Anglo-Saxon stained glass

A bigger picture

Since most people could not read, the use of symbols was very important to communicate the teachings and identity of the early Christian church. Some of these symbols were Christian inventions; some were influenced by symbolism from other religions. Here are some objects showing early Christian imagery from around the Mediterranean world and one from England.

Coin of Emperor Constantine


Coin of Emperor Constantine AD 306337 from Croatia, showing the emperor praying.

See more See more: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/gold-medallion-showing-constantine-the-great-at-prayer/3AEVCVZ6bG5TfQ

Necklace from Istanbul


Part of a necklace from Istanbul dating to the AD 300s with crosses and a chi-rho symbol.

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/pe_mla/e/element_of_a_necklace.aspx

Depiction of the crucifixion


Ivory plaque from Rome with the earliest known depiction of the crucifixion, AD 42030.

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/pe_mla/p/panel_from_an_ivory_casket_th.aspx

Stone frieze with an eagle or dove and a Coptic cross


Part of a stone frieze with an eagle or dove and a Coptic cross from Sudan, AD 600s.

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aes/s/sandstone_frieze.aspx

Painting showing saints


Wall painting showing saints with haloes from Egypt, AD 500s.

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aes/w/wall_painting_of_the_martyrdom.aspx

Buckle with Christian symbol of a fish


An Anglo-Saxon buckle from Kent with the Christian symbol of a fish; mid AD 600s.

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=95555&partId=1&searchText=buckle+fish&page=1
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Anglo-Saxon stained glass