Catacombs of Saint Sebastian

Catacombs of Saint Sebastian, circa first century C.E., Rome.

In ancient Rome, cemeteries were built outside the city walls. Burials were forbidden inside the city, so elaborate catacombs were carved into the soft volcanic bedrock surrounding Rome to serve as underground cemeteries. The Catacombs of Saint Sebastian, seen here, are named for the third-century C.E. Christian martyr who was killed by the Roman emperor Diocletian during his persecution of Christians. The interior walls include many Christian themes including a Latin graffito translated as “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.” The Saint Sebastian catacomb is one of the most accessible of the 40 or so catacombs surrounding Rome—and therefore it is the least preserved.




Catacombs of Saint Sebastian

Underground passages used for burial and religious practice; originally referred specifically to the catacombs beneath Rome.

A person deemed holy by a religious tradition, especially in Roman Catholicism.

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