The church that Constantine built over the grave of St. Peters, 1450

We all know that during the 4th century the emperor Constantine constructed a Roman basilica over the grave of St. Peter.  This was replaced during the renaissance with the current structure, as the old church had become structurally unsound during the interval.

A reconstruction of the old church, drawn in 1891, is here:

It would be interesting to know the authorities on which this drawing was based.  Are there, indeed, old sketches of the basilica?  There surely ought to be!  And it was a Roman basilica, preserved intact, so should be of interest to classicists.


6 thoughts on “The church that Constantine built over the grave of St. Peters, 1450

  1. A substantial part is still there (the Crypt of the present basilica). There are also several paintings (a/o Raphael’s Fire in the Borgo).

  2. I had a professor of late antique art who mentioned that, when Old St. Peter’s was disassembled, a careful record was kept of every piece for posterity. And this record (which must be vast) still exists. I don’t know anything more about it that that, but if such a thing were true, it might offer the possibility of creating an accurate model.

    Also, have you seen this article (useful even if you don’t read Italian):
    This gentleman does fairly high quality 3-dimensional computer-based reconstructions of churches. I am not familiar with his methodology or accuracy, but the results are impressive.

  3. Well there’s a lot in Italian archives that no-one ever sees — they’re vast and not properly documented –, so it could be true.

    Nice site!

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