Archaeologists in Spain have claimed that they’ve found one of the earliest ever images of Jesus engraved on a glass plate.
Reports in Spain have declared that the plate, which is referred to as a paten, dates back to the 4th Century AD. It’s believed that the plate was used when Eucharistic bread was consecrated during early Christian rituals. ABC newspaper has revealed that parts were found outside of Linares, a southern Spanish city, and it measures around 22cm in diameter.
Scientists, who are currently working for the FORVM MMX project, had been exploring the ancient town of Castulo when they made the discovery, which was inside a building used for religious worship. This unearthing could have huge implications on the “chronology of early Christianity in Spain,” and scientists are already beginning to review this timeline, according to FORVM MMX project director, Marcelo Castro.
Castro, also revealed that the building had been built in the second half of the fourth century A.D. before it was abandoned around about a century later, before he then went on to provide more history on the plate itself.
“We know it dates back to the 4th century, in part because popes in the following centuries ordered all patens to be made out of silver.”
This would represent the earliest ever depiction of Jesus Christ that has been discovered in Spain. Discovery have insisted that it matches the reputed iconography of Christ, and is reminiscent of Roman and Byzantine styles.
The pieces of the plate that were discovered were in a rather impressive state, especially when you consider their age. The BBC have declared that “81% of its original area has now been pieced together by scientists.”
The image appears to show Jesus Christ, holding the Cross in one hand and the Holy Scripture in the other, with two apostles who are believed to be Peter and Paul on either side of himm holding a roll in their hands. ABC wrote of the plate, “The scene takes place in the celestial orb, framed between two palm tress, which in Christian iconography represent immortality, the afterlife and heaven, among other things.”
However, the Christ on the plate is very different to how he has been depicted in later images. This discovery shows him without a beard, shorter hair, and wearing a philosopher’s toga.
The plate is already on display at Linares’ Archaeological Museum.
[Image via DDMCDN]