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beloved to me in the Lord.” De Rossi thinks the identification well grounded (Bullettino, 1881, p. 74). Epitaphs of members of the Flavian family have been found here, and others stating that they are put up “Ex indulgentia flaviae domitillae vespasiani neptis.” So that De Rossi did not hesitate to complete an inscription on a broken stone thus:—

EB1911 Catacomb - Inscription 2.jpg

De Rossi began his excavations in the cemetery of Santa Priscilla in 1851, but for thirty years nothing but what had been described by Bosio came to light. In 1880 he unearthed a portion near the Cappella Greca, and found galleries that had not been touched since they were filled in during the Diocletian persecution. The loculi were intact and the epitaphs still in their places, so that “they form a kind of museum, in which the development, the formulae, and the symbolic figures of Christian epigraphy, from its origin to the end of the 3rd or 4th century, can be notified and contemplated, not in artificial specimens as in the Lateran, but in the genuine and living reality of their original condition.” (Bullett., 1884, p. 68). Many of the names mentioned in St Paul’s Epistles are found here: Phoebe, Prisca, Aquilius, Felix Ampliatus, Epenetus, Olympias, Onesimus, Philemon, Asyncritus, Lucius, Julia, Caius, Timotheus, Tychicus, Crescens, Urbanus, Hermogenes, Tryphaena and Trypho(sa) on the same stone. Petrus, a very rare name in the catacombs, is found here several times, both in Greek and in Latin. The neighbouring Coemeterium Ostrianum was anciently known as “Fons S. Petri,” “ubi Petrus baptizavit,” “ubi Petrus prius sedit.” This cemetery derives its name from Priscilla, mother of Pudens, who is said to have given hospitality to St Peter the Apostle. We are reminded of St Paul, and of his friends Aquila and Prisca, by a monument erected by an imperial freedman who was praepositvs tabernacvlorvm—chief tentmaker. In 1888 a corridor was discovered which had at one time been isolated from the rest of the cemetery. It had no loculi, but recesses in the wall to receive sarcophagi. At the end of the corridor there was a large chamber, 23 ft. by 13 ft., once lined with marble and the ceiling covered with mosaic, a few fragments of which still remain. The only tomb here was a sarcophagus, of which the broken front bears the letters which show it to have been the epitaph of one of the Acilian family:—

acilio glabrioni filio

In the vicinity are fragments of the epitaphs of Manius Acilius and Priscilla, of Quintus Acilius and Caia Acilia in Greek, another Greek inscription “Acilius Rufinus mayest thou live in God.” After careful examination of the nine Acilii, who were consuls, De Rossi concludes that this was the resting-place of that Acilius Glabrio, consul with Trajan, A.D. 91, who in the year of his consulate was compelled by Domitian to fight with beasts in the arena, and then banished and put to death in 95. The question of his Christianity seems settled by the discovery of the sepulchre of these Christian Acilii. From this crypt a staircase led up to the basilica in which Pope Silvester was buried, and the whole plan of which was laid bare by De Rossi. The tomb of St Silvester could be identified, and that of Pope Siricius “at his feet,” as the pilgrim noted (Bullett., 1890, pp. 106-119).

Just before De Rossi’s death, Mgr. Wilpert discovered in the Cappella Greca a painting of the “Fractio Panis” or eucharistic feast, which he cleansed from the dust with which it had been covered. The picture of the Blessed Virgin and Child, which De Rossi ascribed to the 2nd, if not to the 1st century, has received an unexpected proof of its antiquity. In 1890 the floor of the gallery in which it stands was excavated, and another floor was found to be 6 ft. below its supposed level. The loculi in this lower portion were intact, with inscriptions of the 2nd century still in their places, proving that the niche in which that picture was painted must have been considerably older than the lowering of the floor. A flight of iron steps enables the visitor now to examine this venerable specimen of early Christian art.

