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Article

John Osborne

(Rome)

Situated in the Forum Romanum, at the foot of the Palatine Hill, S. Maria Antiqua is an early medieval church inserted into a pre-existing complex of classical buildings. It was excavated by Giacomo Boni in 1900. The original structure, dated by brick stamps to the late years of the emperor Domitian (reg 81–96 CE), comprised an atrium, a vaulted quadriporticus, and three chambers beyond. Its precise function remains uncertain, although it was presumably related to Domitian’s palace on the hill above, to which it was connected by a ramp. At some point, probably in the second half of the 6th century, the site was converted for use as a church. Columns were substituted for the four brick pilasters on the long sides of the quadriporticus, and an apse was cut into the end wall. A church with this dedication had been known from an early 8th-century reference in the ...

Article

Patsy Vanags

Site of a Roman temple incorporated into an Early Christian or early medieval church, c. 15 km north of Spoleto, Italy. The River Clitumnus, with its numerous springs, was sacred in Roman times, and there were many shrines along its course. Spolia from these may have been used in the existing structure. It has some traits in common with Roman temples, most notably its four-columned façade with a pediment above. The framing of the columns with two apparently contemporary square section columns is uncommon, but other aspects of its design mark it out as an Early Christian building (4th or 5th century ad) or an early medieval one (8th or 9th century). The interior has a narrow horseshoe arch in the apse and carved mouldings with early medieval characteristics. The building stands on a podium, but instead of a staircase at the front, a flight of steps on either side leads to a small pedimented doorway giving access to the interior. This unusual arrangement may be due to the siting of the building on a sloping bank, but its bold form, with miniaturized Hellenistic grandeur reminiscent of the Roman sanctuary (late ...