jonah under the ivy-bush (accord- 
ing to the Vulgate version, the gourd 
in the English version), A.D. 772 — 
796. 1777 

Moses striking the rock, A.D. 772 
—796. 1776 

The Good Shepherd, and a Figure 
holding a Scroll or Book, with the 

inscription, dormitio [Sil- 

vestri(?)]. 1778 

from Perrefs Drawing. 480 

Tobias presenting a Fish to his 
Father. 1779 

An Orante, wi£h an Ordination (?) 
on the right, and a Madonna on the 
VcA^Jrom Perrd*s Drawing, 469 

S. Priscilla. 

The Madonna addressed by a Prophet, 

who is expounding the Scriptures to 

her, with the Star of Bethlehem (?) 

above, A.D. 628. 1467 

— yJww Perrefs Drawing, 470 

Painted Chapel, restored by John 
L, A.D. 623. 612 

Stucco Ornament in a Chapel. 613 
The three youths in the ''burning 

fiery furnace," and Orantes, c, a.d. 

628. 1468, 147 1 

Painting of an Orante or female 
6gure erect, in the Oriental atti- 
tude of prayer. On her left hand 
a Madonna (?) or mother and child, 
on her right hand three figures, one 
seated, the others standing. The in- 
terpretation given to this group is an 
ordination. Other interpretations are 
given to this picture. Also a gra£Sto 
of the name of Bosivs. 1470 

An Orante addressed by two per- 
sons standing and pointing on her 
left hand, with another figure stand- 
VD^ wrapt up in a tunic, on her 
right (Allegorical interpretations are 
given to this group. ) 1472 

S. Priscilla, continued. 

Seven men carrying a wine-cask, 
c. A.D. 628, with graffiti of the names 


NOBILIBVS, &c., and a tombstone 
with the inscription — BONAVliB 


GraffiU. 1473 

Two Loculi, unopened, with letters 
painted on the Tiles, which cover the 
openings. 1474 

A Peacock, with tail expanded and 
Diaper Ornaments, A.D. 628, from 
Perre^s Drawing, 477 

A Peacock, side view, A.D. 628, 
from Perrefs Drawing, 478 

IX. Catacomb of thb Jews on 
THE Via Appia. (p. 119). 

Part of the Place for Washing the 
Bodies at the entrance, with Arco- 
solia or Arched Tombs partly rebuilt 
in the fourth century. 1753 

Staircase at the exit 1754 

A Painted Cubiculum, c, A.D. 160, 
taken with the magnesian light, 773 

Painting of Birds, A.D. 160, in the same 
chamber. 563 

The samCf from a Drawing by 
Ewing, 1 161 

Painted Vault, with allegorical sub- 
jects. 774 

View in another painted Burial-vault, 
taken with the magnesian light, 774 

The samCj frvm a Drawing by 
Ewing, 1 160 

P^asus, a Painting on the Wall, 
c. A.D. 160. 775 

A Peacock, a.d. 160. 561 

Fragment of a Pagan Sarcophagus, 
A.D.160. 5^3 

Inscriptions, with Emblems. 564, 776 


Appendix to the Catacombs. 

XL Catacombs of Naples (pp. 12S— 129). 

Views of the Ospizio de* Poveri di 
S. Gennaro. 2143, 2144 

Construction under the Portico of the 
Ospizio de' Poveii di S. Gennaro, at 
the entrance to the Catacombs, with 
very bold corbelling. 2145 

General View of the entrance to the 
Catacombs, with Frescoes on the 
walls. 2146 

General View of the entrance to the 
Catacombs. 2147 

Fresco Paintings in the Catacombs, re- 
presenting SS. Desiderius and Agu- 
tius, eighth century (?). 2148 

Fresco Paintings in the Catacombs, re- 

presenting two Saints, and a lily be- 
tween them. 2149 

Fresco Painting in the Catacombs, 
representing a peacock, vases, and 
flowers. 2150 

Fresco Painting in a niche on the right- 
hand side of the entrance to the Geita- 
combs. 2151 

Colunm, with Inscription, in the Cata- 
combs. 2152 

Chair of S. Gennaro, cut in the Tufii 
rock of the Catacombs. 2153 

Those wUkin the Catacomds are taken 
with the magnesian light. 

XII. Churches outside the Walls. 

S. Paul's (pp. 180 to 184). 

View of the Interior before the fire. 456 
after the fire, in 1828, shew- 
ing the parts that were left standing. 
These two are from scarce Engrav- 
ings. 623 

View of the Cloister, thirteenth century ; 
exterior, with Cosmati work and In- 
scription. 2020 
■ Interior, with light shining 
through the Arcade. 2019 

Paschal Candlestick ornamented with 
rich Sculpture. 2018 

Altar Canopy or Baldachino, details of. 
Frescoes in the Cloister. 2024 to 2030 
Inscriptions. 1985 to 2030 

Mosaic Pictures. 2031 to 2037 

S. Sbbastlan's (pp. 188 to 141). 

Exterior of Apse, r. A.D. 860 (?). 289 
Plan of Church and Monastery, with 

the Chapels at the entrance to the 

Catacomb. 819, 341 

Views of the Ancient Chapels at the 

Entrance to the Catacombs, c. a.d. 

860(?), and 772 ; and a Porticus. 

285, 288 

S. Urban's (pp. 148 to 144). 

Altar of Bacchus found there. 1365 

The Classical Portico, c. A.D. 60, filled 

up with modem brickwork. 1590 
Exterior View behind the Altar, with 

fine brick cornice. 1364 

S. Helena or S. Peter and Mar- 
CELLXNUS (p. 146). 

Plan. 206 

View of the Exterior and Interior. 

207, 208 

S. Agnes (pp. 146 to 148). 

View of the Exterior, with the Porch 
of the twelfth century, the Apse, 
A.D. 628, and the Campanile. 1589 

Interior, with the Canopy over the 

Altar or Baldachino, the Classical 

Columns and the Apse, with the 

Mosaic Pictures, a.d. 626. 1591 

The Gallery or Triforium, and the 

Clerestoxy, with the Ceiling and the 

Fresco over the Arch. 1592 

Mosaic Picture. 1593 

Fresco Painting. 1597 

Inscriptions. 1594, 5, and 6 



S. CONSTANTIA (p. 14d). 

Interior, e, A.D. 320. This view shews 
the coupled or twin columns standing 
upon a plinth ; the central part of the 
floor has evidently been raised to the 
same leveL It was probably built 
for a Baptistery, with tombs or sar- 
cophagi, and altars in the aisle round, 
the vault of which is enriched with 
Mosaic pictures. 1600 

The Mosaic Pictures. 1607, 1608 

S. Alexander (pp. 161 to 168). 

View in the Church. 584 

Antique Columns. 385 

Perforated Marble Screen. 383 

S. Lorenzo (pp. 164 to 169). 

General View of the Exterior, with 
Portico and Campanile. 1082 

Interior of the Nave, from the west, 
with antique Arch of Triumph, and 
Mosaics. 592 

Wall of side aisle^ Exterior, c. a. d. 760 ; 
and Wall of Clerestoiy with early 
Plate-tracery, A.D. 1216. 322 

Interior, Antique Columns in the North 
Aisle of the Choir. 594 

Altar and Canopy, A. d. 1160. 593 

Campanile, c, A.D. 1216. 319 

Clobter of the Monastery, r. A.D. 1216. 

Cloister, r. A.D. 1820. 1093 

Ambo and Paschal Candlestick and 
Ionic Capitals to antique Marble 
Columns. 595 

Early Pagan Sarcophagus, c, A.D. 200, 
representing a Nuptial ceremony, with 
Canopy, c, A. D. 1266, made into the 
Tomb of the Cardinal Fieschi 597 
Sculpture of Lions at the door. 317 
Sarcophagus, with shallow Sculpture of 
the Vine, &c 318 

Tomb in the form of a Temple. . 320 
Fresco Paintings of the l^end of S. 
Stephen and S. Lorenzo, or Lau- 
rence (?), in the porch. 1120 to 1 126 

S. Stephen (p. 160). 
Remains of the Church. 2105 


Since this Chapter was printed, and whilst waiting for the Photo- 
engravings to illustrate it and confirm the views there stated, some 
important fresh excavations have been made, of which an account 
ought to be given in this work. They have been made and are 
carrying on for the Ecclesiastical Commission of the Pontifical 
Government, under the direction of G. B. De Rossi. They are at 
the entrance to the catacomb of SS. Nereus and Achilleus, and 
what has been found is the lower part of a church of the Basilican 
type. The two brothers De Rossi have just published an excellent 
account of it in the Bulletino di Archeologia ChristianaK They 
shew that these are the remains of the church of S. Petronilla, 
just as it was left after it had been destroyed some centuries 
ago ^ It must have been a fine church, similar to that of S. Agnes, 
at the entrance to the catacomb named after her, with a grand 
flight of steps down into it in the same manner, but finer, as 
it goes down in a straight line at the end of the church opposite 
to the altar, and has the bases and lower partd of columns of a grand 
colonnade over the steps. The church consisted of a nave, with an 
aisle on each side ; the bases of the columns remain between the 
nave and the aisles; behind the altar is an apse, at the further 
end of which, on the lower story or in the crypt, is an opening to 
one end of a corridor or street of the catacombs. This has also 
been the case at S. Generosa, though not there left visible as it is 
here. In the present instance everything is left in its place as found, 
the old Pontifical system of carrying everything oflf to museums, 
which deprived them of half their interest, seems at last to be aban- 
doned, more confidence is now placed in the honesty of the keepers 
and in the vigilance of the police. Under the altar are two brick 
tombs, the places for the sarcophagi containing the relics of the 
martyrs. The walls are entirely of brick, the character of which is 
of the fifth or sixth century. Many brick-stamps have been found 
in the walls, which will give the exact date. Several inscriptions 
have also been found, and are published by De Rossi ; but as the 
church has evidently been moiU in the catacombs^ and is not part of 

• Vol. V. Nos. I and 2, Roma, 1874. 19 wide. 

In the second number an excellent •» M. S. De Rossi considers that it 

plan and view of the ruins are given, was evidently destroyed by an earth- 

The church was 30 metres long and quake. 

192 Second Appendix to the Catacombs, 

the same original construction, they cannot decide the date of the 
church. There is another entrance to the catacomb close by, the 
brickwork of which is of the first century, similar to that of Praetex- 
tatus, and as in that instance, they are probably family burial-places 
for a great family, without any reference to religion. 

On the vault of the passage from the entrance into the catacomb 
is a fresco-painting of the vine, but it does not at all follow that the 
painting is contemporary with the brickwork ; .there is also a vine 
painted just within the entrance to that of Praetextatus, and it is 
quite possible that those two families may have been among the 
early Christians, and have intended the vine as an emblem intelli- 
gible to other Christians, by reminding them of the text, " I am the 
vine, ye are the branches," and not intelligible to the heathen. 
What gives probability to this is, that the sarcophagus of Constantia 
and the vaults of the aisles of her mausoleum are covered with the 
vine, and these probably were the work of heathen workmen ; the 
Christians were not permitted to make any display of their religion 
until the time of Constantine. 

According to the legends of the church, Flavia Domitilla was the 
niece of Domitian, and had property on the Via Ardeatina, at a mile 
and half from Rome ; she was a Christian, and allowed the bodies 
of the martyrs Nereus and Achilleus and Petronilla to be buried 
under her freehold farm {pradium)^ that is, in her family burial- 
place j and a church dedicated to S. Petronilla was afterwards built 
at the entrance to. it, probably over the original burial-chapel, 
which we find at the entrance of each of the catacombs in the early 
ages of the Christian Church. That of SSL Nereus and Achilleus is 
described as being " at S. Petronilla, on the Via Ardeatina." 

One of the loculi (or graves cut in the rock) was found closed by 
a slab of marble, on wliich was engraved in good letters val rvfina. 
Upon a large stone which dosed an arch built under the pavement 
of a street in the catacomb, at the entrance to another burial-vault, 
was found in 1854 an inscription recording the purchase of that 
ground for the family of Aurelius Victorinus : — 


From this it is inferred by De Rossi that the name of the martyr 
was Aurelia Petronilla, and that she belonged to the Gens Aureiia. 

This property has recently been bought, with a large district, by 
Monsignor De Merode, and the excavations are carried on with his 
approbation, and probably at h*« expense, as these Commissions in 

Second Appendix to the Catacombs, 193 

Rome usually have no funds «. The earliest historical notice that we 
have of this cemetery is that it was made by John I., a.d. 523 — 526, 
at the time that Rome was under the jurisdiction of King Theodoric 
of Ravenna. But the word feat is given in another manuscript as 
rejecit (restored), which seems more probable •*. Gregory the Great 
is also said to have delivered one of his celebrated Homilies here, 
which could only have been in the church, not in the catacomb. 
This name does not occur among the tituii of the clergy who attended 
the Roman S)mod, a.d. 499, early in the reign of Theodoric, which 
would seem to imply, 00 the other hand, that the church was not 
built until after that time. Gregory III., a,d. 731 — 742 (Anastas., 
202), instituted or appointed an annual station to be held in the 
cemetery of S. Petronilla, and presented it a corona (lucis) of gold, 
a chalice and paten of silver, and various ornaments pertaining to 
a church «, which could not mean a catacomb-chapel only. It is 
probable that the church was then built over the original burial- 
chapel, of which the remains are shewn in De Rossi's plan as exist- 
ing under the church. Leo IV., a.d. 847 — 855, made similar 
donations to this church. (Anastas., 641.) 

