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Early Christian Churches of the Eastern Ring in Rome

By Celeste Pang & Celeste Pang

Many of the early Christian Churches were based on the Constantinian Basilica, which consisted of five main components: the apse, transept, nave, columns (or colonnade) and aisle. Santa Maria Maggiore on the Esquiline hill is a fine example of this architectural basilica style. Similar to a number of other churches, S. Maria Maggiore grew larger as additional spaces were added to the original structure. The basilica’s apse mosaic is a beautiful example of the Byzantine are style, originating from the 13th century. Santa Pudentiana, a small church nearby, is structured similar to the Constantinian basilica and has the oldest Early Christian apse mosaic dating from the 4th century.

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