< Previous
Next >

11. Of the Pavements and Walls of the church

Antiquities of the Christian Church
CHAPTER IX. Of Churches and Sacred Places

11. Of the Pavements and Walls of the church

The floor of the church consisted of pavement carefully laid, or smooth marble. In large churches the narthex had a pavement of plaster; the flooring of the nave was plastering or boards; whilst the choir was adorned with mosaic. Not unfrequently there was a tessellated pavement of particolored and polished marble, constituting a rich mosaic work. A curious specimen of this ancient mosaic was found in 1805, near Salzburg, delineating the story of Theseus and Ariadne. Such decorations, in imitation of the Jewish temple, 1 Kings 6:15–30, were used in the churches so early as the fourth century. From the seventh to the tenth century, it became customary to encumber and disfigure the nave and choir with the graves of the dead, and from that period the floors were occupied with palisades, monuments, and epitaphs; and all unity and symmetry was destroyed.

The walls and the canopy were also ornamented with inscriptions, mosaics, paintings, and bas-reliefs. The paintings were executed on wood, metals, and canvass. The bas-relief was executed in gypsum, mortar, stone, or metal, in imitation of the ornaments of the temple. Votive offerings of shields, arms, standards, and the like, were also hung upon the walls. To these the lights were attached and suspended from the canopy. Vaulted roofs are of later origin.


search 🔍



privacy policy