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

9 - Hadrian I dux Dei

Summary

Examines the explosion of building activity and patronage associated with Pope Hadrian I (772–95), who sees off the final Lombard threat and forges a strong alliance with Charlemagne. Churches such as Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Santa Maria Antiqua (where his portrait was included), and Sant’ Adriano are examined for what their decorations reveal about the continuity of ‘Byzantine’ cultural influence and practice. Attention is then given to his repairs to Rome’s walls and water supply. The exceptional wealth of the papacy in this era permitted an unprecedented degree of generosity in terms of gifts of precious materials to the city’s churches (silk textiles, gold and silver metalwork, marble furnishings).