Christian archaeology

[Eucharistic Symbol, end of the second century] That branch of the science of archaeology which has for its ultimate object the study of ancient Christian life, as inferred from the remains of the Christian monuments (supplemented by literature, objects of art, etc.) erected during the first six centuries of the Christian era. The Roman catacombs are the great treasure-house of the monuments of primitive Christianity; the Bible is the first indispensable literary source. Many Catholics and other Christians have made valuable researches in the field of Christian archaeology.

Catholics mosaic Antonio Hosio (1575-1629) Known as the Columbus of the Catacombs and the Father of Christian Archaeology, was the first to begin the systematic exploration of the Roman cemeteries. After his death the results of his investigations were edited by the Oratorian Severano and published at the expense of the Order of Malta under the title of Roma Sotterranea.

[statuette of the Good Shepherd] Jean-Jacques Bourassé (1813-1872) Gave a course of archaeology at the preparatory seminary at Tours and made researches that entitle him to be considered a veritable pioneer in France of the science of Christian archaeology. The best known of his various works is Archeologie chretienne, 1841.

Giovanni Giustino Giampini (1633-1698) Was the author of some minor archaeological studies and of an investigation of Liber Pontificalis (1693), as well as two useful works, one a history of the ancient churches built by Constantine the Great, and the other a history of the art of mosaic.

[glass bowl, Moses smiting the rock]

Raffaele Garrucci (1812-1885) Jesuit, edited the notes of Jean L'Heureux on the Roman catacombs and wrote a general history of early Christian art.

Franz Xaver Kraus crypt of Saint Cecilia, catacomb of Saint Callistus (1840-1901) Priest and professor, began his literary career with small works on the history of early Christian literature in the first centuries and in the Middle Ages and was led on to the study of Christian archreology in general and then to Christian art in all its aspects; in this field of research he accomplished valuable work, and published meritorious volumes of description and criticism.

Edmond Frederic Le Blant (1818-1897) Was inspired by De Rossi to undertake in France the scientific work which Rossi had undertaken in Rome. He was commissioned to collect the inscriptions of the earliest days of Christianity in Gaul, and made an investigation of manuscripts, printed books, museums, churches, and the Gallo-Roman cemeteries. He wrote learned articles on the method of Christian epigraphy, on Christian art, on the origin, progress, popular beliefs, and moral influence of Christianity in ancient Gaul. The most important of his works are Recueil des inscriptions chretiennes des Gaules anterieures au VIIIe siecle and Etudes sur les sarcophages chretiens de la Gaule. Christ and His Apostles, 4th century He was elected a member of the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, and in 1883 became director of the Ecole Francaise at Rome.

Giuseppe Marchi (1795-1860) Jesuit, proved the Christian origin of the catacombs, discovered the grave of Saint Hyacinth in the Catacomb of Saint Hermes, and inspired his famous pupil De Rossi to great achievements. He planned an exhaustive work on early Christian art and published one volume of it in 1841, but various things prevented the completion of his task.

Joseph Alexandre Martigny (1808-1880) Papal Crypt, III century Canon of Belley, published Dictionnaire des antiquites chretiennes, Paris, 1865, the first work of its kind; the vast erudition displayed therein has caused the book to be justly valuable.

James Spencer Northcote (1821-1907) Convert, priest, and president of Oscott College, collaborated with William R. Brownlow (1836-1901), who was later Bishop of Clifton, in writing Roma Sotterranea, a comprehensive work on the catacombs which has become a classic reference. He was also the author of A Visit to the Roman Catacombs (London, 1877), Epitaphs of the Catacombs (London, 1878), etc.

Onofrio Panvinio (1530-1568) Augustinian monk, inaugurated the scientific study of Christian antiquity. mosaic, Narthex of Saint Sophia Most important among his published works are one on the basilicas of Rome and one on the cemeteries and sepulchral rites of the early Christians.

Jean Baptiste Francois Pitra (1812-1889) Benedictine, cardinal, and librarian of the Vatican, made many important archaeological discoveries; perhaps the best known is his deciphering of the inscription on a sepulchral monument at Autun, which inscription he included in Spicilegium Solesmense (Paris, 1852). He also contributed numerous archaeological articles to various scientific periodicals of France.

Charles Rohault de Fleury from the tomb of Pope Anterus, 3rd century (1801-1875) Was the author of several important books, all splendidly illustrated. Among them are Un Tabernacle chretien du V siecle (Arras, 1880) and La Messe, etudes archeologiques sur ses monuments (Paris, 1883-1898).

Other Christians

Joseph Bingham (1668-1723) Clergyman, was the author of an important work on Christian antiquities.

stone tablet from Herod's temple Samuel Cheetham (1827-1908) An English divine of the Established Church, wrote a history of the Christian Church during the first six centuries, and other similar books, but is best known for his Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, of which he was co-editor with Sir William Smith.

Sir William Smith (1813-1893) Edited several valuable archreological works, Dictionary of Christian Biography, etc., and collaborated with Samuel Cheetham in editing the important Dictionary of Christian Antiquities.

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