Of another inscription only a fragment remains, with the latter 
half of two words, . . . rvm. . . . orvm. By his long experience De 
Rossi is enabled to supply the rest, SepulcKvu jFlavioRWM. This 
probably applies only to one of the original family burial-vaults, 
which is one meaning of the word cemetery, now called catacomb. 
Another inscription says that M. Antonius Restitutus — 


Obviously, again, a family burial-vault^ and almost certainly a Pagan 
one, as the name of Ypogeum is not the one used by the Chris- 
tian writers. Another fragment gives some letters of one of the 
long metrical inscriptions of Damasus^ in the beautiful letters of 
his time, which is gjLven in full by De Rossi, and he cites four dis- 
tinct copies of it from ancient manuscripts : — 

Militiae nomen dederant ssexnim Q. gerebant ' 
Officium pariter spectantes jussA TYRanni 
Prseceptis pulsante metu serviRS PARati 
Mira fides rerum subito posueRE FVROREm 
Conversi fngiunt ducis impia castrA reunqwnt 
p Proiiciunt cfypeos faleras telAQ ^ crventa 

• Since this was written the Roman •* Anastasius, 89, 
Catholic Church has sustained a great , • Ibid., 202. 

loss by the death of this excellent per- ' Tre codici savumquCy uno solo 
son, who had made a large fortune, and almunque. 
b^psui to expend it for Church objects. 

194 Second Appendix to the Catacombs r 

Confess! gaudent Christi portarB trivmfos 
Credite per Damasum possit quid gloria christi *. 

Another tombstone of beatvs and vincentia has the names of the 
Consuls, which gives the date of a.d. 395, but this does not give the 
date of the church. Nobody doubts that the catacomb is an early one. 
Leo III., A.D. 795 — 816, is recorded to have restored the church of 
SS. Nereus and Achilleus, which had been damaged by a great flood. 
This has hitherto been supposed to apply to the church within the 
walls of Rome, on the Via Appia, opposite to S. Sisto Vecchio, 
which was equally surrounded by water in the great flood in 1871, 
so that it may apply to either. As that pope is said to have rebuilt 
the church from the foundations, and no work of his time has been 
brought to light by the receift excavations at this cemetery, whereas 
part of the walls of the church on the Via Appia may very well be 
of his time, the old interpretation of the passage seems more likely 
to be the corr^t one. The donations given to it at the same time 
were, " Six canisters of silver, weighing 15 lbs. ; a ciborium of pure 
silver, weighing 215 lbs.; a chalice and paten of silver-gilt, weighing 
1 2 lbs. 10 oz.; a ro3ral super-altar of pure gold, ornamented with 
precious stones, weighing 2 lb. 6 oz., and two vestments, one an alb 
of silk with the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ worked 
upon it, the other of Tynan purple.'* These seem more suitable 
for a church in the city than for one in the country. 

The excavations have also brought to light some fresco paintings 

of the fifth (?) century, and some graffiti (or names scratched upon 

the walls). This was one of the places of pilgrimage mentioned by 

William of Malmesbury as frequented by the English, under the 

name of " Nereus and Achilleus, and Petronilla, and several others." 

Eusebius also mentions that the church of S. Paul was " the entrance 
to the martyrs," which probably means that there was a subterranean 
road or deep cutting from that church to S. Sebastian's. This would 
be on the line of the road now called the " Via delle Sette Chiese," 
or road of the Seven Churches, used by the pilgrims in the pilgrim- 
ages of the Middle Ages, (recently revived,) to the seven great Basi- 
licas. The pilgrimages began at (i) S. Paul's, then went through 
this deep cutting, passing by S. Petronilla to (2) S. Sebastian's, then 
to (3) S. Lorenzo and (4) S. Agnes, all without the walls ; then en- 
tering the City to (5) S. Croce in Gerusalemme, (6) S. John in the 
Lateran, (7) S. Maria Maggiore, and crossing the Tiber to S. Peter's 
in the Vatican. The same line was followed by the American pil- 
grims in 1874, but in carriages instead of walking barefoot, as was 
the custom in the Middle Ages. 

» BtdletHno di Archeologia CruUana Rossi. Seconda Serie. Anno Quinto. 
dd Commendatore Giovanni Battista de Roma 1874^ (p. 20). 

Second Appendix to the Catacombs. 195 

"The AoAPiE or Love Feasts (?). 

The Bishop of Limerick, who has fortunately been in Rome 
during the month of April, 1874^ and has taken much interest in 
the Catacombs, has kindly favoured me with the following important 
suggestions respecting the paintings of feasts, so frequently found 
in them ^ These are usually interpreted either as the Last Supper 
of our Lord upon earth, or the Agape or Love Feast of the early 
Christians. The Bishop, on the contrary, is of opinion that some 
of them, at least, represent the heavenly banquet of the blest, the 
marriage supper spoken of in the Gospels and the Book of Reve- 
lation. I am myself inclined to believe that these paintings merely 
represent the commemorative feasts on the anniversary of the death 
of the heads of the family, usual among the ancient Romans. It is 
still the custom of the Romans to assemble at the grave of the 
deceased members of the family on the anniversary of their death, 
and to have a family feast on the same occasion. This shews that 
Christianity did not interfere with this ancient and reverend custom. 


"The Photograph of the picture No. 2 11 7, in Mr. Parker's Cata- 
logue of Photographs, represents three men seated at a crescent- 
shaped couch-table (mensa lunata^ or sigma). In front of it is 
a small round tripod table, on which lies a large fish (JhynnusT)^ 
surrounded by what appear to be eels. At each end of the lunette 
table sits a female attendant. Between one of them and the tripod 
a tall crater stands on the floor. Between the other attendant and 
the tripod stands a boy holding a cyathus or poculum of some kind. 
The lower parts of the last-named figures are effaced. The two 
men, who sit to the right and left respectively of the central figure, 
are each reaching out their right hands, as if they were addressing 
the female attendants opposite to them. Over the head of the man 
sitting at the right-hand of the central figure are the words irene . 
DA . CALDA. Over the one at his left are the words agape . misce • 
MI. This phrase is obviously addressed to the girl who sits close 
to the crater. The boy appears to be handing speculum to the 
guest who asks for calda. In the upper margin of the panel are 
the names volscvs, rvfevs, pomponivs, fabivs; and immediately 

^ Any one who knows Ireland and rick, and will know also that he is not 

its interesting antiquities, will know one to arrive at a hasty conclusion, or 

also the long-established reputation of to make a bold conjecture only ; he 

Dr. Graves, formerly Fellow of Trinity carefully investigates what he states. 
CoUege, Dublin, now Bishop of Lime- 

196 Second Appendix to the Catacombs. 

under them, in somewhat smaller and more carefully written charac- 
ters, the name fabianvs. In the left-hand margin of the panel are 
the letters va, which, along with lete, exactly opposite them in the 
right-hand margin, make up the word valete. At the left-hand 
comer of the bottom margin, though some of the letters are very 
faint, I think I can make out in agr ped x . . , ^ 

"The picture shewn in the photc^aph. No. 21 18, represents 
a similar scene. Three men are seated at a hmette couch-table, the 
centre figure having a little boy at each side of him. At each end 
of the lunette table sits, or stands, a female attendant The one to 
the left of the picture is holding out Kpoculum, The man who is 
opposite to her addresses her in the words irene . porge . calda, 
which are written over him ; whilst the man on the other side of 
the central figure (though it must be admitted that he is not looking 
towards her), seems to be addressing the other female attendant in 
the words agape . misce . nobis. Each of the men leans, as he ought 
to do, with his left elbow upon the couch-table. A small round 
table stands in the centre. The lower part of the picture being 
defaced, we cannot say with certainty whether it was a tripod or 
not, or determine what was served upon it. It was probably like 
the table represented in 2 117. 

" In the fourth volume of the Berlin Corpus Inscriptionum Lati- 
narum, which contains the inscriptions and graffiti of Pompeii, at 
No. 1 29 1, we meet with a notice of a picture which illustrates those 
now under consideration. It represents a soldier, who holds out 
a glass to a servant who is waiting upon him, and addresses him in 
the words da fridam (frigidam) pvsillvm, written as a gjoiffito on 
the picture. He is asking for a little cold water^ 

" No one can well question the appropriateness of the phrases 
MISCE . MI, MiscE . NOBIS, DA . CALDA, and PORGE CALDA, as ad- 
dressed to an attendant waiting upon persons at an entertainment. 
The Romans were not in the habit of drinking their wine undiluted, 
and the attendant was said miscere alicuL We have an instance of 
mi for mihi in Virgil, ^n. x. 104; and others in Lucilius and 
Plautus. Porgey as Festus tells us, was the old form for Porrige ; 
and Virgil, /En. viii. 274, hzs pocula por^te. In idLoX^ porgere seems 
to have been the word most correctly used with reference to the 

* The engraving of this fresco given have copied and commented on it Not 

by Bottari, tav. cxxvii. , though exe- to mention errors in smaller matters of 

cuted more than a hundred years ago, detail, it represents the central figure 

when the painting was in a much more as a female, and for the fish on the 

perfect slate of preservation, is so in- table substitutes some kind of quadruped 

accurate that it has misled those who served whole. 

Second Appendix to the Catacombs, 197 

handing of wine or anything that was to be drunk. Cicero uses the 

phrase porgens carchesia; Horace, porrecta pocula; and Apuleius, 

porrigit bibam, Calda is put for caldam {aquani)^ the final tn being 

omitted, as was not unusual. Perhaps this was a phonetic spelling ; 

at all events, the omission is common enough in inscriptions. Thus 

we have SepHtna sit tibi terra levis, Quisquis huic tumulo posuit arden- 

te{m) lucemam iUius cinercs aurea terra Jegat.y (Gruter, 1148. 17); 

JPietate redere for pietatem reddere, (Orell. 505^) ; post ea{m) uxore{m) 

nan haMturu(m)^ (Orell. 4603). Calda was used absolutely for 

ccUda aqua; thus we have in Pliny, cum pari calda ptensura, and the 

servant who supplied hot water was called servus a calda. It is 

possible, however, that calda may be the accusative plural of cal- 
dum^ which was used substantively in the sense of a hot drink made 
by mixing wine with hot water. In sepulchral inscriptions ave or 
HAVE, VALE, AVETE, VALETE, frequently occur in addresses to the 
departed. There may be some doubt as to the reading of the 
words IN AGR PED X . . . If they are rightly deciphered, they indi- 
cate one admeasurement, that is, the depth of the space belonging 
to a family, and available for the purposes of burial. The other 
dimension, that of the frontage, may have been stated in the right- 
hand comer of the maigin, but that part of tl\p panel has been 
completely defaced. As regards the names of the female attend- 
ants. Agape and Irene, they are of frequent occurrence in the early 
Christian inscriptions. Irene appears in De Rossi, Tav. xliii., and 
Agape in Tav. Iv. 

" The similarity in all their details between these two pictures, and 
others which are the work of pagan artists, or intended to represent 
pagan scenes, is very remarkable. There is in the Lateran collec- 
tion a sarcophagus representing a lady lying on a couch, with 
a tripod-table before her, and on it is a large fish. The character 
of the sculpture, and the inscription which this monument bears, 
prove it undoubtedly to be pagan. Again, in a picture in the 
Vatican Manuscript of Virgil, Dido is seen seated between -^neas 
and Ascanius, with a small round table before them, on which 
there is a single dish containing a fish. In that part of the cata- 
comb of Praetextatus which was assigned to the worshippers of 
Mithra, there are paintings and inscriptions having relation to 
pagan superstitions. One of these represents seven persons, desig- 
nated as Septem Pii Sacerdotes, seated at a sigma couch, with dishes 
before them, on which are served a fowl, a hare, a pasty, and a fish. 
Another picture of the same series represents six persons seated at 
a sigma table, whilst a seventh is coming in. Before them are set 
three dishes containing fowl, pasty, and fish At the side stands 
a crater resting on a tripod. In the Annals of the German Archaeo- 
logical Institute of Rome, 1866, p. 320, mention is made of a pic- 
ture found in a pagan tomb at Ostia. It represents five persons 
seated at a lunette couch-table, apparently partaking of a banquet. 
The name of each of the persons is written over his head. Though 

1 98 Second Appendix to the Catacombs. 

those pictures belong to a different school of art and thought, they 
are, to say the least^ analogous to the fresco paintings in the cata- 
comb of SS. Peter and Marcellinus, which we are considering. The 
four fresco paintings in the catacomb of S. Calixtus, figured by De 
Rossi, Plates XIV., XV., XVI., are generally supposed to refer 
either to the miracles wrought by our Lord in feeding the multitudes, 
or to the incidents which followed the miraculous draught of fishes 
recorded by S. John (chap. xxi. i — 14) ; and having this primary 
scope, they may also be regarded as having a reference to the 
Eucharist The first of these represents seven persons seated at 
a couch-table, having before them three dishes, on two of which are 
fish. In the front of the picture are twelve baskets of bread. In 
another we have a tripod-table, with a fish upon it, with seven 
baskets of bread in front. In a third we have seven nude figures, 
with two dishes before them, with a fish on each. His sixteenth 
plate represents another group of seven persons seated at a table, 
and served with two dishes of fish. In the front of the picture are 
eight baskets of bread. 

