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Page:History of Architecture in All Countries Vol 1.djvu/465

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Bk. I. Ch. III.
433
CIRCULAR CHURCHES

to its having been so much and so frequently altered since it was first erected. Nor can it be determined exactly how it was roofed, though it is probable that its arrangements were identical with those of the great five-aisled basilicas, which it closely resembles, except in its circular shape.

This is more clear in another church of the same age, that of Sti. Angeli, at Perugia, which is very similar in its disposition. Of this building a section is here shown, as given by M. Isabelle—perhaps not quite to be depended upon in every respect, but still affording a very fair representation of what the arrangements of the circular wooden-roofed churches were. Its dimensions are much less than those of San Stephano, being only 115 feet in diameter; but it is more regular, the greater part of its materials being apparently original, and made for the place they occupy. In the church of San Stephano, the tomb-shaped circular form was probably used as symbolical of his martyrdom. That at Perugia was most likely originally a baptistery, or it may also have been dedicated to some martyr; but in the heart of Etruria this form may have been adopted for other reasons, the force of which we are hardly able at the present day to appreciate, though in all cases locality is one of the strongest influencing powers in so far as architectural forms are concerned.

At Nocera dei Pagani, on the road between Xaples and Salerno, there is an extremely beautiful circular church built undoubtedly for

299. Plan of Baptistery at Noeera dei Pagani. Double the usual scale, or 50 ft. to 1 in.

the purpose of a baptistery, and very similar in plan and general arrangement to the tomb of Constantia, now known as the Baptistery of Sta. Agnese, though somewhat larger, being 80 feet in diameter. Its principal merit is the form of its dome, which is not only correct in a scientific point of view, but singularly graceful internally. Externally this building for the first time introduces us to a peculiarity which had as much influence on the Western styles as any of those pointed out above. As before observed (p. 428 ) the Romanesque architects never attempted to vault their rectangular buildings, but they did frequently construct domes over their circular edifices. But here again they did not make the outside of the dome the outline of their buildings, as the Romans had always done before the time of Constantine, and as the Byzantines and Saracens invariably did afterwards; but they employed their vault only as a ceiling internally, and covered it, as in this instance, with a false wooden roof externally. It may be difficult to determine how far