Christian History Project. This site contains the text of 12 volumes on the history of mankind over the last 2,000 years written from a 'collectively-denominational' Christian perspective.

Coffins |
History preserved on coffin lids

Coffins is drawn from Chapter Three, beginning on page 72, of Volume Three, By This Sign of the twelve-volume historical series The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years. If you would like to order this book please visit www.TheChristians.info.

The painters and carvers were often pagan, but their embellishments to Christian tombs and catacombs reveal a wealth of detail about the lives of early believers

Coffins - History preserved on coffin lids

Coffins – History preserved on coffin lids
On a sarcophagus lid now at the Museo Nazionale Romano in Rome, a group of Christians is seen sharing a funeral banquet not unlike those that their pagan counterparts would have held.

The places and manner of their burials tell a great deal about the lives of the Christians at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth century. Christians embellished their tombs, coffins and catacombs in a manner that borrowed heavily on Roman tradition. The images found on them range from the deeply personal to the scriptural. Clockwise from top: (1) On a sarcophagus lid now at the Museo Nazionale Romano in Rome, a group of Christians is seen sharing a funeral banquet not unlike those that their pagan counterparts would have held. (2) The image of the Good Shepherd, like this one on a sarcophagus now in the Archeoloski Musej at Split, Croatia, was common to the tombs of many wealthy. (3) The tomb of a Christian named Seberus in Rome is decorated with a vat and an incorrectly designed Chi-Rho, indicating perhaps that the artisan who did the work was not familiar with the symbol. (4) Again like the burial practices of pagans of the era, an early fourth-century tomb slab from Spain bears the mosaic likeness of the deceased, this one in the familiar pose of the orans, a person praying. Such portraits are striking for the realism and apparent accuracy of the faces depicted. The merchant classes as well as the wealthy would engage the services of local (frequently pagan) artisans to decorate their burial vaults.

This is the end of the Coffins category article drawn from Chapter Three, beginning on page 72, of Volume Three, By This Sign. To continue reading more about Coffins from The Christians, Their First Two Thousand Years we suggest experiencing the rest of the book, complete with hundreds of magnificent illustrations, by ordering it at www.TheChristians.info