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20Apr

Finding Chrysanthus and Daria

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 | Did you know? | 0 comment | 20 April 2011 - 17:03:46

tags  Finding Chrysanthus and Daria

Evidence suggests skeletal remains found in a cathedral in Reggio Emilia, Italy may belong to the early-Christian martyr saints Chrysanthus and Daria. In 2008, during renovations of the cathedral, over 300 bones, composing two nearly complete skeletons, were found under the altar. The missing skulls were later found in a cathedral vault, inside a pair of silver and gold busts.

According to legend, the young aristocratic Chrysanthus, recently converted to Christianity, is forced by his father to marry the vestal virgin Daria. His father’s attempt to distract Chrysanthus from his newfound religion is unsuccessful and Chrysanthus manages to convert Daria to Christianity. The pair married, but maintained their celibacy. Together they worked to convert others to Christianity. The Roman Empire viewed both their fruitless marriage and their missionary work as subversive to Roman culture. As punishment, Chrysanthus is imprisoned and Daria is forced into prostitution. Both are spared from these fates by divine intervention. However, for their crimes against the state, the pair is eventually sentenced to death by live burial in Rome. The venerated bones of saints Chrysanthus and Daria are said to have traveled around Italy, ending up in Reggio Emilia c. A.D. 1000.

Ezio Fulcheri, a paleopathologist at the University of Genoa, leads the archeological investigation. Through analysis of the bones, Fulcheri and his team determined the sex of the skeletons, which was later confirmed through DNA testing. The team also determined the approximate ages of the skeletons using bone analysis. The female was most likely in her mid-20s at the time of her death. The male was most likely in his older teenaged years. These ages are congruent with the legend. The condition of the bones suggests that the skeletons belong to members of the aristocratic class. There is a lack of erosion of the bones that show neither participated in strenuous labor. There are also signs of lead poisoning, which only afflicted the Roman elite. A carbon test of ground bone from the skeletons indicates they date to between A.D. 80 and A.D. 340. The execution of Chrysanthus and Daria is believed to be c. A.D. 283.

Finding Chrysanthus and Daria

Evidence suggests skeletal remains found in a cathedral in Reggio Emilia, Italy may belong to the early-Christian martyr saints Chrysanthus and Daria. In 2008, during renovations of the cathedral, over 300 bones, composing two nearly complete skeletons, were found under the altar. The missing skulls were later found in a cathedral vault, inside a pair of silver and gold busts.

According to legend, the young aristocratic Chrysanthus, recently converted to Christianity, is forced by his father to marry the vestal virgin Daria. His father’s attempt to distract Chrysanthus from his newfound religion is unsuccessful and Chrysanthus manages to convert Daria to Christianity. The pair married, but maintained their celibacy. Together they worked to convert others to Christianity. The Roman Empire viewed both their fruitless marriage and their missionary work as subversive to Roman culture. As punishment, Chrysanthus is imprisoned and Daria is forced into prostitution. Both are spared from these fates by divine intervention. However, for their crimes against the state, the pair is eventually sentenced to death by live burial in Rome. The venerated bones of saints Chrysanthus and Daria are said to have traveled around Italy, ending up in Reggio Emilia c. A.D. 1000.

Ezio Fulcheri, a paleopathologist at the University of Genoa, leads the archeological investigation. Through analysis of the bones, Fulcheri and his team determined the sex of the skeletons, which was later confirmed through DNA testing. The team also determined the approximate ages of the skeletons using bone analysis. The female was most likely in her mid-20s at the time of her death. The male was most likely in his older teenaged years. These ages are congruent with the legend. The condition of the bones suggests that the skeletons belong to members of the aristocratic class. There is a lack of erosion of the bones that show neither participated in strenuous labor. There are also signs of lead poisoning, which only afflicted the Roman elite. A carbon test of ground bone from the skeletons indicates they date to between A.D. 80 and A.D. 340. The execution of Chrysanthus and Daria is believed to be c. A.D. 283.

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