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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: June 2020

5 - The Chapel of Theodotus in Santa Maria Antiqua

Summary

Examines the murals in the best-preserved chapel in S anta Maria Antiqua, dating from the time of Pope Zacharias (741–52) and dedicated to Saints Quiricus and Julitta. The chapel is important as being the first early medieval example of lay patronage in Rome, and the focus of discussion is the donor, Theodotus, named in the painted inscriptions and depicted with other members of his family, a former military commander who switched to papal service and also played a major role in the development of the ‘idiaconiae’ (welfare stations). A case is presented for the hellenophone origins of the family, our best documented example of Rome’s new landowning élite.