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) are ancient catacombs, underground burial places under Rome, Italy, of which there are at least forty, some discovered only in recent decades.
Though most famous for Christian burials, either in separate catacombs or mixed together, people of all the Roman religions are buried in them, beginning in the 2nd century AD, mainly as a response to overcrowding and shortage of land.
At first, these tunnels were probably not used for regular worship, but simply for burial and, extending pre-existing Roman customs, for memorial services and celebrations of the anniversaries of Christian martyrs.
There are sixty known subterranean burial chambers in Rome.
The Christian catacombs are extremely important for the art history of Early Christian art, as they contain the great majority of examples from before about 400 AD, in fresco and sculpture, as well as gold glass medallions (these, like most bodies, have been removed).
The Jewish catacombs are similarly important for the study of Jewish culture at this period.
He became blind before his death, but when important issues were under discussion he was carried to the assembly to give his opinion, which was usually accepted. Machiavelli wrote of him, "It cannot be called prowess to kill fellow-citizens, to betray friends, to be treacherous, pitiless, and irreligious" and cited him as an example of "those who by their crimes come to be princes." According to the historian Justin, very early in life Agathocles parlayed his remarkable beauty into a career as a prostitute, first for men, and later, after puberty, for women, and then made a living by robbery before becoming a soldier and marrying a rich widow.
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About 80% of the excavations used for Christian burials date to after the time of the persecutions.
built vast systems of galleries and passages on top of each other.
Passages are about 2.5 by 1 metre (8.2 ft × 3.3 ft). They are 40–60 centimetres (16–24 in) high and 120–150 centimetres (47–59 in) long.
Bodies were placed in chambers in stone sarcophagi in their clothes and bound in linen.