The Basilica of Aquileia

3d model and reconstruction

The Basilica of Aquileia

The fragmentary remains and complexity of the palympsest in which the halls in the Basilica Costantiniana of Aquileia are divided, have made it especially difficult to produce a reconstruction theory, in spite of the apparent simplicity of the structure.

Its architecture has been reconstructed on the basis of surviving elements and plan surveys; the surrounding structures on the other hand (horrea e domus) have been studies based on similar typologies, in relation to the plan development following the reliefs. As regard interiors, the reconstruction of wall frescoes was completed by extending and completing the surviving lower strip, making it possible to see the metric of the modules and alternation of topics and colors. For the reconstruction of architectural motifs on the top strip, the examples used were the traditional stylemes of Second Style painting, with elements and proportions taken from surviving painted trabeation fragments; for the reconstruction of mosaic elements, on the other hand, the wok was completed by similitude with elements still found in situ, reconstructing a very high resolution photo-plane consisting of dozens of photos of individual squares.

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Short history of

The Basilica of Aquileia

The Basilica of Aquileia was built by Bishop Theodore, with the contribution of the faithful and the Emperor’s approval, starting in the year of Constantine’s Edict (313 B.C.) above ancient Roman buildings whose perimeter walls were probably reused.

The structure consisted of two parallel halls connected by a vestibule or transversal hall and an adjacent baptistery. The halls were supported by pillars and have an extraordinary mosaic paving with white pieces, the largest in the Western Roman Empire. Here the two figures of Constantine and Theodore meet in the center of the large marine representation of the memorial inscription, still visible in the cathedral. The dedication to the Bishop is surmounted by the monogram of Constantine, the new symbol consisting of the first two letters of Christ’s name, which the Emperor had dreamed of on the eve of the battle at Ponte Milvio against the usurper Maxentius and which he had engraved on his helmet.

Already in the 4th century these structures underwent radical transformation; it was in the 11th and 13th century, though, that after earthquakes and destructions – including those wrought by Attila – that the Basilica which we still see today was built.

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