This is part, therefore, of the reinvention of the city of Rome as. Attracting converts in the urban populations, Christianity appealed to the faithful’s desires for personal salvation; however, due to Christianity’s monotheism (which prohibited its followers from participating in the public cults), Christians suffered periodi… Christ hands Peter a scroll, probably representing the Gospels, as emperors were often shown doing to their heirs, ministers or generals.[16]. His father had held the position of Praetorian prefect, which involved administration of the Western Empire. 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. This sarcophagus belonged to Junius Bassus, a Roman prefect who died in the year 359. The Arrest of Christ. Towards the end of the third century a new form of art started to emerge from the secretive places early Christians in Rome would gather to practice their so forbidden religion. Although the sarcophagus has generated more than a century of scholarship on the theological relationships between these narratives, and their importance for an early Christian audience, it is the evidence that it provides for the “Christianisation of Rome and the Romanization of Christianity” that is this commentary’s primary focus (Malbon, The dedicatory inscription on the front of the sarcophagus states that it was made for Junius Bassus, a. Christ appears in the centre of both rows; in the top row as a law-giver or teacher between his chief followers, Peter and Paul (the Traditio Legis), and on the bottom entering Jerusalem. Adam and Eve are shown covering their nakedness after the Fall of Man, which created the original sin and hence the need for Christ to be sacrificed for our sins. Temple of Minerva and the sculpture of Apollo (Veii) Apulu (Apollo of Veii) Etruscan Necropolises of Cerveteri and Tarquinia (from UNESCO/NHK) Tomb of … The Sarcophagus was once located in Old St. Peter's Basilica. He had recently become a convert to Christianity, which had only been legal in … It belongs to the category of tabernacle sarcophagi produced in Ravenna and widely distributed in … (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. [17] Pilate, perhaps worried by Jesus's reputation for miracles, is making the gesture Italians still use to ward off the evil eye. The front of the sarcophagus, which was discovered in 1595 near the Confessio of the Vatican Basilica, is divided into ten compartments. Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, 359 C.E. 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 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." The sarcophagus in many respects shows fewer features of the Late Antique style of sculpture typified in the Arch of Constantine of several decades earlier: "The sculpture ignores practically all the rules obeyed by official reliefs. 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. 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). 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. 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. It has been described as "probably the single most famous piece of early Christian relief sculpture." Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, 359 C.E., marble (Treasury, St. Peter’s Basilica) Such an individual was Junius Bassus. By the middle of the fourth century Christianity had undergone a dramatic transformation. The setting in the niches casts the figures against a background of shadow, giving "an emphatic chiaroscuro effect"[5] – an effect much more noticeable in the original than the cast shown here, which has a more uniform and lighter colour. 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. Ernst Kitzinger finds "a far more definite reattachment to aesthetic ideals of the Graeco-Roman past" than in the earlier Dogmatic Sarcophagus and that of the "Two Brothers", also in the Vatican Museums. 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 double registers and intercolumniations create niches for ten individual figurative reliefs, which combine in a complex iconographic programme that uses both Old and New Testament stories. 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. message” (Elsner, “The role of early Christian art,” p. 86). The Old Testament scenes depicted were chosen as precursors of Christ's sacrifice in the New Testament, in an early form of typology. 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. A striking sarcophagus in the museum. A large, white marble sarcophagus, decorated with figurative reliefs on three sides. Museo Storico del Tesoro della Basilica di San Pietro, Rome. 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. This sarcophagus, dated from 359, is in the Vatican Grottos (caves under the Saint-Peter basilica containing chapels and various tombs). The column and many parts of the figures are carved completely in the round. Junius Bassus was the prefect of Rome in 359. [8] 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.[9]. The carvings are in high relief on three sides of the sarcophagus, allowing for its placement against a wall. The sarcophagus has ten scenes in … Site Navigation. This is the currently selected item. The base is approximately 4 x 8 x 4 feet. He was a member of a senatorial family. Junius Bassus held the position of praefectus urbi for Rome. [3] 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. 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. 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… Delivery times may vary, especially during peak periods. "[1] The sarcophagus was originally placed in or under Old St. Peter's Basilica, was rediscovered in 1597,[2] 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. The arrangement of relief scenes in rows in a columnar framework is an introduction from Asia Minor at about this time. From the following century personifications of the River Jordan often appear in depictions of the Baptism of Jesus,[21] 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. 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 [6] The form continues the increased separation of the scenes; it had been an innovation of the earliest Christian sarcophagi to combine a series of incidents in one continuous (and rather hard to read) frieze, and also to have two registers one above the other, but these examples show a trend to differentiate the scenes, of which the Junius Bassus is the culmination, producing a "multitude of miniature stages", which allow the spectator "to linger over each scene", which was not the intention of earlier reliefs which were only "shorthand pictographs" of each scene, only intended to identify them. Junius Bassus was an important figure, a senator who was in charge of the government of the capital as praefectus urbi when he died at the age of 42 in 359. Before Pilate Christ also carries a scroll, like a philosopher. 