CATACOMB, n. A cave, grotto or subterraneous place for the burial of the dead. It is said to have been originally applied to the chapel of St. Sebastian in Rome, where the ancient Roman Calendars say, the body of St. Peter was deposited. It is now applied to a vast number of subterraneous sepulchers, about three miles from Rome, in the Appian way; supposed to be the cells and caves in which the primitive Christians concealed themselves, and in which were deposited the bodies of the primitive martyrs. These are visited by devout people, and relics are taken from them, baptized by the Pope and dispersed through Catholic countries. Each catacomb is three feet broad and eight or ten high; along the side walls are sepulchral niches, closed with thick tiles or pieces of marble. Catacombs are found also at Naples and in other places.