Praesentia et potentia in the Cubiculum Leonis in the catacomb of Commodilla, Rome: late ancient martyr cult in a late Roman's tomb
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] This dissertation employs an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the late fourth-century wall paintings of the Cubiculum Leonis, a tomb in the Catacomb of Commodilla. Most of the original exterior and interior wall paintings of this cubiculum, with its three arcosolia, are extant and feature Saints Felix and Adauctus prominently on the entrance façade and the back lunette. Saint Peter appears in a denial scene and fountain scene on the right and left lunettes, respectively. A variety of smaller scenes depicting doves, lambs, holy figures, fruit, and more appear elsewhere. A titulus appears above the entrance arch and the doves that adorn it. An elaborate framework borders these scenes and the vault itself, filled with stars and a bust of Christ. This dissertation investigates contemporary funerary and viewing contexts, employing archaeological and literary sources and modern theories of viewing, to comprehend the programmatic message of the paintings. A structuralist approach to the resulting program narrative compared to other instances of apotheosis (Christian and non-Christian) in late Roman society places this tomb within the wider social context. In this tomb, the late lay Roman, through the certain presence and power of the martyr-saints, assuredly becomes immortal.
Access is limited to the campus of the University of Missouri--Columbia.