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). The remains of a mask representing Luna, the moon, at the right-hand end of the lid is presumed to have complemented one of Sol, the sun, at the far left end (Malbon, The Iconography of the Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, p. 5). Nevertheless, the audio conversation The sides have more traditional Roman scenes of the Four Seasons represented by putti performing seasonal tasks such as harvesting grapes. His father had been Praetorian prefect, running the administration of a large part of the Western Empire. Christians saw these as foreshadowings of the sacrifice of God's only son, Jesus, though the Crucifixion itself, a rare subject up until the 5th century, is not depicted. Marble, Treasury, St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City. 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. The short ends of the sarcophagus are decorated with traditional pagan scenes representing the Four Seasons, with putti or Cupids harvesting. Our mission is to provide a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere. Donate or volunteer today! Just to the right of the middle is Daniel in the lion's den, saved by his faith, and on the left is Abraham about to sacrifice Isaac. The inclusion of the pagan figure of Caelus may seem strange, but he was not an important figure in Ancient Roman religion, so was evidently considered as a harmless pictorial convention by the Christian designer of the composition, as well as one of the elements showing continuity with Roman tradition. 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. Bassus served under Constantius II, son of Constantine I. Bassus, as the inscription on the sarcophagus tells us, converted to Christianity shortly before his death – perhaps on his deathbed. 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. Treasury Museum of St Peter’s Basilica, Rome. He died in 359 AD at the young age of 42. [23] The reeds behind Paul probably represent the boggy area of the city where Paul's execution was traditionally believed to have happened. Marble, 120 x 140 x 120 cm. 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. The putti in the Chronography also relate closely to those on the sides of the sarcophagus.[22]. Not only was it among the earliest visuals of Jesus of Nazareth in the newly Christian world, but it is also special because it provides Christian scenes on a coffin. It belonged to Junius Bassus an urban praetor in the age of Constantine II. In all the three scenes where he appears Christ is a youthful, beardless figure with shortish hair (though longer than that of other figures), which is typical of Christian art at this period. The niches on the front of the sarcophagus are divided into two registers, which mix episodes from the Old and New Testaments; the top register depicts, from left to right, the sacrifice of Isaac, the arrest of Peter, Christ enthroned with disciples to each side, the arrest of Christ, and the judgement of Pilate. 349. Christ as the Good Shepherd. The sarcophagus of Junius Bassus once spoke volumes to its audience. 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 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? The Iconography of the Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus. [19] 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,[20] a development that was to play a great part in shaping the Christian art of the future. Each and every single one of the carvings represents Bible stories, including ones such as Adam and Eve, or the sacrifice of Issac. 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. This marble Sarcophagus was used for the burial of Junius Bassus (317-359), a member of the senatorial aristocracy in Rome. The scenes on the front are:[11] 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. Mosaic of the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. Martyrdom of Paul, Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus (detail), 359 C.E. [24] 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. Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, from Rome, Italy, c. 359. [7] 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. Delivery time is estimated using our proprietary method which is based on the buyer's proximity to the item location, the shipping service selected, the seller's shipping history, and other factors. His family held high political positions. [12] 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.[13]. The carvings are in high relief on three sides of the sarcophagus, allowing for its placement against a wall. Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus. 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. Santa Costanza is located a minute's walk to the side of the Via Nomentana, a short way outside the ancient walls of Rome. Museum of St. Peter's Treasury, Rome. [10] 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 Scriptural basis. It has been described as "probably the single most famous piece of early Christian relief sculpture. In his role as prefect, Junius Bassus was responsible for the administration of the city of Rome. Exact location unknown; close to the crypt of St Peter, Rome. Marble, 3′ 10.5″ by 8′. The sarcophagus of Junius Bassus is a prominent example of early funerary Christian art, completed in 395 CE. Adam and Eve themselves made no sacrifices, but behind Eve is a lamb, and beside Adam a sheaf of wheat, referring to the sacrifices of their two sons, Cain and Abel. If he is not just one of Pilate's subordinate officers, he may be intended as a portrait or statue of the emperor; Roman official business was usually conducted before such an image, upon which (under the deified pagan emperors) any oaths required were made. ... KP104) Sarcophagus Junius Bassus St. Peter's Architecture History 1875 Engraving. 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. Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus. The column and many parts of the figures are carved completely in the round. Some figures are portrayed frontally, but certainly not all, and they are not shown in a thoroughly Late Antique manner; the scenes are three-dimensional and have depth and background .... drapery hangs on recognizable human forms rather than being arranged in predetermined folds; heads are varied, portraying recognisably different people. Khan Academy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. 