- 4th century
- Made in Rome (possibly)
- Roman or Byzantine
- Copper alloy, gilt
- Overall: 1 15/16 x 1 9/16 x 3/16 in. (4.9 x 4 x 0.5 cm)
- Credit Line:
- Purchase, Rogers Fund and Alastair B. Martin Gift, 1993
- Accession Number:
A couple stands in the traditional Roman marriage pose under a Christogram on the front of this ornament; Bellerophon on the winged horse Pegasus triumphs over the mythical Chimera on the back. Classical traditions were combined with the new faith as Christianity became the dominant religion in the Empire.
As Christianity became the dominant religion in Byzantine society, Christian imagery was increasingly found on jewelry. Crosses appear by the fifth century; the Virgin Mary, saints, angels, and other holy figures became popular in the sixth century. The images were thought to protect the wearer, aid in prayers, and even perform miracles.