Early Christian Chapels in the West: Decoration, Function, and Patronage


378 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-8020-3504-3
DDC 726'.4




Reviewed by Susan McKnight

Susan McKnight is an administrator of the Courts Technology Integrated Justice Project at the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.


Early Christian Chapels in the West is the most complete history written
to date about various chapels built between A.D. 312 and A.D. 740 in
Italy or Istria. Much human history can be inferred from the decorative
detail and the saints associated with these religious edifices. The
chapels often served as the cornerstones of local communities, helping
to keep them intact.

The introduction offers an overview of the origins, semantics, and
functions of the chapels. Part 1 provides historical, geographical, and
geological background. Part 2, which makes up the bulk of the book,
presents detailed descriptions of individual chapels. The lively text is
supplemented with blueprints, maps, photographs, and sketches. The book
also includes a valuable appendix titled “Short Catalogue of Chapels
Mentioned in This Book,” extensive footnotes, and a 28-page

Gillian Mackie teaches history in art at the University of Victoria.


Mackie, Gillian., “Early Christian Chapels in the West: Decoration, Function, and Patronage,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/17546.