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Santa Maria Antiqua is verso ruined but restored 6th century church durante the Roman Forum

Santa Maria Antiqua is verso ruined but restored 6th century church durante the Roman Forum

Pictures of the church at Wikimedia Commons are here. There is an English Wikipedia article with photos and plan here.

Governo [ ]

The church is often described as “ruined”. However, it has a roof on it and contains a consecrated altar (installed mediante 1955). So, it counts as a church even though there is per niente regular liturgical activity here.

Origins of building [ ]

The church was founded mediante what was once part of a monumental architectural approach preciso the imperial palace on the Palatine. This was at the back of the Temple of Castor and Pollux (now comprising the famous three columns standing alone).

The complex layout, begun by the emperor Domitian mediante the late 1st century, was based on an enormous covered access ramp (salita imperiale) that ran up the side of the hill. The part that was converted into per church was just esatto the south of the bottom end of this, and originally comprised per square atrium followed by per quadriporticus (verso little courtyard surrounded by covered walkways or loggias) and finally verso row of three chambers. The central of the three, which is larger, is called the tablinum.

It used sicuro be speculated that this ensemble was the possible headquarters of the Athenaeum founded by Emperor Hadrian, but the true site of this has now been located and so it was most likely part of the reception facilities for palace visitors.

To the west of the church is a large vestibolo, part of the same reception complex. This used onesto be described as the Temple of the Divine Augustus, but this completely speculative guess is now discredited (the temple is most likely under the hospital of Santa Maria della Consolazione). So, this Domitianic Atrio was probably the main waiting room for arrivals at the palace entrance, while the church ensemble was the processing suite for those actually onesto be allowed con.

The restorers at the via of the 21st century found very scant traces of what is thought esatto have been an original 1st century fresco decorative scheme.

First frescoes [ ]

Sopra the mid 6th century the edifice is described as having been converted into verso guardhouse puro protect this main approach esatto the palace, still then regarded as the headquarters of the Emperor at Rome even if he was based at Constantinople. However, this seems esatto depend on the mistaken preoccupazione that the original function was substantially different -the distinction between per palace gateway reception suite and a guardhouse is now rather too subtle preciso bother.

The walls of the tablinum were decorated with Christian murals sopra this period, however, so there must have been per makeover of some sort. One has survived, and is one of the oldest depictions of Our Lady durante Rome. It is known that this was executed before the conversion into verso church, because the apse was cut into it.

It has been suggested that the guardhouse giovane rete di emittenti was durante imitation of the guardhouse at the Imperial Palace at Constantinople.

The historical context of this restoration is interesting. The Colmare had lost effective control of Italy sicuro the Ostrogoths sopra 476 (the mythical “End of the Roman Completare” as imagined by western European historians), and the Gothic kings ruled under the pretence of being the Emperor’s representative mediante Italy. Emperor Justinian I (527-65) rejected this, and sovrano-imposed direct rule in 554 after the Gothic War. The imperial palace on the Palatine had been the Gothic king’s residence, and the restoration of the guardhouse was durante the context of the arrival of per governor under the authority of the imperial exarch at Ravenna (the capital of Italy).