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Hinton St Mary mosaic
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This magnificent mosaic floor contains what is thought to be one of the earliest representations of Christ in human form in the history of Christian art. It was made 300 years after the religion began, when Christianity had become the official religion of the Roman Empire. Before this time, Christians represented Christ through symbols. The mosaic floor was made for a large villa in Britain and the design reflects how old pagan beliefs were blended with the new religion.

One part of the mosaic shows the Greek mythological hero Bellerophon, mounted on his winged horse Pegasus. In the centre of the larger pavement is a roundel (shown here) containing the bust of a clean0shaven man. Behind his head are the Greek letters chi and rho, the first two letters of Christ’s name. Placed together as a monogram like this, they formed the Chi Rho, the usual symbol for Christianity at this time.

Hinton St Mary mosaic

From Hinton St Mary, Dorset, England, IV century AD.
L. 810 cm., W. 520 cm.

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