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Byzantine Iconography

The orthodox icon as a place and way of multiple encounters

On the Divine Images I.16-17

Orthodox Art and Architecture

The honor and veneration of the holy icons

Byzantine Athens


Early Christian Art as Apologetic

L. W. Barnard Studies in Church History and Patristics,
26, . ,
1978, . 402- 415.



Studies of early Christian art have usually been written from the viewpoint of the Church historian, the art historian or the art critic. Few attempts have been made to study the function of iconography in early Christian piety. A notable exception is the work of A. Grabar (1) although even he does not consider the audience for early Christian iconography. Was this primarily aimed at a Christian audience, a concession to the needs of the faithful, or did the artists, by the evident ambiguity of their work, have a mixed audience in mind? Did they envisage both Christians and pagans viewing their work? Did they even envisage Christians interpreting to pagans the allusive motifs with which they worked? Or was their art (as many scholars would hold) a spontaneous expression of their own piety and religious feeling with no particular audience in mind? Or did these early artists simply use decorative schemes in common use in pagan iconography with little reference to Christianity? This chapter will attempt to answer some of these questions.


It is a commonplace that early Christian artists used the techniques of imagery and the language of the visual arts practiced in the Roman Empire during the second to the fourth centuries A. D. Often only a few new details were added to transform a familiar pagan image into a Christian one. The significance of the fact that only a very small space is given to figures of Christ, or symbols that stand for Christ, in early Christian art has not been fully realised by scholars. Before the conversion of the Emperor Constantine and the peace of the Church Christ only appears in the guise of allegorical symbols which have few individual traits. The main symbol, that of the Good Shepherd (2) carrying the lamb, is found in the catacombs, at Dura Europos and on the sarcophagi - indeed certain sarcophagi have three Good Shepherds having, indifferently, the features of an adolescent or an aged, bearded man. Sometimes the Shepherd is represented as playing on a bucolic pipe. The Christian artists certainly created, from the pagan symbol of philanthropia , the image of Christ which is most prominent in the third and fourth centuries A. D. Similarly the image of Christ as a philosopher, which is as early as that of the Good Shepherd, was an abstract concept. He is often shown as a bearded man with a nude or semi-nude torso in an exomis tunic, seated on a stool and reading a book or a scroll. This is based on pagan motifs and it is at times difficult to tell whether the figure is that of Christ or not.

The significant fact to emerge from a study of early Christian symbols of Christ is that while the theme of divine deliverance is very prominent no portrait of the central figure of the Christian faith, showing him alone and with distinctive human features, has been found before the late - fourth century A. D. (3) . When such portraits do emerge they show a bearded figure with large impressive eyes, long hair and the figure clad in a long white garment reaching to the feet. The cast of the countenance seems to be Caucasian, rather than Semitic, in spite of the fact that historically Jesus was a Jew (4) . Before the fourth century there exists only one picture of Christ per se. This was found in the excavated ruins of a house - Church at Dura - Europos on the river Euphrates, the easternmost frontier of the Roman Empire, and shows Jesus healing the paralytic as recorded in Mark 2,3-12 (5) . The picture, which is damaged, dates from c. 232 - 256 and as far as can be seen, depicts Jesus in a tunic and pallium , young and beardless with short hair, lie is shown as a person of some social rank in Roman society, rather than as a Jew, a young hero of their own time. As already mentioned the Good Shepherd figure is also found at Dura- Europos symbolising philanthropici which was adopted into Christian art representing John 10, 11. But the Dura - Europos finds are no exception to the rule that no portraits of Christ, with distinctive human features, showing him alone, are found before the late-fourth century. Before then only allusive symbols are used.

In contrast to this avoidance of pictures of the human Jesus before the late-fourth century portraits of the apostles are found at least as early as the third century and possibly earlier. Among these are images of Peter and Paul, grouped together on bronze medallions mostly found in Rome, and no doubt used by Christians who venerated the memory of these two apostles. These modest pieces show that, in the early period, the portrait was a commemorative image intended to record physical appearance. Why, then, have no portraits of Christ been found? One factor is that the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles contain no information about the physical appearance of Jesus beyond a few texts which mention his clothing (6) . The early artists thus had no literary descriptions with which to begin beyond the fact that he was a Palestinian Jew, which they seem to have ignored.

