to date from the pontificate of Sixtus III., 432-440. The face of the arch of triumph presents also a series of mosaics illustrative of the infancy of our Lord, of great value in the history of art. The apse is of later date, reconstructed by Paschal I. in 818.
|Fig. 14.—Section of Basilica of S. Agnese at Rome.|
Of the remaining Roman basilicas that of S. Sabina on the Aventine is of special interest as its interior, dating from about A.D. 430, has preserved more of the primitive aspect than any other. Its carved wooden doors of early Christian date are of unique value, and in the spandrils of its inner arcades, upborne by splendid antique Corinthian columns, are some good specimens of opus sectile or mosaic of cut marble. The ancient roof is an open one. The basilicas of S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura and S. Agnese deserve particular notice, as exhibiting galleries corresponding to those of the civil basilicas and to the later triforium, carried above the aisles and returned across the entrance end. It is doubtful, however, whether these galleries are part of the original schemes. The architectural history of S. Lorenzo's is curious. When originally constructed in A.D. 432, it consisted of a short nave of six bays, with an internal narthex the whole height of the building. In the 13th century Honorius III. disorientated the church by pulling down the apse and erecting a nave of twelve bays on its site and beyond it, thus converting the original nave into a square-ended choir, the level being much raised, and the magnificent Corinthian columns half buried. As a consequence of the church being thus shifted completely round, the face of the arch of triumph, turned away from the present entrance, but towards the original one, is invested with the usual mosaics (Agincourt, pl. xxviii. Nos. 29, 30, 31). The basilica of S. Agnese, of which we give a section (fig. 14), is a small but interesting building, much like what S. Lorenzo must have been before it was altered.
|Fig. 15.—Plan of Basilica of S. Clemente in Rome.|
|1. Porch. 5. Aisle for women. 9. Epistle-ambo.|
|2. Atrium. 6. Chorus cantorum. 10. Confessio.|
|3. Nave. 7. Altar. 11. Bishop's throne.|
|4. Aisle for men. 8. Gospel-ambo.|
Though inferior in size, and later in date than most of the basilicas already mentioned, that of S. Clemente is not surpassed in interest by any one of them. This is due to its having retained its original ritual arrangements and church-fittings more perfectly than any other. These fittings have been removed from the earlier church, lying below the existing building, which at some unknown date and for some unrecorded reason was abandoned and filled up with earth, while a new building was erected upon it as a foundation. The most probable account is that the earlier church was so completely overwhelmed in the ruin of the city in 1084, when Robert Guiscard burnt all the public buildings from the Lateran to the Capitol, that it was found simpler and more convenient to build a new edifice at a higher level than to repair the old one. The annexed plan (fig. 15) and view (fig. 16) show the peculiarities of the existing building. The church is preceded by an atrium, the only perfect example remaining in Rome, in the centre of which is the cantharus or fountain for ablutions. The atrium is entered by a portico made up of earlier fragments very carelessly put together. The chorus cantorum, which occupies about one-third of the nave, is enclosed by a low marble screen, about 3 ft. high, a work of the 9th century, preserved from the old church but newly arranged. The white marble slabs are covered with patterns in low relief, and are decorated with ribbons of glass mosaic of the 13th century. These screen-walls stand quite free of the pillars, leaving a passage between. On the ritual north stands the gospel-ambo, of octagonal form, with a double flight of steps westwards and eastwards. To the west of it stands the great Paschal candlestick, with a spiral shaft, decorated with mosaic. Opposite, to the south, is the epistle-ambo, square in plan, with two marble reading-desks facing east and west, for the reading of the epistle and the gradual respectively. The sanctuary is raised two steps above the choir, from which it is divided by another portion of the same marble screen. The altar stands beneath a lofty ciborium, supported by marble columns, with a canopy on smaller shafts above. It retains the rods and rings for the curtains to run on. Behind the altar, in the centre of the curved line of the apse, is a marble episcopal throne, bearing the monogram of Anastasius who was titular cardinal of this church in 1108. The conch of the apse is inlaid with mosaics of quite the end of the 13th century. The subterranean church, disinterred by the zeal of Father Mullooly, the prior of the adjacent Irish Dominican convent, is supported by columns of very rich marble of various kinds. The aisle walls, as well as those of the narthex, are covered with fresco-paintings of various dates from the 7th to the 11th century, in a marvellous state of preservation (See St Clement, Pope and Martyr, and his Basilica in Rome, by Joseph Mullooly, O.P., Rome, 1873.)
|Fig. 16.—Interior of S. Clemente in Rome.|
The fullest lists of early Christian basilicas outside Rome are given in Kraus's Realencyklopädie der christlichen Alterthümer, Freiburg i. B., 1882, art. "Basilica," and more recently in Leclercq's Manuel d'archéologie chrétienne, Paris 1907, vol. i. App. i., "Essai de Classement des Principaux Monuments." Only a few characteristic specimens in different regions can here be noticed. In Italy, apart from Rome, the most remarkable basilican churches are the two dedicated to S. Apollinare at Ravenna. They are of smaller dimensions than those of Rome, but the design and proportions are better. The cathedral of this city, a noble basilica with double aisles, erected by Archbishop Ursus, A.D. 400 (Agincourt, pl. xxiii. No. 21), was unfortunately destroyed on the erection of the present tasteless building. Of the two basilicas of S. Apollinare, the earlier, S. Apollinare Nuovo, originally an Arian church erected by Theodoric, 493-525, measuring 315 ft. in length by 115 ft. in breadth, has a nave 51 ft. wide, separated from the single aisles by colonnades of twenty-two pillars, supporting arches, a small prismatic block bearing a sculptured cross intervening with very happy effect between the capital and the arch. Below the windows a continuous band of saintly figures, male on one side and female on the other, advancing in stately procession towards Our Lord and the Virgin Mother respectively, affords one of the most beautiful examples of mosaic ornamentation to be found