Early Christian Bronze Cross – Saint/Angels – Eastern Roman/Byzantine
Circa 10th – 12th Century AD (Crusades Period)
Front: "Orans" figure of a robed Saint (Damian?) with upraised hands, named in a partially legible Greek inscription above his head. Busts on the arm of the cross are clearly identified as Michael and Gabriel.
Fine green patina with brown overtones (49 x 31 mm – 2 x 1 1/4”, weight 8.67 gm)
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.
A substantial and well-crafted artifact in excellent condition, retaining its suspension loop.
Reference: another cross with this iconography, see item 569 in Pitikaris , “Le Croix-Reliquaries Pectorales”, published Paris, 2006.