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The Basilica of St. Clement is a unique archaeological complex that includes several levels: lower – two structures erected in the 1st century AD, middle – an early Christian basilica dating from the 4th century, and the upper – modern church built in the XII century. The church is located on Calle San Giovanni i Lotherano.
The modern basilica houses a mosaic of the 12th century filled with early Christian symbols, as well as man-made frescoes from the 15th and 18th centuries. The formerly Christian basilica contains unique frescoes from the 9th century. The relics of St. Clement, Ignatius the God-bearer and particles of the relics of the Slavic educator Cyril rest in the basilica.
The first excavations under the cathedral were carried out in 1857 by the prior of the church, Joseph Malluli, and the archaeologist de Rossi. During the excavations, a basilica of the 4th century was first discovered, and below – premises of the 1st century. Due to the penetration of underground waters through the walls, this area remained unexplored for a long time. In 1912, after the construction of a 700-meter canal that connected the Great Cloaca with San Clemente, a series of excavations was carried out, which revealed the fourth layer -" the remains of houses destroyed by a fire in 64. Subsequently, the ruins of the buildings were covered with earth and new buildings were erected on top, which made up the lower level of the complex – two buildings separated by a narrow passage.
Above a building near the Colosseum, in the 2nd century a multi-storey building with a small courtyard was built. In the 3rd century, this courtyard was turned into a cult building where Mithras was worshiped - the doors leading to the courtyard were walled up, and a vault was added.
The building itself housed a Mithraic school. The stucco ceiling and the remains of the mosaic floor indicate that the room was quite richly decorated. All cult rites were performed in the triclinium. On the sides were benches for the adepts, and in the central part there was an altar with the image of a deity.
The second building was made of tuff blocks and was much larger than the first. The inner courtyard roughly corresponded to the main nave and the right aisle of the present church. The building in our time has not yet been fully explored, but today scientists agree that it was nothing more than a grain market or a mint.
The facade of the church was decorated with four columns of the Ionic order. In the courtyard of the temple you can see an atrium with a fountain, created in the 18th century.
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Topic: Cathedral of Saint Clement in Italy, Rome resort.