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© Copyright 2018

Gianluca Pica
 


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BLOG OF A TOUR GUIDE IN ROME

02/10/2019, 13:02

#unaguidaturisticaroma, #atourguiderome, #mosaico, #mosaic, #romeisus, #rome, #roma, #medioevo, #middleages



THE-CHAPEL-OF-THE-SAINTS-PRIMO-AND-FELICIANO:-A-MOSAIC-FROM-THE-MIDDLE-AGES


 The Middle Ages in Rome was able to produce incredible masterpieces, as this wonderful mosaic sets in one of the best churches of the city...



In the basilica of Santo Stefano Rotondo, that is set at the Caelian Hill, there is the incredible small chapel. It is the last survivor of the ancient beauty of this amazing place. Imagine how originally the basilica had a circular map where a sort of Cross was insert. At the end of the four arms of this Cross there were wonderful chapels, and it is the only one existing still today. The Basilica of Santo Stefano Rotondo was erected around the V centuty AD. Two centuries later Pope Teodoro I embellished the whole sacred place, adding also the mortal pieces of two martyrs: Primo and Feliciano. According to the "passio" they died on the persecutions by the Roman Emperor Diocletian, at the 303 AD. They were two old brothers, almost 80 years old, who were killed after several tortures and torments (displayed on the side walls of this chapel, dedicated to them). Both were beheaded. Primo and Feliciano found the death on Mentana, when they refused to pray in front of a pagan idol. Keep in mind how the Romans always tried to convert the Christians, giving them some "possibilities" to come back in the regular religious community. In order to avoid tortures and torments, and at the end the death, to the Chrisstians were asked to swear in the name of the emperor, to curse the name of God, to pray pagan idols and to make public amends. Something that Primo and Feliciano didn’t make. In some degree the story about them is depicting by this incredible golden mosaic, used by the Pope Teodoro I to decorate the apse. Here the two saints, young and not old, are dressed in an oriental style. Between them there is a wonderful golden Cross topped by the portrait of Jesus. According to the scholars we know that this element is not original, but probably it was added copying the original one, which was eroded by the time. This marvellous Cross, full of jewels, symbolized the victory and the Passion of God but also, in a political way, an homage to Jerusalem that, in the 637 AD (so some years before this mosaic), was conquered by the Arabs. So a way to claim how the Christianity is always the winner, although the defeat. The whole chapel is also interesting to understand how the martyrs, and the cults related to them, in the past where really used to make important churches and basilicas. Several martyrs were moved from their original sepulchres in the catacombs to other places of Rome, in order to restore or embellish other buildings. It was a way to pay homage to people who, for their faiths, decided to die. But mainly during the Middle Ages it was also an earthly way to improve personal powers and prestigious. This incredible mosaic still today is impressed, a great evidence of the medieval Rome: it was not a dark and poor city as we can think. Of course, it was not the magnificient metropole of the past, but it was also a city with fantastic churches and basilicas, full of beauties like this mosaic. #Roma #unaguidaturisticaroma #atourguiderome #romeisus #Rome #medioevo #middleages #mosaico #mosaic 


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