In the difficult study of the origin of the Christian cemeteries, we must doubtless take private charity into account. Cuba Subway Map Wealthy converted landowners must soon have offered a way of resolving the burial problem of a church that, from the outset and in all countries, had chosen inhumation as more fitting their belief and their sensibility Min.Fel. Oct. 34 rather than the easier and more economical method of cremation.
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To bury a large community's dead with dignity meant using a great deal of space, and we know that areae near great cities had high costs.G.B. de Rossi, the founder of Christian archaeology, showed that many Roman catacombs were originally tombs belonging to one family, showing signs of enlargements and uses that could be justified only if intended for the community.
The very names preserved by some cemeteries Domitilla, Priscilla, Commodilla, Maximus, Praetextatus, Traso, Ottavilla, Bassilla etc. Are hard to explain except by an initial possession by these people, or by their charitable free donation of the areae. Sometimes such an origin is expressly testified, as in the famous epigraph of the area of Evelpius at Cherchel Caesarea in Algeria.
But certainly not all cemeteries were created in this way: many, esp. Outside Rome, were clearly communal from the start. Even in the Roman catacombs, some very old nuclei are made up of a network of galleries originally with no rooms for family burials, hence created expressly for the community.
Such, e.g. are the whole series of comb galleries reached from stair X in the catacomb ad duas lauros on the Via Labicana; the use of a vast pozzolana quarry in the cemetery of Priscilla; the nucleus of the Flavii Aurelii in the cemetery of Domatilla; and in the catacomb of Callistus, the nucleus which de Rossi called area prima, consisting of two long parallel galleries linked by transverse corridors. In a polemical work against Pope Callistus 217 222, this last is called to.koimhth, rion Philosoph.
II, 12, 44: its collective ownership by the church is attested, as is its management by the pope through one of his deacons and its greater importance than the other cemeteries. Pope Zephyrinus 199 217 was already buried there, as nearly all the popes of the 3rd c.would be.
In this century the concept and practice of the community cemetery were definitively established, and at Rome, where the catacombs have preserved an abundance of preConstantinian regions and funerary monuments, it is possible to follow its sometimes grandiose developments and its organization.