Silver reliquary

  • Code:  ΒΑ 71
  • Type:  Reliquary
  • Chronology:  4th c.
  • Dimensions:  Height 9.5 cm; length 12 cm; width 9.5 cm
  • Materials of Construction:  silver
  • Origin:  Nea Herakleia, Chalkidiki

Reliquary. Rectangular casket with flat cover, fastened with hooks. The four sides of the reliefs are decorated with scenes from the Old and New Testaments. On the front side Christ is represented delivering the Law to the apostles Peter and Paul. On the reverse side the Three Children in the furnace are depicted. On narrow sides Daniel in the Lion’s Den is depicted and the Delivery of the Ten Commandments to Moses. On the upper surface of the lid a Christogram is framed by the Alpha and Omega, the apocalyptic letters, while the lateral sides are decorated with vine leaves and grapes.Reliquaries were made of precious materials (gold, silver, ivory) and contained relics of martyrs and saints or objects which had been sanctified by contact with relics, such as blood-soaked earth from a saint's tomb. They were placed on the altar or underneath it when the church was consecrated.