" Some doubt may be entertained as to the interpretation of these 
pictures. But it seems to me quite obvious that the fresco paintings 
described above, No. 2117 and 2 118 in Mr. Parker's Catalogue, are 
not designed to represent eucharistic celebrations or agapc^ The 
following are my reasons for coming to this conclusion : — i. There 
is an a priori objection to such a view. Pictures in the Catacombs 
ought to have had a distinctly religious use. They ought to have 
been calculated to sustain the hopes of men living in a state of trial, 
if not of actual persecution. The picture of an agape would not have 
served this purpose. The reality of these love-feasts was familiar 
enough to the Christians who worshipped in the Catacombs, and 
the force of thi^ consideration is strengthened when we come to 
remember that these entertainments, which were sometimes charac- 
terized by a want of order even in the apostolic times, were after- 
wards so discredited by disorder and excess that the holding of them 
came to be forbidden. 2. The persons seated at the table are the 
departed, to whom their surviving relations and fiiends address the 
greeting valete. 3. The persons ministering are females. 4. Their 
names Agape and Irene^ though no doubt proper names in common 
use amongst Christians, are more fitly used to indicate the personi- 
fication of the spirit of Christian love, and of the peace of God 
ministering to the happiness of the blest. 5. Christians in the early 
ages were accustomed to see on sarcophagi sculptures representing 
the departed spirits of Pagans enjoying the pleasures of Elysium. 

'' The s3rmbolic meaning of the fish has been too much insisted on 
by those who have described and commented on these pictures. 
In many cases, but not in all, did it represent the Divine Person. 
The fish, in the s}inbolism of painters and sculptors, had a different 
meaning : it denoted the goodness of the viands provided at a ban- 
quet. Horace contrasts tihe most sumptuous and the most frugal 
^e in the line : — 

' Seu pisces seu porrum et csepe tnicidfts.' 


Second Appendix to the Catacombs. 199 

S. Priscilla •. 

This catacomb has the largest number of paintings, and the ear- 
liest of any. The present entrance is a straight vaulted passage 
from the Via Salaria, partly underground j the original entrance was 
by a flight of steps from the vineyard above. The modem entrance 
was made in 1865, probably because the proprietor of the vineyard 
would not allow a right of way. The celebrated Capella GUiECA 
is just at the foot of the original steps, and near to the present en- 
trance. It is a small chapel, in the plan of a Greek cross +, with 
paintings on the walls on either side of the choir, for the most part 
well preserved, and very interesting ; the proper explanation of them 
is matter of endless controversy, some give a very early date to 
them, but the drawing does not bear out any such early date, if 
compared with the frescoes in the tombs on the Via Latina, of 
which the date is ascertained by the brick-stamps to be of the 
second and third centuries; the inferiority of the art is very apparent, 
nor are they all of one period. Some of the paintings in this ceme- 
tery are probably of the sixth century, and others of the eighth and 
ninth. The three children " in the burning fiery furnace" belong 
to the latter period ; the remainder are earlier, and appear rather 
to relate some family history than any historical or religious sub- 
jects. In the earlier pictures, the same three figures occur in all, 
and they seem to relate the history of the same person, first as 
a girl, then as a young mother with a baby in her arms, then one 
advanced in life, as the mother of a family of grown-up children. 
All^orical meanings may be given to any extent to these pictures, 
as nothing is really known of the history of the Priscilla whose tomb 
this was, and there are no means of testing the truth. Close adjoining 
to thb chamber, or vault, is another, in which is the place for a sar- 
cophagus, supposed to have been used for an altar to a chapel, as 
there is a step at one end to a platform behind it for a priest to 
stand upon and officiate aper the body of the martyr there interred. 
The walls have remains of the marble casing, shewing that it was 
the chapel of a wealthy family. In other parts of this cemetery, and 
in other vaults, are represented the two wine-casks, and four men are 
seen carrying a third To these also various allegorical meanings 
are given, but the probability is, that it was the burial-place of the 
wife of a wine-merchant, or wine-maker, perhaps the owner of 
the vineyard above, whose death took place at the time of the 

• See p. 114, and Plates V., VI., XXIV. 


200 Second Appendix to the Catacombs. 

vintage, and this event was commemorated by the family in their 
burial-place. The inscription, which was under the picture when 
this photograph was taken, has since been removed by the Pontifical 
authorities, it agrees with this interpretation : — 


In another cubiculum is the much-disputed painting of the Ma- 
donna (?) addressed by the prophet (?). This is a small group of 
figures, not more than two feet square, on a flat surface on the ceiling 
of an arco-soliumy under which is a sarcophagus, and on the back 
wall are remains of a Good Shepherd with the sheep. In another 
cubiculum is the Good Shepherd on the vault ; in his arms he carries 
a goat and a sheep, and another goat is at his feet, and also 
a sheep. In this chamber the paintings are evidently of two 
periods, probably of the sixth and eighth centuries. 

S. Nereus, S. Petronilla^, &c. 

In the spring of 1875, ^^ excavations in the Basilica of S. Petro- 
nilla, and in the Catacomb of S. Nereus adjoining to it, were con- 
tinued, and in a small cubiculum at the back of the apse of the 
church, a painting was found of two female figures, in the style of 
painting of the sixth centuxy, under the arch of an arco-solium at 
the back of the small burial-vault, with inscriptions on the sides 
of the figures. 


In the centre of the church a small marble column has also been 
found, with figures carved upon it in alto relievo^ representing the 
martyrdom of S. Achilleus, with the name inscribed. This is also 
in the style of the sixth century. Another fragment of a marble 
column has also been found, which probably had the martjrrdom 
of S. Nereus carved upon it There are a number of sarcophagi 
in the floor of the church, left just as they were found, half above 
and half below the pavement. The walls of the church were being 
rebuilt in 1876, and a new roof was to be put on, to preserve every- 
thing as it was found. It is expected to be used for worship again. 

»» See p. 70, and Plates XXII., XXIII. 




P^ 2f /. 32. It has only been discon- 
tinued since the year 1 86a 

jfik 3, n^ £ et a liberalibns. 

/. 9, /. 6. to the gate only. 

/. 22, noi£ g. extenninatse. 

p, 34, mfie p. PP SCI. 

Jdid. SIBI. 

Jdid,f noieq. emit. 

/. 37, nafe a. hygiab . a 

IHd, xss. 

/. 63, fuf/e g. de' gemme. 

/. 85, noteh. "Tre sepolcii," &c 

J^id, del Perso dio. 

Iiid,,nof€C Correspondenza. 

f. 104, M^/!f o. marcuerant. 

/. 108, xr^/^ X. in aquilino. 

p. 113, fr<7/^e. deEsquileo. 

^. 123, /. 3. but they are no longer used. 

p. 131. MEMO. 

/. I54| fWi€Z, RECISA. 

p, 159, noteg, porticum, qui. 

p, 162, lin€ 18. Index Ccemeterium. 

/. 171, notes, antesignatum. 


It is still continued, in 1877, '^^ ^^c great 
burial-ground at S. Lorenzo f. m. 

et liberalibus. 

to the parish church only. 





D. M.— HYGIA . FEa 


di gemme. 

This work is not by Padre Marchi, but 
by Padre Garrucd. 

del Persidico dio. 



in aquilonari. 

de Esquilino. 

and they are still in use. 


porticum, quae. 
Index Coemeteriorunu 



The Catacombs. 

Plate I. 

Construction. — Natural Sections in the Catacomb op S. Cy- 
RiACA, and Loculi in the Corridors (called also streets), now in 
the burial-ground of S. Lorenzo. 

In the course of the enlargement of the great burial-ground of 
Rome in the year 1870 — 1871, part of the tufa rock on the side of 
it was cut away in which thi§ catacomb was situated, and one side 
of the cprridors or streets, ,and of the atbiada^ or burial-vaults, was 
thrown open to view. It is now, in 1874, again concealed by modem 
tombs built up against it, but the views here given shew very clearly 
the old arrangement, and the manner in which the corridors followed 
the geological formation of the rock, being always imade on a bed 
of soft tufa between two beds or layers of hard tufe.^ The loculi^ or 
places for the bodies to be laid in the graves cut iAtJ^e rock, instead 
of being dug out in the ground, are here shewn very^ clearly. 

The Catacombs. 

Plate ll. 

Construction. — Sections of the Catacombs of S. Generosa, 

* * . A.D. 500, AND S. CyRIACA, A.D. 2S9. 

In that. 6f S. Generosa ts^ of the locu/i are left open, with the 
skeletons visible, a third is closed in the usiial manner with tiles 
and mortar^ the divisions, or joints are thick, and are plainly 
seen 'in this photo-dngraving. In the one from S. Cyriaca a cudi- 
'^uiumis shewn, with zn- arcO'Solium or arched recess for a stone 
coffin"to be 'placed ih; The usual features.of a catacomb are there- 
fore well seen in this cutting, without the aid of artificial light. 

1. The cubiculum, or family burial-vault, sold in perpetuity to 
a particular family. .. 

2. Th6 arco-solium, or sirchfed recess for a sarcophagus or stone 
cofHn for the heads of the family, or in a few .very rare instances for 
the body of a majtyr, 

3. The loculi, or graves. for ordinary persons, either in the family 
vault or in the corridors, passages, or streets ; in the latter case 
they were generally for the poor, and the loculus was paid for by 
a burial-club. 


The Catacombs. 

Plate III. 
Construction of the Brickwork at the Entrance. 

These four examples are all at one of the entrances to the great 
catacomb of the family of Praetextatus. This^ entrance is from 
a sand-pit road near the church of S, Urban, which is situated in 
a cross-road or diverticulum from the Via Appia to the Via Latina, 
now a part of the Via Appia Nova ; it fe about a quarter of a mile 
from the Via Appia at tlie church of £Sebastiai>. This sand-pit 
road is only about twenty feet below the level ^f the present road 
over it, and was probably a foss-way, subsequently vaulted over to 
make the road level with the ground on each side, or nearly so. 
The brickwork of Numbers I., II., III., is of the middle of the first 
century of the Empire and of the time of Nero, as is seen by the 
very fine joints, especially in No. II., where ten bricks to the foot 
can be counted in the six-foot rule shewn in this photo-engraving. 
The cornice and pediments over the doors are not likely to have 
been made for a sand-pit road only, unless it was open to the sky. 
No. IV. is of the second century, of the time of Hadrian, as is seen 
by the thickness of the mortar between the bricks, quite different 
from No. II. It is evident that this catacomb was a family burial- 
place in the first half of the first century of the Christian era, or 
before the Crucifixion, when there could have been no Christians to 
bury, and continued in use for at least three centuries. 




TifE Catacombs. 

Plate IV. 

Inscriptions on the Locult of four Bishops of the Third 


The ihscriptioh of Bishop Eutychianus, a.d. 238, Fabianus, a.d. 
249, and Anteros, a.d. ^35, are in G^eek characters ; that of 
Cornelius, martyx and bishop, a.d. in the Latin character. 


It is the fashion, now for Protestants to, doubt the authenticity of 
these inscriptions, because they see that. the. catacomb of Calixtiis 
has befen too - much restored and got up *{oj shovj with the object pf 
restoring it to use as a place of worship and for pilgrimages on 
certain festival 'days. 'But these .suspicions ^re carried too far ; •. there 
is no reason to doubt the genuineness of. these inscriptions in the 
Catacombs, Greek was the language of the Church until after that 
period, and there were many Greek Christians in Rome in the third 
century. The change. of the seat of 'Empire was the ruin of Rome 
in many ways, and after that time more Romans went to Greece 
than Greeks came to Rome. Those inscriptions have all the cha- 
racter of authenticity, only in some cases the originals were carried 
off to the Pontifical Museum, and plaster casts substituted for them 
in their original places. 


- t 













« • 



. • - » 


Cultivation of the Vine. 

The Catacombs— Paintings. 

Description of Plate I. 


Cultivation of the Vine. 

