Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2011.11.11

Olof Brandt, Philippe Pergola (ed.), Marmoribus vestita: miscellanea in onore di Federico Guiobaldi (2 vols.). Studi di antichità cristiana, 63.   Città del Vaticano:  Pontificio Istituto di Archeologia Cristiana, 2011.  Pp. xxix, 1406.  ISBN 9788885991538.  € 180.00.  



Reviewed by Eric M. Moormann, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen (e.moormann@let.ru.nl)

Federico Guidobaldi, the dedicatee of these two volumes, looks very happy on the large colour portrait at the beginning of this Festschrift, leaning on a late-antique capital in Istanbul. He carries a linen bag with the logo of the institution that has now dedicated two beautifully edited volumes to him on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, thus expressing his lifelong affinity with the papal archaeological institute. But the wide array of affiliations of the subscribers to the tabula gratulatoria and, more importantly, of the contributors demonstrates the genuine appreciation many colleagues have for Guidobaldi’s scholarship that goes far beyond Rome’s borders, let alone the Papal Institute’s walls. He has worked – and works – in a vast array of fields, mainly mosaics and architecture of the Roman Empire and early Christian era. Rome and its environs are the areas Guidobaldi moves in most easily and which inspire his work greatly.

The editors have assembled in a meticulous way – with clear guidelines for the contributors, meticulous proof- reading and careful illustrations – sixty-five papers, presented in alphabetic order (see Table of Contents below). This easy and at first sight logical order is the weak point of the book, since one does not recognize the main research topics covered by Guidobaldi. What is more, the reader has to go through the whole of the two thick books to find the topics for which he or she is searching. Printing errors are few (‘restauri’ in the title of Liverani's contribution).

The editors have not included a list of addresses and/or affiliations of the authors, which hampers academic discussions and exchanges of opinions between the readers and the contributors. This is a pity, since not all users of the books will know the authors as well as the editors and the dedicatee do. Brief summaries, preferably in another language than that of the essays, would have been useful for rapid consultations, especially when the titles of the papers are arcane. The length and scientific elaboration inevitably vary (from a few pages up to fifty), but I think that there are barely any weak papers or useless one-page ‘notes’ in this very rich book.

Let me try to give an arrangement in sections that demonstrates the main fields of interest of Guidobaldi and his friends. I am aware of arbitrary decisions, since some contributions deal with the fortune of ancient matters in later times.

Most contributions are on Greek, Roman, and Early Christian mosaics, which reflect Guidobaldi’s many studies on floors and walls decorated with opus sectile or opus tessellatum. Some present old questions, new data, etc., or focus on technique and restoration: Angelelli (floors under S. Pudenziana, Rome), Bakirtzis and Mastora (gold mosaic tesserae in Thessaloniki), Baldassarre (Antinoe, Egypt), Balmelle and Ben Abed (Jebel Oust), Chantriaux and Laporte (baptisterium of the church at Mariana, Corsica), Darmon (imitation of marbles and opus sectile in mosaics), Di Renzo (again, Mariana, Corsica), Esposito and Olevano (opus sectile in ancient Campania), Farioli Campanati (opus sectile floor and wall decorations in the Byzantine basilica at Gortyn, Crete), Grandi (terminology of ancient pavement types and techniques), Guimier-Sorbets (light reflection on ‘pointed diamonds’ in mosaics), Jobst (floor of basilica at Gönen/Germe, Turkey), Karivieri (mosaic in House of Caecilius Iucundus at Pompeii), Lavagne (Andromeda [?] mosaic from Edessa in a private collection in Geneva), Maselli Scotti (villa at Trieste, Italy), Mazzoleni (Basilica of S. Euphemia at Grado, Italy), Michaelides (sectile mosaics in Nicosia, Cyprus), Nardi, Zizola and de Guichen (restoration of a mosaic in S. Catherine’s monastery, Sinai Desert), Ramieri (mosaics in S. Omobono area, Rome), Rinaldi (Roman sectile floors from northern Italy), Salvetti (tessellatum floors of Rome), Scoppola (Constantine mosaic at Spello, Italy), Spadano and Viglietti (sectile decorations from San Salvo near Chieti), Taglietti (mosaics from Portus near Ostia), Verzár-Bass (figural mosaics in Noricum and Pannonia), Weidmann (painted floors imitating sectile floors in Coptic Egypt).

Art and iconography: Bragantini on hunt scenes in paintings, mosaics, and sarcophagus reliefs of the imperial era; Faedo on a first-century statue of a draped lady combined with a third-century head in Palazzo Barberini in Rome; Ghedini, Colpo and Salvo on images of Ovid’s Metamorphoses on Roman mosaics.

