Churches and shrines were soon being built throughout the empire, many sponsored by Constantine himself. These buildings were usually five-aisled basilicas, such as Old St. Peter’s in Rome, or basilican-plan buildings centring upon a round or polygonal shrine, such as that in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Large-scale sculpture was not popular, but relief sculpture on sarcophagi, such as that of Junius Bassus (died 359), and ivory carvings and book covers continued to be produced. The walls of the churches were decorated with paintings or mosaics to instruct the faithful. The church of Sta. Maria Maggiore in Rome has an extensive mosaic program of Old and New Testament scenes that was begun in 432. Painting also illustrated liturgical books and other manuscripts.

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