Old Saint Peter's, Rome


    • McKitterick, Rosamond


Old Saint Peter's, Rome

edited by Rosamond McKitterick ... [et al.]

(British School at Rome studies)

Cambridge University Press, 2013

  • : hbk

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Includes bibliographical references (p. 416-465) and index



St Peter's Basilica in Rome is arguably the most important church in Western Christendom, and is among the most significant buildings anywhere in the world. However, the church that is visible today is a youthful upstart, only four hundred years old compared to the twelve-hundred-year-old church whose site it occupies. A very small proportion of the original is now extant, entirely covered over by the new basilica, but enough survives to make reconstruction of the first St Peter's possible and much new evidence has been uncovered in the past thirty years. This is the first full study of the older church, from its late antique construction to Renaissance destruction, in its historical context. An international team of historians, art historians, archaeologists and liturgists explores aspects of the basilica's history, from its physical fabric to the activities that took place within its walls and its relationship with the city of Rome.


  • Introduction
  • 1. St Peter's and the city of Rome between Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages Paolo Liverani
  • 2. From Constantine to Constans: the chronology of the construction of St Peter's Basilica Richard Gem
  • 3. Spolia in the fourth-century basilica Lex Bosman
  • 4. The early Christian Baptistery of St Peter's Olof Brandt
  • 5. The representation of Old St Peter's Basilica in the Liber Pontificalis Rosamond McKitterick
  • 6. The Mausoleum of Honorius: late Roman imperial Christianity and the city of Rome in the fifth century Meaghan McEvoy
  • 7. Popes, emperors and clergy at Old St Peter's from the fourth to the eighth century Alan Thacker
  • 8. The Roman liturgical year and the early liturgy of St Peter's Peter Jeffery
  • 9. Interactions between liturgy and politics in Old St Peter's, 670-741: John the Archcantor, Sergius I and Gregory III Eamonn O Carragain
  • 10. A reconstruction of the Oratory of John VII (705-707) Antonella Ballardini and Paola Pogliani
  • 11. Old St Peter's and the Iconoclastic Controversy Charles McClendon
  • 12. The Veronica, the Vultus Christi, and the veneration of icons in medieval Rome Ann van Dijk
  • 13. The Carolingians and the Oratory of Saint Peter the Shepherd Joanna Story
  • 14. Plus Caesare Petrus: the Vatican Obelisk and the approach to St Peter's John Osborne
  • 15. The legendary of St Peter's Basilica: hagiographic traditions and innovations in the late eleventh century Carmela Vircillo Franklin
  • 16. The stucco crucifix of Saint Peter's reconsidered: textual sources and visual evidence for the Renaissance copy of a medieval silver crucifix Katharina Christa Schuppel
  • 17. St Peter's in the fifteenth century: Paul II, the archpriests and the case for continuity Carol M. Richardson
  • 18. Filarete's renovation of the Porta Argentea at Old St Peter's Robert Glass
  • 19. The altar of Saint Maurice and the invention of tradition in Saint Peter's Catherine Fletcher
  • Epilogue. A hybrid history: the antique basilica with a modern dome Bram Kempers
  • Appendix. Letter of the Canons of St Peter's to Paul V concerning the demolition of the old basilica, 1605 Carol M. Richardson and Joanna Story.

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