Architecture of Roman Empire: Kozelj and Sodini (late-antique nymphaeum at Thasos, Greece), Lazzarini (coloured marbles from Sala, Morocco), Magnani Cianetti (Baths of Diocletian at Rome), Mayer i Olivé (marble production in Roman Spain), Pavolini (late-antique houses in Ostia), Quaranta (Aventine, Rome, in imperial era).

Early Christian and medieval Rome: Barbera and De Rossi (Basilica of S. Marcellinus and S. Peter), Brandenburg (extensive study on archaeological evidence for the presence of S. Peter and S. Paul in Rome), Cerrito (church of S. Anastasia), Coates-Stephens (Byzantine Forum Romanum), Fiocchi Nicolai (S. Bartholomew on Tiber Island), Flaminio (decorated columns in Rome and elsewhere), Giuliani (Crypt of S. Sebastian in Sebastian’s Catacombs), Heid (cult of martyrs during the Roman Empire), Kinney (S. Mary’s crib in S. Maria in Trastevere), Liverani (S. Paul’s outside the walls), Osborne (painting of S. Augustine in Lateran Palace), Paribeni (Boni’s excavation of S. Maria Antiqua in Forum Romanum), Pensabene (marble spolia), Spera (porticoes near S. Paul’s outside the Walls and S. Peter’s), Tortorella (Catacombs of S. Sebastian).

Early Christian and Mediaeval Italy: Bertelli (Bari, sixth-eleventh century), Bisconti (Naples, Catacombs of S. Januarius), Brandt (baptisterium in Albenga), Buonaguro (basilica of Castelfusano near Ostia), D’Onofrio (‘Tower of S. Benedict’ at Montecassino), Geertman (church near Tivoli and its decoration by Flavius Valila in AD 471), Leggio (urbanistics of Rieti in twelfth and thirteenth centuries, unfortunately without plans or images), Pergola (monasteries in Albenga and Civate).

Christian Archaeology and Middle Ages from sites outside Italy are addressed in papers by Balty and Balty (Apameia), Carra Bonacasa and Scirè (Justinian central basilica in Cyrene), Nordhagen (Byzantine cross-domes churches), and Serin (Byzantine Ankara).

Slightly alien to Guidobaldi’s interests are Barsanti’s contribution on nineteenth-century drawings of Constantinople, an essay by Dattrino on Gregory of Nyssa as a Father of the Holy Church, and Buonocuore’s paper on the vicissitudes of De Rossi’s notes for the corpus of Christian inscriptions (nothing on the contents of the inscriptions!).

If the reader has come to this point, he or she will understand that I cannot review all contributions. Let me single out a few papers devoted to Roman Christian topography. M. Barbera and G. De Rossi present the discovery of the remains of a large fifth-century building with an apse at the corner of Via Merulana and Via Labicana. It is tempting to see it as the remains of an early-Christian basilica, known from written sources as the titulus Marcellini et Petri. The apse of the church, still visible as a ruin on maps of the eighteenth century, was found on the domain of a military camp. The brief presentation lacks a good plan of the area, not familiar even to experts of Roman topography. If this text is rather arcane, H. Brandenburg’s investigation on the historicity of the visits to and deaths of St Peter and St Paul in Rome is much clearer, albeit long-winded. The ancient written sources are not decisive and the archaeological evidence of memoriae isn’t either. Within long descriptions of the various alterations of the two basilicas, Brandenburg comes to the conclusion that these rather poor vestiges may indeed symbolize the tombs of the two saints. The veneration of these founders of the church started briefly after 100, continued and grew, ending in the construction of enormous constructions in both complexes. Brandenburg’s analysis of the monuments and their histories is plausible and relies on a profound knowledge of all matters involved, but since the missing link has not been found yet, the main question of his magisterial essay remains unanswered.

Cerrito’s paper studies the church of S. Anastasio at the southwestern flank of the Palatine, a venerable titulus, probably founded in the 4th century, but with many alterations. The start of the essay is promising, since Cerrito tackles a new debate kindled by Andrea Carandini about the location of the Lupercal on the slope of the Palatine at this very spot. Carandini has suggested that the foundations of the church are remains of a maenianum, a part of Augustus’ palatial complex that connected the house on the Palatine with the sanctuary of the Lupercal and the Circus Maximus. It is not clear whether Cerrito accepts Carandini’s hypothesis, contested by many scholars (like me). This essay, therefore, gives a wealth of information about the various building and decoration phases of the church, but adds few new notes on the primary topographical question.

