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PARADOXPLACE CHURCHES OF ROME

 

THE MAJOR BASILICA OF SANTA MARIA MAGGIORE

 

NAVE MOSAICS (c430)

 

TRIUMPHAL ARCH MOSAICS

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In addition to bankrolling the magnificent post Council of Ephesus mosaics about Mary and the Incarnation on the Triumphal Arch, Pope St Sixtus III also ordered 22 narrative mosaic panels with old testament themes, and these were put up around the year 431 above the columns along both sides of the nave.  A large number of these panels have survived, in several cases with painted in bits where the mosaic tiles have fallen off.  The codes on the photos below correspond to the positions shown in this key.  The guide book contains reasonable photos of all of the mosaic panels.  Note that where the mosaics have fallen off, the panel surface has been painted with uneven results!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

D9 Moses on the commandment of God sweetens the watrers of the Mara.  The ruler of the Amalekites blocks the passage of the people of Israel.

 

 

 

D11 The return of the explorers from the promised land.  The people try to stone Moses, Caleb and Joshua.

 

 

 

D12 Moses dies on Mount Nebo after handing over the book of the Law to his p[eople.  Moses is buried.

 

 

 

D13 Crossing of the Arc of the Covenant over the River Jordan.  Spies sent by Joshua to Jerico.

 

 

 

D14 An angel appears to Joshua.  Rahab helps Joshua's spies to descend the walls of Jerico.  The spies report to Joshua on the results of their mission.

 

 

 

D15 The fall of Jericho, then the Ark is borne by the priests around the town to the sound of trumpets.

 

 

 

D16 - God speaks to Joshua.  The assault and conquest of the town of Hai.

 

 

 

D17 - The defeat of the Amorites, completed by a dense rain of hailstones which (the hand of) God drops on them. 

 

 

"Mosaic panels beneath the clerestory windows in the nave are dedicated to Old Testament stories. These mosaics are laid out as a narrative, beginning on the left hand wall adjacent to the apse with the story of Abraham. This is followed on the left or north wall with scenes from the stories of Isaac and Jacob. The story is picked up again on the right (south) wall again adjacent to the sanctuary with the stories of Moses and Joshua. The choice of subject matter is significant. Traditional Old Testament scenes like the story of Creation are omitted. Instead the focus is on a series of Old Testament heroes or leaders beginning with Abraham, the first patriarch and culminating in the Exodus narrative of Moses and Joshua leading the Israelites to the Promised Land. This epic story of the Old Testament should be seen in relationship to the Christian plan of history of how there is a manifest destiny of the Old Testament story of the Chosen People leading to the New Testament story of Christ and culminating in the destiny of the Church and the Empire to continue this story of the Chosen People until the end of time. The Emperor saw himself as the new Augustus at the same time as the new Abraham or Moses."  Dr. Allen S. Farber, Oneonta College, State University of New York web site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S6  Isaac blesses Jacob, and the arrival of Esau.

 

 

 

S11 Jacob asks for the recompense of his service from Laban, followed by division of the flocks. 

 

 

 

S12 God commands Jacob to leave.  He announces his departure to his wives Leah and Rachel.

 

 

 

S16 Jacob negotiates the purchase of the field in which he had pitched his tents.  Jacob told of the rape of his daughter Dinah.

 

 

Several more to come

 

 

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