Santi Cosma e Damiano

Santi Cosma e Damiano

:"For the Italian city, see Santi Cosma e Damiano (LT)".The basilica of Santi Cosma e Damiano is one of the ancient churches of Rome called "tituli", of which cardinals are patrons as deacons: the Cardinal Deacon of the "Titulus Ss. Cosmae et Damiani" is Giovanni Cheli. The basilica, devoted to the two Greek brothers, doctors, martyrs and saints Cosmas and Damian, is located in the Forum of Vespasian, also known as the "Forum of Peace".


The so-called Temple of Romulus was dedicated by Emperor Maxentius to his son Valerius Romulus, who died in 309 and was rendered divine honours. It is possible that the temple was in origin the temple of "Iovis Stator" or the one dedicated to Penates, and that Maxentius restored it before the re-dedication.

The ancient Roman fabric was Christianized and dedicated to "Sancti Cosma et Damiano" in 527, when Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths, and his daughter Amalasuntha donated the library of the Forum of Peace ("Bibliotheca Pacis") and a portion of the Temple of Romulus to Pope Felix IV. The pope united the two buildings to create a basilica devoted to two Greek brothers and saints, Cosmas and Damian, in contrast with the ancient pagan cult of the two brothers Castor and Pollux, who had been worshipped in the nearby Temple of Castor and Pollux. The apse was decorated with a Roman-Byzantine mosaic, representing a "parousia", the Second Coming of Christ at the end of time.The bodies of Saints Mark and Marcellian were translated, perhaps in the ninth century, to this church, where they were rediscovered in 1583 during the reign of Pope Gregory XIII.

In 1632, Pope Urban VIII ordered the restoration of the basilica. The works, projected by Orazio Torriani and directed by Luigi Arrigucci, raised the floor level seven metres, bringing it equal with the "Campo Vaccino", thus avoiding the infiltration of water. Also, a cloister was added. The old floor of the basilica is still visible in the lower church, which is actually the lower part of the first church.

In 1947, the restorations of the Imperial Forums gave a new structure to the church. The old entrance, through the "Temple of Romulus", was closed, and the temple restored to its original forms; with the Pantheon, the "Temple of Romulus" is the best preserved pagan temple in Rome. A new entrance was opened on the opposite side (on "via dei Fori Imperiali"), whose arch gives access to the cloister, and through this to the side of the basilica.

Structure and art

Next to the new entrance to the complex, there are the rooms with the original marble paving of the Forum of Peace, and the wall where the 150 marble slabs of the "Forma Urbis Romae" were hung. Through the cloister, the entrance to the church opens on the side of the single nave. The plan of the basilica followed the norms of the Counter-Reformation: a single nave, with three chapels per side, and the big apse, which now looks quite oversized because of the reduction in height of the 17th century restoration, framed by the triumphal arch, also mutilated by that restoration.

The mosaics are masterpieces of 6th-7th century art. In the middle is Christ, with Saint Peter presenting Saint Cosmas and Saint Teodorus (right), and Saint Paul presenting Saint Damian and Pope Felix IV; the latter holds a model of the church.

The Basilica and the history of medicine

The importance of this Basilica for the history of medicine is not only related to the fact that the two brothers were physicians and became soon patrons of physicians, surgeons, pharmacists and veterinarians, but also to the tradition according to which Claudius Galen himself lectured in the Library of the Temple of Peace (“Bibliotheca Pacis”). Furthermore, for centuries, in this “medical area” roman physicians had their meetings [Cfr L.Temperini, Basilica Santi Cosma e Damiano, Edizioni Casa Generalizia TOR, Roma, s.d., p.5.] .



* "Roma", Touring Club Italiano, 2004, pp. 276-277.
* [ "Santi Cosma e Damiano"] at
* [ Basilica of Saints Cosmas and Damian, Rome]

See also

*Roman architecture
*List of Roman domes

External links

* [ Photo]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Santi Cosma e Damiano — Santi Cosma e Damiano …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Santi cosma e damiano — Ajouter une image Administration Pays  Italie Région …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Santi Cosma e Damiano — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Santi Cosma e Damiano fait référence aux saints catholiques Côme et Damien mais également à : La ville de Santi Cosma e Damiano dans le Latium en… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Santi Cosma e Damiano (LT) — Infobox CityIT img coa =Santi Cosma e Damiano Stemma.png official name = Comune di Santi Cosma e Damiano region = Lazio province = Latina (LT) elevation m = 181 area total km2 = 31 population as of = 2001 population total = 6581 population… …   Wikipedia

  • Santi Cosma e Damiano — Original name in latin Santi Cosma e Damiano Name in other language Khram na Romul, Kosmas og Damiankirken, Santi Cosma e Damiano, Tempel van Romulus, Храм на Ромул State code IT Continent/City Europe/Rome longitude 41.29862 latitude 13.81412… …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

  • Santi Cosma e Damiano (Rom) — Eingangsportal zum Kloster und zur Kirche Santi Cosma e Damiano Basisdaten Patrozinium: Hll. Cosmas …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Santi Cosma e Damiano (Italie) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Santi Cosma e Damiano. Santi Cosma e Damiano Administration Pays …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Santi Cosma e Damiano (titre cardinalice) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Santi Cosma e Damiano. Titre cardinalice Diaconie Saints Côme et Damien Nom italien …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Basilique Santi Cosma e Damiano — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Santi Cosma e Damiano. Basilique Santi Cosma e Damiano …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Liste der Kardinalpriester von Santi Cosma e Damiano — Folgende Kardinäle waren Kardinalpriester von Santi Cosma e Damiano: Alessandro Cesarini Sforza (1632 1637) Benedetto Odescalchi (1645 1659) Odoardo Vecchiarelli (1660 1667) Leopoldo de Medici (1668 1670) Nicolò Acciaioli (1670 1689) Fulvio… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.