Byzantine Bronze Cross Ornament

SKU CK.0117

600 AD to 900 AD


5″ (12.7cm) high x 2.5″ (6.4cm) wide




Eastern Mediterranean

Gallery Location



While Christianity replaced the gods of antiquity, traditional Classical culture continued to flourish. Greek and Latin were the languages of the learned classes. Before Persian and Arab invasions devastated much of their eastern holdings, Byzantine territory extended as far as south as Egypt. After a period of iconoclastic uprising came to resolution in the 9th Century, a second flowering of Byzantine culture arose and lasted until Constantinople was temporarily seized by Crusaders from the west in the 13th Century. Christianity spread throughout the Slavic lands to the north. In 1453, Constantinople finally fell to the Ottoman Turks effectively ending the Byzantine Empire after more than 1,100 years. Byzantine art and culture was the epitome of luxury, encorporating the finest elements from the artistic traditions of both the East and the West. The Byzantine Divine Liturgy was a symbolic re- enactment of Christ's incarnation, teachings, and sacrifice. This Great Mysterium – the redemption of humanity – unfolded in an elaborate church ceremony that included prayer readings, the singing of hymns, and procession of clergy decorated in lavish vestments, some of whom carried processional crosses. Others swung censers gently back and forth, filling the air with sweet smelling smoke. The eucharistic bread was stamped with various patterns. The ceremony stimulated all the senses and engaged the mind, allowing the worshipper to experience the divine.

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