In Byzantium and in the Latin West the theological and political legacy of Constantine the Great was particularly heavy from the very beginning, in relation to the earlier religious images and principally to the new iconic figural and non-figural symbols of the Christian salvation. Between the fifth and the sixth centuries, the papal and orthodox use of Constantine’s image found a first expression in the most ancient Latin version of pope Sylvester’s legend (Actus Silvestri). Shortly afterwards the hagiographical nucleus of this legend became part of pope Sylvester’s biography, with which begins the Liber Pontificalis of the Roman Church, indeed one of the principal sources for the spread of the legendary account of Constantine’s baptism and the image of Constantine as generous benefactor of the papacy. These themes nourished the hagiographical and theological-political imagery of the Christian West for more than a millennium. Between the eight and the ninth centuries and then from the eleventh century onwards, they gave rise to the Roman bishopric’s various claims of a universal primacy confirmed by law, already expressed in the Constitutum Constantini and the pseudo-Isidorian Decretales. Scholarship has clarified the general features of this complex subject. Here we will present a mnemo-historical reading that will outline the subject’s multifaceted and protean hermeneutic potential, in relation to the connection between power and salvation and to the legitimization of the Christian sovereignty through the iconic signs of the divine presence. This will involve a discussion on the mythical image of Constantine as patron of Christ’s images in churches – in support of which there is no archaeological evidence – and on the Lateran basilica of the Saviour, which was the first church of Rome and, until the end of the thirteenth century, the most prestigious container of relics and memory of the Medieval West.

Costantino e l’immagine del Salvatore. Una prospettiva mnemostorica sull’aniconismo cristiano antico

CANETTI, LUIGI
2009

Abstract

In Byzantium and in the Latin West the theological and political legacy of Constantine the Great was particularly heavy from the very beginning, in relation to the earlier religious images and principally to the new iconic figural and non-figural symbols of the Christian salvation. Between the fifth and the sixth centuries, the papal and orthodox use of Constantine’s image found a first expression in the most ancient Latin version of pope Sylvester’s legend (Actus Silvestri). Shortly afterwards the hagiographical nucleus of this legend became part of pope Sylvester’s biography, with which begins the Liber Pontificalis of the Roman Church, indeed one of the principal sources for the spread of the legendary account of Constantine’s baptism and the image of Constantine as generous benefactor of the papacy. These themes nourished the hagiographical and theological-political imagery of the Christian West for more than a millennium. Between the eight and the ninth centuries and then from the eleventh century onwards, they gave rise to the Roman bishopric’s various claims of a universal primacy confirmed by law, already expressed in the Constitutum Constantini and the pseudo-Isidorian Decretales. Scholarship has clarified the general features of this complex subject. Here we will present a mnemo-historical reading that will outline the subject’s multifaceted and protean hermeneutic potential, in relation to the connection between power and salvation and to the legitimization of the Christian sovereignty through the iconic signs of the divine presence. This will involve a discussion on the mythical image of Constantine as patron of Christ’s images in churches – in support of which there is no archaeological evidence – and on the Lateran basilica of the Saviour, which was the first church of Rome and, until the end of the thirteenth century, the most prestigious container of relics and memory of the Medieval West.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/77130
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