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FAMOUS ON the SARCOFAGO OF SAINT PAUL Of the ARCHAEOLOGIST GEORGE FILIPPI

The basilica rises on the sepolcro of the Apostle in the way Ostiense, where to the end of II the century the roman presbitero Gaio, in the citation of Eusebio, signaled the erected existence of the tropaion to testimony of the martyrdom of Paul. In the place they were alternated, in the course of IV the century, two buildings, that “costantiniano” and that one “of the three emperors”, legacies to the devozionale pilgrimage to the tomba of the Apostle and uses you for cimiteriali and liturgici scopes.

The only riferibile documentation to the archaeological situation of the monument consists in little designs and sketches with measures, of sometimes enigmatic interpretation, written up from architects Virginio Vespignani (1808-1882) and Paul Belloni (1815-1889), after the fire of 1823, during the diggings for new confession (1838) and 1850 put down it of the foundations of the Devout canopy of IX ().

The archaeological rests then recovered were not more visible subsequently because partially destroyed and partially it obliterates to you from it puts into effect them Confession.

That the Basilica of S. Paul was risen on the tomba of the Apostle is an incontrovertible data in the historical tradition, while the identification of the sepolcro original is one remained issue opened. Report of Monastero speaks about large sarcofago marmoreo recovered during jobs of reconstruction of basilica after fire of 1823, in area of Confession, under two slabs enrolled PAVLO APOSTLE MART [YRI], of which but trace in the documentation of digging does not exist, with the exception of the others sarcofagi that they were discoveries and finds to you in the same occasion, between which famous “dogmatic” the today conserved in the Museums Vaticans.

Surveyings archaeological in the area traditionally considered the place of interment of the Apostle, begun in 2002 and finished the 22 september 2006, have allowed to bring back to the light an important stratified context, formed from the apse of the costantiniana basilica, inglobata in the transetto of the building of the Three Emperors: on the pavement of this last one, under the papal altar, it has been riscoperto that large sarcofago which the traces had gotten lost and that Paul came since considered the teodosiana age the Tomba di S.

Such explorations had the aim to verify the consistency and the state of conservation of the rests of the costantiniana and teodosiana basilica survivors to the reconstruction after the fire and of proporne the valorization to fine devozionali.

From 2 May to 17 November of this year it has been completed, in the area of the Confession, the Plan of accessibility to the Tomba di S. Paul. After to have taken apart the Altar of S. Timoteo the below area has been dug in order to bring back to the light, on the entire surface of approximately 5 mq, the apse of the costantiniana basilica. In order to catch up the rests of IV the century it has been dug materially within the building nucleus of the modern platea of foundation that joins perfectly to the ancient structures, is in foundation that in high, until catching up the point of separation between the modern ancient part and that noticeable from the different color of the malta, rosata that one of XIX the century and grey that one of IV the century.

Since the quota the transetto the Three Emperors, on which the Paul lies sarcofago of S., is higher regarding the plan of it puts into effect them Confession, is obvious that here the plan has been demolished in occasion of the jobs of XIX the century. Massetto the instead conserve, resecato to step shape, behind the altar of Timoteo, where structurally it is incorporated in the modern wall that delimits the east side of the Confession.

At the moment of the jobs of XIX the century, since the crest of the apse probably introduced some leaves unstable, these was removed having produced the effect of a step in the emplecton, of approximately 10 cm. of height and par to two rows of mattoni, that it begins on the inner edge of the apse of which traces the curvilinear course. On the forehead of the step the prints left in the work cementizia from the mattoni are looked at from removed curtain.

In order to catch up the quota it paves them costantiniana has removed the half south of the absidale field. In the digging archaeological others have not been recovered reperti if not masonry rests.

In order to increase the visual one on sarcofago of S. the Paul it has been increased until m. 0,70 the space through the masonry of XIX the century already opened during the jobs of 2002-2003.

It has been possible to find the dimensions of the sarcofago: long case approximately m. 2,55, wide approximately m. high 1,25 and m. 0,97; high cover approximately m. 0,30 and often in front edge m. 0,12.

The portion of the discovered apse constitutes the only visible testimony of the Basilica attributed commonly to Costantino.

It immediately remains opened the topographical problem of the relationship between the basilica and the recovered street pavement in 1850 to the west of the costantiniana apse. The Belloni recognized you the ancient one via Ostiense, that it would have been transferred in the center puts into effect them for order of the Three Emperors, but did not find the quota that pavement. With regard to this it turns out of particular interest the discovery, inside of the costantiniana apse, some great basalt blocks reimpiega you like material from construction in the foundations of the basilica of the Three Emperors.

As far as the plant of the costantiniana basilica, since we do not have other elements to outside of the new measurements of the apse, is premature to make new hypotheses, but that confirming the modest dimensions of the building.

The plan of cocciopisto uncovered over the quota rasura of the costantiniana apse corresponds to transetto of the Three Emperors (390 d.C.) on which it rests the large one sarcofago that great basilica signaled the Tomba of the Apostle to the age of the construction of the new, and was delimited from a podio presbiteriale monumental, like lascerebbe to suppose the platea poderosa of thick foundation m. 1,66, that it directly weighs on the pavement of the costantiniana apse. It is not excluded that inside of such foundation they can it are to you the rests of the tropaion erected on tomba of the Apostle the Paul.

It can be thought that between 1838 and 1840 in the area of the Confession have been removed or demolished all that that rested on the pavement of the Three Emperors. In order to throw the foundations of the new presbiterio and the papal altar even the Paul was moved sarcofago of S. In the inquired area they have not been up to now recovered, between the the 390 level he paves them of and the foundation of the 1840 rests of riferibili structures to other ages.

[01792-01,01] [Text originates them: Italian]

[B0641-XX.01]

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