The lower scene loosely follows the entry ("adventus") of an emperor to a city, a scene often depicted in Imperial art; Christ is "identified as imperator by the imperial eagle of victory" in the conch moulding above the scene. Site Navigation. Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus c.359 CE Rome, Italy. Fragments of carved reliefs survive on either side of this inscription, with the right side potentially identified as a funerary banquet, or kline meal for the dead. The front of the sarcophagus is organised into a “double-register,” with reliefs on two levels. The column and many parts of the figures are carved completely in the round. Christ as the Good Shepherd. Museo Tresoro, Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican. Carved for a Roman city prefect who was a newly baptized Christian at his death, the sarcophagus of Junius Bassus is not only a magnificent example of "the fine style" of mid-fourth-century sculpture but also a treasury of early Christian iconography clearly indicating the Christianization of Rome--and the Romanization of Christianity. Further small reliefs on the lid, and heads at the corners, are badly damaged. The scenes prior to the martyrdoms of Peter and Paul, both common in Early Christian art, show the same avoidance of the climactic moments which were usually chosen in later Christian art. The Iconography of the Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus. The Old Testament scenes depicted were chosen as precursors of Christ's sacrifice in the New Testament, in an early form of typology. The carvings are in high relief on three sides of the sarcophagus, allowing for its placement against a wall. Sort by: Top Voted. Together with the Dogmatic sarcophagus in the same museum, this sarcophagus is one of the oldest surviving high-status sarcophagi with elaborate carvings of Christian themes, and a complicated iconographic programme embracing the Old and New Testaments. This sarcophagus belonged to Junius Bassus, a city prefect of Rome who became a Christian and was baptized before his death in 359. Within the spandrels of the lower register – now badly damaged – scenes from both the Old and New Testaments are depicted, with lambs acting symbolically in the place of men, which are believed to represent the three youths in the fiery furnace, the striking of the rock, the multiplication of the loaves, the baptism of Christ by John, the receiving of the Law, and the raising of Lazarus (Malbon, The Iconography of the Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, p. 5). No portrait of the deceased is shown, though he is praised in lavish terms in an inscription; instead, the ten niches are filled with scenes from both the New and Old Testaments, plus one, the Traditio Legis, that has no Scrip… A large, white marble sarcophagus, decorated with figurative reliefs on three sides. The arrangement of relief scenes in rows in a columnar framework is an introduction from Asia Minor at about this time. The sarcophagus has ten scenes in … As recorded in an inscription on the sarcophagus now in the Vatican collection, Junius Bassus had become a convert to Christianity shortly before his death. This marble Sarcophagus was used for the burial of Junius Bassus (317-359), a member of the senatorial aristocracy in Rome. This monumental sarcophagus in red porphyry was made to hold the remains of one of the daughters of the Emperor Constantine the Great, most probably Constantia who died in 354 A.D. and was buried in a mausoleum on the via Nomentana, alongside the basilica of St Agnes. The cast also lacks the effects created by light on polished or patinated highlights such as the heads of the figures, against the darker recessed surfaces and backgrounds. Bacchus was often associated with death; the transformative qualities of his character usually referred to one's mental state (due to alcohol) and one's physical state (as Bacchus himself is a twice-born god)… Santa Costanza is located a minute's walk to the side of the Via Nomentana, a short way outside the ancient walls of Rome. Age of spirituality : late antique and early Christian art, third to seventh century, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Sarcophagus_of_Junius_Bassus&oldid=990505788, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Elizabeth Struthers Malbon. It belongs to the category of tabernacle sarcophagi produced in Ravenna and widely distributed in … This is part, therefore, of the reinvention of the city of Rome as. As recorded in an inscription on the sarcophagus now in the Vatican collection, Junius Bassus had become a convert to Christianity shortly before his death. Next lesson. Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, 359 C.E. The central image of Christ enthroned and holding a scroll he interprets as the giving of the Law to the Roman apostles, which “is the guarantee of the presentness of Biblical time and salvation in the apostolic Church established in the city by the very saints to whom Christ entrusted his salvific? message” (Elsner, “The role of early Christian art,” p. 86). The lid survives only in very fragmentary form; the main dedicatory inscription was inscribed along the front edge of the lid, with a tabula placed on top and in the centre originally containing a funerary epigram (CIL VI, 41341a = EDR109751), describing Bassus’s career and funeral, but which is again much damaged. Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well, Vienna Genesis. Junius Bassus himself was a praefectus urbi as well, which was the highest level of administrative function in the city of Rome at … The style and iconography of this sarcophagus reflect the early stages of development of Christian art, with interplay of pagan and Christian imagery. Junius Bassus held the position of praefectus urbi for Rome. By the middle of the fourth century Christianity had undergone a dramatic transformation.  The other scenes may be the Three youths in the fiery furnace, the Raising of Lazarus, Moses receiving the tablets and Moses striking the rock.. Donate or volunteer today! Marble 3' 10 12 " x 8' Episodes from the Hebrew scriptures, including Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac, appear besides scenes from the life of Jesus on the sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, a recent convert to Christianity.  They showed scenes of feasts and a burial procession typical of pagan sarcophagi; it is possible the lid was not created to match the base. THE ICONOGRAPHY OF THE SARCOPHAGUS OF JUNIUS BASSUS Lauren J. Sapikowski (Dr Kathleen Schowalter) Department of Art, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia 24450. The carvings are in high relief on three sides of the sarcophagus, allowing for its placement against a wall. IVN BASSVS V C QVI VIXIT ANNIS XLII MEN II IN IPSA PRAEFECTVRA VRBI NEOFITVS IIT AD DEVM VIII KAL SEPT EVSEBIO ET YPATIO COSS. Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus. In his role as prefect, Junius Bassus was responsible for the administration of the city of Rome. " The sarcophagus was originally placed in or under Old St. Peter's Basilica, was rediscovered in 1597, and is now below the modern basilica in the Museo Storico del Tesoro della Basilica di San Pietro (Museum of Saint Peter's Basilica) in the Vatican. Museum of St. Peter's Treasury, Rome. The scenes on the front are: in the top row, Sacrifice of Isaac, Judgement or Arrest of Peter, Enthroned Christ with Peter and Paul (Traditio Legis), and a double scene of the Trial of Jesus before Pontius Pilate, who in the last niche is about to wash his hands.  Pilate, perhaps worried by Jesus's reputation for miracles, is making the gesture Italians still use to ward off the evil eye. When Junius Bassus died at the age of 42 in the year 359, a sarcophagus was made for him. Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus (pg 230-31) from Rome, Italy, ca. On a damaged plaque surmounting the lid is a poem praising Bassus in largely secular terms, and the inscription running along the top of the body of the sarcophagus identifies him, and describes him as a "neophyte", or recent convert. Carved for a Roman city prefect who was a newly baptized Christian at his death, the sarcophagus of Junius Bassus is not only a magnificent example of "the fine style" of mid-fourth-century sculpture but also a treasury of early Christian iconography clearly indicating the Christianization of Rome--and the Romanization of Christianity. Delivery times may vary, especially during peak periods. Other sources connected with this document: Inventing Christian Rome: the role of early Christian art, Image and Rhetoric in Early Christian Sarcophagi: Reflections on Jesus’ Trial, Life, death and representation: some new work on Roman sarcophagi, Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus (CIL VI, 32004). (Treasury of Saint Peter's Basilica) Please note that due to photography restrictions, the images used in the video above show the plaster cast on display in the Vatican Museum. The style of the work has been greatly discussed by art historians, especially as its date is certain, which is unusual at this period. Martyrdom of Paul, Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus (detail), 359 C.E. The Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus is a marble Early Christian sarcophagus used for the burial of Junius Bassus, who died in 359.It has been described as "probably the single most famous piece of early Christian relief sculpture." Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990, This page was last edited on 24 November 2020, at 21:28. Temple of Minerva and the sculpture of Apollo (Veii) Apulu (Apollo of Veii) Etruscan Necropolises of Cerveteri and Tarquinia (from UNESCO/NHK) Tomb of … In the bottom row: Job on the dunghill, Adam and Eve, Christ's entry into Jerusalem, Daniel in the lion's den (heads restored), Arrest or leading to execution of Paul. Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus (CIL VI, 32004)Author(s) of this publication: Caroline BarronPublishing date: Mon, 11/05/2018 - 13:04URL: http://www.judaism-and-rome.org/sarcophagus-junius-bassus-cil-vi-32004Visited: Thu, 12/03/2020 - 17:51, Copyright ©2014-2019, All rights reserved About the project - ERC Team - Conditions of Use, Re-thinking Judaism’s Encounter with the Roman Empire. Location. Another figural scene shows Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a humble donkey, but he is shown as if he were a Roman emperor displaying his power The base is approximately 4 x 8 x 4 feet. Test your knowledge . Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus.  