The Domitilla catacombs

The Catacombs of Domitilla are an underground Christian cemetery in Rome named after the Domitilla family that originally ordered them to be dug.

They are situated over 16 metres underground, about 2 kilometers from the south of Appia Antica (Appian Way) and span 15 kilometers in distance.

They were actively used as a cemetery from the first through the fifth centuries AD and were rediscovered in 1593 by Antonio Bosio, an archaeologist. They contain more than 26,000 tombs. More recently, they have been restored using lasers, giving a much clearer view of the images on the walls. Unlike other Roman catacombs, these catacombs still contain human remains.

The catacombs also contain many images, some of which were revealed by the restoration, reflecting the life of bakers, grape vines, Jesus with the apostles, Noah’s ark, and Daniel with the lions. Other biblical figures in the various cubicula include the Virgin Mary with child, Adam, Eve, Jonah, The Good Shepherd, a young man dressed as a cardinal with apostles Peter and Paul.

Non-biblical, or pagan, figures include representations of Spring and Summer in the form of females with wings, both pictured with attendants and scenes depicting Orpheus surrounded by birds, beasts and the sheep that typically accompany him. There are also other images of mythological and wild or tame beasts beyond the depictions of Orpheus.


The catacombs of Domitilla (Wikipedia)