Following the Edict of Milan in 313
Constantine began an extensive building program to provide churches and
meeting places for Christians. Previously they met in private homes that
had rooms for worship.
The first Christian churches used Roman structural and design elements.
The basilica evolved into the essential design for the church that is
still used today.
Old St. Peter's
Begun 333, reconstruction drawing
Floor Plan of Old St. Peter's
Old St. Peterís x-section
of Santa Sabina, another Early Christian, timber roofed, basilica. Rome,
5th century. This may give an idea of what the interior of St. Peter's
might have looked like.
Old St. Peter's (so called to distinguish
it from the current St. Peters) is built over the site of St. Peter's
- It was as large as a Gothic cathedral but it had a timber roof (not
- had a courtyard/atrium with a propylaeum entrance
- transept and crossing
Central Plan Churches
337- 351 Rome
Santa Costanza was built as a Mausoleum for
Constantineís daughter, Constantina.
Central plan churches such as Santa Costanza evolved from influences fr.
the eastern empire including Greek tholos tombs and other sources such as