Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index

  • Title: Christ with Saints Peter, Paul, Agatha, Cecilia, Valerian, and Pope Paschal I
  • Creator:
  • Description:

    Standing amid date trees in a garden representative of Paradise is Christ, who holds a rolled scroll in his left hand and performs a Greek benediction with his right. He wears a gold cruciform halo and the Hand of God appears above him. He is flanked by Pope Paschal I, St. Agatha, and St. Paul on the left. While Agatha and Paul wear gold circular haloes, Paschal wears a blue square halo to indicate that he was still living at the time of the creation of the mosaic. He holds a model of the Church of Santa Ceclila, which he had paid to renovate. Paschal's monogram appears in a roundel in the border of the apse mosaic. Agatha wears a martyr's crown and puts an arm around Paschal's shoulder to present him to Christ. Paul holds a red codex. To the right of Christ are St. Peter, St. Cecilia's husband Valerian, and St. Cecilia herself. All wear gold circular haloes. Peter holds his attribute, the keys of the Church. Valerian and Cecilia hold martyr's crowns with veiled hands.

    The two female saints are very richly dressed in yellow with gold and jewels. Each one wears what appears to be a white loros. The loros was a long scarf sometimes studded with precious stones and was worn by the Byzantine emperor and empress and others of high status. According to emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos, it symbolized the cross as the instrument of Christ’s victory. Typically, one section of the garment fell straight down the front of the wearer’s body, and the other looped around to rest over their arm. The saints' dresses are trimmed with pearls and jeweled medallions. As the titular saint, Cecilia wears a crown while Agatha is adorned with a diadem. Finally, their feet are adorned with red shoes, which the Byzantine emperor and his family were always depicted wearing. In Byzantine art, the Virgin Mary was also often represented wearing these shoes, as were archangels when they were clad in the imperial loros.

  • Source: Image #1 Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Image #2 Tripadvisor
  • Rights: Image #1 Labeled for non-commercial reuse. Image #2 Labeled for non-commercial reuse.
  • Subject (See Also): Agatha, Martyr, Saint Architecture, Image of Cecilia, Saint Jesus Christ Mosaics Paul, Saint Peter, Saint Popes
  • Geographic Area: Italy
  • Century: 9
  • Date: ca. 820
  • Related Work: Close up of the mosaic with Christ, saints Peter, Valerian, and Agatha:
    Mosaic of Christ and Mary above the nave in the church of S. Cecilia:
  • Current Location: Trastevere, Rome, Italy, Church of Santa Cecilia, apse
  • Original Location: Trastevere, Rome, Italy, Church of Santa Cecilia, apse
  • Artistic Type (Category): Digital Images; Mosaics
  • Artistic Type (Material/Technique): Glass tesserae
  • Donor: Male religious; Pope Paschal I
  • Height/Width/Length(cm): //
  • Inscription:
  • Related Resources: Goodson, Caroline J. "Material Memory: Rebuilding the Basilica of S. Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome." Early Medieval Europe 15, 1 (2007): 2-34;
    Goodson, Caroline J. The Rome of Pope Paschal I: Papal Power, Urban Renovation, Church Rebuilding and Relic Translation. Cambridge University Press, 2010;
    Thunø, Erik. The Apse Mosaic in Early Medieval Rome: Time, Network, and Repetition. Cambridge University Press, 2015.