Sarcophagus of Dogma

Sarcophagus of Dogma
Sarcophagus of Dogma

This Roman sarcophagus from the 4th century is preserved in the Vatican Museums, and was not recorded until the 19th century, when it appeared during some restoration work on the church of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome.

When defined as dogmatic, it is because this is one of the first representations of the dogma of the Trinity. In the Council of Nicaea of ​​325 that concept was defended and it was established until today. Well, one of the first images in which we see Father and Son at the same time and as a divinity is this sarcophagus made almost in later years, since it is dated between 330 and 340, especially for the detail of the dresses shown by the characters.


Roman sarcophagus

The sarcophagus presents the figures in high relief and in two different registers, mixing episodes from the Old and New Testaments. And in the center a kind of circular medallion with the effigy of the deceased marriage that was going to be buried with him. Although, they must have died before finishing the work, since the portraits are not finished.

But the most interesting are the religious scenes.

Above, God the Father is represented in his chair, and then Jesus appears between Adam and Eve. While the rest of the scenes are The Wedding at Cana, the miracle of the loaves, and the resurrection of Lazarus.

And instead at the bottom you see aAdoration of the Magi, the healing of the blind man, Daniel and the lions, the prophet Habakkuk and the angel, Peter denying Christ and two other scenes featuring Saint Peter.

The fact is that this work, together with the sarcophagus of Junio ​​Basso, can be considered two of the great jewels of funerary sculpture of Paleo-Christian art. In fact, in the case of this sarcophagus we are certainly looking at a work from a very important sculpture workshop in the Rome of Emperor Constantine, and there are even historians who even see stylistic similarities between these figures and those that appear at a larger size on the Arch of Constantine.

By the way, although the Emperor Constantine adopted Christianity, which was the ultimate boost for this religion in the empire, the The truth is that he was against the dogma, and was more in favor of the theory of the Arians, who considered that the Son did not reach the level of divinity of God the Father.

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