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AN EARLY ALTAR OF ST. ANASTASIUS IN THE SPLlT CATHEDRAL

Authors
Publisher
Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments; [email protected]
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Abstract

The author describes the di-soovery of an a·ltar in pre-Gothic stralta which were found .dUll1ing exca,vaJtJions in 1974 by the Oftlice for ·the .{>.roteo1lion of CuJJtIl.lTal MonumeJllts dn Sp1rirt:, ooected by .the author. AH :the strata .oo the pa·vrl.ng of the maJUsoleum of DiocletJian ,(lin which ·the carthedral ris located) were excavalte.d. A pal1t of thdJS paving was dJi:scovered shoWling a join 'With a floor of another .type of stone of which not even one section ·was preserved. Thi·s could .indicate rt'he complete demo}iNon of alil paga.n elemen:ts on <the Noor of :the mau.soleUlffi when lit WaiS rturned into a cathedra!!. Ln !the deepest stra!turm below 'the pav.ing of the :mausoleum a stone -slab with a relief of a kantharos was d!i:scovered, aIS were 'two crosses pa.inted in red on the wall of :the m&lsoleum. There were 1110 similar fllinds ·in any other part of the church. The author suggests that ,these were fuum the earLiest per1iod. Hli:stol1ians do not agree about ,the exact date when the marlllSOleum was oonveI1ted into a cathedral. The alitar of St AnasatSlbus (a co<patrron of :the Split archbiJshapl1ic martyre.d in Salona dul1ing the lfeiJ~ of Diocletian) was a:lway;s srl,bualted :iJn <the same locatJion m 'the ohurch. Only a pwt of :the ba:se of rthe al!tarin the SW pa!rt was preserved Dn the deepes.t 'Srtratum. lI!istoIficai1 sources claim ,that an a!litar was bUlilt lin 1209-1210 on the oome locatli.on. A part of Wts base 'and -steps was found. In rthe iiil1st layer of plaster on the wa!lLs of 'the mausoleu.m <which onilgin.ally were not plastered) a ·small sectJion of a firesao wirthout dcorrographic C<XIJtent was preserved aa1d ddsaovered ,in 1974. six rtdangul'ar s.labs wirth tlJ.e stJonemason rma!J1kls A, B, C, D, G and H were ddscovered as spona jn the base of ·the Gothic ai1ta:r !irom 1448. The author suggest-s that <the ISlalbs were a PBlI1t of mhe -rodf of .the <squme oibo:ni.um of the altar of St Anastasius. The fresoo and ciborium cOUJld also belong to the earlier altar which was only partJia!liy .renovated in 1209-1210. The authoc plTefers ilie hypothesiJs rthat tthe entire allrtar was Ifrom <that poc.iod and thalt >it was buIi1t by the Spliit archbishopBel1llw (b. Perugia ea. 1140 -d. Split 1217), a learned monk tirom the Benedio1lillle abbey of Samta Mama de Farneto (Chiusi). He was archbishop tirom 1197 or U98 and was very Wluential at the Hung3Jl1ian royal court. Remms of such early frescoes and oil)Oria are not pITeserved elsewhere in the SpLt cathedraL.

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