Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Catacombs of Rome

Author: Denterria Edmond

Not many people actually know what catacombs are, let alone where they exist, and what they are use for, there actual purpose. According to the many sources I have used to conduct this research on this quite strange and unusual topic, catacombs are “underground passages and rooms once used for the burial of the dead” (Duchesne). Catacombs were created because the Romans needed more space for burials. It has been said that catacombs held people who were not following the same religious beliefs that the roman government had set for everyone, which was Christianity. Roman catacombs actually had more uses to them than just burial sites for Christians and Jews. “Besides serving as places of burial, the catacombs were used as hiding places from persecution, as shrines to saints and martyrs, and for funeral feasts” (Adams). So as you can see as the centuries went on catacombs began to expand and become more than just homes for the dead.
:This image shows an actual Christian catacombs and how some of them actually look. 
They were all made differently.
Catacombs vary in size. The largest known and most popular are the catacombs of San Callisto which reaches about 19 kilometers long, in 5 levels high, and goes about 20 meters deep. The catacombs of San Callisto are about 2000 years old and are still being toured daily. The San Castillo catacombs were actually expanded by Callistus the 1st who is also buried in these catacombs. Before Callistus died he was actually a known pope of Rome, that’s how this catacomb became known after him, and because he was the one that actual put a time and effort into expanding it. “The catacombs were expanded to not only include more tombs, but also chapels, meeting areas, dining rooms, and places to sleep” (WorldSiteGuides). This became known as one of the most important catacombs because of the many people known to be buried here. “Over the course of history more than 50 martyrs and 16 popes have been buried here making it one of the most important Christian cemeteries” (WorldSiteGuides).

This video takes you on an actual virtual tour about the catacombs of San Callisto and goes into more depth about the information given above.

Works Cited
"Catacombs." The Columbia Encyclopedia. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. Credo Reference. Web. 19 October 2013.
"Catacombs." The Classical Tradition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010. Credo Reference. Web. 19 October 2013.
"Catacombs." The Columbia Encyclopedia. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. Credo Reference. Web. 19 October 2013.
WorldSiteGuides. “Catacombs of San Callisto.” Google. January 18, 2011 .Web. 19 October 2013.

Links for Further Research:
RickSteves. “Roman, Italy: Catacombs and Appian Way.” Youtube. June 8, 2009. Web. October 2013.
The link above is a video that shows two men going on a tour of the ancient and abandoned catacombs.

Vatican May Yield to Jews Two Catacombs Under Rome. (1977, Apr 06). The Washington Post (1974-Current File). Web.  19 October 2013.
The link above takes you to an article which talks about the Jewish catacombs controlled by the Vatican’s that could possibly be handed over to the Italian government because of its importance to them.

The Catacombs of Rome. (1876, Feb 13). New York Times (1857-1922). Web. 19 October 2013.
The link above talks about how everything pretty much having to do with catacombs and how they began with the Italians.

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