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Historia y grafía

versión impresa ISSN 1405-0927


GHILARDI, Massimiliano. Among Oratorians and Jesuits: the Rediscovery of Roman Catacombs in the Early Modern Period.Traducido porMarlene Lelo de Larrea. Hist. graf [online]. 2018, n.51, pp.215-240. ISSN 1405-0927.

The sensational discovery of a perfectly preserved catacomb took place at Rome, outside the Porta Salaria, on 31 May 1578. While the discovery reinforced apologetic, anti-Reformation propaganda, it nevertheless also provided a powerful stimulus to further research for many pioneers of Christian archaeology. Inspired as they were by the spiritual reflections of Saint Philip Neri and by the historical insights of Cesare Baronio, the Oratorians played a pre-eminent role in promoting research on the catacombs. Owing to the patronage of Cardinal Francesco Barberini and to the premature death of Antonio Bosio, the Oratory undertook the publication of the latter’s Roma sotterranea which he was unable to complete. At the same time, Giovanni Severano, Paolo Aringhi, Antonio Gallonio and other erudite Oratorians actively encouraged ancient Christian studies, while also ensuring that historiographical literature, beginning with the Muratori, conveyed the view that the Congregation of the Oratory was the only institute of religious life in the early modern period involved in research on the remains of ancient Christianity. This essay proposes to examine unpublished documentation and to review lesser known events of the period in order to shed light on the fundamental role that the Society of Jesus, alongside the Oratorians, played in conducting research on the catacombs and in distributing ex ossibus relics of the first Christian martyrs.

Palabras llave : Oratorians; Jesuits; Rome; catacombs; relics.

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