Historical region of Country
Presently in the Orbis christianus antiquus, the most substantial epigraphical complex is that of the city of Rome ca. 40,000 examples, to which can be added with highly significant evidence, including quantitatively numerous centers on the Italian peninsula in particular Milan, Aquileia, Grado, Concordia, Ravenna, Chiusi, Bolsena, Eclano, Tropea, Sicily, Sardinia, Spain, Gaul, Africa, Asia Minor, Syria, Greece, Dalmatia. Best countries to travel solo II. First manifestations of Christian inscriptions. The oldest manifestations of Christian inscriptions can likely be attributed to the second half of the 2nd c. and the early 3rd c. These were a relatively limited group of funerary texts that seem to document the phase, in fact not easily defined in all of its components, in which individuals of Christian faith had their own tombs prepared and the respective memorial written in pagan burial areas.
Real or presumed signs of Christian belonging would, in the opinion of some, be identified in the presence of symbols, figurative themes or locutions containing more or less veiled allusions to the new faith, inserted generally in a disorganized way which has aroused and continues to arouse some legitimate suspicions in the context of the normative textual structures of 2nd- and 3rd-c. pagan practice. One fact that is certain is that the original use of these sometimes reused materials can be traced to sub divo funerary areas, i.e., in the open, as is clearly indicated by supports composed either of stelae or of sarcophagus covers.
From excavations in the Vatican necropolis come some inscriptions exemplifying which, and how many, elements of uncertainty remain for an objective evaluation of this evidence. The example with the greatest evidence and perhaps the most famous is the stele of Licinia Amias ICUR II 4246, whose inscription, introduced by the traditional dedication dis Manibus, is preceded by the image of two fishes opposite an anchor and by the exegetical inscription ivcqu.j zw,ntwn fish of the living; the christological meaning is implied in the acrostic VIhsouj Cristo.j Qeou Ui`o.j Swth,r, Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior. It must be observed, however, that this stele was reused at least twice already in ancient times, since it shows an obvious deepening of the level of the writing in the part containing the Latin dedication Liciniae Amiati benemerenti vixit – – -, as though preceded by the wearing away of an earlier text; the insertion of the Greek writing and the relative figurative apparatus thus seems to be a later intervention, nothing about which says that it must necessarily be attributed to the ancient world.