Using data collected in the early Christian catacombs of St. Callixtus on the Appian Way and comparing these with data from the Jewish catacombs of Villa Torlonia on the Via Nomentana, this article discusses what sort of labor the building of the early Christian catacombs of Rome entailed, what kind of investment this required, and how these expenses related to the costs incurred in other big architectural projects dating to the same general period. It then explores the significance of these expenses by historically contextualizing the evidence in reference to current debates on the issue of early Christian catacomb organization, early Christian social history, and managerial developments within the early church. The article concludes by highlighting how economic feasibility was a major factor that allowed the early Christian catacombs to develop into huge communal cemeteries and how this development, in turn, affected early Christian identity formation.

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