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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Fragment of a Christian Monument
Work Type
800-1200 CE
Byzantine period, Middle
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Pentelic marble
15 x 11 cm (5 7/8 x 4 5/16 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
Professor Alfred Bushnell Hart, Cambridge, MA, (c.1888-1928), gift; to The Fogg Museum, 1928.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Professor Albert Bushnell Hart, Class of 1880
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Published Catalogue Text: Stone Sculptures: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums , written 1990

Fragment of a Christian Monument

Top, left side, and bottom are broken irregularly. The right edge is finished with a rough chisel, and the back is even more roughly carved.

The fragment is seemingly the upper right corner of a stele or small shrine with an architectural top. The workmanship is routine and therefore hard to date, but the monument probably belongs to the middle centuries of the Byzantine Empire. The low relief carving on the front consists of the right corner of a pediment with a stylized akroterion (mostly broken away) above. The fillet molding of the pediment is continued down the right side, and within an inset rectangle are a large rosette enframed upper left and lower left and right by the shaft and arm of a large cross with Maltese ends. There is a section of vertical, fillet molding forming the vertical shaft of the cross at the left and carving of an uncertain nature beyond.

The same rosette appears in the center of the pediment at a commemorative stele from the area of the Agora at Assos. It belongs in the Hellenistic to Graeco-Roman periods (Comstock, Vermeule, 1976, p. 177, no. 283). Here, as a Greek Imperial survivor into the Byzantine period, the rosette exists amid other memories of Classical architectural decoration. The relationship between this cross and foliate acanthus enrichment goes back to the early Byzantine plaque with elaborate scrollwork around the krater, in the Archaeological Museums, Istanbul, from Constantinople (Müfid, 1931, cols. 209-210, fig. 28).

Cornelius Vermeule and Amy Brauer

Publication History

  • Cornelius C. Vermeule III and Amy Brauer, Stone Sculptures: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 94, no. 80

Verification Level

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