Plate (01796)

BXM: 001796
Exhibition room: I.2 Secular life

Date: 6th c.

Dimensions (cm): 39Χ 6,5Χ 0,9

This large plate is made of light red clay and has a layer of orangey-red slip. It  stands on

a low, circular foot resembling a ring.  Its inner face is decorated with a stamped

depiction of Christ who, holding a cruciform sceptre in his left hand and blessing with

his right, is standing on a snake.  It is a depiction of the triumphant Christ conquering

the power of evil, shown in the form of a snake, the "basilisk".
The plate belongs to the category of stamped ceramics (terra sigillata) made

in North Africa.  In those workshops they produced high quality vessels of red clay with

a layer of red slip, which were marketed in large quantities throughout the Eastern

Mediterranean and naturally exported to Constantinople itself, where there was

suddenly an increased demand.  It was found in an Early Christian house in the small

settlement of Palaia Fokaia, near Anavyssos (Attica) by the 1st EBA and is dated to the

6th century.