Talia Di Manno - Portrait

Talia Di Manno

Anthony M. Clark/Samuel H. Kress Foundation Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize
September 7, 2018–July 26, 2019
PhD Candidate, Department of History, University of California, Berkeley
Project title
Christian Archaeology in Rome: The Early Church Reborn and New Empiricism of the Sacred, 1592–1644
Project description

Christian antiquities emerged at the forefront of Roman intellectual and cultural life between 1592 and 1644 thanks to new methods for studying ancient Christian objects, bodies, and spaces, sensationalized discoveries, and patronage of digs which publicized finds by restoring churches, hosting processions, and publishing texts. My dissertation argues that a set of under-studied discoveries linked to the Barberini in the 1620s and 1630s—the body of Pope Caius excavated from the catacombs; bodies under the altars of Santa Bibiana, Santi Quattro Coronati, and Santa Martina; and early oratories that supposedly belonged to Pope Sylvester, and Paul and Luke—marked a crucial moment in Rome when the empirical sciences merged with the apologetic and political aims of papal families to align themselves with places associated with the early church. I examine how digs were workshops for co-opting scientific discourse, and testing conceptions of “authenticity” and “proof” in the early modern era.