Another factor was that some Christians had an objection to portraying the divine which came from the Church's Jewish antecedents. There is no doubt that Judaism was a very strong influence in the early Christian centuries (7) particularly in the field of liturgy, homiletics and worship. Many Old Testament scenes appear in early Christian art although many Jews, and some Christians, held that the divine nature eluded artistic and historical presentation. There were circles in the early Church strongly opposed to the use of Christian images which they regarded as a corruption. So Tertullian (8) and Clement of Alexandria (9) have harsh comments about images. The bishops at the Council of Elvira (A. D. 306) enacted that there should be no paintings in a church. Eusebius of Caesarea rebuked Constantia, Constantine's sister, for wanting a picture of Christ (PG 20, 1845). While some Gnostic groups, in the late - second century, practised a form of image worship others were more reserved (10) . Attitudes towards portraits and images varied among early Christians and while it is true that a puritanical and ascetic anti - art strain is found in some writers (11) there is no main stream' literary evidence to support a theory that early Christians distinguished between portraits of Christ and those of the apostles.

Another theory, popularised by S. G. F. Brandon (12) , is that the early Christians were mainly concerned with the spiritual significance of Jesus, rather than with his earthly life, and so had little incentive to produce human portraits of their Lord. So Paul wrote: 'Wherefore we henceforth know no man after the flesh: even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him so no more' (2 Cor. 5, 16). Believing that the existing world - order would soon end when Christ would return in power and glory to judge mankind the Pauline congregations looked forward to meeting the Lord in the clouds of heaven (1 Thess. 4, 17). The earthly life of Jesus was thus of little moment, a temporary episode in the divine plan of salvation which belonged only to the past. There are however weighty objections to Brandon's theory. The fact that the early Church fought so strongly against the docetic denial of the reality of the human flesh of Jesus suggests that the early Christians were concerned with the reality of his earthly existence. While a selective use of the Pauline Epistles might suggest that the apostle was mainly concerned with the risen, spiritual Jesus in fact a careful reading of them in toto shows that Paul did not, in fact, minimize the historical reality of his pre-resurrection existence. Then there is the fact that the Gospels, from the mid-second century, circulated widely and gradually drove the Gnostic apocryphal Gospels from the field-which suggests that Christians were concerned with historical reality rather than fantasy. The death blow dealt to Gnosticism by the late-second century shows that the conception of a spiritualised aeon- Christ had been firmly rejected in favour of a person who lived a real life, died and rose again. It would seem that the absence of portraits of Christ before the late fourth century cannot be explained solely from the influence of the Church's Jewish antecedents or from a pre-occupation with futurist eschatology. It is significant that more than one half of all images which have come down from Christian antiquity are representations of historical figures. Why then were early Christian artists so allusive and ambiguous in their use of symbols for Christ and why did they employ so few figures compared with pagan usage and the later funerary art of the Middle Ages?

Associated with this is the striking fact that no portraits of the crucifixion occur in Christian iconography before A. D. 432, apart from a few engraved gems of uncertain date. This is strange in view of the concentration in the Gospels on the story of the Passion of Jesus. No doubt the Cross is alluded to in such emblematic forms as the anchor but no actual picture of a dead Christ on the Cross is found before the fifth century. According to A. Grabar (13) and E. Bickerman (14) this absence of the crucifixion is to be explained by the lack of a dignified pagan or Jewish model for this image. This seems an unlikely explanation for the omission of what was a central fact in the early Christian preaching. A more likely explanation is that Christians shrank from incurring the mockery of pagans in whose eyes the Crucifixion was a sign of disgrace. A scurrilous drawing, found scratched on a wall of a house on the Palatine hill in Rome, illustrates this. This shows a man worshipping a crucified human figure with the head of an ass with these words scrawled: Alexamenos worships his god (15) . This apparent parody of Christian worship of the crucified Christ shows how easily the crucifixion could be misrepresented in pagan slander. The political factor may also have exercised an influence. Jesus historically had stood trial on political charges and had been executed as a Roman prisoner on a charge of sedition. This was a powerful symbol as long as Christianity was a small sect contra mundum , a 'protest' group (16) . His death then identified him S with the outcast and alienated of the world. However as the Church, from the second century onwards, came into contact with Graeco -Roman society and had to define its attitude to contemporary culture, it would have been unwise to provide pictorial reminders of the potential political danger of Christianity to the State exemplified in the crucifixion of its founder on political charges. The Church in fact tacitly dropped the 'execution of a prisoner' symbol and concentrated on the theme of life and deliverance - such as in the picture of the healing of the para lytic at Dura- Europos , already mentioned, the healing of the woman with the issue of blood and the raising of Lazarus (17) . There is only one possible reference to the passion of Christ in early catacomb iconography. It is in a scene in the catacomb of Praetextatus , dated by some scholars to the first half of the third century, which may show the crowning with thorns (18) . The figure of Christ however is not that of a tortured victim but of a serene figure wearing a crown of foliage acclaimed by by - standers holding palm branches, a symbol of victory. This is a transformation of the scene recorded in the Gospels and emphasises the theme of deliverance and victory, rather than the sufferings of the crucified. This is remarkable in view of the space accorded to the Passion in the Gospel narratives (one quarter of Mark alone) and the great emphasis on the crucifixion in later western church doctrine and practice. I do not believe that this transformation was due to the inability of the early Christians to grasp that Christ had died the real death symbolised so vividly in the later pietas such as that by Michaelangelo in the Cathedral at Florence. Why then was there such a reluctance to portray Christ with human features in his human life, passion and death?


