Early Christian Lead Cross - Eastern Roman/Byzantine
Circa 6th - 9th Century AD (Iconoclastic Period)
Fine condition with oxidized surface and a scrape at one terminus (Size: 43 x 32mm – 1 11/16 x 1 ¼’’ – Weight: 14.11gm)
A rare, heavy early Christian pectoral cross, crafted of lead in a simple equal-armed design with integral suspension loop. Most surviving examples in lead are quite small – less than half the size of this remarkable artifact !
By the 5th and 6th centuries, the Cross had replaced the Chi-Rho as the standard emblem of Christian religious devotion. Its meaning transcended that of the simple monogram to visually recall the crucifixion. Crosses were worn by individuals from every social stratum, from the elaborate bejeweled golden cross of the patriarch to the simple crosses of the common man. The word crusade, which is derived from the Latin crux (cross), is a reference to the biblical injunction that Christians carry their cross. Crusaders wore a red cross sewn on their tunics to indicate they had assumed the cross and were soldiers of Christ. Many also wore a pectoral cross around their neck.