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From Imperial to Christian Imagery

The Roman world underwent a dramatic transformation as a result of its Christianization beginning in the fourth century. The objects displayed here represent the shifts in meaning that occurred as symbols and materials typically associated with the Roman emperor merged with symbols of Christianity to create a new visual paradigm.


Exhibit Items

Medallion of Gordianus III

Roman, 240–244; bronze; 38 mm, 57.27 g. BZC.1948.11


Late Roman, early 4th century; porphyry; 16.3 × 13 × 12.6 cm (6 7/16 × 5 1/8 × 4 15/16 in.). BZ.1963.5

Aurei of Maximian

Late Roman, 288–296; gold; 5.104–5.564 g.

Medallion of Galerius

Late Roman, 293–295; gold; 34 mm, 27.0 g. BZC.1950.5


Early Byzantine, 4th–6th century; terra-cotta; 18 cm (7 1/16 in.). BZ.1959.49

Pendant with Chi-Rho

Early Byzantine, 4th–6th century; gold, rock crystal; 3 cm (1 3/16 in.). BZ.1964.12


Early Byzantine, ca. 7th century; gold; 2.3 cm (15/16 in.). BZ.1956.27