The True Users of the Roman Catacombs Essay

The True Users of the Roman Catacombs Essay

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When one usually thinks of the catacombs of ancient Rome, images of the dead lying on shelves and persecuted Christians often come to mind. Not to be confused with the Parisian catacombs that were created much later, Rome’s underground complex first appeared at the end of the second century, providing a place for the dead to be buried that was close to the borders of Rome. These burial chambers are often thought of as the final resting place for a great many of the early martyrs of the Church, and while that is often true, they were not the only ones to be buried in this place. Widely used by all, the catacombs were and remain a place full of rich history of the early Christian Church (Christian Catacombs). In this paper, I will be showing the true users of the ancient catacombs, and how the early Christians were not so different from the pagans who inhabited Rome at the time.
Prior to the issue of the Edict of Milan in 313, Rome was a very hostile place for the early Christians (Bishop 106). These Christians were living alongside pagans who were unsympathetic to their religious beliefs, and who were all too willing to serve as persecutors. Because of the illegality of their faith, they were forced underground – quite literally. While the underground burying of the dead was not unknown to the Romans, “with Christianity much more complex and larger burial hypogea originated in order to welcome the whole community in only one necropolis” (Christian Catacombs). In actuality, there were catacombs that were used by Christians, Jews, and pagans. The Roman catacombs were widely used between the second and fifth centuries, and were maintained until the ninth century. The catacombs would fall into disuse around the ninth century,...


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...Studying our origins will teach us a lot about our faith, and it is not something that should be taken lightly. It can change the way that we think and strengthen us in ways that we did not think possible.


Works Cited

Bishop, Philip E. Adventures in the Human Spirit. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education Inc., 2011. Print.
"Fresco Technique." Italianfrescoes.com. Fresco Art, n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.
Kleiner, Fred S. Art Through the Ages. Boston: Wadsworth, 2014. Print.
"Roman Christian Catacombs." Arsmar.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2013.
"Rome's Catacombs." Rome.info. Pro Region, n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.
"The Christian Catacombs." Vatican.va. The Vatican, n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.
The Holy Bible. Catholic Edition. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1965. Print.
White, L. M., and John D. Crossan. "In the Catacombs." PBS.org. PBS, n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2013.

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