Orthodox Baptistery--page 1 (of 2 pages)

late 4th century; remodeled mid-fifth century

Octagonal Baptistery

This early Christian baptistery is octagonal, a shape that persisted throughout the middle ages because of important number symbolism. Eight was the number of regeneration, just as baptism signaled redemption in Christ. Jesus rose from the dead on the eight day of the Passion and the world began on the 8th day after creation. This Baptistery is relatively small: about 37 feet in diameter. It was in restoration when these photographs were taken; thus some views are missing.

Blind arcades on the second tier

Bishop Neon (449-58) had the interior dome added and decorated with mosaics. It is masked by the exterior wall however.

The lowest register: Prophets framed by acanthus leaves


Mosaic-covered walls--the lowest register

The frames of the lower niches also have inscribed passages relating to baptism from both the Old and New Testaments.

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© 2006 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.