Monday, 7 February 2011

The church of St. Clemente and the "comics"

San Clemente, very close by the Colosseum, is a church built on three levels: the upper and lower basilica and a roman house (II century A.D.). In the lower basilica it has been represented the legend of Sisinnio. He was the prefect of Rome and he married a woman called Teodora who has been convinced by Clemente, the saint to whom the church is dedicated, to remain virgin. Sisinnio, angry at his wife, decided one day to follow her with his soldiers and he found her in a catacomb attending a mess by Clemente. He then ordered to his soldiers to tie Clemente up and take him away but, according to the legend, he became istantaneously a marble column and because of his weight he couldn't be brought anywhere. The expressions readable from the fresco, which they make looking the story as a "comics", are from 1100 ca and they are the oldest known artistic utilization of the so called "vulgar" (a language between latin and italian). The most famous expression is "fili de la pute traite" meaning: son of a bitch pull him up! One of the first expressions in "vulgar" is an insult!