The fact that some pagans parodied the worship of the crucified Christ and the possibility of the political element being misunderstood suggests that the audience for early Christian art, including catacomb art, could not have been solely Christian. The question of the sitz - im - leben of the early artists has rarely been discussed - although this is I believe crucial for the understanding of the symbols which they used. By the second century Christianity was no longer a sect sharply separated from contemporary life. There is the interesting fact that certain catacombs were used by heterodox groups; so the arcosolium of Viba , part of the Christian catacomb, was used by a sect called the Sabazians , as its dedication indicates. The Valentinians moreover used a large amphora in the Cava della Rosa. Orthodox and 'fringe' Christians used the same places for worship. Christian artists were not simply working for the group to which they themselves belonged but their work might be seen by pagans as well as members of 'fringe' sects.

I wish now to suggest that a study of early Christian apologetic literature throws fresh light on the question why no portraits of a human Jesus or a dead Christ on the Cross are found before the late - fourth century. It is I believe significant that none of the following second century Christian writers mention the earthly life or death of Jesus - Athenagoras , Tatian , Theophilus , the compiler of the Sentences of Sextus and Minucius Felix. We know however that in approaching certain non - Christians this neglect of Jesus was a strength, and not a weakness, strange though it appears to our modern biographical interests. This can be illustrated from the attitude of Galen, the celebrated physician, to Christianity. Galen's opinion of Christians was unbiased, sympathetic and non - polemical and he was particularly impressed by the high standard of morality found among Christians. He was also impressed by the attempt Christians were making to educate the multitude which he could fit into the categories provided by the Academic tradition. In the judgement of R. Walzer (19) Galen is the first pagan author who implicitly places Greek philosophy and the Christian religion on the same footing. Yet throughout his life Galen held that an uncritical faith in a particular founder of a school (whether Christian or pagan) was hostile to genuine knowledge and truth. He explicitly compares the followers of Moses and Christ to the degenerate philosophical and medical schools of the second century which put loyalty to the founder and the school before loyalty to the truth (20) . This pagan criticism of founders of schools, in which Christians were included, may be the reason why such writers as Athenagoras were careful to present Christianity as the truth rather than as a body of teaching laid down by Jesus (21) . Origen likewise was aware of pagan criticisms. He states that sometimes, in conversing with pagan friends, he found them so hostile to Christianity and the name of Christ, that he would conceal that his teaching was Christian until a point had been reached when the person approved of his teaching - only then would he disclose that the teaching was that of the Christians (22) .