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. Sarcophagus of the Spouses (Rome) Sarcophagus of the Spouses (Rome) This is the currently selected item. The result is a “multitude of miniature stages…[with] the amount of space and depth in each [varying] according to the demands imposed by the setting and the disposition of the figures” (Kitzinger, A further imperial reference, however, might be found immediately beneath this on the lower register; here Christ is depicted entering Jerusalem on a donkey, following the representations of Roman emperors entering cities on horseback, such as the scenes of Trajan in the reliefs of his Column in Rome, from which Gospel narrative some New Testament scholars have interpreted as a direct parody of a Roman triumph (see, Jas Elsner has noted that the sarcophagus displays an interesting “range of times” in its sculptural reliefs, with the Old Testament events foreshadowing the New Testament narrative, which is carried into the present by the scenes which depict the arrests of Peter and Paul, which in turn echo and mirror the arrest of Christ (Elsner, “The role of early Christian art,” p. 85-86). Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus. Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, marble, 359 C.E. 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. In his role as prefect, Junius Bassus was responsible for the administration of the city of Rome. The top level of reliefs are situated underneath an entablature, and divided by carved Corinthian columns to create five niches. The sarcophagus of Junius Bassus is one of the earliest marble relief sarcophagi to have survived with overtly Christian themes. Next lesson. The tiny spandrels above the lower row show scenes with all participants depicted as lambs: on either side of Christ entering Jerusalem are the Miracle of the loaves and fishes and the Baptism of Jesus. The arrangement of relief scenes in rows in a columnar framework is an introduction from Asia Minor at about this time. When Junius Bassus died at the age of 42 in the year 359, a sarcophagus was made for him. Sort by: Top Voted. 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. 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. Job is seen at the point when he has lost everything, but retains his faith; his wife and a "comforter" look on anxiously. 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. 359. This large stone sarcophagus, probably dating back to the early 4th century, was found in 1905 in Lambrate, a town on the outskirts of Milan and now part of the urban fabric. Iun(ius) Bassus, v(ir) c(larissimus), qui vixit annis XLII, men(sibus) II, in ipsa praefectura urbi neofitus iit ad Deum VIII Kal(endas) Sept(embres) Eusebio et (H)ypatio coss. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990, This page was last edited on 24 November 2020, at 21:28. 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. Junius Bassus the younger, as city prefect, was “the highest official residing in Rome, head and leader of the Senate” at the time of his death, making his sarcophagus an important, and rare, example of Christian conversion amongst the elite; the senatorial class of Rome were amongst the last to convert, remaining predominantly pagan until the end of the fourth century CE (Malbon, The Iconography of the … Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus c.359 CE Rome, Italy. Location. 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. When Junius Bassus died at the age of 42 in the year 359, a sarcophagus was made for him. This sarcophagus belonged to Junius Bassus, a city prefect of Rome who became a Christian and was baptized before his death in 359. Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus. These figures are carved in very high relief and separated by an elaborate and ornate framework of columns, entablature, gables and arches. Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well, Vienna Genesis. The front of the sarcophagus is organised into a “double-register,” with reliefs on two levels. The emphasis on scenes of judgement may have been influenced by the career of Bassus as a magistrate, but all the scenes shown can be paralleled in other Christian works of the period. The style of the work has been greatly discussed by art historians, especially as its date is certain, which is unusual at this period. The Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus is a marble Early Christian sarcophagus used for the burial of Junius Bassus, who died in 359. Museo Tresoro, Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican. The style and iconography of this sarcophagus reflect the early stages of development of Christian art, with interplay of pagan and Christian imagery. The angel standing behind Abraham in the Sacrifice of Isaac is depicted similarly, and without wings. "[4] The sarcophagus has been seen as reflecting a blending of late Hellenistic style with the contemporary Roman or Italian one, seen in the "robust" proportions of the figures, and their slightly over-large heads. 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. Further small reliefs on the lid, and heads at the corners, are badly damaged. On top of the sarcophagus, we can see an inscription. The Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus is a marble Early Christian sarcophagus used for the burial of Junius Bassus, who died in 359. Beneath these are a further five niches, divided again by columns, but set within an arch and gable register. 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. 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)… Junius Bassus was the prefect of Rome which may explain the privilege he received by being buried in the Vatican Grottos. Eduard Syndicus; Early Christian Art; p. 97; Burns & Oates, London, 1962, and see Edwards & Woolf, op & page cit. The Last Supper. 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. 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. Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus (pg 230-31) from Rome, Italy, ca. 2.8: Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus Last updated; Save as PDF Page ID 75638; Christianity Becomes Part of the Establishment; Establishing Formulas for Representing Christian Figures; Old Testament and New Testament Together; Martyrdom; Competing Styles; Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus… Test your knowledge . [14] They showed scenes of feasts and a burial procession typical of pagan sarcophagi;[15] it is possible the lid was not created to match the base. 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