The original entrances to the Catacombs were in many instances by subterranean roads or corridors, sometimes called streets. These corridors, which served as entrances to and passages in the burialplaces, were originally old arenaria or sand pit roads, from which the Pozzolana sand had been extracted; when this bed of sand is extracted, the entrance is usually closed. The soft bed of Pzzolana sand was, however, not generally used for interments, but the harder bed under it, called “tufa granulare.” The different horizontal layers or beds or tufa var very much in hardness and also in thickness. There are hundreds of miles of old sand pit corridors now ready for use as burial places of cemeteries, and useless for any other purpose. The use of these would be infinitely preferable to the recent Roman practice of throwing the bodies of all persons, whose families cannot affod to buy a piece of land in perpetuity, into a pit, in the same manner as the ancient Romans did the bodies of their slaves.
The galleries in the Campagna are said to extend altogether to between 800 and 900 miles, and the number of bodies interred in them to have been between 6 and 7 milliions. These are the calculations of Padre marchi, but the grounds on which they rest are not very satisfactory; there seems to have been a good deal of conjecture. There is no doubt, however, that they are of enormous extent, and must have contained a very large number of bodies.
There are 380 pits provided in the burial ground of S. Lorenzo, one of which was opened every night. All the bodies brought for the interment hat day or night were thrown into it, after being first stripped to the skin by the officials; and then hot lime was thrown upon them, that they might be thoroughly decayed before the year came round. The mouth of the pit was closed with lime grouting, so that no effluvium could escape, and this covering was not broken until the pit was wanted to be used again. This custom appears absolutely horrible to English people, but habit had made the Romans callous to it. It has now quite recently been discounted, but this custom of using the pits was still in use in 1860.
That the arenaria were considered as burying places in the time of Nero is evident from his exclamation of horror at the idea of being taken there alive for the purpose of concealment. The arenaria or sand pits are also mentioned by Cicero in his Oration for Cluentius, where he says that the young Asinius, a citizen of noble family, was inveigled into one of them and murdered. THis shews they were in use before the Christian era, and there is every reason to believe that they have been in use ever since limemortar came into use, which is believed to have been 2 or 3 centureis before that period. The celebrated Pozzolana sand makes the best mortar in the world, from its gritty nature. This valuable sand is found to any extent nearly all over the Campagna or Rome, in horizontal beds or layers between the beds f tufa; some of the tufa itself, which is sandstone, may be scraped into this sand, but it is easier to take it as ready provided by nature. People once accustomed to the use of this sand cannot do without it, and hundreds of carts filled with it may be seen daily traversing the Campagna, conveying it either to Rome, or to Ostia, or to Porto, for exportation. The horizontal layers or beds of this sand are not usually more than 6 feet thick, although they extend at a certain level over the whole surface of the country. It is therefore excavated in horizontal coridors, with various branches, extending for many miles, undermining the whole surface of the soil, but not in large or deep pits, so that the name of sand pit is rather deceitful to English people, who commonly imagine it to be always a large and deep pit to which these roads lead only; this is not always the case, the roads themselves being excavated in the layer of sand, and frequently themselves the sand pits, Sometimes there are different layers of sand at different levels, and in some cases there may be 2 sandpit roads one over the other, with the bed of hard tufa between them.
Kicked Out of Heaven Vol. III $54.00
The Untold History of The White Races Cir. 700 – 1700 a.d.
585 pages 720 pictures
- ISBN-10: 1943820074
- ISBN-13: 978-1943820078
Kicked Out of Heaven Vol. III is divided into 2 parts. The First part of this volume goes over The Catholic Church’s history during the Dark Ages & Medieval Times. These are a some of the things that are discussed: The Castrati (Castrated Boy Choir), Holy Blood & Organs, Jesus’s Holy Prepuce (Foreskin), The Penance & Anathema, The Fish Bishop, Saints that Levitate, The Incorruptible Saints, The Nun Manias, All Religious Holidays explained, The Heretics: The Luciferians, The Spanish Inquisition. The Second half of this book is a focus on the art of the times. These are the subjects reviewed: Monsters & Gargoyles, Castles & Knight Armory, More on Medicine & Magic, More on Werewolves, Demons & Hell, Over 100 Different Black Madonnas & Moorish Saints, The Catacomb Bone Churches, The Bejewelled Saints, Aliens, Astrology & Alchemy………………….