Basilica of St. Peter


Catholic Restoration

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Basilica of St. Peter

Topography

The present Church of St. Peter stands upon the site where at the beginning of the first century the gardens of Agrippina lay. Her son, Caius Caligula, built a circus there, in the spina of which he erected the celebrated obelisk without hieroglyphics which was brought from Heliopolis and now stands in the Piazza di S. Pietro. The Emperor Nero was especially fond of this circus and arranged many spectacles in it, among which the martyrdoms of the Christians (Tacitus, “Annal.”, XV, 44) obtained a dreadful notoriety. The exact spot in the circus of the crucifixion of St. Peter was preserved by tradition through out the centuries, and in the present Church of St. Peter is marked by an altar. Directly past the circus of Nero ran the Via Cornelia which, like all Roman highways, was bordered with sepulchral monuments. In Christian times a small…

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