Lampe mit Kreuzgriff - Licht für die Christenheit

Archäologische Staatssammlung München


The spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire reached the northern Alpine region in the second century AD at the latest. The first Christian communities on the Rhine are attested for the second half of the century. The earliest evidence in the Bavarian parts of the provinces of Raetia and Noricum dates back to the fourth and fifth centuries. For this time only remains of buildings in Augsburg, Epfach (Landsberg district) and Passau can probably be interpreted as early churches. Objects of daily use that bear motifs with a clear Christian symbolism are rare as well. In the first place - next to a tomb inscription from Regensburg - finger rings with Christogram representations and/or with Christian supplication formulas may be classed. In addition, there are single glass vessels and lamps. A cast bronze lamp excells among the latter; a cross with curved arms and with spikily extended ends rises above its circular handle. The early-Byzantine lamp, which was made in the Mediterranean region, comes from the private collection of the Trau family of Viennese tea merchants and bore the inscription "Augsburg 1867". Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to decide whether the place of discovery or only the place of purchase was designated by the previous owner. If the object really came from Augsburg, it would be one of the very few archaeological testimonials for the continuation of a local early-Christian tradition lasting from Roman times to the early Middle Ages.


Archäologische Staatssammlung München

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