|Antonio Averulino ("il Filarete")
The Martyrdom of St. Peter
St. Peter's Basilica, Rome
In the upper
right quadrant Nero sends St. Peter off to be executed (see detail). A procession of
soldiers conducts him to the place of execution in the upper left,
where he is crucified upside-down (see
In the bottom
register the two pyramids and the taller structure between them are
mausolea that stood along the street leading to what is now St. Peter's
Basilica. They were dismantled in the 7th century but continued
to figure in some images of St. Peter's execution. The flowing
water that divides these structures from the main composition
represents the Tiber.
I have not
identified the female figure to the right of the pyramid on the left (see detail). The helmet
suggests Minerva, but what would she be doing in this narrative?
And why do all those shields line the banks of the river?
More of St. Peter
Photographed at the site by Richard Stracke