Friday, December 02, 2011

Catacomb of St. Domitilla
by | November 30, 2011 · 12:37 AM

Picture of the Catacomb of St. Domitilla. 

The Catacombs of St. Domitilla are very unique and are the oldest underground burial sites in Rome.  Above here is a picture of St. Domitilla where inside you will find early Christian artwork and paintings including the second-century fresco of the Last Supper.  The catacomb of Domitilla has an extensive network of galleries and are named after one of the nieces of the Emperor Domitian.  This was orginally the private cemetery of Domitilla.  Domitilla’s husband Flavius Clemens was executed on the Emperor’s orders for being a Christian.  She was sent and exiled to the island of Ventotene (then Pandataria).

Domitilla was so well preserved that it is the only catacomb that contains bones still today.  It’s not just the oldest but it is also the largest catacomb of Rome.  It contains more than ten miles of corridors and almost 150,000 burial spots.  It provides us with insight into all phases and phenomena of an early christian necropolis.  Here you will find the a sanctuary with the graves of the martyrs Nereus and Achilleus up to the middle ages.
Picture of the Good Shepard. Picture courtesy of
One of the oldest parts of the catacomb can be found just right of the basilica.  At this spot members of the Flavian family were all buried and there is a cubiculum with a fresco of Christ as the Good Shepherd.  The catacomb also has another part known as the area of the Virgin (della Madonna) and is adorned with various third and fourth century paintings.  The most famous of these shows the Magi approaching the Virgin and child.  Through catacombs we are able to see early Christian ways and how they expressed themselves and their religion through their artworks in their catacombs.

  • J Stevenson, The Catacombs: Rediscovered monuments of early Christianity, Thames and Hudson, 1978 pp.25-28
  • of Rome#Catacombs of Domitilla
  • J. P. Richter, The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, Vol. 6, No. 22 ( Jan. 1905). pp. 286-289
  • Pictures:  Catacomb of Domitilla-
  • Picture of the Good Shepherd –