Sant'Apollinare Nuovo--page 4 (of 4 pages)

504, consecrated as a palace church

The port city of Classe

The twenty two female martyrs are depicted as if walking from Classe, the port city of Ravenna, toward the nave, where the Virgin is enthroned. The three Magi lead this procession of Virgins.

Beautifully dressed female saints carrying their crowns of martyrdom

These female martyrs are depicted in sumptuous attire, complete with jewelled necklines and pearl tiaras. Still, they, like the male saints, are essentially undifferentiated. The specific, the real "here and now" is of no importance to Byzantine artists.

Saint Agnes

Most of the saints lack individuality, even to the absence of symbols which identify them. However, St. Agnes is depicted with the lamb--her symbol.


The Three Magi, following the star, depicted above them

The Magi's names are inscribed above them. Their very individualized faces are thought to be a later addition to the mosaic. They seem to represent as well the three ages of man, a common symbolic depiction in the later Middle Ages.

The Virgin in a jewelled throne flanked by angels

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© 2006 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.