The catacomb of the great Roman family of Prsetextatus is com- 
monly called by Roman Catholics Saint Praetextatus, but this is an 
error. It is one of the earliest of the Catacombs, and the construc- 
tion of the walls at one of the entrances is of the time of Nero, 
as is shewn in Plate I. of the Construction of the Catacombs. 
The chamber in which this painting is found is a fine lofty square 
room, or chapel, at the principal entrance. It is built with brick 
walls and not merely excavated in the rock, and is just within tlie 
early wall. It was, no doubt, the place where the commemorative 
funeral services were held at the anniversaries of the deaths of the 
members of the family buried in the family vault, to which this was 
the principal entrance. The phototype diagram is a facsimile of 
a photograph taken from nature with the magnesian light, and no 
attempt is made to embellish it or improve upon the original, as is 
generally done in all the engravings of these paintings that are pub- 
lished. The painting may possibly be as early as the second cen- 
tury, but is more likely to be of the third, as S. Urban was buried in 
this catacomb in a.d. 230, and the paintings are more likely to have 
been executed after that time than before it. The relics of the 
martyrs were what gave celebrity to the catacombs or cemeteries in 
which they were interred. The same subject occurs also in fresco 
in the catacomb of SS. Nereus and Achilleus, or Domitilla, which 
is also an early catacomb, and in the mosaic pictures in the vault of 
the mausoleum of Constantia. The subject may be either pagan or 
Christian ; it is commonly supposed to be Christian, illustrative of 
the text, " I am the vine, ye are the branches," and the birds are 
supposed to symbolize the souls of the departed. This lofty vaulted 
chamber is mentioned in some of the early legends. It had long 
been lost sight of, and was re-discovered by De Rossi in 1848. This 
painting has not been engraved by Bosio nor by Perret, and is be- 
lieved not to have been published before, excepting a woodcut of it 
in the BuUetino di Archeologia Christiana of De Rossi. 

■ M iliai 



ASTOn, LBtraK 




An Agape. 

Madonna and Prophet. 

. I 

The Catacombs— Paintings. 

Description of Plate IL 

I. Via Ardeatina — SS. Nereus and Achilleus, or Domitilla (f). 

An Agape. 

The first of these cemeteries is in the Via Ardeatina, between 
S. Sebastian's and S. Paul's. An Agape, or love-feast, is a common 
subject of the paintings in the Catacombs, and sometimes seems to 
be evidently a representation of the family gatherings that were held 
on the anniversaries in these tombs, in the same manner as they 
were in the painted tombs in the Via Latina or the Via Appia. 
These paintings are often supposed to be the Last Supper, and 
sometimes may be so, but the one before us can hardly be intended 
for Christ and His Apostles. This picture is probably one of those 
of the time of John I., a.d. 523, who made this catacomb, according 
to Anastasius. This probably means that he made burial-vaults for 
the relics of the martyrs, and for others to be interred near them. 
The word c<xmetenum> may mean either the whole ground occupied 
by a series of these vaults, and the corridors connecting them, or 
each separate, vault. 

a. Via Salaria — S. Priscilla. 
Madonna and Prophet. 

The second picture in the lower part of the page, from the 
catacomb of S. Priscilla, is one to which the Roman officials attach 
great importance, and consider to be of very early date. The 
catacomb or cemetery of S. Priscilla is on the Via Salaria, and is 
also said by Anastasius to have been renewed by John I., but 
was an early catacomb. The question is whether the paintings 
belong to the renewal or to the original worL It is in so bad 
a state, as the photograph shews, that it is not easy to decide the 
question. The traditions of the Roman Church make this catacomb 
to have belonged to the family of Pudens ; and the painted chapel, 
called the Cappella Graeca, to have been the burial-place of S. Puden- 
tiana. The frescoes in this chapel are of earlier character than most 
of the others in the Catacombs, but can hardly be so early as the 
date assumed for them. This painting is not in that chapel ; the 
Roman authorities consider the two figures to be the blessed Viigin, 
and the prophet Isaiah addressing her, but this is only conjecture. 
The chromo-lithograph of the picture given by Dr. Northcote shews 
how much the clever modem artists in Rome can improve on the 
originals. It is engraved by Bosio, p. 541, in the fourth cubiculum^ 
in the style of his period. 


THE NEW YOr:,c ^ 


1*1 m-Mmf ** 






I. The Three Children in the " burning fiery furnace.** 
Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego, or Daniel, &c. 

2. An Orante addressed by other Persons. 

The Catacombs— Paintings. 

Description of Plate IIL 

Via Salaria— S. Priscilla. 

1. The Three Children in the " burning fiery furnace." 
Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego, or Daniel, &c. 

2. An Orante addressed by other Persons. 
Both of these paintings belong to the renewal by John I., a.d. 523. 

That this was a very ancient family burial-place there is no doubt, 
probably as early as the second century, and it may have been 
painted at that period. We know that it was the custom to have 
a painted chamber in a tomb as a sort of guest-chamber, where the 
family would assemble at the anniversaries, according to an old 
Roman custom, still continued to some extent, as it is still the cus- 
tom for the Romans to assemble at the grave of a deceased member 
of the family on the anniversary of his or her death. The painted 
tombs on the Via Latina are of the second century, but there is 
certainly nothing of the same character in the catacomb or ceme- 
tery of S. Priscilla. The Roman authorities say that the stucco 
ornament is of the same character as that in the Thermae of Titus 
and Trajan, which is also of the second century. There is very 
little stucco ornament remaining there, and the celebrated tombs on 
the Via Latina are a more fair object for comparison ; let any one 
compare our photographs, or photo-engravings, of the two, and see 
whether they think they can possibly be of the same age. If there 
have been paintings of that period in S. Priscilla, they have been 
destroyed or renewed at a later period. 

Compare 613, 1468, 1469, 1470, 147 1, 1472, from S. Priscilla, 
with 2091, 2092, 2095, 2098, 2099, 2100, from the Painted Tombs, 
or Plates XV. and XVI. of Tombs with Plates II., III., V., VL, of 

Here are photographs of six of each of these two subjects, which 
the Roman authorities allege to be of the same period; let Dr. 
Northcote himself compare them, and see whether he can still 
believe that to be the case. 




'• TKF. NLW v.". 




An Agape (?), or the Last Supper, 

The Catacombs— Paintings. 

Description of Plate IV. 

Via Appia — S. Calixtus. 

An Agape (?), or the Last Supper. 

This painting has more the appearance of being really intended 
for the Last Supper than most of the paintings of this dass. The 
central figure has a certain dignity about it Upon the round plates 
on the table are fishes, and the eight baskets are full of breadL It 
may be a Christian painting of a bad period, and intended to com- 
memorate some of our Lord's miracles. The principal lines on the 
edges of the dresses have been renewed. This painting is under an 
arcO'Solium in the chapel of the Sacraments, the burial-place of the 
Bishops of Rome in the third century. All the paintings in that 
part of this great catacomb that is usually open to the public, 
and in which masses are said on certain occasions, have long been 
said by well-informed persons to have been restored within the last 
twenty years, but this is now denied by the Roman Catholic autho- 
rities. To English eyes a restoration is quite another matter from 
an original painting, it is like a copy of a Rapliael compared with 
the original. 

An engraving of this painting is given by Bosio in the sixth arco- 
solium of this catacomb, p. 523 ; he calls it Christ and the Apostles. 
It is also given by Perret in the modem French style, vol. L p. 28 ; 
and by Dr. Northcote in plate xiii., much embellished by colour, 
and improved by the skill of modem artists. 

I THE NEW v:r 


I ASTOR, LE2K*: j. 



The Wine Casks. 

Christ and the Church (?). 

The Catacombs— Paintings. 

Description of Plate V. 

Via Salaria, S. Priscilla — The Wine Casks. 

I. This painting probably belongs to the time of John I., a.d. 
525, who reneuted this cemetery, as we are told by Anastasius. 
Allegorical meanings are attached to this painting by the Roman 
authorities. Protestant writers consider it only as the burial-place 
of a wine-merchant. It is engraved by Bosio, p. 557. In the back- 
ground, on the wall, are graffiti (or scratchings) of the names of 
antonivs bosivs orativs — DE NOBiLiBvs, &c., and in front is a tomb- 
stone, with the inscription bona viae conjvgi sanctissimae. Since 
this photograph was taken, this inscription has been removed by 
the authorities. 

Via Appia, S. Cauxtus — Christ and the Church (?). 

These two figures, one on either side of a small table, on which 
are two dishes, one with a fish upon it and the other with bread, 
are supposed to represent our Lord after the Resurrection, and the 
Christian Church in the form of a woman, with he hands uplifted 
in the oriental attitude of prayer, such as is usually called in the 
Catacombs an Orante. This explanation is of course conjectural 
only, but seems not improbable. The painting is so much damaged 
that it is difficult to tell to what period it belongs. The photograph, 
No. 1805, or the phototype plate of the original, should be compared 
with Dr. Northcote's very pretty restoration of it in plate xiv. of his 
volume. At first sight, one could hardly believe that they are meant 
for the same drawing. A part of this great catacomb is as early as 
the second century, but there are no paintings in it earlier than the 
fourth or fifth. Sixtus III., a.d. 432 — 440, is recorded to have 
made a platonia in this catacomb ; this word is probably a mediae- 
val corruption oi platea^ an area in a house, the walls faced with 
stone (?) or paved (?), as in Lampridius, Heliogabalus, 24, ^^stravit 
et saxis Lacedemoniis ac porphyreticis platcas in PalatiOy quas Anto- 
ninianas vocavit'^ In this passage stravit tna,y mean covering the 
walls with slabs of poiphyry also, as well as the floor. It is evident 
that in several instances the word platonia is applied by Anastasius 
to a chapel lined with marble plates for inscriptions, as at S. Sebas- 
tian's. Some of the paintings are likely to be of the fifth century, 
others belong to the restoration of Pope Leo III., a.d. 795. 




, THE NEW V .- 





I. An Orante and another Figure. 
2. An Orante, with a Mother and Child (?), or a Madonna. 

The Catacombs— Paintings. 

Description of Plate VI. 

Via Salaria — S. Priscilla. 

I. An Orante and another Figure. 
2. An Orante, with a Mother and Child (?), or a Madonna. 

This fresco has evidently been re-touched or renewed, but the 
original outline is probably preserved, and belongs to a rude period 
of art, apparently part of the work of John I., a.d. 523, who reneived 
this cemetery, as has been said, and the authority for that is given 
in the Chapter on the subject. The Orantes are always allowed to 
be the representation of the deceased person interred near that spot. 
The other figures are likely to be other members of the family. 

To the second picture symbolical meanings are attached by the 
Roman Catholic authorities. The best summary of these is in the 
Dictionary of Christian Antiquities,* by 'the Abb^ Martigny. This 
Orante is by some considered as intended for the Madonna, by 
others for the Christian Church. Where so little real evidence 
remains there is room for conjecture, and there is no need to dog- 
matize on the subject, or pretend to settle such very doubtful points, 
on >vhich each will retain his own opinion according to previous 
ide^. The object of this work is to elucidate the truth by the 
principle of comparison, and on caiefully comparing the drawing of 
these? frescoes with that of dated examples of art not Christian, it is 
impossible to assign so early a date to them as those usually given 
to them by the Roman Catholic authorities upon theological grounds, 
not artistic. These figures were probably restored under Nicholas I., 
A.D. 858 — 867. Bosio gives an engraving of this, p. 529, and calls 
it a Madonna, and the consecration of a Deacon. 

The manner in which modem artists improve upon these old 
paintings can also be seen by comparing the photographs No. 610 a, 
6x0 B. These photographs can be seen in the Bodleian Library and 
the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford ; the South Kensington Museum 
and the British Museum, London. 




.\V ^ 



I. Head of Christ in an Aureole. 
2. SS. Marcellinus, Pollion, Petrus. 

The Catacombs— Paintings. 

Description of Plate VII. 

Via Portuensis — S. Pontianus. 

I. Head of Christ in an Aureole. 
2. SS. Marcellinus, Pollion, Petrus. 

This cemetery or catacomb is on the western side of the Tiber, 
about half-a-mile beyond the Porta Portuensis, on the road to Porto, 
but on the hill above, and on a higher level than the road in what is 
now a vineyard. The soil in which this catacomb is made is quite 
different from the others ; instead of the granular tufa, or volcanic 
sand, which is the soil generally used for them near the Via Appia 
and the Via Ardeatina, this is an alluvial soil formed by the action 
of water on the bank of the Tiber. Whether from this cause, or from 
some others that have not been explained, the paintings in this 
catacomb are far more perfect than those in any other ; they are the 
most celebrated and the most popular, and those that have been 
more often engraved and published thaa any others. Unfortunately 
they all belong to a very late period and a bad style of art, being of 
the time of Nicholas I., a.d. 858 — 867, who restored this cemetery. 

