Early Christian

In early Christianity there was not much design associated with this religion because it was not tolerated by the Romans. Many early Christians were persecuted and had to keep their religion secret from the rest of the population so there are few architectural examples or Christian architecture until Emperor Theodosius I made Christianity the official religion of the empire. But, the characteristics of early Christian architecture include; centrally planned building, separate baaptisteries, adaptation of Roman basilica form for churches, separation of interior of churches into nave and flanking aisles, clerestory, entrance of church opposite apse, towers flanking exonarthex, internal domes over crossing covered on exterior with square tower, and ambulatory around some buildings.


The Cross- the main symbol




The Greek letters CHI and RHO- form the monogram of Christ



Christ the Good Shepherd

Mary the Mother of Christ


Public Sites

Orientation- The apse, which houses the altar, orients to the east because Christ was crucified in Jerusalem. The entrance is opposite on the west side.

Facades- Walls are plain brick or stone with little artculation except doors and windows, unadorned exteriors, contrast sharply with the interior architectural delineation and decroation.

Doors- They are either carved wood or bronze. Surface decoration may enrich protals.

Roofs- They are gabled on bastilicas and domed on central plans. Rust colored clay tiles usually cover the surface.

Floorplans- Most churches follow the Roman basilica plan.

Public Buildings

 Newly developed forms of churches




Floors- They are black and white, gray, or colored marble; somr floors have elaborate patterens

Walls- The nave arcade, triumphal arch, and the apse display marble panels, frescoes, or mosaics. Decoration, which is simple to maximize the legibility, glorifies the Christian God and helps educate believers.

Mosaics- The tesserae; meaninf individual parts, are made of glass rather than marble. The glass gives a intense range of colors but little tonal variation. Colors include blue, green, purple, red, and gold.

Columns- Reused Roman or new classocozing columns carry the arcade or entablature separating the nave and the aisles. Capitals and columns frequently do not match.

Ceilings- They feature exposed timber trusses or beams.


Early Christian Furniture is limited. The most important pieces are the storage items found in churches.

Seating and lectern


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