Universiteit Leiden

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BABESCH Byvanck Lecture

Tuesday 23 April 2024
National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden

The true burial site of Peter and Paul? Christians and Jews on the Appian Way

Despite the current catholic orthodoxy that the original burial sites of the martyr saints Peter and Paul were where they are still venerated – underneath their churches on the Vatican hill and on the Via Ostiense – a controversy still surrounds an enigmatic site at the third milestone of the Appian Way. The present, 17th-century church of Saint Sebastian was built over an early, simple cult site for the apostles and a 4th-century Basilica Apostolorum. Based on archaeological evidence, Professor Dr. Barbara Borg argues that it was here, in a former pozzolana mine, that the apostles were believed to have been buried from at least the 2nd century onwards, and she will trace how their cult developed from ordinary funerary cult to martyr cult.

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