The picture of the head of Christ is a very fine one, in an aureole 
or circular nimbus, with the cross on it, called also a cruciform nim- 
bus. This head has been many times engraved and published, and 
it is amusing to compare those commonly sold in the shops of Rome 
with the original as shewn in the photograph, (see the Photographs, 
No. 463, 607 A, 608 b). These will illustrate the manner in which 
the clever modem artists have improved upon the originals; it is 
difficult to understand that they are intended for the same picture. 
It is engraved by Bosio, p. 29, honestly, but according to the bad 
style of his day. 

The figures of the three Saints are in the style of the ninth cen- 
tury, and are painted on a brick wall of that period, across one of 
the corridors built when it was restored for the pilgrims. All beyond 
this wall is in so bad a state that it would not pay to repair it, the 
builders therefore shut it out effectually by building the wall across 
the narrow passage to that part of the Catacombs. These paintings 
now face the visitor, and the wall stops him and compels him to 
return, but as the rock on one side has been broken away, it is 
possible to crawl behind the wall ; the rest of the cemetery is a mere 
heap of ruins. These three Saints were all martyrs in the last great 
persecution under Diocletian, at the end of the third century ; the 
Peter of the Catacombs usually is the Roman local saint of that 
name, and not the Apostle S. Peter. 





I. TiiE Jewelled Cross. 2. The Baptism of Christ. 

The Catacombs— Paintings. 

Description of Plate VIII. 

Via Portuensis — S. Pontianus. 
I. The Jewelled Cross. 2. The Baptism of Christ. 

These are two of the most celebrated and popular frescoes in the 
Catacombs, which are seen in all the shops where such things are 
sold, but the modern artists who have copied them have improved 
them so much that they can hardly be recognised as the same, the 
proportions being so different (Compare the Photographs, No. 609 a, 
609 B, to see the difference.) A similar jewelled cross occurs in the 
mosaic picture in S. Pudentiana. The jewelled cross was called the 
Cross of Glory, the plain was the Cross of Shame, to mark the degra- 
dation to which our Lord submitted for our sins. The fact of its 
being jewelled also indicates the period; during the eighth and 
ninth centuries it was the custom for the ladies to wear pearls and 
other jewels in this fashion, and beads to assist devotion also came 
in at that time. 

The Baptism of Christ is another very &vourite picture from the 
Catacombs, also belonging to the same period, the ninth century. 
It is under an arched recess at the bottom of which is a well, said 

• • • 

to have been used for baptism by the early Christians in the times 
of persecution. Whether this is true or not, there is no doubt that it 
was so used in the miracle-plays, by which the people were taught in 
the fourth and fifth centuries, when they could not read, and by 
which the common people and children are still taught by the 
Roman Catholic Church, who consider teaching by the eye as the 
best mode of teaching. Children remember what they have seen 
far better than what they have only read or heard. Those who have 
seen the miracle-plays at Amergau agree that it is an admirable 
mode of teaching ignorant people. The Pope and the Cardinals 
performed a series of miracle-plays in S. Peter's, according to the 
old custom, for many centuries, and this custom is still kept up to 
a great extent, although the Pope himself no longer takes his part 
in them. Unfortunately the dresses designed by Michael Angelo, 
and still worn in S. Peter's, have now very much the effect of scenes 
in the Opera. The images now used in the churches of Rome at 
the principal Christian seasons, being in the costumes of the Middle 
Ages, have also very much the same effect 




I*-" » 


PUBUC LIBki-... 


Plan and Sbction. 

The Catacombs. 

Description of Plate IX. 

Plan and Section. 

This is one of the most ancient underground cemeteries in the 
neighbourhood of Rome; it is situated in the district called ad 
catacumbasy on the eastern side of the road, nearly opposite to the 
Church of S. Sebastian^ under a large vineyard, and it extends to a con- 
siderable distance, in different directions, both along the Via Appia 
and also along the cross-road. The catacomb, or cemetery for the 
worship of Mithras, commonly called *' of the Gnostics," is believed 
to have been connected with this, although the corridor has not 
been excavated. In the eastern direction, it extends very near to 
the Church of S. Urban, and it is thought by many that one of 
the entrances to it was through that church, although this also has 
not been excavated ; and others say there was no such connection. 
The small sketch-map of the district, given in the comer of the 
Plate, shews the situation of it The entrance now used is modem, 
made by the Pontifical authorities within a few years. The sec- 
tion A — 6 is on the line of an ancient sand-pit road, with doorways 
from it into the catacomb, and a brick wall of the first century, 
shewn in the plate and photograph. The section C — D is taken 
across this, as shewn in the plan, and is intended to shew the 
supposed connection with the Church of S. Urban, on the bank 
of the valley of the Cafiarella, marked 5 * on the plan. C is a con- 
tinuation of B, and the dotted lines mark the supposed line of 
a passage, or corridor, or street, from this point to S. Urban's. 
Near to C there was an entrance, open a few years since, but 
a modem brick wall was built across it by the Pontifical authorities, 
because it wa^ not convenient to have an access in that direction. 

* By an unfortttnate mistake of the ground, will see at once that S. Sebas- 

artist, the names of the two churches, tian is the church on the opposite side 

S. Urban and S. Sebastian, are re- of the Via Appia, marked o. 
versed. Any one who knows the 


i i 

ii ■^i '^1 

.1 5 I ■? t 

?! I J S " 




pC3Uw uibA^^-' 

, . :^'-' 



The Catacombs. 

Description of Plate X. 


This is one of the chapels near one of the original entrances, 
at the angle of the Via Appia and the Diverticulum, or cross- 
road, which goes from that old road just opposite to S. Sebastian's, 
to the Via Appia Nova, near the Tor Fiscale. This cross-road 
passes by S. Urbano, at about a quarter of a mile from the old 
road, and passes over the old sand-pit road, which has in parts 
been vaulted over to bring it to the present level of the road; 
it has been originally a deep foss-way, twenty feet deep, with the 
old entrance to the cemetery made in it It is one of the two 
chapels near together, and near the top of a deep flight of steps 
down into the cemetery ; this is on the plan of the Greek cross, 
as will be seen. The construction of the walls is of the fourth 
century, when similar chapels were built at the entrance to many 
of the Catacombs, immediately after the peace of the Church 
had been declared by Constantine. There are similar chapels at 
the entrance to S. Sebastian's, on the opposite side of the road, and 
many others at the entrance to other cemeteries or catacombs, but 
this and the one close to it, shewn in the next Plate, are the most 
perfect that we have now remaining; they appear to have been 
what we should now call cemetery chapels for the burial service, 
and for the assembly of the family on the anniversaries, in place 
of the small brick vaults which had previously been used for that 
purpose, but were inconveniently small \ 

** The chapels at S. Sebastian's are shewn in the Photographs, Nos. 285, 286, 
287, 288. 










.♦ ." 


.-- *' 




The Catacombs. 

Description or Plate XI. 


This is another of these interesting chapels, very near to the 
former one, but on a different plan, which forms a series of semi- 
circular arched recesses, or apses, arranged round a circular centre. 
The construction of the walls is'of the fourth century. 

The reason of these two being so near together probably was, 
that they belonged to different branches of the great family of 
Praetextatus, which was a very nimierous clan, or genSj as we see 
from many inscriptions and notices of them in the first three cen- 
turies. Probably, as the number increased, it was necessary to 
provide this extra accommodation. At S.Sebastian's the chapels 
are more numerous, for this was the original entrance to several 
catacombs, and was at first called The Catacomb. There might 
have been a passage from that of Praetextatus to S. Sebastian's, but 
as it would have to pass under the Via Appia, it is more probable 
that the catacombs on either side of this great highway were 
kept distinct. 





>S7CR, LEN05C 







One of the Origikal Entrances. 

The Catacombs. 

Description of Plate XII. 

One of the Original Entrances. 

This half-ruined corridor is at the bottom of a deep flight of 
steps, the top of which is close to the two chapels shewn in the 
two preceding plates. These steps are (Kiginal, but they are covered 
with briars, and at the foot of them is a door, which is regularly 
kept locked by the Pontifical authorities, and the only entrance 
practicable (in 1875) ^o this part of the catacomb was down a ladder. 
The intermediate floor being destroyed, the plan shews the places 
for three floors or storeys, one over the other. It is too much 
mutilated for anything more to be seen. The loculi and arcfhsolia 
in each storey can be made out, and it gives an idea of the present 
rough state of neglect in which this Catacomb remains. 


WHKJINAI. EN'TIi.VSl'E. COliltllHil; 

THE f-t'^' "^^^ 




THE 0ATA0i3-iBS. : " '. 
PLATE Kill. 


The Catacombs. 

Description of Plate XIII. 


In the first cubieulum^ or burial-vault, in going from the foot of 
the steps on the left, the paintings remain tolerably perfect in one 
part, and are probably of the third century. The vault is of the 
usual character, with many loculi or single graves cut in the tufa 
rock on each side, and at the end an arca-soHum^ or place for a sar- 
cophagus, or perhaps for two, a man and his wife, or the bodies may 
have been buried under the arch without stone coffins. 

In the upper part of the Plate is a group of three figures, well 
drawn, in attitudes of speaking in agitation, but with none of the 
usual attributes of Christian or Scriptural subjects. This is im- 
portant, as shewing that the great cemetery or catacomb of the 
family of Praetextatus was on the same footing as the columbaria in 
the other tombs on the Via Appia, near to it ; the same laws and 
the same customs applied to all alike. When the family became 
Christian, then the paintings of their burial-vaults are Christian, 
and Scriptural also. 






THE NEW yomt 


THE 0ATA4lt)'M?BS. • 

Pagan Figures of the Third Century in the First Cubiculum. 

The Catacombs. 

Description of Plate 'XIV. 

Pagan Figures of the Third Century in the first Cubiculum. 

These figures are further evidence that the great family of Prae- 
textatus, to whom this extensive cemetery belonged, were not 
Christians, or at least not exclusively Christians, in the third century. 
In the next cubiculum to this, a few yards further on, and on the 
opposite side of the corridor, the paintings are Christian, and these 
have been published by De Rossi, and in the excellent abridgment 
of his great work by Messrs. Brownlow and Northcote ; but not 
a word is said by them about these Pagan pictures, which do not 
agree with the Vatican theory, that the Catacombs were exduswdy 
Christian. It is probable that one branch of the great family of 
Pra&textatus were worshippers of Mithras, and that the burial-vault 
in which the paintings of these subjects are found, was also part of 
the same great cemetery. 

Unfortunately no more photographs are now (in 1875) permitted 
to be taken in the Catacombs, and as that is the case we are obUged 
to be content with drawings, which although rough-looking, are not 
more rude than the originals, and give a better idea of them than 
more highly-finished drawings would do. 


*■ * 










<« 1 



f ■ 







■ » » ! ■■■>»■ 






The Catacombs. 

Description of Plate XV. 



This picture is supposed to represent seven priests of Mithras 
seated at a table (septe fix sacerdotes). In the centre is the 
priest viNCENTivs. He and two othera^-wear the Phrygian cap. 
It is undoubtedly Mithraic. The number 7 was a favourite in 
that worship. The seven planets (to which great reverence was 
made in that worship), the seven stairs, by which the believer 
ascended into heaven, and the seven degrees of initiation, support 
the idea «. 

*^ See Dr. Henzen's paper {iH/€r alia) in die BuUtUitio ddl IsL di Corrisp^ 

ArcK^ 1868, pp. 97, 98. 






The Catacombs. 

Description of Plate XVI. 


This picture is supposed to represent the Judgment of the Soul.. 
We see a good angel, introducing a woman, called Vibia, to several 
persons. Over them is written indvctio vibi«s. Under the arch 


are six jfigures, with Vibia in the centre, and over their heads Uie 
inscription, bonorvm ivdicio ivdicati. 

There is' nothing like this in the plates to Lajard's great work ^y 
nor any allusion to such a proceeding in any of the ancient authors. 
A Gerttaan set of bas-reliefs in Lajard shews the purgatorial cleaiis> 
ing of the believer, his ascension of the seven stairs, Sindhis final 
acceptance by the crowned Mithras. Yet this representation should 
be Mithraic. Vibia, who is introduced, is the wife of Vincentius, 
a Mithraic. priest, and is buried with him in the same cemetery* 
But there is considerable doubt on the subject of this picture*. 

* Lajard (J. B. F.) Reserc)us sur It 
culte public et les mysHres de MUhra^ en 
Orient et en Occident. Livr. i to 13 (all 
published),' sm. folio, Paris, 1847-8. 

" See Garrucci's . book upon .these 
and other paintings, Les mystires dn 
Syncretisme PArygien, p. 23. 

' t^^m^rfwm'^m 


{ .•*C;♦^^ • »-"NO> ' 

;,':iE:. "^ j>. ' i"!-'^"^ ' 




The Catacombs. 

Description of Platet XVII. 


This is distinctly one of the commemorative funeral family feasts 
which are so well known as a custom of the Roman people for 
many centuries, and which custom was not discontinued when they 
became Christians. There is nothing to indicate whether the 
family here represented were Christians or not It represents five 
persons seated at a triclinium, a table with provisions before it, 
in the middle, and a boy-servant standing by die table, holding up 
a goblet. 