R. Coates-Stevens discusses the changes and uses of the Roman Forum during the Byzantine era and relies on studies by the dedicatee on the pavements of, i.a., the Basilica Aemilia, which attest to continuing use of this building as a commercial centre. The forum had more or less the same functions as in Antiquity. The old temples stood without being changed into churches, while the Curia became S. Hadrian’s after 625. Of course, the Column of Phocas (AD 608) is a major Byzantine intervention, recording the emperor’s establishing peace in Lombardy. This proves the use of the Forum for imperial ceremonies; the author recalls some other events of this kind. There are very few texts regarding the forum, so that the – also sparse – archaeological data are indispensable to reconstruct the forum’s life. The essay is very informative and full of new ideas.

In sum, this is a rich work, aptly titled ‘clad with marbles’, containing fine paper on marble and marble art works and architecture in the Roman, Byzantine and Medieval Mediterranean.

Table of Contents

Tabula gratulatoria
Premessa (Ph. Pergola)
Bibliografia di Federico Guidobaldi (O. Brandt)
Claudia Angelelli, "Le pavimentazioni musive a grandi tessere della basilica titolare di S. Pudenziana: nuove osservazioni"
Charalambos Bakirtzis, Pelli Mastora, "Ou sont-elles passées, les tesselles en verre et or? Le cas de l'église des Saints-Apôtres de Thessalonique"
Ida Baldassarre, "Un frammento di opus sectile da Antinoe"
Catherine Balmelle, Aïcha Ben Abed, "Pavements en opus sectile de Jebel Oust à effet de miroir"
Janine e Jean-Charles Balty, "L'autel majeur de la cathédrale d'Apamée"
Mariarosaria Barbera - Gianfranco De Rossi, "Ipotesi sulla Basilica dei SS. Marcellino e Pietro in via Merulana"
Claudia Barsanti, "Un taccuino di disegni costantinopolitani al Victoria and Albert Museum di Londra"
Gioia Bertelli, "Bari dal VI secolo all'intervento di Basilio Mesardonite (1011): appunti di topografia urbana"
Fabrizio Bisconti, "L’arcosolio della “Traditio Legis” nelle catacombe di S. Gennaro a Napoli
Irene Bragantini, "Figure di caduti a caccia: da Boscoreale a Piazza Armerina (e oltre)"
Hugo Brandenburg, "Petrus und Paulus in Rom? Die archäologischen Zeugnisse, die Basilika S. Paul vor den Mauern und der Kult der Apostelfürsten"
Olof Brandt, "L’enigmatica muratura “B” del battistero di Albenga"
Stefano Buonaguro, "La basilica paleocristiana anonima di Castelfusano. Nuovi dati dagli scavi 2007-2008"
Marco Buonocore, "Giuseppe Gatti, Angelo Silvagni e le schede ICR di Giovanni Battista de Rossi: nuovi tasselli per la storia della loro acquisizione"
Rosa Maria Carra Bonacasa, Francesco Scirè, "Nuovi dati sulla Basilica Centrale di Cirene"
Alessandra Cerrito, "Contributo allo studio del titulus Anastasiae"
Evelyne Chantriaux - Christophe Laporte, "La conservation in situ des mosaïques de Mariana"
Robert Coates-Stephens, "The Forum Romanum in the Byzantine period"
Jean-Pierre Darmon, "Faux-marbres en mosaïque, autant d' hommages rendus à l'opus sectile"
Lorenzo Dattrino, La Paternità di Gregorio Nisseno"
Francesca Di Renzo, "Un inedito mosaico dallo scavo di Mariana in Corsica"
Mario D’Onofrio, "La torre di S. Benedetto a Monte Cassino"
Maria Rosaria Esposito - Fulvia Olevano, "Sectilia pavimenta dal litorale napoletano: spunti di riflessione tra vecchi dati e nuove acquisizioni"
Lucia Faedo, "Un ritratto femminile ed una statua ammantata a Palazzo Barberini"
Raffaella Farioli Campanati, "Sectilia pavimenta e decorazione marmorea parietale nella Cattedrale di Creta - Basilica di Mitropolis a Gotyna - in Età Giustinianea"
Vincenzo Fiocchi Nicolai, "Notarella sopra la traslazione dei santi di Rignano Flaminio Abbondio, Abbondanzio e Teodora nella chiesa di S. Bartolomeo all’Isola Tiberina, ai tempi di Ottone III"
Roberta Flaminio, "Su un particolare tipo di colonna decorata di età paleocristiana"
Herman Geertman, "L'arredo dell' ecclesia Cornutianensis. Annotazioni intorno alla donazione di Flavius Valila (471)"
