Constantine 313 d. C. Exhibition at the Colosseum
Constantine 313 d. C. Exhibition at the Colosseum. The Special Superintendency for the Archaeological Heritage of Rome hosts in the Colosseum, from April 11 to September 15 2013, the”Constantine 313 AD” exhibition, which celebrates the anniversary of the Edict of Tolerance in 313 AD.
The exhibition, back from a great public success at the Palazzo Reale in Milan, designed and conceived by the Diocesan Museum of Milan and curated by Gemma Sena Chiesa and Paul Biscottini, comes to the Coliseum, enriched by a section entirely dedicated to Rome, curated by Mariarosaria Barbera, superintendent for archaeological heritage of Rome and the protagonist of important discoveries related to Constantine, including new environments in the public sector of the Sessoriano building, in the area of S. Croce in Gerusalemme, and the domus of senior officials at the court of the Empress Helena.
The initiative is sponsored and produced by the Diocesan Museum of Milan and the publisher Electa, in collaboration with the Ministry of Heritage and Culture, with the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage of Rome and the University of Milan . The exhibition is organized with the support of the Bracco Foundation, in collaboration with The Aquileia Foundation.
The exhibition celebrates the anniversary of the exceptional manifesto of religious tolerance spread in 313 AD, also known as the “Edict of Milan”, attributed to the Western Roman emperor Constantine. A document of great modernity that, taking an edict of the 311, declared Christianity, after centuries of persecution, religio licita (“permitted religion”), ushering in a period of religious tolerance and of great political and cultural innovation. The rescript, in fact, reads: We, therefore, Constantine Augustus and Licinius Augustus have resolved to grant to the Christians and to all others the freedom to follow the religion that each believes, that the divinity that is in heaven, whatever it is, to us and to all our subjects give you peace and prosperity.
The exhibition is divided into sections that develop over one hundred and sixty precious artifacts from all over Europe, historical , artistic and religious themes from the Constantinian era.
The exhibition opens with a gallery of the characters of the family, intertwined by struggles, betrayals and conspiracies of the court. The first section, dedicated to Rome, was inaugurated by the famous Battle of the Milvian Bridge, with portraits of his protagonists, Maxentius and Constantine. Followed by a study of the Sessorium, the imperial headquarters in Rome, where the mother of Constantine lived, Helena. In preview the extraordinary gold jewelry are also presented, recently discovered in a tomb in the Basilica of Via Ardeatina.
The central part of the exhibition tells the political and religious revolution sprung from the end of the persecutions against the Christians, through analyzing portraits, coins and works of art, even the three institutions that were the protagonists of the age of Constantine: the army, the church and the imperial court. Refined luxury artifacts that belonged to the elite of the empire or intended to churches, testify to the gradual evolution of Christianity, by lawful private worship, it becomes gradually a public dimension and official subsequently becoming sole religion of the Empire.
The exhibition concludes with a section devoted to the monuments of Constantine in Rome: the residences, baths, basilicas, mausoleums and their amazing decorations. Some buildings reconstructions in computer graphics updated in the light of the latest research will be shown. Here you also find the presentation of another unprecedented discovery, made in 2005, the Via Laurentina: a treasure of forty-nine coins minted by the mints of Rome, Ostia and Aquileia, contained in a wooden case closed just in 313 AD . Alongside are exhibited the discoveries made in surroundings adjacent to treasure, including the bronze statuette of a Lare dancing.
Finally, an animation in computer graphics allow visitors to see a preview of the high-definition images of the Arch of Constantine and to know the events narrated in the frieze.
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