Donation of Rome
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Donation of Rome

The emperor Constantine kneels before Pope Sylvester in the act of offering him the city of Rome, symbolized by the golden statue. The foundation of the state of the church and justification for the temporal power of the Popes was based on this episode (subsequently proved to be legendary). Sylvester has the traits of Clement VII (pontiff from 1523 to 1534) and the episode documents the interior, later destroyed, of the old early Christian basilica of St Peter's.