I wish to suggest that much early Christian art falls into the cate gory of indirect apologetic and that this is one of the reasons for the neglect of the human portrait of Christ and the crucifixion scene before the late - fourth century. The fact that so many pagan symbols were used in early Christian art was, I suggest, not only due to the artists' background and training but to a conscious choice. They were conscious that the audience for their work was not only Christian but included pagans as well and they were intent on appealing obliquely to non - Christians through their art. The pagan symbols which they so readily used would have provided a bridge over which the pagan could pass. The themes of the Good Shepherd, the Philosopher, the Orans would have no particular significance at first for these pagans beyond what was already familiar to them. However with a deepening interest in, and understanding of, Christianity they would take on a new significance and predispose the viewer towards an understanding of Jesus. Cardinal Danielou has emphasised the missionary intention of the early Christian apologetic literature, i. e. it represents a genuine presentation of the Gospel to the pagan world using categories and philosophical thought forms of the day (23) . Much earlier Christian art, I suggest, had this missionary intent and, like the apologetic literature, provided stepping stones from paganism to Christianity. It presents Christianity as a new life, which delivers men from the power of sin and death, rather than as a body of teaching laid down by Jesus who had been crucified on a cross. The apologetic writings show that there was a widespread interest in Christianity from the second century onwards and early Christian art, in one sense, was not so much the art of an inner group but an attempt to demonstrate the continuity between pagan culture and Christianity through the use of familiar symbols such as the Good Shepherd and the Philosopher. If this view is correct even the catacombs should not be regarded as 'secret' places used for the celebrations of a persecuted cult - part of the ' disciplina arcani '. Catacomb art finds a parallel in the decorative art of Roman houses which could easily be adapted to new subjects; and as Roman house decoration could be appreciated by people from different backgrounds so catacomb art had this didactic purpose. Is it fanciful to envisage Christians showing non - Christian enquirers their catacombs as part of an attempt to commend the Gospel? Without interpretation certainly few pagans could have understood what they saw. In our view much early Christian art, with its neglect of portraits of Jesus, belongs to the category of indirect apologetic and was a conscious attempt to do this.

This may be further illustrated from a study of the remarkable mosaic pavement discovered in 1963 in a field at Hinton S. Mary, Dorset, probably dating from the early-fourth century, and now relaid in the British Museum. The larger portion of the pavement is a square in the centre of which is a roundel containing a male bust with the Chi - Rho monogram behind the head. Other themes depicted on the pavement are Bellerophon on Pegasus slaying the Chimaera and an animal hunt - although no human hunters are shown. The Hinton S. Mary mosaic seems to have come from the same workshop as produced the three figured Roman pavements found in the late - eighteenth century at Frampton in W. Dorset which are now lost (24) . Professor J. M. C. Toynbee, in her study of the Hinton S. Mary discovery (25) , has shown that these pavements are works of Christian, or at least Christian - sponsored, art. She points out that by the fourth century the representations in pagan art of traditional Graeco -Roman myths, gods, personifications, and motifs from daily life (such as hunting scenes) had increasingly assumed an allegorical and symbolic significance. The figure of the male bust with the Chi-Rho monogram is not however pagan, nor that of a Christian Emperor, but an image of Christ himself. The use of the myth of Bellerophon slaying the Chimaera in a Christian milieu is an allegory of the victory of life and virtue over death and evil, of truth over error - a Christianized pagan allegory (26) . Professor Toynbee plausibly argues that one reason why the Christian owner of the Hinton S. Mary room chose a pagan episode to illustrate allusively Christ's victory over death and evil was partly determined by a wish to emphasise that the pagan world had also had its praeparatio Evangelii and some light had relieved its darkness (27) . This was a powerful missionary theme.