That the feast represented is funereal may be inferred from the 
words VA LETE, written partly on one side and partly on the other 
side of the picture, viz. va and lete. 

The names of the five persons consist of two each, with one ex- 
ception (the boy being unnamed). These names, under any cir- 
cumstances, are remarkable : — 



3. Two names illegible, under No. i ; the first having its ter- 
mination in *' a." 

4. FABiANu(s), in the centre, with no other name« 

5. Two names quite illegible. 

The date of this fresco-painting is believed to be a.d. 772, when 
this cemetery was restored by Pope Hadrian I. 


Vvf 1hE\c ^xfi^ I 


»• ••T' ^•^'' , .:xj 



Plan and Section. 

The Catacombs. 

Descriptiok of Plate XVIIL 

Plan and Section. 

A. Church of S. Agnes, with the Monastery adjoining. 

B. S. Constantia — Church, Mausofeum, and Baptistery. 

A— B. Line of Section along the west end of the Church of 
S. Agnes, and the steps descending into it. 

C — D. Other steps, and original entrance into the cemetery or 

E — F. Section of a Pagan Tomb communicating with the 

A passage from the Catacomb under the Church of S. Agnes to 
that under S. Constantia is also shewn by the shaded line from 
one to the other. 

The carriage-road frt>m the Porta Pia to the Ponte Nomentana 
runs along the front of the Monastery on the east side, and a cross- 
road on the north side of the church descends rery rapidly to the 
level of the floor of the church. At the east end there is an entrance 
to the gallery, which at that end is on the same level as the road. 

. .., 



The Catacombs. 

Description of Plate XIX. 


The Baptistery, with the Baptism of Christ painted on the wall, 
over the arch. He is represented standing in the river Jordan up 
to His waist in water, in which fishes are swimming, and at which 
a hart is drinking; the Holy Dove is. over His head. S.John 
Baptist is standing on the bank, and pouring water on His head, 
or perhaps only holding out his hand to touch it On the opposite 
side is another figure, in a .white .dress, hiding his face. All the 
three figures have the nimbus. Under the arch and over the well 
is a painting of the jewelled cross, with the A and O hanging firom 
the arms of the. cross, and what; appear to be two candlesticks 
standing upon them. But the Plate is firom a drawing of Perret, and 
is very miserably drawn. The proportions of the cross are alto- 
gether erroneous. The original picture is of the ninth century. It 
was not found practicable to reduce the Photographs, Nos. 60S and 
609, to an octavo page. 





ASTOK, t.>c^rox 




The Catacombs. 

Descrxption of Plate XX. 
Church of S. Sebastian " in Catacumbis." 

1. Inscription of Pope Damasus in honour of S. Eutychius 
the Martyr, in twelve verses (on the left hand on entering the 
church). The principal object of this Photo-engraving is to shew 
the beautiful character of the calligraphy of the inscription of Pope 
Damasus. These inscriptions are very numerous in the Catacombs, 
and all of this beautiful calligraphy, and usually in Latin verse, not 
without elegance of style, though the construction of the sentences 
is sometimes not clear. Damasus restored all the Catacombs, after 
they had been damaged during the persecution under Julian the 


"That Eutychius the Martyr was able to overcome the cniel orders of the 
tyrant, and eqoaUy at that time the executioners* thousand ways of torment, 
the glory of Christ shewed. A new punishment follows the filth of ^ prison. 
They provide breaking of tiles on his limbs, to prevent sleep approaching. Twice 
six days passed, food is refused.^ The saint is thrown into a pit, blood bedews 
all the wounds which the dread 'power of death had caused. In night, which 
usually brings sleep, sleeplessness troubles his mind. The place of concealment 
which held the limbs of the innocent, manifested them (?). He is sought for, 
being found he is reverenced, he benefits all things. Damasus shewed forth 
his exceeding merit ; venerate hjs tomb." 

2. Another Inscription in the same Church (over a door on 
the right-hand side, looking towards the altar). 






" Here let the pious mind often visit the tombs of the saints, 
Whose glory will be everlasting in Christ." 

''Here is the cemetery of the blessed Calixtus, renowned Pope and Martyr. 
Whoever shall have entered it contrite and after confession, shall obtain fiill re- 
mission of all his sins, through the glorious merits of 174,000 martyr saints, whose 
bodies are buried here in peace, together with forty-six blessed pontifis, who all 
came out of great tribulation, and suffered the punishment of death for Christ's 
name, that they might become heirs in the Lord's house." 

' Or, "the excdlent Damasus shewed forth his merit :" "piaestantia Damasi" occur as the 
nominative !« similar inscriptions in De Rossi. 






Pictures in a Chapel. 

The Catacombs. 

DsscRiPTiON OF Plate XXI. 

Church of S. Sebastian. Pictures in a Chapel. 

The small chapel in which these pictures remain is on the stairs 
that descend from the choir of the church to the Platonia, a large 
crypt or subterranean chapel, with an altar and confessio of the twelfth 
century in the middle of it The walls were lined with inscriptions, 
now destroyed. The small chapel on the stairs could only have 
been a sacrarium; there is only room for the altar and the priests 
to stand. 

1. In the upper picture, over the heads of the saints, the figure 
on the left has the papal crown of early character ; the one to the 
right has the hands uplifted, and holds in his left hand the eucha- 
ristic wafer, with a cross upon it, in his right a string of beads. 

Between the two is an archangel, whose wings are uplifted. Under 

» '^ ... 

the figures is an inscription at the back of the altar. 



(Two hexameters and part of a third, the contractions expanded.) 

** Here you are to know that saints once dwelt. 
Every one who lookest for the names of Peter and of Paul alike. 
That the East sent out the disciples spontaneously. . . ." 

2. Heads of S. Peter and S. Paul in the same chapel, on a landing- 
place of the stairs. These paintings are believed to be of the 
eleventh centuiy, fi-oix) the style of drawing, the calligraphy of the in- 
scription, and the costume of the heads, with beards, and long hair. 



On the Via Ardeatina, and Via di Sbtte Chiese, aboitt 


The Catacombs. 

Description of Plate XXII. 


On the Via Ardeatina, and Via di Sette Chiese, about 


1. The porficus, or porch and entrance, with part of the nave. 

2. The apse, with an opening into the large catacomb of SS. 
Nereus and Achilleus, Petronilla, &c 

The remains of this church were excavated in 1873-74 by the 
Pontifical Government, at the expense of the late Monsignor De 
Merode, who bought a large tract of ground in that part of the 
Campagna. Monsignor De Merode unfortunately died before the 
work was completed. In 1875, after the death of Monsignor De 
Merode, his executors rebuilt the church, but the ancient remains 
have been preserved as far as possible. The remains of the altar 
are on the chord of the .apse, and there is a communication from 
that to the catacomb behind it, and this is now used again as the 
entrance to it. 

The building is of two periods. A small burial-vault or chapel 
at the entrance of a great public cemetery has been rebuilt on a 
much larger scale, probably by John I., in a.d. 523, who restored 
so many of the catacombs or cemeteries round Rome. The words 
" catacomb" and " cemetery" are both used in a double sense, one 
general, the other special. In the general sense it signifies a public 
burial-place, often of great extent, consisting of a great number of 
cuMculay or burial-vaults, generally used as family vaults, connected 
by long narrow corridors or passages, called also streets, in the walls 
of which other interments were also made for persons who had not 
separate vaults. The tombs cut in the rock are called loculi. The 
church was, no doubt, originally a cubiadum^ situated near the en- 
trance to one of the principal corridors. One entrance, very near 
to the church, and some of the paintings near to it are probably of 
the second or third century. 

In the upper view we see the marble columns of the nave, some 
lying aboiit, others standing on their original bases, shewing a wide 
nave and narrow aisles. 

In the lower view the apse is seen more perfect, and the entrance 
to the catacomb behind it. The bases of the columns are also seen 
in situ, and remains of sarcophagi in the floor of the church. This 
view was taken in 1874, when the excavations were in progress. 



; THE NFV" v-.,- 



The Catacombs. 

Description of Plate XXIII. 

A. Painting of Christ and the Apostles on the vault of a burial- 
chapel or cudicu/um, part of the restoration of John I., a.d. 523, 
from a drawings. 

B. Plan of that part of the Catacomb which connects this chapel 
with the Church of S. Petronilla. 


K Pennission to take photographs in rily be placed with the photographic 

the Catacombs is now (in 1875) refused machine at the opposite end of the 

by the Pontifical anthorities, on the chamber, in order to get a view at all, 

shallow pretext that the smoke of a whereas the wax tapers in the hands 

magnesian lamp may injure the paint- of tourists frequently are so close to 

ings, although the lamp must necessa- the pictures as almost to touch them* 




The Catacombs. 

Description of Plate XXIV. 


A. Original entrance by a flight of steps. 

B. Present entrance by a modem passage. 

C. Capella Grseca, or early chapel in the form of the Greek cross, 
with paintings on the walls. 

D. Another early chapel, of which the altar is the sarcophagus 
of a martyr. 

£. Luminarium. 

F F F. Other burial-vaults. 

n I i ♦ f 7 c 



' '» 4 



The Catacombs. 

Description of Plate XXV. 


This subject has already been partially shewn in Plate I., as it 
appeared in 1870, but the process of enlaiging the present cemeteiy 
of S. Lorenzo has been continued down to 1875, and some more 
of the hill has been cut away, bringing to light other remains of the 
ancient cemetery long concealed in that hilL This gives a better 
idea of the manner in which these ancient cemeteries were made 
than any architect's drawing could do. We see here the corridors 
or streets ascending and descending, as the tufa rock was hard or 
soft j the hculi for single bodies cut on each side of this passage, 
the arcosolia for the burial of man and wife, and the cubicula for 
family burial-vaults. 

THE N"v.- yc. 

- ~f-~ '. T 



View of the Interior. 

The Catacombs. 

Description of Plate XXVI. 


View of the Interior. 

Whatever the original use of this building may have been, re- 
specting which there are different opinions (see p. 141), it is so 
close to part of the great catacomb or cemetery of the family of 
Pretextatus, and there is so much probability of its having been 
a tomb over one of the entrances to it, that the account of that 
catacomb would be hardly complete without it One of the many 
names given to this great catacomb or cemeteiy is S. Urban, pro- 
bably because that martyr was interred in one of the cubicula^ and it 
is very probable also that the steps under the altar of the church de- 
scended into it Some of the tombs on the Via Appia and the Via 
Lalina are as large as this, and one over the well-known painted 
chambers on the Via Latina has also a portico to it, as this has. 
The paintings indicated in the view are those attributed to the 
hermit Bonozzio, in 10 11, upon an inscription, and they have very 
much the same character as the later pictures in some of the Cata- 
combs. The pictures at the two ends have been restored, those on 
the sides are genuine, and are of the usual Scriptural subjects ; 
a whole series of engravings would be necessary to illustrate them, 
and this has been done in a separate work by Canina, 


ft : ■'■ - — J ■ c- .--;■ , ^-*-^ J. i^ r_r-* 


THE N • V 

. 4 




The Catacombs. 

Description of Plate XXVII. 


This small chapel is very much deeper than the confessio usually 
is, and has all the appearance of having been made on the staircase 
descending into a catacomb, in a similar manner to the chapel on 
the stairs to the Platonia at S. Sebastian's (see Plate XXI.). The 
steps have all the appearance of going further down, though the 
passage is stopped by a wall built across it The painting over the 
chantry-altar is unusually well preserved, and is one of the best of 
the later catacomb pictures. In the centre is the Madonna, with 
Christ as a boy, with the cruciform nimbus, not as an infant ; this is 
after the Byzantine fashion, as at Ravenna. On her right is S. Urban, 
with a jewelled book in his hand ; on her left, S. John, with another 
book of the same kind, probably both intended for the Gospels. 
The drawing of these figures agrees with the time of Pascal I. and 
of Charles the Great, when there was a great revival in Rome, and 
when many of the catacombs were restored and altered. The pro- 
bable communication between this and the Catacomb of Prsetextatus 
has been shewn in another Plate (IX.), with a plan of the district 







The Catacombs. 

Description of Plate XXVIII. 


A A. Via Appia. 

B. Pagan tomb at the entrance; from this a steep staircase de- 
scends into the Catacomb, and seems to have been one of the 
original entrance^ but is not now used. 

C. A modem staircase at the entrance, now used. 

D. A second floor under C. 

£. A third floor under C and D. 

F. Sections of this part of the Catacomb. 

The line of pavement of the Via Appia is shewn in the fore- 
ground ; one of the ^corridors appears to pass under the road, but 
it has not been excavated any further. It is the opinion of some 
persons who have given attention to the subject, that there was at 
one period a connection with the great cemetery of Praetextatus on 
the other side of the great road, and that all these were connected 
by subterranean passages with S. Sebastian's, which formed a general 
entrance to the whole ; but there is no evidence of this now visible ; 
and De Rossi, whose opinion carries great weight, does not believe 
that there ever was any such general entrance for this whole 








,5 '. 






