Crowns of Martyrdom

Name of text: Crowns of Martyrdom
Author of text: Prudentius
Date of text: ca. 400
Date of person in text: 348 - ca. 413
Name of structure in text: Old St. Peters Baptistry
Type of structure in text: Baptistery
Date of structure in text 4th century
Century of structure 1: 4 AD
Century of structure 2:
Country in text: Italy
Region in text: Lazio
City in text: Rome
Specific place of mosaic in text: Ceiling
Description of mosaic in text:

Painting in diverse hues colours the glassy waves from above, so that mosses seem to glisten and the gold is tinged with green, while the water turns dark blue where it takes on the semblance of the overhanging purple, and one would think the ceiling was dancing on the waves. There the shepherd himself nurtures his sheep with the ice-cold water of the pool, for he sees them thirsting for the rivers of Christ.

Mosaic date in text: 4 AD
Tesserae silver mentioned in text? No
Tesserae gold mentioned in text? Yes
Colour descriptions in text: purple

Prudentius, ‘Crowns of Martyrdom, XII, 37-44, in Prudentius, trans. by H. J. Thomson, 2 vols (London: William Heinemann Ltd, 1952), vol. 2, pp. 324-7

 Muntz, Eugene, ‘The Lost Mosaics of Rome IV to IX Century’, The American Journal of Archaeology and of the History of the Fine Arts, 2.3 (1886), 295-313, see p. 296

Comments: This entry is speculative as Prudentius does not specifically state he is referring to a mosaic.  However Muntz argues that it is a mosaic which is reflected in a pool and includes an image of Christ the Shepherd.

Previous Next