Santa Maria Antiqua

Santa Maria Antiqua (Latin: Sanctae Mariae Antiquae ) is a church in the Roman Forum in Rome.


The building probably belonged to the palace of Tiberius. It was built probably in the 1st century AD by the Emperor Domitian, who was to restore the palace of Tiberius and the construction of a new lobby inflicted. In the 5th century AD, the building was converted into a Christian church that bears the name Maria Antiqua since 640. Still under Pope Leo III. they belonged to the diaconal churches that served the distribution of grain to the urban population to the 9th century. In their place, Sancta Maria Nova was in the 10th century diakonia.

During the 9th century the church fell into disrepair and gradually became gradually covered by the decaying higher-lying Imperial Palace with debris. About the buried church of Santa Maria Antiqua has built a new church in the 13th and 14th centuries, which was completely remodeled in the Baroque. This church was named Santa Maria Liberatrice. This church was in turn demolished in 1899 to excavate the early Christian church again and restore. 2012, the church was made ​​after more than 30 years back from Rome Antiquities Authority tentatively open to the public. Should the Archaeological Heritage agree, the Church of the end of 2013 will be permanently open.

Architecture and interiors

The architecture of the church is determined by the original purpose of the room. It is a three-aisled basilica with presbytery and an upstream atrium and portico. On either side of the chancel are two small chapels, at the head of the presbytery a subsequently formed small apse. In the atrium remains of the ancient impluvium from the time of Caligula can be seen.

Art History of particular importance are the frescoes in the church. The presbytery was fitted under Pope John VII with scenes from the life of Jesus, on the front wall is a fresco of the crucifixion of Christ. The apse was painted under John VII. These frescoes were painted over but under Pope Paul I with a final judgment.