Monday, October 14, 2013

UNDERGROUND HOUSES & COURTYARD-NYMPHAEUM

CASE SOTTERRANEE E CORTILE-NINFEO
FIRST HOME
It dates to the second century AD in the southwest area. It was found in 1887 along with the second home
Great wall of opus mixtum preserved for the height of three storeys to the right of the apse of the church and external fa├žade reused as the external left side of the church
Room IV
Excellent decoration on a white background "Youths supporting a plant festooned with birds" end of third or early fourth century
Room of the Praying Person
Beautiful frescoes also from the end of third or early fourth century, including:
"Men with scrolls, pairs of sheep and other decorative elements"
Lunette with "Figure of praying person" maybe Christian, even though it is in contrast with the figures of "Dancing Maenads and Apis bull" in the adjacent compartment: it may represent "Pietas"
The upper floor of the house was at the level of the present church and had shape and size similar to it, so it can perhaps be identified with the old Titulus
SECOND HOUSE
On the northeast area under the right nave of the church, originally insula from the time of Hadrian (117/138) with earlier phases of construction dating at least to the Flavian age. It became one large luxury house maybe in the mid-third century when it was united to the first house
Originally it was richly decorated and furnished with small private baths downstairs with bathtub and clay labrum, a large water-filled basin with an overhanging lip
BETWEEN THE TWO HOUSES
Alleyway and narrow paved COURTYARD TRASFORMED LATER IN A RICH NYMPHAEUM with fountains still visible on two sides
Well painted in red
Traces of frescoes "Parade of Cupids on sea monsters"
Grand and mysterious painting of 5 x 3 m (16 x 10 feet), maybe "Return of Persephone from Hades"
Next to the courtyard nymphaeum there is a little confession or niche with frescoes of the second half of the fourth century: maybe a "Story of Christian martyrs probably Crispus, Benedetta and Crispinian" killed at the time of Julian the Apostate (361/363) like the Sts. John and Paul and perhaps buried in three cavities in the basement below the confession
ORATORY OF THE MOST HOLY SAVIOUR
Dating back to the eighth century. The only place on the ground floor of the home that was certainly accessible from the Basilica Pammachiana through an internal staircase
The room had been created in the third century with the closing of the building's porch
Frescoes of the eighth century representing stories of Christ of which only fragments of the "Passion of Christ" survive, including unique "Crucifixion between Mary and St. John" with Christ dressed in a blue tunic (colobium), iconography rare in Rome but common in the Syrian-Palestinian area
Also "Draw for the garment", "Christ in the tomb" and "Anastasis" or the descent into limbo
In addition, traces of frescoes of the twelfth century including "Christ among the archangels Gabriel and Michael and Sts. John and Paul" now housed in the interesting Antiquarium

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