Comacine Emblems of Ninth Century Carved in Church of Saint Abbondio At Milan, Italy
enclosed by walls. Towers were constructed on walls in the twelfth century. Portions of the walls are now to be seen in the garden of Liceo Volta. Baths common in all Roman cities have been discovered. Fortifications erected previous to 1117 were largely cunstructed with Roman inscribed sepulchral urns and other remains, in which most all Roman cities were unusually rich.
It is usual to record that Como was the birthplace of the elder and younger Pliny. The younger Pliny had a villa here called Comedia and was much interested in building the city having founded baths, a library, and aided in charity for the support of orphan children. Of the many letters of the younger Pliny that remain, one is to his builder, Mustio, a Comacine architect, commissioning him to restore the temple of the Eleusinian Ceres, in which, after explaining the form of design he wished it to take, he concludes : ''. . . at least, unless you think of something better, you, whose Art can always overcome difficulties of position. " There was an early church of Saints Peter and Paul in the fifth century that stood outside of The town, and the site is now occupied by the Romanesque church of Saint Abbondio, founded 1013, and consecrated 1095.
There are found many interesting intrench remains of early carvings of the Comacine or Solomon's Knot (see the illustration of parapet).
On a site of an earlier church stands the present Cathedral of Como, which is built entirely of marble.
It was begun in 1396 A.D., but was altered in the period from 1487-1526 A.D., into Renaissance. Authors disagree as to whether the church was restored or rebuilt. The faade, 1457-86 A.D., follows in its lines the old Lombard form, but the dividing pilasters are lavishly enriched, being perpendicular niches with a statue in each.
Scott says that ''During the years from 1468 to 1492 the books of the Lodge, preserved in the archives, abound in names of Magistri from the neighborhood of Como, both architects and sculptors, and among them was Tommaso Rodari, who entered the Lodge in 1490, with a letter of recommendation from the Duke, advising that he be specially trained in the Art of Sculpture. He and four others were sent to Rome to remain ten years, and perfect themselves in sculpture, to study the antique, and to return to the laborerium as fully qualified masters."
Rodari returned and sculptured a most beautiful North door of the Cathedral in rich ornate Renaissance style, although the lions are still under the columns, thus preserving a Comacine symbol so universally common in earlier times of pure Lombard style.
The history of Como as a city with her various fortunes and defeats during the invasions of barbarians and her long conflicts with her old enemy, Milan, may be found elsewhere. What interests us is the early colonization by Rome and her subsequent relations to Architecture at the Renaissance.
Soon after 89 B.C. Rome sent 3,000 colonists to Como, and Artificers were certainly among them, and in 59 B.C. Caesar sent 5,000 more, and the place received the name Novum comum and received Latin rights (see Comacine Masters).
In French Freemasonry, a Fellow Craft is so called, and the grade du Compagnon is the Degree of Fellow Craft.
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