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Early Christian Art


ByzB004
Byzantine bronze medallion with the Holy Rider.
Mid Byzantine Period: 9th???12th century AD.
D. 4.4 cm (1 11/16 in.)
Perfect condition. Fine green and reddish brown patina.

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The round medallion with relief image of a rider, spearing a winged demon lying beneath his galloping horse. The rider’s head encircled by a halo, he wears a lamellar cuirass and a cloak fluttering in the wind behind him. Greek inscription incised on the upper left and right parts of the medallion reads: ?????????????????? ???????????????????????? (Saint George). The same depiction appears on both sides.
The medallion is cast with incised fine details and inscription. Small suspension loop on top.

The origin of the holy rider image relates to the iconography of the riding king, hunting with a spear in the late Classical – Hellenistic period, and may well be compared with the depiction of Alexander the Great hunting. In the Jewish tradition, the rider is King Solomon, spearing the demon Lilith.
In Byzantine iconography of the 5th century, the horseman became St. Sisinnius, destroying the she-demon Gyllo, killer of little children. Later on, in the Byzantine East, the rider was identified as St. Demetrios, while in the West he became St. George slaying the dragon.

For St. Sisinnius spearing a demon, 6th – 7th century AD-
Cf. Goodnick Westenholz, J., editor, Bible Lands Museum, 2000, p.102, fig.94.
For the Holy Rider-
Cf. Israeli Y., and Mevorah D., editors, Israel Museum, 2000, pp.158-162.
Die welt von Byzanz , 2004, p. 182, figs. 239, 240.



Goodnick Westenholz, J., editor, Images of Inspiration. The Old Testament in Early Christian Art, Exh. cat., Bible Lands Museum, Jerusalem, 2000.
Israeli Y., and Mevorah D., editors, Cradle of Christianity, Exh. cat., The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2000.
Die welt von Byzanz – europas ostliches erbe. Glanz, Krisen und Fortleben einer tausendjahrigen Kultur. Herausgegeben von Ludwig Wamser, Archaologische Staatssammlung – Museum fur Vor- und Fruhgeschichte, Munchen , 2004.

 


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  Byzantine bronze medallion with the Holy Rider. Click on any image to enlarge it.

Byzantine bronze medallion with the Holy Rider.Byzantine bronze medallion with the Holy Rider.Byzantine bronze medallion with the Holy Rider.Byzantine bronze medallion with the Holy Rider.



Gideon Sasson • Sasson  Ancient Art • King David Hotel - Annex, Jerusalem - 94101,  Israel
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