The Basic Tenants of Christianity: • Jesus was born among the Jews • In the Jewish faith: God had communicated with them for centuries through His prophets and the Old Testament and had given them Commandments by which to live and to please Him • Jesus said to love God and Human beings was more important than those laws • The writings of Jesus’ followers make up the New Testament
Christianity continued... <ul><li>To His followers: He was God’s son, the Savior of the World whose coming was predicted in the Old Testament </li></ul><ul><li>People who believed in Him would be raised from the dead at the end of time and live with him in heaven </li></ul><ul><li>Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God make up the Trinity </li></ul>The Holy Trinity Jesus Holy Spirit God
The Roman Empire I don’t trust these Christians, they’re cutting in on my power!
In the centuries following Christ’s death, Rome becomes the center of Christian underground activity, and many Christians are blamed and persecuted for the growing troubles of the empire
Christianity is outlawed and many Christians seek refuge in underground sanctuaries that were built to bury their dead, called the Catacombs (c. 300 CE)
Underground cities <ul><li>Underground cities were built to escape persecution within the Roman Empire </li></ul><ul><li>Cities could often hold up to 20,000 people for many months without coming outside! </li></ul>Underground cities in Goreme (present day Turkey
Underground Fresco in Goreme, Turkey Cappadocia
The Good Shepherd, Ceiling Fresco, 4 th century, Catacombs, Rome Circles depict story of Jonah Circle : Symbolizes the Dome of Heaven Do you see the cross formed by intersecting circles?
Symbolism <ul><li>new kinds of images are painted depicting people and events of religious importance through the use of symbolism </li></ul><ul><li>the communication of a thought or an idea using symbols was new and changed the course of art for centuries </li></ul>
Roman Symbols to Christian Symbols <ul><li>(Notes: Juno – Roman equivalent of Hera, Phaeton – Son of Helion, </li></ul><ul><li>Elijah – deliverer of message to Ahab, Aristaeus – son of Apollo) </li></ul>• Symbols are at first borrowed from Roman art Roman Early Christian Juno’s Peacock Symbol for Christ’s resurrection Phaeton’s Chariot Elijah’s Chariot Pastoral God Aristaeus Good Shepherd
Pastoral god Aristaeus ...becomes.... the Good Shepherd
<ul><li>not realistic or natural (as Romans) but simplified and stylized </li></ul>Roman Art vs. Early Christian Art Roman Fresco Early Christian Fresco
• Art tends to use blues and browns, is compartmentalized and generally not very good (compared to Roman Art)
And then... there is a shift in Faith in the Roman Empire!! • Roman Faith (Polytheism) shifts to Monotheism as Paganism slowly gives way to Christianity as the favoured religion and faith in the Roman Empire Polytheism: Belief in multiple Gods (ex. Mars-God of War, Jupiter (aka Zeus)-king of Gods, Juno-Goddess of Wisdom) Monotheism : Belief in only One God How did that happen?
Emperor Constantine <ul><li>Year 312 CE: Emperor Constantine becomes a Christian, when just before battle he allegedly saw a vision of a cross over the sun with the following words: </li></ul><ul><li>"Εν Τουτω Νικα" ("By this, conquer!" </li></ul>
Battle of Milvian Bridge <ul><li>Constantine commanded his troops to adorn their shields with a Christian symbol (the Chi-Ro), and thereafter they were victorious. </li></ul>
Edict of Milan <ul><li>Year 313 CE: the Edict of Milan makes Christianity the recognized religion in the Roman Empire </li></ul><ul><li>“ We should let both the Christians and all others follow whatever religion they wanted to, so that whatever God there is in heaven may be happy and pleased with us and with all our subjects.” </li></ul>
“ The Great Schism” <ul><li>in 323 CE, Constantine moves the capital of the Roman Empire to the Greek town of Byzantium (which became known as Constantinople) </li></ul><ul><li>this split of the Empire also set in motion the religious division into the Western (Catholic) and Eastern (Orthodox) churches </li></ul>
To sum up... <ul><li>Christianity infiltrates the Roman Empire </li></ul><ul><li>Christians persecuted at first </li></ul><ul><li>Christian art borrows symbols from Roman Art </li></ul><ul><li>More simple then Roman Art, focus is on symbolism and meaning rather than realism </li></ul><ul><li>Roman Faith=Polytheistim / Christianity = monotheism </li></ul><ul><li>Constantine converts to Christianity and in 313 CE officially recognizes the religion </li></ul><ul><li>Moves the capital from Rome to Constantinople </li></ul>