The Catacombs. 

Description of Plate XXIX. 


Plan. (See p. 125.) 

A. Large hall, now used as the entrance. 

B. Entrance from the church, n«t now used. 

C. D, E, F. Halls cut out of the rock. 
G, H. Corridors or streets. 

I. Passage now passing under houses. 

The arco-soUa^ or sepulchral recesses, and the cubicula for family 
burial-vaults in these Catacombs, are seen on all sides on the Plan. 
This catacomb being made in an old stone-quarry of hard stone, 
they are not merely low corridors, as in the tufa of Rome, but lofty 
halls with the graves cut in the walls. The effect is much finer 
than in those of Rome, but there is not the same historical interest 
attached to it. The paintings are of very similar character to those 
of Rome, but rather finer and better art in general, though of about 
the same period. 





The catacombs— Gilt Glass Vases. 

Plate I. 

These vases being now all preserved in museums, it is almost 
impossible to ascertain from which catacomb each had come. There 
are seldom any catalogues of the museum to be had, and the keepers 
themselves frequently do not know from which catacomb each has 
come. We have therefore only the style of drawing as our guide to 
their dates, but as the mosaic pictures in the churches are all dated 
by inscriptions, or by the figures of the Popes who have given them, 
and the style of drawing of esu:h century is the same whether ex- 
ecuted in mosaics or in frescoes, we can arrive pretty nearly at the 
date of each. The subjects are so generally the same as those of 
the frescoes in the catacombs, that one throws great light upon the 
other. That these vases were found in the catacombs by Bosio and 
those who worked with him, in the sixteenth century, there is no 
doubt, and they were very soon collected in museums. Others 
were found in the beginning of the eighteenth century by Boldetd, 
who published a work on the Catacombs in 1718, and a few may 
still be met with occasionally for sale. Hiat the Lombards, who, 
according to Anastasius, annihilated the Catacombs in the seventh 
century, should have respected the gilt glass vases found there, is 
incredible. The greater part of those found in the sixteenth cen- 
tury must have been the imitations made by the popes and the 
priests for the pilgrims in the eighth and ninth centuries, and the 
drawings generally agree with that period better than any other. 
The corrupt mode of spelling the name of Jesus, as zeses, also in- 
dicates a very ignorant age, such as the ninth century. These gilt 
figures, it may be as well to mention, are on the flat bottom of the 
round vases. The upper one of these plates has the head of Christ 
in the centre, with miracles round it The three upper figures are 
the youths in the '' burning fiery furnace ;" to the right is the para- 
lytic carrying his bed ; beneath that is Christ with the rod of power, 
performing the miracles. On the opposite side is Christ again with 
the rod, performing the miracle of die water changed into wine at 
the marriage of Cana^ and below these two is Tobias, with the 
fish in his left hand, the right hand raised in the attitude of 
speaking. The lower vase has Moses striking the rock, and the 
inscription round it — 


" All faithful people in God rejoice.^' 

The Catacombs — Gilt Glass Vases. 

Plate II. 







The subjects represented in these two vases are parts of the his- ||| 

tory of Jonas. In the upper picture he is thrown overboard from ^| 

the ship, on which again is zeses, and is received in the mouth of 
a great fish, which in the English version of the Bible is called | 

whale, and in the Vulgate a sea serpent. 

The lower picture is Jonah under the gourd, according to the 
English version ; or the ivy-bush^ according to the Vulgate. The S^ 

drawing of both agrees with the eighth or ninth centuries. % 


— ^'ilS 

•*» ' . 

? . 








n»:s : 
t«; ;• 








The Catacombs— Gilt Glass Vases. 

Plate III. 

These two vases may p^rAaps be as early as the fifth century ; the 
upper one must have come from the Jews' Catacombs, as the sub- 
ject is the Ark, guarded by the lions of Israel and Judah, under 
which are two of the seven- branched candlesticks, and a fish be- 
tween them, also a jug or vessel for the holy oil, a horn, and leaves. 
The lower vase has the Good Shepherd, with the inscription — . 





^•* Jit 





.,;. « 


The Catacombs— Gilt Glass Vases. 

Plate IV. 

: 3 

■ *« 




The two vases in this plate have each a representation of one of 
the miracles of our Lord; the upper one is the Miracle of the 
Loaves, with the seven baskets of fragments, the figure of Christ in 
the middle, with a nimbus round His head, and the rod of power in 
His hand ; round the margins are the words zesvs cristv. 

The lower one is the Raising of Lazarus. In this the figure of 
Christ is without the nimbus. He has the rod of power in His right 
hand, and holds up the folds of His cloak with the left The figure -f 

of Lazarus is wrapped up in swaddling-clothes, and lying on the 
steps of the tomb, which is represented as a small temple (this 
is common in the Middle Ages). Over the head are the words 
ZESVS cristvs. 


is J 




• rf 












l^^T^C011BS.I^^.I aitss VA8BS 




Thk Catacombs— Gilt Glass Vases. i 

Plate V. 




Of these two vases the upper one represents the blessed Virgin 
MARIA between petrvs and paulvs, with the names over their heads. r^ 

Maria is represented as of about double the size of the other two, f j 

an indication of its late date, as this was the medieval idea of ex- 
pressing grandeur. The two figures seem more likely to be intended i,-; 

for the two local saints of these names, Peter the Exorcist and Paul M 

the Deacon, who were martyrs in the last great persecution, not the 

The lower picture is of the busts of petrvs and pavlvs, with the 
crown of martyrdom suspended between them. In this picture the 
two heads have beards. Paul is bald, with a long beard, Peter has ^ 

hair on his head and a short beard. In the upper picture they are 
represented as boys. 

It has been suggested that in these four vases we have the life of 
the great Apostles represented at different ages. In the first as 
boys, under the protection of Maria, or the Church (?), (v. i) : then 
as elder youths, preparing for the crown of martyrdom, (vi. i) : 
then as old men, with their crowns suspended over them, (v. 2) : 
then after their martyrdom, with Christ crowning them. 







The Catacombs— Gilt Glass Vases. 

Plate VI. 

On both of these vases are figures of petrvs and pavlvs, with the 
names over their heads. In the upper picture is a laurel crown 
enclosing the monogram of Christ, between the heads, but the two 
figures are beardless youths without the nimbus; they are badly \ 

drawn, seated, attired in cloaks, with bare feet This picture may be 
of the fifth or sixth century. Round the margin is the inscription 



The lower vase and picture is larger and in a rather different style 
of drawing, and the lettering is also of a different character, more 
like that of Plates IV. and V., and probably also of the eighth or 
ninth century. The two figures of Peter and Paul are venerable 
fathers with long beards, seated, and wrapped in cloaks, with bare | 

feet, as in the upper one. Between the heads of these two figures | 

is a smaller figure of Christ, with the plain crown of martyrdom in % 

each hand, which He is about to place on the heads of the Apo- i 

sties. S. Paul is represented with bald head; S. Peter has a good 1] 

deal of hair. They are on the opposite sides fi'om what they are 
in Plate II. Over the central figure is the name cristvs; over 
that of Peter the . . . Rvs remains, pet has disappeared ; on that of 
S. Paul the p . . only remains. Round the margin the inscription 
is broken, but a great part of it remains : 




The Catacombs— Vases. 

Plate VII. 

The upper vase has a singular picture upon it ; part of a colon- 
nade of the composite order, with twisted flutes on the columns, 
and festoons hanging from one to the other ; between the columns 
are small figures, each with a roll of parchment in his hand, signi- 
fying some work he has written. The first small figiu-e to the left- 
hand has no name over it, the second has pavlvs written vertically, 
the third systvs, the fourth lavrentivs. Over the colonnade is 
the word pie zeses. Below the colonnade are three half-length 
figures, with their names : the first on the left hand is ippolitvs, 
the central figure cristvs, the third timotevs. Christ has a roll or 
book in his hand, Timotheus has one behind his shoulders, pro- 
bably to signify the epistle sent to him by S. Paul ; .they all have 
short beards and are bald. This picture is different from the others, 
and may be of the sixth century. 

The lower picture has three figures; the central one is a lady 
richly attired in the costume of the eighth or ninth century, wearing 
a cap, and with the hands uplifted in the oriental attitude of prayer; 
over her head is the name aones. This figure reminds us of the 
fine mosaic picture over the altar in her church near Rome, over 
her catacomb, which is of the seventh century. On her right hand 
is a figure, with the right hand in the attitude of speaking, and He 
appears to wear a wig ; His feet are bare ; by His side is the name 
CRISTVS. On the other side is a small figure, but with the hands 
crossed, and one holding a roll, and by the side the name lavren- 
tivs. The manner in which the figure of Christ is mixed up with 
that of Saints, as if all on the same level, appears very irreverent in 
the eyes of an Anglo-Catholic. 





The Catacombs— Vases. 

^B NEW ^'-^ 


Plate VIIL 

These two vases are distinctly pagan although found in the cata- 
combs, and therefore affording strong evidence that these cemeteries 
were not exc/usivefy Christian. In the upper picture are two half- 
length figures, the right-hand is a male, the left-hand female. Their 
costume is singular and very much alike, both seem to wear a cloak 
crossed over the breast ; the lady has a necklace, with jewels hang- 
ing from it. Between them is a small idol upon a round table or 
stand for it, he carries a club and a lion's skin and head, the usual 
attributes of Hercules. Over the shoulders of the figures is an 
inscription written in a singular manner, the words divided to fit 
the spaces : 


Round the margin are the words — 


The lower picture is evidently the Three Graces in an engrailed 
border, and the words — 




* . V 












Hon. M.A. OxoN., F.S.A. Lond. ; 

Kbbpbr of the Ashmolean Museum of History and Antiquities 

IN THE University of Oxford, etc. 









Hon. M.A. Oxon., F.S.A. Lond. ; 

Keeper op the Ashmolean Museum of History and Antiquities 

IN the University of Oxford. 

In separate Volumes, each complete in itself. 


And Buildings of the time of the Kings, with Twenty Plates in 
Photo-engraving, Plans — and Diagrams. 

Second Edition^ nearly ready, v^ 

This indades plans of the First Wall of Rome on the Palatine Hill, called 
Roma Quadrata — of the Second Wall of Rome, which enclosed the two hills 
(Palatine and Capitoline) in one city — and of the Third Wall of Rome, that of 
Servius TuUius, which enclosed the Seven Hills (each previously fortified sepa- 
rately) in one city, with sections of important points, 


Of the time of the Empire and the Popes, with Twenty Plates 
in Photo-engraving, Plans, and Diagrams. 

Second Edition, nearly ready. 

These diagrams give plans of the older earthworks on which the Wall of Aurelian 
was bttilt, — and small views of the most perfect parts of the wall with its bastions 
and gates. This volume also contains the two parts of a Chronological Table 
OF Buildings in Rome — i. from the earliest period to the time of Constantine, 
A.D. 340. — 2, from that time to the year 1600. 


With Plates in Photo-engraving, Plans, and Diagrams. Second 
Edition, in the Press, 

This shews the different modes of construction according to Vitruvius, that is, 
the visible construction on the surface of the wall, and how to distinguish the 
three periods of the Walls of the Kings, and the centuries in the time of the 
Empire, on the principle of comparison with historical types. 

TTiese three Parts were issued as Vol, /., with the Plates separate^ in order to 
avoid mere paftfphlets, and to be more convenient for use. 

Archaology of Rome, 




And Supplement to the first edition of Parts I. and II., with 
Twenty-eight Plates. Medium 8vo., cloth, ioj. 6ti. 

The part on the Obelisks gives English translations of the hieroglyphics, which 
contain the history of each obelisk in Egypt, and of the Latin inscriptions which 
record their removal to Rome. 

Part II. The Supplement contains also an additional account of the first three 
Walls of Rome, and chiefly objects found in the excavations made after the work 
was published, many of them now destroyed or buried again. 



With Forty-six Plates and Two Plans. 'The Two Parts in one 
Volume. 8vo., cloth, 15^. Tkfse two Parts were issued as Vol. II, 

" . . '. . Mr. Parker's work, though by no means faultless, is not the less of 
very great value in the interpretation of these grand scenes, and as such we com- 
mend it to our readers." — The Times , October 21, 1876. 

**It treats only of the two contiguous areas of the Forum Romanum and the 
Via Sacra ; but these are exhaustively treated, and the volume is full of new and 
striking matter. No future student of Roman topography will be able to dispense 
with it. Mr. Parker has deserved the gratitude both of historians and antiqua- 
rians for what he has already done, and he has our best wishes that life and 
strength may be given him to finish his great task successfully." — The Guardian, 
Jtine 13, 1877. 

** Although a newspaper is not perhaps the best medium for a notice of such 
a work as this, yet its importance is such that it is of interest for the whole civil- 
ized world. Alter Mr. Parker had devoted the greater part of his career to the 
revival of Christian and medioeval art with the most successful results, he has 
since taken up his winter residence in Rome, and thrown himself with zeal upon 
the exploration of the monuments of the former masters of the world which had 
been preserved, and with equal success he has opened out quite a new track." — 
Dr. Reichensperger in the Deulschen Rekhts-ZeUung, yune 7, 1877. 