Francesca Ghedini, Isabella Colpo, Giulia Salvo , "Echi di iconografie ovidiane nel repertorio musivo Medio e Tardo Imperiale"
Raffaella Giuliani, "Il contributo dei dati d’archivio per la conoscenza della cripta di S. Sebastiano nelle omonime catacombe romane"
Monica Grandi, "Considerazioni sulla terminologia applicata allo studio dei sistemi pavimentali romani"
Anne-Marie Guimier-Sorbets, "Des pointes de diamant aux ailes de moulin, jeux de couleurs sur des triangles rectangles"
Stefan Heid, "Il culto dei martiri a Roma da Ignazio a Costantino (II-IV sec.)"
Werner Jobst, "The Mosaic Pavement of the Early Christian Basilica at Gönen/Germe in Mysia/Hellespontus"
Arja Karivieri, "The atrium mosaic in the Casa di Caecilius Iucundus and the aesthetics of a Pompeian house"
Dale Kinney, "The Praesepia in Santa Maria in Trastevere and Santa Maria Maggiore"
T. Kozelj, J.-P. Sodini, "Un nymphée dans une maison tardive de Thasos"
Henri Lavagne, "Une Andromède chrétienne ( ?) sur une mosaïque avec inscriptions en syriaque provenant de la région d’Edesse"
Lorenzo Lazzarini , "In limine Imperii: I marmi colorati di Sala-Chellah (Rabat-Marocco)"
Tersilio Leggio, "Il paesaggio urbano di Rieti tra XII e XIII secolo"
Paolo Liverani, "S. Paolo f.l.m. e i restauri di Eusebius (ICUR II, 4794)"
Marina Magnani Cianetti, "Il prospetto della natatio delle Terme di Diocleziano: una lettura interpretativa di Giacomo del Duca"
Franca Maselli Scotti, "Recenti rinvenimenti di mosaici da una villa suburbana di Tergeste"
Marc Mayer i Olivé, "La presencia y explotación de marmora en la Hispania romana: algunas notas epigráficas"
Danilo Mazzoleni, "Le iscrizioni musive della basilica di S. Eufemia a Grado nel Vat. Lat. 9071 di Gaetano Marini"
Demetrios Michaelides, "The opus sectile of Nicosia and an archaeological puzzle"
Roberto Nardi, Chiara Zizola, Gael de Guichen, "Il mosaico del Monastero di Santa Caterina nel Sinai. Riflessioni sul trattamento delle lacune"
Per-Jonas Nordhagen, "Images of Rulership. The Birth of the Byzantine Domed Church as a Receptacle for Pictorial"
John Osborne, "The early medieval painting of St Augustine in the Lateran palace"
Andrea Paribeni, "Giacomo Boni e il mistero delle monete scomparse"
Carlo Pavolini, "Un gruppo di ricche case ostiensi del tardo impero: trasformazioni architettoniche e cambiamenti sociali"
Patrizio Pensabene , "Provenienze e modalità di spogliazione e di reimpiego a Roma tra Tardoantico e Medioevo"
Philippe Pergola, "Du sanctuaire au monastère entre réalité archéologique et échaffaudage théorique. Le cas de Saint Calocerus à Albenga (Ligurie) et à Civate (Lombardie)"
Paola Quaranta, "Vivere all’Aventino: l’evoluzione dell’edilizia abitativa unifamiliare del colle dal I al IV sec. d. C."
Anna Maria Ramieri , "Pavimenti in laterizio ed in mosaico nell’area sacra di S. Omobono"
Federica Rinaldi, "Sectilia pavimenta della cisalpina romana tipologie e contesti"
Carla Salvetti, "Pavimenti romani a tessere grandi o medio-grandi in materiale marmoreo"
Francesco Scoppola, "Lodi della natura: dal mosaico di età costantiniana rinvenuto a Spello alle Maestà, tra lavoro, preghiera e paesaggio"
Ufuk Serin, "Late Antique and Byzantine Ankara: Topography and Architecture"
Luana Spadano, Marco Viglietti , "I marmi bianchi e colorati dagli scavi di Piazza San Vitale a San Salvo (Ch)"
Lucrezia Spera, "Osservazioni sulle porticus dei complessi martiriali di Roma. Assetti architettonico- urbanistici e questioni cronologiche"
Franca Taglietti, "A proposito di alcuni mosaici portuensi con iscrizione"
Stefano Tortorella, "Il sepolcreto della "piazzola" sotto S. Sebastiano sulla via Appia e il loculo di Atimetus"
Monika Verzár-Bass, "Mosaici con rappresentazioni mitologiche nel Norico e in Pannonia: alcune osservazioni su Teseo e Bellerofonte"
Denis Weidmann, "Opus sectile et mosaïque en peintures: décors de sols d'ermitages coptes"
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