New Book | St Paul’s outside the Walls

Posted in books by Editor on July 20, 2018

From Cambridge UP:

Nicola Camerlenghi, St Paul’s outside the Walls: A Roman Basilica, from Antiquity to the Modern Era (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 350 pages, ISBN: 9781108429511, $125.

This volume examines one of Rome’s most influential churches: the principal basilica dedicated to St Paul. Nicola Camerlenghi traces nearly two thousand years of physical transformations to the church, from before its construction in the fourth century, to its reconstruction following a fire in 1823. By recounting this long history, he restores the building to its rightful place as a central, active participant in epochal political and religious shifts in Rome and across Christendom, as well as a protagonist in western art and architectural history. Camerlenghi also examines how buildings in general trigger memories and anchor meaning, and how and why buildings endure, evolve and remain relevant in cultural contexts far removed from the moment of their inception. At its core, Saint Paul exemplifies the concept of building as process, not product: a process deeply interlinked with religion, institutions, history, cultural memory and the arts. This study also includes state-of-the-art digital reconstructions synthesizing a wealth of historical evidence to visualize and analyze the earlier (now lost) stages of the building’s history, offering glimpses into heretofore unexamined parts of its long, rich life.

Nicola Camerlenghi is Assistant Professor of Art History at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire. A native of Italy and Switzerland, he has been a fellow at the Bibliotheca Hertziana and the Swiss Institute in Rome. His collaborative projects in the Digital Humanities have been awarded grants from the Kress Foundation.


1  Paul’s Place in Rome: Tomb, Trophy, and the Basilica of the Constantinian Dynasty, ca. 67–386
2  The Basilica of the Theodosian Dynasty, 386–410
3  The Early Transformations, 410–700
4  A Fortress of Faith during the Heart of the Middle Ages, 700–1050
5  The Advent, Apogee, and End of St Paul’s Golden Age, 1050–1423
6  Rebirth and Modernization, 1423–1655
7  Restoring and Reconstructing St Paul’s during the Long Eighteenth Century, 1655–1823
Epilogue: The Basilica Is Dead, Long Live the Basilica!

Appendix A  Reconciling the Evidence and Making the Model
Appendix B  Carolingian-era Patronage

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