After the death of De Rossi, one of his pupils, H. Stevenson, since dead, discovered in 1896 a small subterranean basilica in the catacomb of Santi Pietro e Marcellino on the Via Labicana, with pious acclamations on the plaster similar to those in the Papal crypt in St Calixtus. Near the well-known subterranean chapel in the Coemeterium Ostrianum was discovered by Mgr. Crostarosa, in 1877, another chapel, in which Signor Armellini found traces of St Emerentiana, foster-sister of St Agnes. Near this a whole region of galleries has been brought to light with loculi intact.

Explorations conducted in the cemetery of Domitilla in 1897–1898 brought to light a fine double crypt with frescoes representing Christ seated between six male and female saints; also an inscription relating to a new saint (Eulalius) in a cubiculum of the 3rd century. In 1899–1900 were discovered two opposite cubicula in the catacomb of Santi Pietro e Marcellino. These were unknown to Bosio, and are both covered with frescoes, the vault being in one case decorated with the scene which represents Christ seated among the apostles and pronouncing sentence upon the defunct. An inscription discovered in 1900 on the site of the ancient cemetery of St Ciriaca, and dating from A.D. 405, states that one Euryalus bought a site ad mensam beati martyris Laurentii from a certain fossor whose name has been erased. This is interesting as an example of what was known as memoriae damnatio or the blotting out of a name on account of some dishonourable action. From the end of the 4th to the first half of the 5th century, the fossores had the privilege of selling sites, which frequently led to grave abuses. In 1901–1902 excavations in the cemetery of Santa Priscilla, near the Cappella Greca, revealed a polygonal chamber. This may have originally been the nymphaeum of the great villa of the Acilii Glabriones, the hypogaeum of which was discovered by De Rossi near this spot in 1888. It may have been used as a burial-place for martyrs, and Professor Marucchi is inclined to see in it the sepulchral chapel of Pope Marcellinus, who died in A.D. 304 during the persecutions of Diocletian. In 1902, in that part of the Via Ardeatina which passes between the cemeteries of Calixtus and Domitilla, was discovered a crypt with frescoes and the sanctuary of a martyr: it is thought that this, rather than a neighbouring crypt brought to light in 1897, may prove to be the sepulchral crypt of SS. Marcus and Marcellianus. In a cubiculum leading out of a gallery in the vicinity there was also discovered an interesting impression in plaster of an inscription of the mother of Pope Damasus, beginning:

hic damasi mater posvit lavren[tia membra].

In the same year building operations in the Via di Sant' Onofrio revealed the presence of catacombs beneath the foundations: examination of the loculi showed that no martyrs or illustrious persons were buried here.

In 1903 a new cemetery with frescoes came to light on the Via Latina, considered by Marucchi to have belonged to a heretical sect. In the same year the Jewish cemetery on the Via Portuense, known to Bosio but since forgotten, was rediscovered. The subterranean basilica of SS. Felix and Adauctus, discovered by Boldetti and afterwards choked up with ruins, was cleared again: the crypt, begun by Damasus and enlarged by Siricius, contains frescoes of the 6th-7th centuries.

A good plan of the catacombs at Albano (at the 15th milestone of the Appian way), discovered by Boldetti and described by De Rossi, has been published by Marucchi (Nuovo Bulletino di archeologia cristiana, 1902, pp. 89 ff.). In 1904 a small subterranean cemetery was discovered at Anagnia. Catacombs have also been recently discovered on the site of Hadrumetum near Sousse in Tunisia.  (✠ W. R. B.; O. M. D.) 

Authorities.—The classical work on the catacombs of Rome is G. B. De Rossi’s Roma sotterranea, on which most of the accounts in other languages than Italian have been based. The fine volume by Mgr. Wilpert, Le Pitture delle catacombe romane (Rome, 1903), in which all the important frescoes are reproduced in colours, is to be regarded as an addition to the Roma sotterranea. All new