Compared with other Amphitheatres; with Thirty- six Plates. 
Medium 8vo., cloth, loj. 6^. 

The photo-engravings in this volume give — first the colossal building above 
ground, then the substructures 21 ft. below the level of the arena, brought to 
light by the great excavations in 1875, "^'^^ views and plans of the amphitheatres 
at Capua, Pozzuoli, and Pompeii ; also the graffiti of the second century. 

"The task undertaken by the venerable author, who holds the position of 
Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum of History and Antiquities in the University 
of Oxford, was far from easy. That he has, however, accomplished it in a man- 
ner most creditable to himself, and demonstrative of sustained energy and patient 
industry, are plainly evident. The Colosseum at Rome has always proved 
a unique object of interest This vast edifice — the majestic ruins of which adorn 
the Italian capital — was not, as tradition asserts, raised in ten years, during the 
time of the Flavian dynasty. On the contrary, it took more than a century to 
erect ; the ponderous work, on the testimony of Pliny, having been commenced by 
Scaurus, the step-son of Sylla the Dictator Mr. Parker is entitled to much 

f>raise for the marked ability and erudition he has displayed in this his latest 
iterary production." — The Echo, October 2.^, 1876. 

Archceology of Rome. 


Traced from their Sources to their Mouths, with Thirty-six Plates, 
Maps, and Plans. Medium 8vo., cloth, 155. 

In this volume each stream is traced back to its sources in the hills and down 
again to its mouth, with views and plans and details along the line at the most 
important points. No city was ever so well supplied with water as ancient Rome, 
the manner in which this was done is here fully explained. Each of the four- 
teen different streams of water was conveyed to Rome, and through Rome to the 
Tiber, in a separate channel or conduit, technically called a specusy because it was 
at first a tunnel only, and it always continued to be a tunnel through the hills, but ^^^ 

across the valleys it was carried on arches. The latest and highest of the great '^ 

aqueducts was made by Frontinus, who was appointed by Caligula, A.D. 40, and 
was the head of them for many years; he has left an admirable account of 
them. This great aqueduct was of the time of Nero, and so contrived that the 
water from it would supply any of the others in case of need; this water was 
conveyed into all the fourteen Regiones of Rome, and it could never fail, being 
in fact a branch of the river Anio. 


With the Columbaria and the Painted Tombs on the Via Latina, 
with Twenty-four Plates in Photo-engraving. 

;?^ 10. Mythology in Funereal Sculpture, and Earfy Christian Sculpture, y 

with Sixteen Plates. These two Paris in one Volume, 

Medium Svo., cloth, 15^. — Now ready, 


Including Mosaic Pictures and Cosmati Work, with Twenty Plates ^ 

and numerous Diagrams. Medium 8vo., cloth, los, 6d. 

This gives a Chronological series of the Mosaic Pictures in the Churches, and 
the ornamentation of the altars in the thirteenth century. 


Or Ancient Cemeteries of Rome, with Twenty-four Plates and 
Plans. Medium 8vo., cloth, 155. — Now ready. 

Shewing their construction, and the Fresco Paintings from photographs taken 
with the light of Magnesium, the only authentic representations of them. 
Also the Gilt Glass Vases. 


Or Palaces and Gardens, with Sixteen Plates and Plans. 
Also a complete account of the Excavations in Rome from i860 
to the present time. In the Press. 

" Each new work he issues adds materially to the stock of our knowledge of 
what ancient Rome must have been really like, and tends to clear away many 
of the errors into which scholars as well as the public have been led by too ready 
a reliance on the dicta of the many distinguished men who have devoted their 
abilities to the study of Roman topography." — Athenceum. 

OxTORD : James Parker and Co. London : John Murray. 




In Qaarto TolmneB, neatly bonnd in Oloih, with gilt edges, for presents, 
at prioes vaiying from £1 lOs. to £3, according to the number of 
Photographs in eaoh Tolnme. 

The Photographs are also sold separately, at is, each^ unmounted. 

These can be obtained by ordering the Numbers of Mr. Stanford, 

usually in a week. 

The Walls of the Kings on the Hills of Rome, 
And Similar Walls in other Ancient Cities of Italy 

For Comparison. 
Thirty Photographs, £2. 

The Walls and Gates of Rome, of the time of 

THE Empire and of the Popes, 

Thirty Photographs, £2. 

The Historical Construction of Walls, 

From the time of the Kings of Rome to the Middle Ages, 

Shewing Historical Types of each Period. 

Thirty-two Photographs, £2, 2s. 

The Aqueducts, from their Sources to their Mouths. 

Porty Photographs, £2, 10s. 

The Catacombs, or Cemeteries of Rome, 

Their Construction, and the Fresco Paintings in them. 

Taken with the Light of Magnesium. 

Thirty Photographs, £2, 

Forum Romanum. 
Twenty Photographs, £1. 10s, 

The Colosseum. 
Twenty Photographs, £1, los. 

Or a more complete Set. 
Forty 'four Photographs, £2. 14s. 

The Palatine Hill. 
Thirty Photographs, £2. 


»-- ** 

nirty PkQtD^afhs 

^- -.-^.. SCUI.PTUE^-i^3AS-» 

\'g'' .'■*.*;":. Tltirty Phet^grafhs 

t» 5-*.' 1_. *■ Pagam .Sarcoph. 

--•^\ » . _'.■ Thii'ty. Photographs 

*. x"*' '*" i CHRISTIAN SARCOI 

► *■ _1 < ■■' . Twenty Photographs, 

t*,^^ V, ■. Mosaic Pictures up to the 
,- ^j^* '.%^i>y^Oa THE l^fLFTli TO THE S 

■^.'f.-'"i» l^r^ Photop-aphs, ;i 

. . ; Fre^o>Paintin 
• 4 ■.**!,:.• ■ Portv-one Phalt^aphs, 

^ T •'*^-" 'iC.wRCH AND Altar USCoratioi 
tf^^^%>^,-."-' - ThtMMy^Pholographi, ; 

^^* .♦ ■', ■ RE^AJ•S (5_F THE City ( 

^.- ,• . . .; ■ '^J^t^. Photographs, ^ 

*'*-> - 1^. -^: Also ill t^iiarj.'pjice Five G 
.•|».*":f '.' Os:| AjNDftED^or th 

t' -J* i • '. 8EttrtED AS the SES'ONTJ moBj Int 
' ■ ;. -by W. s'*:VAux,^flVM.A 

■ #■ * •''Ai^UAFS/ar uumniitig these'Phetggraph 
"- *-""- '.• -• tohpldFifly,^ 

* * V, vli^s* volumes of Selections are admirably Id 
'•V ^- titoy to gi™ ladies who have.be6i*n Korile; m 
.. ^•noliiDent, b^ nMnmiiig at the same tine that ; 


i| ■; ■ . ': . nm:b*ROm: 

..^.jiDflscribed aod Compared with o^er' 
ri^ 7* ft contribution to. the Art-LitersS 
'•■'.- -By J- O. WeSt^op, M.A., F.lif 
'^- '.'■' Photographs. J^t'\<is. ■ •. 


__ " Fpr*dft preEcnt ilate of monuments an^ e: 

' * Je^ipB of Roman and other Photographs iCial 

- • ^aAafile. addition, to modern means of accurate 

^frtt*iii,iJiJ^e/aet6'."TteAn TauUnga/t^ 

> \: I LoNi}OM : 'Edward STANn>KjJ 



i ' 




Li" A 

I* • 


• Nearly ready, 


tn^Ch^oJAthographyy in order to distinguish the different^ 
■ •• . " . subjects by different colours. 

•••'•. I 

• •;• • 

The Plan- o/Rome, engraved by W. Harwoqd. This is taken as 

' the ground-work;. it is a reduction of tlie-|arge Plan of Nolli of 

■ Rome in 1740, /with the additions to i86<;^ and is generally ao 

knowledged to be the best Plan that has hftherto been published. 

.It has^^so the advantage of a copious index on the Plate. 

^ Upoii this will be printed in different colours the following 
sffbjecti • • • ^ 

.Neutral tint, to shew the valleys and th»'foss«e — leaving the bills 

• light ; 





^ m 

Red. The Walls of Tufa of the timh of the Kings, inchiding 
the Primitive Fortifications on* the ^evfen hills as separate for- 
tresseSy and the first three Walls of Rome. 

• I. Roma Quadrata, according to Livy [i.';] 3 Dionysius [iL 
37] ; and Tacitus [Apn. xii. 24]. 

2. The Second: Wall of koME, inclosing the two hiu^ 
Palatine and Capitoline, according to Livy [i. 38] ; and Dio- 
nysius [ii. 50],. • '^ ^ 

\*'* * • 

3. The " Sevin* Hills combined in one City, by Servius 

Tullius, according to Livy [i. 36, 44] ; and Pliny [NaL Hist., 
xxxvi. 24. 3]. 

. The Wall of Enceinte, added by Tarquinius Superbus on 


. the eastern side of Rome, and left unfinished [Dionysius, iv. 81, 7]. 
7h'e Aqueducts were cserried. upon this bank for more than a mile, 
. iftid tife Wall of Aurelian was afterwards built upon it. 

The additions of Sa2i'-Gallo for the Popes are also shewn. 



Green, The Aqueducts, according to Frontinus — and the other 
streams of water, some of which now run in the drains or cloaca^ 
but were originally open. 


Yellow. The Lines of the Streets, drawn from the Milliarium 
Aureum, according to Pliny [Nat Hist., iii. 9], passing through 
the twelve gates in the inner wall of the City, "only to be 
counted once," to the eighteen gates in the outer wall of enceinte, 
and seven on the hills in the ancient fortresses, not in use in the 
time of Pliny. These make the thirty-seven gates of Rome, men- 
tioned also in the Regionary Catalogue of the fourth century. 


Sepia, The Tombs — the remains of ancient pavements in the streets, 
and the cippi of the poniasrium^ in the places where they still re- 
main, or are known to have been found. 

If this meets with approbation and encouragement, it is proposed 
to follow it with' Plans of the Fourteen Regiones, on a larger scale, 
and to shew the actual or probable site of each of the objects men- 
tioned in the Regionary Catalogues of the fourth century, called 
Curiosum Urhis and Notitia de Regionibus, These are in fact one 
catalogue, with slight variations, one being about fifty years earlier 
than the other. 

Such fragments of the great Marble Plan of Rome, of the second 
century, as can be placed with any certainty, will be inserted in 
their places. This Plan was not a pavement, as was formerly sup- 
posed, but was made to hang upon a lofty wall under the portico 
of the Templum Urbis Rotnce^ which faced the Forum Pacis^ the 
largest market-place in Rome, and was made on three diflferent 
scales, according to the distance from the eye. This makes it very 
difficult to fit the pieces together. Canina had not observed this, 
but treated it as a pavement, and all on one scale ; and this led him 
into errors in several places, especially in the Forum Romanum, 
where he has put together two fragments on different scales. 


Grecian, Roman, Italian, and 


By John Henry Parker, C.B., M.A., F.S.A. 

A New Edition^ revised, Fcap. 8vo., with nearly 500 Illustrations^ 

In ornamental cloth, 75. 6d. 



By John Henry Parker, C.B., M.A., F.S.A. 

Fourth Edition^ Revised and Enlarged^ with 189 Illustrations, 
A Topographical and a Glossarial Index. Fcap. 8vo. 

In ornamental cloth, 5^. 
A Fifth Edition is nearly ready, 



Vol. I., from the Conquest to the end of the Thirteenth Century. 
By T. Hudson Turner. 8vo., cl., 21s. Second Edition. 

Vol. II. FROM EDWARD L TO RICHARD II. (the Edwardian 
Period, or the Decorated Style). 8vo., cloth, 21s. 

Perpendicular Style). In 2 Parts, 8vo., i/. los. 

With numerous Illustrations of Existing Remains from Original 

By the Editor of " The Glossary of Architecture." 

ARCHITECTURE IN ENGLAND, from the Conquest to 
the Reformation : with a Sketch of the Grecian and Roman 
Orders. By the late Thomas Rickman, F.S.A. Sixth Edition^ 
with considerable Additions, chiefly Historical, 

By John Henry Parker, C.B., M.A., F.S.A. 

And numerous Illustrations. Medium 8vo. Nearly ready, 

The Architectural History of every Church in 

Bedfordshire, 2s. 6d. 
Berkshire, is. 6d. 
Buckinghamshire, 2s. 6d. 

Suffolk, with Engravings, 7^. 6d. 

The Diocese of Oxford, in one volume. 8vo., 7^. 6d. 

Cambridgeshire, 4s. 
Huntingdonshire, 2s. 6d. 
Oxfordshire, 2s, 6d. 

Oxford and London : James Parker and Co.