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 (rev. 2024) 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

Part II. Religious Imagery and Iconography

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 (Fertility and the Seasons - Roses/Rosettes - Vines/Grapes - Pomegranate - Olive - Palm - Grain - "Tree of Life" - Manna from Heaven)
Fauna (Animal Companions - Birds (Dove, Peacock, Eagle, Waterfowl, Soul-bird) - Fish - Beasts (Lion, Ram/Sheep, Os/Bovine/Bucranium, Bull) - Fantastic Creatures (Griffin, Hippocamp, Human/Animal Composite, Sphinx)
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 Transports (Chariot - Peacock - Sun - Moon Psychopomps)
Sleep (Coemeterium - Cubiculum - Peace/Shalom - External Home: Entrance and Exits - Tomb)
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) ); World to Come: Concept of Hereafter (Judgement - Paradise Gained - Heavenly Partners); Victory and Coronation ("Tree of Eternal Life" - Crowns and Wreaths)
Catacomb "Occupants" (Gods and Goddesses - Orant - Saints, Scholars, and Others with Scrolls)

Comprehensive Bibliography of the Catacombs and Related Studies