Key to Umbria: Spoleto

San Gregorio Maggiore: Crypt

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San Gregorio Maggiore:    Home    Exterior    Interior    Crypt

The crypt is has a semi-circular apse and two apsidal chapels. Columns (mostly 11th century) with interesting capitals separate the rest of the space into a nave and four aisles.   [Identify capitals and columns from earlier buildings]

A funerary cippus (perhaps 6th century) with a Christian inscription has been re-used as the base of the altar. 

The first chapel on the left  was re-discovered in 1755.  It was found to contain many human bones, and these are now housed in four sarcophagi in the chapel.  The inscription on the back wall summarises the history of the church up to that point:
  1. 10,000 people were martyred in Spoleto under the Emperors Maximian and Diocletian.

  2. St Abbondanza (the widow) rescued their bodies for burial.

  3. St Abbondanza (the virgin) built an oratory dedicated to them.

  4. Bishop Salomone recognised the relics in 1106.

  5. Bishop Paolo Sanvitale recognised the relics in 1596.

  6. Bishop Paolo Bonavisa exposed the relics for public veneration in 1755.

A sarcophagus that is traditionally held to be that of St Abbondanza (the virgin) stands in the left apsidal chapel.  The inscription records that it was moved her in 1854 from the Cappella di Santa Abbondanza (the right apsidal chapel of the church above). 

The original cover of the sarcophagus has been lost.  The cover that was used until 1854 is now in the Museo Archeologico: it was originally the grave stone  (312 AD) of Florio Baudioni, a soldier in the Emperor Constantine's army who died during Constantine's march on Rome.  [CIL IX 4787]

Archeological finds from the Crypt

Inscription (2nd century AD)

This inscription (CIL XI 4813) records a dedication by four officials of the guild of “Scabillares”: these were musicians who accompanied themselves on the scabillium, a pair of hinged wooden plates attached to their sandals that they used to beat time.  The dedication was to their patron, the Quattuorviro Marcus Settimius Settimianus and it probably came from the base of a statue that they had erected in his honour.

Bishop Paolo Sanvitale moved the inscription  from the crypt to the Palazzo Comunale in 1591.  It is now in the Museo Archeologico

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