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Regio I - Insula XVII - Oratorio Cristiano delle Terme del Mitra (I,XVII,2)

The statue of Mithras in the underground mithraeum in the Baths of Mithras was destroyed by Christians, and parts were thrown in a drain. The Christians built an oratory or little church on top of the mithraeum, in the second half of the fourth or in the fifth century (the position is not a coincidence, of course). An apse with two marble columns and simple capitals was erected in room G (opus vittatum). In the same room four small marble columns were found. They are square and 1.30 high. On two of them the Christian monogram has been preserved. In the sides are vertical grooves, in which a wooden or metal fence was inserted. It is not clear to what kind of structure they belonged.

Nearby, on Via della Foce, fragments were found of the border of two curved tables or basins, parallels of which have been found in the eastern half of the Empire. Their function is not known. One had depictions of 16 to 18 philosophers or apostles (five have been preserved). The other was decorated with fishes.

Photographs and drawings

The Christian structure seen from the south. Photograph: L.B. van der Meer.

The Christian structure: detail of column with Christian monogram. Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

The Christian structure: border of table with philosophers or apostles.
From R. Calza 1966, p. 244.

The Christian structure: border of table with fishes.
From R. Calza 1966, p. 248.

[jthb - 1-Mar-2003]