Commemorations of the dead held at the deceased’s tomb focused on bidding farewell to loved ones and praying for the pardon of their sins and for their salvation. The catacombs of Rome—underground burial chambers used by all religions in the late Roman and early Byzantine era—are a particularly rich source of early Christian imagery. These images express Christian hopes of salvation. Here a beardless man dressed in a toga and the inscription “Live” are framed by miracle scenes. Beginning at the top and moving clockwise, these are Christ saving the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3), Christ healing the paralytic (Matthew 9:1–8), Tobias with the fish that the archangel Raphael advises him will help restore his father’s sight (Tobit 6), and Christ turning water into wine at Cana (John 2:3–10).
Inscription: ZES/ES: "Live!"
Said to have been found in 1715 in the Roman catacomb of Saint Callisto; [ Giorgio Sangiorgior son (sold 1916 through John Marshall)]
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