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The circular church of Santa Costanza in Rome was built in the 4th century. Constantine (272-337) was the first Roman emperor who converted to christianity and granted freedom of worship to christians in 313. He was also responsible for building the first great christian churches in Rome and elsewhere in the Empire. Very little of this early architecture survives in Rome, yet the small church of Santa Costanza, erected as a mausoleum for Constantine's daughter, Constantia along the Via Nomentana, is a splendid example from this era. The vault mosaics blend religious and secular subjects. The ambulatory depict flora and fauna and delightful grape harvesting scenes. In the apse, however, are shown religious images (from the 5th century, restored in the 7th) of the "traditio legis", namely Christ seated on a globe delivering the law to Moses.
The mosaics of the central dome were lost and have been replaced by copies in the 16th century.

© Copyright 2013 Marc Haegeman. All Rights Reserved.
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