The peace of the Church, and the founding of the Christian Empire, were not so important for a specific Christian iconography as one would have expected (28) . There was much continuity with the pre- Constantinian age - particularly in the field of sepulchral art. It is true however that many monuments have been lost through destruction, yet even the literary remains of the period are as silent as the architecture at tributed to Constantine and his court concerning specifically new Christian images. In the first half of the fourth century the walls of churches do not appear to have been decorated with mosaics or frescoes. Apart from the very few Christian subjects in the old vaults of the ambulatory of S. Constanza in Rome there is only the Chi-Rho monogram of Christ, already mentioned, which Constantine as a result of a vision is alleged to have placed on the shields of his soldiers and on the imperial standard, the labarum , a spear with the Chi Rho at the top and a crossbar from which hung a banner with busts of Constantine and his sons (29) . What Christian iconography there was in the Constantinian period tended in the main areas of the Empire to be political and concerned with the theme of universal power. So Constantine appears on coins enthroned on a seat of gold with the hand of God, from the sky, blessing or crowning him - the Christian Empire being a reflection of the heavenly Empire. The impetus to iconography in the main cities of the Empire came from the State, not the Church, in the fourth century. So Christian artists did not use theological or christological images to portray central Christian doctrines- but were more concerned to use the images of triumph and power taken over from imperial models. So the mosaics in the church of S. Maria Maggiore in Rome have the throne symbolising the powder of God in heaven, the recognition of the royalty of Christ by his people, foreign kings paying homage to the infant Christ, and the defeat of Herod. This appears to be based directly on the imperial abstract signs of supreme power, viz. of the Emperor and his dignitaries, the foreigners who recognize the power of the imperial monarch by their offerings, and the triumph over the enemies of the State. The Christian artists portray the great power of God or Christ - power which embraces the Empire and the barbarian peoples - indeed the whole universe. Christian iconography in the fourth century thus reflected the powerful monarchical influences at work in the Christian Empire - influences which may have been one of the reasons for the strong support that Arianism had for so long in the East. The theme of the power of Christ, rather than his sufferings, was the dominant one. A factor in this was the somewhat ambivalent, and perhaps intentionally ambiguous, policies adopted by Constantine and his successors, at least before the time of Gratian, towards the Church. Outwardly the Emperors were Christians. Yet they continued to discharge the office of pontifex maximus and allowed State support for the pagan priesthood and rituals. A considerable part of the art and architecture commissioned by the fourth century Christian Emperors was in fact pagan, not Christian. It is true that Constantine issued an edict urging pagan subjects to adopt Christianity, yet he allowed them freedom of worship and forbad Christians to molest them. Indeed there is some evidence that he made efforts to remain on good terms with pagans, particularly in Rome (30) . Even Constantius II, who issued fierce edicts against pagan practices, in fact never enforced them (31) . Valentinian I granted general toleration to all subjects of the Empire such that even the pagans praised him. Valens likewise allowed the pagans full religious freedom. It was Theodosius who made the first determined effort to establish orthodox religion as the unchallenged religion of the State. So the fourth century Christian artists did not use theological models but reflected in their work the ambiguity of the attitude of the Christian Emperors towards Christianity. Hence the lack of a specifically new Christian imagery.

What was the audience for fourth century art? The erection of large buildings and the peace of the Church meant that Christian art was now public in a way that was impossible before 313. Crowds, no doubt, saw the Christian imperial images many of which in the late-fourth century were high up in the apses of the basilicas and were apparently based on apse decoration in civil basilicas and temples devoted to the imperial cult. I believe that the suggestion that the Christian images acted as 'the bible of the illiterates' is mistaken. In the first place the images were not easy to see. The increase in pilgrimages also meant that the viewing public was partly itinerant comprising professed Christians, nominal Christians and pagans. It has been suggested that the reason why fourth century Christian iconography reflected so scantily the Christological and dogmatic problems which were the central concern of theologians was because Christian artists had nothing on which to build images devoted to newer and more abstract theological ideas beyond the Christus victor (32) theme which had come down from the pre - Nicene period. Imperial iconography was however ready to hand and gave the Christian artists an immediate means of representing symbolically the power of God. However it may be the case that these artists knew what they were doing. In a monarchical society they realised that their viewers would be familiar with imperial power and its manifestations. Accordingly, if they wished to commend the faith so recently, if ambiguously, adopted by the Emperors then they would naturally use symbols which would be understood by viewers, whether Christians or not. In this sense fourth century art was genuinely apologetic and a visual counterpart to Eusebius of Caesarea's eulogy of the Christian Empire. As Eusebius used history as apologetic so the Christian artists of the Constantinian age used hellenistic and imperial themes of kingship to point to the kingship of Christ and the Power of God (33) . In this way they were creating a precedent for a theory which later was to become prominent in Byzantium, viz. the Emperor as a semi - divine figure who had a special relationship to God and Christ. The type of Christ in Majesty, rather than Christ on the Cross, was the legacy of the fourth century to later ages.

