Skip to content
BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter September 11, 2020

Old statues, new meanings. Literary, epigraphic and archaeological evidence for Christian reidentification of statuary

  • Ine Jacobs EMAIL logo
From the journal Byzantinische Zeitschrift


This article examines literary, epigraphic and archaeological evidence for the Christian reidentification of statuary and reliefs as biblical scenes and protagonists, saints and angels. It argues that Christian identifications were promulgated, amongst others by local bishops, to make sense of imagery of which the original identity had been lost and/or was no longer meaningful. Three conditions for a new identification are discussed: the absence of an epigraphic label, geographical and/or chronological distance separating the statue from its original context of display, and the presence of a specific attribute or characteristic that could become the prompt for reidentification. In their manipulation and modernization of older statuary, Christians showed a much greater appreciation of the statuary medium than generally assumed.

Online erschienen: 2020-09-11
Erschienen im Druck: 2020-08-01

© 2020 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Downloaded on 24.2.2024 from
Scroll to top button