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Giovanni Giustino Ciampini

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An ecclesiastical archaeologist, born at Rome, 1633; died 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 gratiæ ) in the Apostolic Chancery permitted him to pursue. He devoted himself with ardour 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 Alarchi and Giovanni Battista De Rossi renewed the original traditions of scientific thoroughess. Apart from some minor archaeological studies" (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 aedificiis 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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