This is Lampe's map of the ancient city of Rome, from page 477 of his work. He notes the various regions of the earliest church, indicated by Roman Numerals. The locations of the later tituli churches mentioned in the previous posting are indicated and the various "ecclesiastical regions" that he has traced throughout the book. The dark heavy line is the Tiber river. (If I had to provide a scale for this map, I would suggest that the Trastevere area, region VII, is approximately 1 square km.)
Following up on my previous post about the early Christians in Rome, I wanted to provide some further detail that both demonstrates the level of detail that Peter Lampe was working with, and provides a touching portrait of what life must have been like for Christians in earliest Rome.
The following selection describes the Trastevere section of the city; Robert Jewett, in his work on Paul, describes the district briefly: "'Trastevere was the harbor and worker quarter; it contained harbor workers …, laborers in the many warehouses, seamen and brick and tile workers….potters…millers working with imported grain…tanners and leatherworkers.' Roman statistics indicate that Trastevere was the most densely populated section of the city with the highest proportion of high-rise slum dwellings in the city…Trastevere was full of immigrants out of the East and was the site of mystery religion shrines and temples. This section, which lay across the Tiber from the rest of Rome, was left untouched by the Roman fire, which may account in part for the later scapegoating of Christians by Nero."
Here is Lampe's account:
Pre-Pauline Christians are attested for Rome (Romans; Acts 28:15) and Puteoli (Acts 28:13). …The Christian presence in Puteoli and Rome correlates with a twofold background. …Christianity spread along the trade routes that Judaism had already followed: the synagogues were the setting for the first Christian mission…The Jewish as well as the Christian “axis” Puteoli-Rome has a particular economic-historical background. The stretch Puteoli-Rome was the main trade route between the East and the city of Rome in the first half of the first century. The road of Judaism and Christianity from the east to Rome followed in the footsteps of trade. Were there tradespersons among the first Christians in Italy? Was the tentmaker Aquila (Acts 18, 1 Cor, Romans 16) from Pontus (see below) representative of the first urban Roman Christians?["Vici" here are "small city districts." Each was "an administrative unit directed by four vici magistri and four servo public. From Lampe pgs 7, 9-10, 50-51].
A fragment of the Severian marble city plan shows a piece of the Via Campana-Portuensis; it is bordered by large warehouses. Trastevere was a harbor quarter, a workers quarter. It accommodated harbor workers, who unloaded the ships’ cargoes, porters of the many warehouses, sailors, and also workers from the brickyards on the Vatican slopes. Many brick-stamps that lie before our feet in the catacombs were pressed in the Vatican brickworks.
Shopkeepers and small craftsmen were drawn by the harbor and its imported goods – ivory carvers, cabinet makers, and potters. Millers from Trastevere ground the imported grains unloaded in the harbor. The mills were along the Tiber and on the east slope of the Gianicolo above the trans-Tiber plain, where they were driven by the water of the Aqua Traiana.
Knacker and tanner operations spread a penetrating odor: The “dog’s skin that hangs in Trastevere” stank pervasively (Martial 6.93). The Corariara Septiminiana, a leather factory of the XIVth Region, is thought to have been uncovered beneath S. Caecelia. In the floor of a large room were found seven cylindrically formed, brick-walled basins that seem to have been used for tanning leather. Where the corarii (tanners) practiced their industry was the worst living quarter one can imagine. The tanners worked with urine from the public conveniences; the stench hung over the quarter. Martial was disgusted by the Roman tanner who kissed him all over to welcome him back from a trip (12.59)
Trade, industry, transport – the common people of Trastevere lived from them, whether free or slave. … Trastevere was extremely densely populated. In an official inscription of Hadrian from the year 136, there are twenty-two vici listed for Trastavere (Region XIV), while, for other regions (I, X, XII, XIIII), only 9, 6, 12, or 17 vici, respectively, are noted.
I am wondering, for those Roman Catholics who simply assume that there was some kind of "successor of Peter" in Rome, in the form of a monarchical bishop over all the city, much less, over all the world, how many of them were aware of the political structures of the Roman "vici"? Or the network of synagogues, near which the house-church "parishes" emerged? Or that these groups were very far away from each other, because it was a very large city? And the people of these communities weren't mobile, because they were poor?