Vaults of Memory: The Roman Jewish Catacombs and Their Context in the Ancient Mediterranean World (Table of Contents)

Vaults of Memory:
The Roman Jewish Catacombs and Their Context
in the Ancient Mediterranean World [Electronic edition]

by Estelle Shohet Brettman, Amy Hirschfeld, Florence Wolsky, and Jessica Dello Russo (web edition revision and preface)

© 1991-2017 International Catacomb Society
All rights reserved.

Table of Contents (click on the headings for text)

About the Authors

Prologue - Odyssey Sotterranea: A Search for Shared Universal Symbols

Preface - (includes information about the International Catacomb Society and biographical information about Estelle Brettman)

Part I. Archaeological and Historical Background of Catacomb Research


Chapter 1. History of the Catacombs since the Cessation of Burials 

Chapter 2. Burials in Ancient Rome

Burials in Ancient Rome
Jewish and Christian Burials
Antecedents for the Catacombs of Rome
Dating the Catacombs
Why “Catacombs?”
Development of the Catacombs
Builders of the Catacombs
Structure of the Catacombs & Burial Types
Jewish Catacombs of Rome
Decline in Catacomb Burials in Rome

Chapter 3. History of the Jews in Ancient Rome

The Jews in Italy
Jews and Early Christians in Rome
Archives of History: Jewish Inscriptions
Professions Recorded in Catacomb Inscriptions
Officers of the Synagogue
Officers in the Early Christian Church
The Place of Women in the Congregational Hierarchy
Jewish Congregations in Rome
A Synagogue at Ostia Antica

Chapter 4. Themes and Motifs in Ancient Jewish and Early Christian Art

Roman Art in the Catacombs
Ancient Jewish and Early Christian Art
Materials and Methods
Artists, Patrons, Craftspeople, and Workshops
Painting Styles with Case Studies in Pompeii and Via Latina Catacomb
Sculpture and Sarcophagi Production
Gold Glass Production and Motifs
Other Finds from the Jewish Catacombs

Chapter 5. Imagery and Iconography of the Catacombs

Rites and Rituals around Birth and Death

Funerary Meals: Tableware - Vessels - Food and Drink (Bread, Fish, Wine) - Sedentary and Reclining Comfort - Toasts to the Deceased
Offerings and Sacramental Ceremonies: Libations - Sacrifice - Blood - Ointments, Oils, and Spices
Burning of Incense
Sanguinary Contests and Games: Combat - Hunting - Mourning  Remembrance of the Deceased
Flora: Roses/Rosettes - Vines/Grapes - Pomegranate - Olive - Palm - Grain - "Tree of Life" - Manna from Heaven
Fauna: Animal Companions - Birds (Dove, Peacock, Eagle, Waterfowl, Soul-bird) - Beasts (Fish, Lion, Ram/Sheep, Os/Bovine/Bucranium, Bull) - Fantastic Creatures (Griffin, Hippocamp, Human/Animal Composite, Sphinx)
Fertility and the Seasons

Immortality and the Afterlife

Water: Purification, Rebirth, and Salvation - Vessels - Purification and Cleaning - Baptism - River, Sea, and Flood - "Water of Life"
Marine Transports: Dolphin - Hippocamp - Ship, Harbor, and Lighthouse
Celestial Transport: Chariot - Peacock - Sun - Moon
Sleep - Coemeterium - Cubiculum - Peace/Shalom
External Home: Entrance and Exits - Tomb
World to Come: Concept of Hereafter - Judgement - Paradise Gained - Heavenly Partners
Victory and Coronation: "Tree of Eternal Life" - Crowns and Wreaths

Cosmic Symbols

Cross: Crux Gammata - Crux Commissa - Crux Ansata
Biblical Scenes: Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) - New Testament
Jewish Motifs: Lulav - Ethrog - Shofar - Menorah - Torah Shrine - Temple 
Shared Symbols
"Occupants" of Catacombs: Gods and Goddesses - Orant - Saints, Scholars, and Others with Scrolls

Comprehensive Bibliography of the Catacombs and Related Studies