The Pre-Euphrasius Era
When, in the 6th century, Bishop Euphrasius started on his great (and great not only architecturally) undertaking, he was not starting from nothing. In the area from which his majestic basilica was to arise, and a series of other buildings alongside it, there were already earlier sacred buildings in existence, dating from the 4th century, probably from immediately after 313. When Christianity was still not recognised, the first communities adapted some existing buildings for their services. Floor mosaics in which there are motifs of tendrils, meanders and pictures of fish that point clearly to their symbolic significance belong to the first oratory, the remains of which are to be found alongside the Basilica of Euphrasius itself. In the upper part of a square mosaic with a cantharos the names of the donors who had the mosaic made, and the number of feet of area, are written. There are several such examples of names of donors, in the mosaics that have been excavated under the north nave of the Basilica of Euphrasius. From all these floor mosaics and from the inscriptions that have been preserved we are able to follow the phases of the building, adaptations and renovations, in other words, the dynamics of the life of the Christian community in Poreč of the pre-Euphrasian era. From one stone slab with an inscription we learn of the transfer of the body of the saint and martyr of Poreč, St Maurus from the graveyard “outside the town” to the place where “he had been bishop”. This place is the new hall built alongside the earlier oratory, and identical to it, through which a twin basilica, basilicae geminae, came into being.