Another factor found in the fourth century was the prevalence of Christian and pagan art in close juxtaposition. We can illustrate this from the Via Latina paintings discovered in 1955 in an underground gallery in Rome dating from the mid or late - fourth century which belonged to a family or an unidentified fraternity. In this mausoleum Christians and pagans were buried together - although in different cubicula. The Christian and pagan paintings appear to be contemporary rather than successive, which suggests a measure of tolerance in the family concerned. The background of the paintings is complex. Jesus appears as the True Philosopher with the four evangelists. Another painting shows a figure, in the costume of a philosopher, touching a naked corpse with a wand and may represent Aristotle demonstrating the presence of the soul in the human body. The figure of Aristotle is paired with that of Jesus in the same room and this recalls the use of Aristotle by early Christian thinkers - particularly by the later Arians. It is significant that in the salvation cycles an overwhelming proportion of scenes is taken over from the Old Testament, as in the pre - Nicene period. Judaism had clearly lost none of its force in the second half of the fourth century. It is even possible that the painters had illustrated Hebrew Bibles to guide them (34) . The Via Latina discoveries are a powerful reminder that the Empire wasn't Christianised overnight and that pagan and Christian art could be juxtaposed side by side. This, in itself, was a powerful factor in Christian apologetic which emphasised the continuity between pagan and Christian culture.

I have tentatively suggested that much early Christian art, before the fifth century, took the form of indirect apologetic addressed to both Christians and non - Christians and represented an attempt to illustrate the continuity between pagan culture and Christianity (in the pre - Nicene period) and between imperial themes of kingship and power and the power realised in God and Christ (in the Constantinian age). However from the fifth century onwards theology influences the motifs used by Christian artists to a far greater extent than in the earlier period. The earliest surviving example of a body of Christ on the cross is that carved on the wooden door panel of the church of S. Sabina in Rome (c. 432 AD). A further, realistic, example is carved on an ivory casket now in the British Museum and again from the early - fifth century (35) . Yet even these crucifixes show Jesus with eyes open suggesting the theme of life, rather than death, as in the Christus Victor theology - and this was to remain the norm in the iconography of the crucifixion until the late - ninth of early - tenth century (36) . From the fifth century Christian art however is no longer of a type of indirect apologetic seeking to bridge the gulf between Graeco - Roman culture and the Church but more specifically doctrinal. The reluctance to portray a dead Christ on the crose now, no doubt, was bound up with the Christological controversies of the fourth and fifth centuries, for a dead Christ severed the union between the Logos and the flesh - and it was for this union that the greatest theologians strove. The Greek teachers' emphasis on the divinisation of man and the sinlessness of Christ also affected iconogra - phical views as to the kind of body Jesus had. The cosmic aspect of redemption, as taught in the Greek East, also powerfully affected the iconography of the figure of Christ who is portrayed as Pantokrator , the Christ in Majesty as cosmic Ruler, in the flowering of Christian art in the fifth and sixth centuries attested by the mosaics of Ravenna and the ancient Churches of Rome.

In the early period, with which this paper is mainly concerned, we have argued that Christian art was a type of apologetic running parallel to the work of such apologists as Athenagoras . Perhaps I may be allowed to quote some words written elsewhere: Athenagoras ' work was in the nature of a prolegomenon, not a systematic exposition of the Church's faith. It is the failure to make this distinction which vitiates the kind of criticism which Jerome levelled against the Sentences of Sextus . It is the golden rule in studying the apologists to note that their beliefs are not circumscribed by the purpose of their writings (37) .Thus the fact that so few doctrinal motifs appear in early Christian art should cause no surprise if the artists were mainly concerned with the question of Antike und Christentum , i.e. with the continuity between Graeco - Roman styles and Christianity. It may thus be a mistake from the doctrinal angle to read too much into the lack of portraits of Christ in the early period. What is significant is that the theme of Christus Victor is so prominent. This suggests that the whole drama of redemption, of life through death, was at the very heart of the faith of these early artists.



(1) Christian Iconography : A Study of Origins , London 1969.

(2) On the evolution of the 'Good Shepherd' motif see T. Klauser , Jahrbuchfür Antike und Christentum , I, 1958, 24 - 51. The paintings on the walls of the Synagogue at Dura Europos , dating from 244 - 5, show pagan elements being used in a Jewish milieu. C. H. Kraeling , The Excavations at Dura Europus . Final Report VIII. 1, 1956.

(3) S. G. F. Brandon, The Portrait of Christ: its origin and evolution, History Today 21, 1971, 473 - 481.

(4) Brandon, ibid. (n. 3) 473.

(5) F. van der Meer, Early Christian Art, 127 - 8.

(6) Matt. 9, 20; John 19, 23 - 4.

(7) J. Daniélou , Theology of Jewish Christianity , 1964.

(8) Adv. Hermogenem 1.

(9) Protr . 4, 62; Strom. 5, 5, 28.

(10) The Carpocratians crowned paintings and sculptures of Christ and practised certain rites before his image. E. DobschCtz , Christusbilder , T & V 3, 1899, 98 ff.

(11) 'When the images are put up the customs of the pagans do the rest'; Epipha - nius Pan. Haer . 27, 6 , 10.

(12) Ibid. (n. 3) 474.

(13) Martyrium 2, 1946, 134, 256.

(14) Symbolism in the Dura Synagogue, H Th R 58, (1965), 147.

(15) H. Leclercq , La vie chretienne primitive, Paris 1928, 85; S. G. F. Brandon Christ in Verbal and Depicted Imagery, Christianity, Judaism and Other Graeco -Roman Cults, Pt. 2, Leiden 1975, 168.

(16) R. Scroggs , The Earliest Christian Communities as Sectarian Movement, Christianity, Judaism and Other Graeco - Roman Cults, Pt. 2 ibid. 22

(17) P. du Bourguet , Early Christian Painting , London 1965, ill. 45, 99, 117, 129.

(18) P. du Bourguet ibid. ill. 53 ; Brandon ibid. (n. 15) 169.

(19) Galen on Jews and Christians , Oxford 1949, 43.

(20) Walzer ibid. 42. See further pp. 254-256.

(21) L. W. Barnard , Athenagoras : A Study in Second Century Christian Apologetic , Paris 1972, 56.

(22) Hom . in Jerem . 20, 5.

(23) Gospel Message and Hellenistic Culture, London 1973, 7 15.

(24) Published by S. Lysons in Reliquiae Romano - Britannicae I, London 1813.

(25) JRS 54, 1964, 7 - 14; Pagan Motifs and Practices in Christian Art and Ritual in Roman Britain, ed. M. W. Barley and R. P. C. Hanson, Christianity in Rritain 300 - 700, Leicester 1968, 177 - 92.

(26) M. Simon , Bellerophon chretien , Melanges J. Carcopino , Paris 1966, 889-903.

(27) Ibid (n. 25) Christian Art and Ritual in Roman Britain 184.

(28) A. Grabar , The Beginnings of Christian Art, London 1967, 160 even doubts if Christian works, produced under Constantine and his successors, could hold their own among works produced in the pagan tradition in this period. Constantine's conversion had however a greater influence on architecture than in art and sculpture.

(29) According to Eus . Vita Const. 1, 27 - 32 the account of the vision came from Constantine himself; cf. the account in Lact ., De mort. persec . 44, 5 which may refer to a different event. The Chi - Rho monogram was employed by pagans as a numerical symbol and a ligature before, during and after the time of Constantine.

(30) Constantine referred to the Christian God as summa divinitas , summus deus , potentissimus deus , with no reference to Christ. The triumphal arch dedicated to Constantine by the Senate in 315 also shows an accommodation to both pagan and Christian ideas. The Emperor seems to have visualised Christ as sol, the sun god, and even after his conversion he appears on coins as sol comes, so making it possible for pagans to identify the neoplatonic idea of God with that of the Christians. Even Constantine's donations to the Church had the same significance as State support for traditional cults. On this J. Straub, Constantine as ' '. Dumbarton Oaks Papers 21 (1967) 39 - 55.

(31) Symmachus , Relatio 8; PL 16, 968.

(32) Grabar , ibid. (n. 1) 45. From c. 300 deliverance themes figure more frequently on ceilings, arcosolia and sarcophagi and salvation cycles begin to be found.

(33) N. H. Baynes , Eusebius and the Christian Empire, M0langes Bidez , 1934, 13 -18; F. E. Cranz , Kingdom and Polity in Eusebius of Caesarea, H. Th. R. 45 (1952) 47-66. The iconography of the Emperors was also transferred to images of Christ on the fourth century sarcophagi, cf. the sarcophagus of Junius Bassus dating from 359 AD.

(34) A. Grabar , ibid. (n. 28) 231.

(35) E. J. Tinsley, The Coining of a Dead and Naked Christ, Religion 2(1972) 26 - 7 PI. 1.

(36) Tinsley, ibid. (n. 35) 29 - 32.

(37) L. W. Barnard, ibid. (n. 21) 180.




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