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Dogmatic (Two Testaments) Sarcophagus

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Dogmatic (Two Testaments) Sarcophagus

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Vatican Inv. 31427. Found in the foundation of San Paolo fuori le Mura, 4th century. Double register sarcophagus with scenes from the Old and New Testaments including some apocryphal texts.

At top left is the creation of Adam and Eve. This scene appears to depict the trinity - if so this is the earliest known depiction of this non-scriptural concept. God the father (seated) appears with two men. All three men have similar faces. This scene of creation of Adam and Eve could thus be seen as an indication that some early Christians saw creation as an act of the three-person deity. One figure appears to be baptizing Eve. In the adjacent scene Jesus stands between Adan and Eve, with a serpent wrapped around a nearby tree.

Top row, right side: water into wine at Cana, multiplication of loaves, resurrection of Lazarus.

Bottom row: Adoration of the magi (note parallel with scene directly above it), Jesus healing the blind boy, Daniel in the lions den being served by Habakkuk, prediction of Peter's denials, arrest of Peter, Peters water miracle/baptism of his jailers.

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Copyright 2007 by William Storage and Laura Maish

Use your arrow keys to navigate between image pages.    Page created 11/6/2007





Keywords: iconography, archaeology, imperial portraiture, emperor, ancient Rome