Architectural works (3rd century, Italy)
by unknown architects

Architectural works known from the 3rd century are mostly catacombs in Rome. The catacombs are subterranean cemeteries outside the walls of Rome, in continuous use from the 2nd to the 6th centuries. The soft volcanic tufa of the region lends itself well to excavation, and when Roman burial practice shifted from cremation to inhumation in the 2nd century AD, the need for more space led to the extension of cemeteries underground. Approximately 35 catacombs are known, ranging in size from a single burial chamber (cubiculum) for the use of one family to vast multi-level networks of underground passages and cubicula. Although such cemeteries were used by the adherents of many faiths that practised inhumation, the majority can be identified as Christian, particularly in the years following the legitimization of Christianity by Emperor Constantine I in 313.

The practice of suburban burial, required by ancient Roman law, continued into the early years of the 6th century. The precise circumstances of its discontinuance are unknown, but the phenomenon should probably be linked to the rapidly declining population and the anarchic political conditions prevalent during the Gothic Wars. After the middle of the century, burials appear within the walls in sparsely populated areas, as well as in such urban churches as Santa Maria Antiqua.

Preview Picture Data Info
Interior view
after 150
Photo
Catacombs of St Callixtus, Rome


Interior view
after 150
Photo
Catacombs of St Callixtus, Rome


Interior view
after 150
Photo
Catacombs of St Callixtus, Rome


Interior view
3rd century
Photo
Catacombs of Priscilla, Rome


Interior view
3rd century
Photo
Catacombs of Priscilla, Rome


Interior view
3rd century
Photo
Catacombs of San Sebastiano, Rome


Interior view
3rd century
Photo
Catacombs of San Sebastiano, Rome





© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.