Two essays on Giovanni Severano, explorer of the Christian catacombs in Rome

Among the many personalities involved in the study of the Roman catacombs in the first half of the 17th century, Giovanni Severano (priest of the Oratory of San Filippo Neri) is one of the best known but at the same time least understood.

Recently, some studies have been carried out to re-evaluate his figure. Over the centuries he has in fact been considered only as the editor who completed Antonio Bosio’s Roma Sotterranea, left unfinished at the author’s death in 1629 and published by father Severano only in 1634.
Extensive studies have shown that, in the process of completing Roma Sotterranea, he personally explored many areas of the Roman catacombs to confirm and expand Bosio’s descriptions. For example, there is ample evidence of his explorations of the catacomb of Saints Marcellinus and Peter on the Via Labicana. Here, he explored many areas that had not been recorded by Bosio.

Some traces of his explorations and, in particular, some drawings of Christian antiquities commissioned by Severan can be seen here.

The most up-to-date biography of Giovanni Severano can be found here.

Giovanni Francesco Abela and the catacombs of Malta: new book!

This book is one of the latest outcomes of our research project. This book offers a new vision of the role played by Giovanni Francesco Abela, the father of Maltese historiography, in the rediscovery of Christian antiquities in Malta and in the
development of private antiquarian collection in early-Baroque times.
It also contributes to the definition of his international figure as European scholar, deals with the museological content of his masterpiece Della Descrittione di Malta, and offers the transcription of many archival texts about Abela’s life and work.

In the following articles we will address some of the topics discussed in this book, stay tuned! In the meantime, here you are the table of contents!

Chiara Cecalupo, Giovanni Francesco Abela. Work, private collection and birth of Christian archaeology in Malta. Rome: Edizioni Quasar, 2020

This book is on sale here. Regular price €12,00.

Why this site

After many years of archaeological, historical and archival research on the rediscovery of catacombs in the central Mediterranean, this site was created by the authors to offer a virtual and international space for the dissemination of ideas and results on this topic.

We want to make available to as many people as possible the interdisciplinary results of the Koinè Mediterranea project, the studies of individual members and many other news and resources on the subject.

To get in touch with us, for suggestions and collaborations: