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Giovanni Giustino Ciampini

Ecclesiastical archaeologist (1633-1698)

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Ciampini, GIOVANNI GIUSTINO, ecclesiastical archaeologist, b. at Rome, 1633; d. there 1698. He graduated from the Roman University as a student of law but soon devoted himself to archaeological interests, which an important office (Magister brevium gratiae) in the Apostolic Chancery permitted him to pursue. He devoted himself with ador to the collection of books, coins, and statues, and to the creation of scientific circles for the development of antiquarian learning; thus he founded, in 1671, a society for ecclesiastical history and, in 1679, an academy of the sciences, the latter under the patronage of his friend, Queen Christina of Sweden. He continued the school of archaeological research begun by Onofrio Panvinio and Antonio Bosio, and carried on, though with inferior genius, by Fabretti, Boldetti, and Bottari, until, in our own days, Padre Marchi and Giovanni Battista De Rossi renewed the original traditions of scientific thoroughness. Apart from some minor archaeological studies and an investigation of the “Liber Pontificalis” (1693), he has left two illustrated works of permanent utility, one a history of the ancient churches East and West, built by Constantine the Great (De sacris dificiis a Constantino magno constructis, Rome, 1693), and the other a history of the art of mosaic (Vetera monimenta in quibus praecipua musiva opera…illustrantur, Rome, 2 vols., 1690-99). Both works contain good illustrations of many ancient Christian edifices and mosaics that have since perished or suffered change and deterioration; they contain, moreover, a rare ecclesiastical erudition, much of it yet useful. His works were edited (Rome, 1747) in three volumes by Giannini.


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