Basilica di San Clemente (crs)
Arch of Titus
Baths of Caracalla
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The Basilica of Saint Clement is a Roman Catholic basilica dedicated to Pope Clement I. It is a three-tiered complex of buildings on the site, the lowermost notable as being an archaeological record of a 1st century insula or apartment complex with remains under it of foundations from the republican era; superposed on it is a 2nd century Roman pagan temple dedicated to Mithras. On the foundations of the 4th century Christian church is the current one built just before the year 1100. The ancient church was transformed over the centuries from a private home that was the site of clandestine Christian worship in the 1st century to a grand public basilica by the 6th century, reflecting the emerging Catholic Church's growing legitimacy and power. The house was originally owned by Roman consul and martyr Titus Flavius Clemens, who was one of the first among the Roman senatorial class to convert to Christianity. He allowed his house to be used as a secret gathering place for fellow Christians. There is evidence of pagan worship on the site. In the 2nd century members of a Mithraic cult built a small temple dedicated to Mithras on the site. This low vaulted space lasted until about the 3rd century. A centrally placed white marble altar is carved in low relief on all four faces, with Mithras killing the bull, torchbearers and a serpent. After Christianity became the state religion of Rome in the 390s, the small church underwent expansion, acquiring the adjoining buildings. The new church was dedicated to Pope Clement I, a 1st century Christian convert and considered by ecclesiastical historians to be identical with Titus Flavius Clemens. Restorations were undertaken in the 9th century and 1080-99. Over the next several centuries, San Clemente became a beacon for church artists and sculptors, benefitting from Imperial largesse. The current basilica was rebuilt after the original church was burned to the ground during the Norman sack of the city under Guiscard in 1084. At the time of my visit no photography was allowed in the lower levels of the Basilica including the Temple of Mithras and admission was charged for entry to the lower levels.
Identifier: 456, Last Accessed: 2017-09-23 09:55:11
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