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RARE COMPLETE ANCIENT CHRISTIAN ROMAN RELIQUARY BRONZE CROSS PENDANT

WITH BOTH HALVES SHOWING RISEN CHRIST

7th - 11th Century A.D.

This stunning bronze reliquary cross features a very rare condition of preservation in that BOTH halves of the cross are present and still sealed with original bail for hanging on any chain or cord necklace.  The one side shows a crucified Christ with outstretched arms and the other side shows a risen Christ with raised arms.  The entire bronze surface possesses a rich light and dark green patina so highly prized by ancient art dealers and vital to authenticating that this piece is truly ancient in age.  Art style is classic and typical for this time period.  Bail is large enough to accommodate a man's or woman's chain and this stunning artifact of early Christendom could easily be worn by either a man or woman.  Entire piece is solid and wearable with no worries.  Overall size is large and makes for a highly visually impressive display!  This is definitely the nicest COMPLETE AND INTACT genuine ancient reliquary crosses we have ever offered.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The reliquary crosses of the Byzantine Roman world were wearable crosses made in two parts and assembled with hinges that allowed them to open lengthwise like a clamshell.  They were often used to hold a piece of a saint's bone or hair and their power to heal and protect by the possession of the 'relic' inside was believed by all.   Complete and intact specimens with both halves still attached are extremely rare

WARNING:  Fakes of these bronze crosses have saturated the collectible market.  Ebay is definitely the worst assemblage of them but I have seen numerous on websites being pawned off as real.  Crooked and/or ignorant dealers are selling copies for pennies to the dollar compared to authentic examples like this one but some are asking the same price as the genuine artifacts!  If the price seems too good to be true, then it is.  Even the people digging these out of the ground in the most remote regions know the value of a genuine example.  Beware of copies that have what appear to be signs of authenticity right down to the faking of the color, oxidized patina and artificially glued on debris and encrustation!!!

In the Byzantine Period which lasted from the 5th century AD to the fall of Constantinople in the 15th century, the Roman Empire and Christianity were completely interwoven.  It was the quintessential example of the UNION of church and state.  The classic architecture, style of dress, and overall appearance of all that was "Roman" took on a new and intricate style that the world has never seen before or has ever since been repeated.  Roman Byzantine culture was an eclectic and yet, harmonious religious blend of the It is during the Byzantine Period that we have the first major introduction of CHRISTIAN JEWELRY to the world!  

The cross came to symbolize the basic Christian concepts:  Incarnation, Atonement and the Resurrection.  It was believed the crosses possessed hidden healing strength and guaranteed salvation of the soul!  Many objects in antiquity, both everyday items as well as those for holy rituals, abounded in Christian imagery.  Some examples of this imagery that were used with Christian significance besides the cross were the Chi-Ro symbol, the fish, angels, a starburst and abbreviated inscriptions in Greek (the language used for religious writings and coinage) which translated to "In Christ, Victory" or "Jesus Christ, King of Kings".

The Christian jewelry of the ancient world always reflected the humility that Christ preached.  Stunning bejeweled adornments were left to the high priests only while performing rituals.  The Christian jewelry worn by all believers in antiquity was that of very crude and simplistic design, only very rarely in precious metal.  The crosses of the Byzantine Period were predominantly bronze and sometimes lead.  The art style was highly stylized, typical for the Byzantine culture.  Depictions of Christ and Mary most often appear quite cartoon-like in the imagery on the Christian jewelry and coinage.  Since many of the Byzantine coins had religious inscriptions and images of Jesus and occasionally Mary, coins are sometimes found with holes punched through them having been used as a pendant in ancient times by an early believer.

In the later Medieval Era and Dark Ages, Christian jewelry maintained this humility in both overall design and manufacture with an increase in the use of silver but a continuance in the use of bronze, copper and lead.  Imagery became more refined and detailed.  Pilgrim badges were often worn by believers in these times if they had the grand opportunity to visit the Holy city of Jerusalem.  

An excellent (and wearable!) genuine antiquity from the earliest period of Christian jewelry and suitable for either a man or woman.

2.4" in height overall

R042     SOLD     COMES WITH A CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY / HISTORY SHEET

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