History of Vatican City (history of the Vatican)
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In 1929 the Lateran Treaty allowed the State of the Vatican City to be formed, and thenceforth ruled by the Bishop of Rome - the Pope.
History of Vatican City: Site History of the Vatican City
The original lands that the Vatican City occupies today was also the site of Roman Emperor Nero's Circus. The obelisk in the center of the Vatican square (the only remnant of the original Circus) was originally part of Heliopolis (an ancient Egyptian city which stood in the vicinity of present day Cairo) but taken by Roman Emperor Caligula and erected close to where it stands today.
The site of the Circus of Nero has the notorious reputation of being the place where many Christians were martyred. It is also believed that St Peter was crucified upside down here.
Site History of the Vatican City: The original Basilica
Much to Michelangelo's despair the original Basilica including its ancient Roman columns and facade was clumsily torn down by Borromeo (the Pope's architect and initial designer of St Peters Basilica) and very little of the original structure was salvaged. This was not to be the start of a good relationship between the two...
In later years the area that the Vatican now occupies was to be included in the fortified walls of Rome - the other side of the Tiber River but still within the Ancient City walls. This format was to be convenient for the Lateran Treaty.
History of Vatican City: The Lateran Treaty
After Rome became part of the Italian kingdom in 1870 the position of the Pope and Catholic Church became an anomaly. The Pope and his duties were largely recognized and they were undisturbed in the Vatican grounds, although officially they considered themselves imprisoned.
It was the Lateran treaty of 1929 that recognized the Vatican State (the boundaries were much influenced by the position of the old fortified walls of Rome). The treaty was agreed upon between Benito Mussolini, King Victor Emmanuel III and Pope Pius XI. All parties agreed to the fact that it was not to be associated, or thought of, as a last vestige of the Papal States.
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