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capital
Sant'Eustorgio
Basilica di Sant'Eustorgio
Rainald von Dassel
Frederick Barbarossa
translatio
Dominican
Magi
Cologne Cathedral
Lombardy
Barbarossa
Three Kings
Milano
Milan
Mailand
Cologne
Italy
sarcophagus
Eustorgius


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Milan - Basilica di Sant'Eustorgio

Milan - Basilica di Sant'Eustorgio
Milan is the city capital of the Lombardy and the second most populous city in Italy after Rome. Known during Roman times as "Mediolanum" it was the place, where in 313 Constantine I and Licinius met and "signed" the "Edict of Milan", giving Christianity a legal status within the Roman empire.

At the end of the Roman empire Milan was besieged by the Visigoths in 402, looted by the Huns in 452, and taken by the Ostrogoths in 539. Only 30 years later is belonged to the Kingdom of the Lombards, until in 774 Charlemagne defeated the Langobards and added Milan to the Carolingian empire. During Barbarossa´s (Frederik I) "Italian Campaigns" Milan was taken and destroyed to a great extent.

Only a few large structures survived the fury. One of them was the Basilica di San Lorenzo (see previous uploads). The Basilica di Sant'Eustorgio, located only about 500 ms south of the Basilica di San Lorenzo, existed already since centuries at that time, as it was founded in the 4th century. The name refers to Eustorgius I, the bishop of Milan (~350).

It is attributed to Eustorgius to have translated the relics of the Magi to the city from Constantinople in 344, a present of Roman Emperor Constantius II (337-361). This legend came up in the 12th century, when the "new" Basilica di Sant'Eustorgio was erected in Romanesque style.

When Milano was sacked by Frederick Barbarossa, the relics of the Magi were appropriated and subsequently taken to Cologne by his close advisor Rainald of Dassel, Archbishop of Cologne. Actually the relics are still in the Cologne Cathedral, where the are kept in the "Shrine of the Three Kings". Some fragments of the holy bones were sent back from Cologne to Milano in 1903.

Milano had been a center of pilgrimage over a long time, but since 1164 the relics of the Magi attracted a stream of pilgrims to Cologne, what was very important for that city.

From the 13th century the church was the main Milanese seat of the Dominican Order, who promoted its rebuilding - and radically altered it with the construction of the south transept, the main crossings and within the 15th century by adding chapels (for noble families). The alterations of the 17th and 18th century were elimimnated by the restyling work of the 19th century "recreating" the original Lombard Romanesque forms.

A huge sarcophagus was the "home" of the Magi´s relics upto the day, when Rainald von Dassel, who had just become Archbishop of Cologne and Archchancellor of Italy, entered the Basilica. In 1164 he brought the bones of the Magi with him to Cologne as loot from Milan and as a gift of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Here is the inscription on the sarcophagus.

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