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Their very presence proclaimed the church's teaching that the promise of the Old Testament would find fulfilment in the New Testament.12 In the scholarly literature, the two renowned throne scenes in the apses of the ambulatory at S. Costanza are always described as a later addition from the end of the fourth century, because the comparative iconographic method is regarded as the sole suitable one, i.e., it is believed that the two scenes echo the art of Christian apse decoration that has otherwise not survived. However, there is no evidence to support this claim. Why, following the death of Constantina, should anyone have been interested in or been authorised to decorate two apses that had heretofore been devoid of mosaics with a traditio legis (handing over of the law) and a traditio clavis (handing over of the keys)? Instead, these two apse mosaics should be regarded as an integral part of the overall decoration rather than as reflections of religious pictorial series that have not been preserved. The fact that Sts Peter and Paul are the main figures in the two mosaics indicates a keen interest on the part ofmembers ofthe imperial family in matters pertaining to theology and the Roman papacy In other words, financing the decoration of this mausoleum was their way of supporting the doctrines of the papal church, which itself did not yet dare to decorate its churches with images of Christ. It appears that the impetus for adorning churches with Christ's image came from private patrons.

The cupola mosaic in Centcelles (near Tarragona, Spain) is more difficult to assess since its function has not been conclusively established. There is little evidence to support the hypothesis that it was a funerary mosaic: no tomb or sarcophagus has ever been found. The edifice was undoubtedly a villa rustica with thermal baths and domed main rooms, one of whose domes is decorated with mosaics depicting Christian scenes as well as the villa's owner, who is depicted as the master of the hunt. The scenes from the Old and New Testament indicate that the owner was a Christian, but these decorations provide no insight into contemporaneous church decorations.13

During the first half of the fourth century, Christian art found far more fertile ground in the private and funerary sphere than in official ecclesiastical buildings, a fact that is borne out by the apse mosaics in both S. Pudenziana (Rome) and S. Aquilino (Milan). S. Pudenziana was built in the early fifth century in the private merchant's complex of a Roman named Pudens, while S. Aquilino may have been an imperial mausoleum from the late fourth century. The church shied away from any comparisons with temples and their

12 B. Brenk, Spätantike und frühes Christentum, 50.

13 Brenk, Spatantike und frühes Christentum, 50; Helmut Schlunk, Die Mosaikkuppel von Centcelles.

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