Peter's execution was believed to have happened close to his grave, which was within a few feet of the location of the sarcophagus; both executions were believed to have occurred on the same day. Junius Bassus himself was an important figure and a senator who was in charge of the government of the capital when he died in 359. He died in 359 AD at the young age of 42. Current location: reconstructed in the National Museum, Damascus, Syria Info: - house-synagogue - plan: assembly hall, separate alcove for women, courtyard [after 245 reconstruction, men and women were together] - distinguishing architecture: a bench along its walls and a niche for the Torah On the lower register, Job’s distress, Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, Christ arriving in Jerusalem, Daniel in the lion’s den and the arrest of Paul are shown. Nevertheless, the audio conversation Both scenes borrow from pagan Roman iconography: in the top one Jesus is sitting with his feet on a billowing cloak representing the sky, carried by Caelus, the classical personification of the heavens. His family held high political positions. The Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus is a marble Early Christian sarcophagus used for the burial of Junius Bassus, who died in 359. Each and every single one of the carvings represents Bible stories, including ones such as Adam and Eve, or the sacrifice of Issac. The column and many parts of the figures are carved completely in the round. Many still believed, like Tertullian, that it was not possible to be an emperor and a Christian, which also went for the highest officials like Bassus. The arrangement of relief scenes in rows in a columnar framework is an introduction from Asia Minor at about this time. Junius Bassus the son—Junius being the nomen or gentile name (the name of the gens), Bassus being the cognomen (the name of the family within the gens)—was surnamed Theotecnius. The sarcophagus of Junius Bassus once spoke volumes to its audience. The sides have more traditional Roman scenes of the Four Seasons represented by putti performing seasonal tasks such as harvesting grapes.  There was already a tradition, borrowed from pagan iconography, of depicting Christ the Victor; in this work that theme is linked to the Passion of Jesus, of which the entry to Jerusalem is the start, a development that was to play a great part in shaping the Christian art of the future. This is the currently selected item. Before Emperor Constantine’s acceptance, Christianity had a marginal status in the Roman world. The short ends of the sarcophagus are decorated with traditional pagan scenes representing the Four Seasons, with putti or Cupids harvesting. From the following century personifications of the River Jordan often appear in depictions of the Baptism of Jesus, and the manuscript Chronography of 354, just a few years older than the sarcophagus and made for another elite Christian, is full of personifications of cities, months and other concepts.  He notes a "lyrical, slightly sweet manner" in the carving, even in the soldiers who lead St Peter to his death, which compares to some small carvings from the Hellenized east in the Cleveland Museum of Art, though they are several decades older.  Even allowing for "the gradual appropriation of a popular type of Christian tomb by upper-class patrons whose standards asserted themselves increasingly both in the content and in the style of these monuments", Kitzinger concludes that the changes must reflect a larger "regeneration" in style.. Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, 359 C.E., marble (Treasury, St. Peter’s Basilica) Such an individual was Junius Bassus. The ten niches contain scenes of biblical characters and stories; on the top level, from left to right, the scenes depict the sacrifice of Isaac, the arrest of Peter, Christ enthroned, with disciples to each side, the arrest of Christ, and the judgement of Pilate. It has been described as "probably the single most famous piece of early Christian relief sculpture.  The reeds behind Paul probably represent the boggy area of the city where Paul's execution was traditionally believed to have happened. When Junius Bassus died at the age of 42 in the year 359, a sarcophagus was made for him. Exact location unknown; close to the crypt of St Peter, Rome.  All are agreed that the workmanship is of the highest quality available at the time, as one might expect for the tomb of such a prominent figure. On the lower level, the scenes are (from left to right): Job’s distress, Adam and Eve, Christ arriving in Jerusalem, Daniel in the lion’s den and the arrest of Paul. The sarcophagus of Junius Bassus is decorated with sculptural relief showing Christ as a Roman emperor standing on the head of the Pagan god of the heavens, to identify Christ as the ruler of the cosmos. In his role as prefect, Junius Bassus was responsible for the administration of the city of Rome. The sarcophagus was initially put in or under Old St. Peter's Basilica, was rediscovered in 1597, and is now underneath the up to date basilica in the Museo Storico del Tesoro della Basilica di San Pietro Museum of Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatica. Both scenes also took place in Rome, and this local interest is part of the balance of Christian and traditional Roman gestures that the sarcophagus shows. Mosaic of the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes.
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