The paper investigates the use and the importance of the symbols of anchor and fish in the most ancient Christian catacombs of Rome, in particular in the cemetery of Priscilla (first decades of the 3rd century). The epigraphic documentation shows that the anchor is the dominant symbol of the primitive parts of the catacomb of Priscilla, while the image of the fish is very rare and appears in the catacomb in a more recent period only. It is remarkable that the Greek and Latin literary sources of the 2nd and 3rd century show a completely different situation: Christian writers do not seem to be very interested in giving a Christian interpretation of the image of the anchor, while there are numerous literary testimonies concerning the Christian interpretation of the symbol of the fish. This discrepancy makes evident the problem of the relationship between written sources and epigraphic/iconographic testimonies and poses various questions from a methodological point of view.

12. The Symbols of Anchor and Fish in the Most Ancient Parts of the Catacomb of Priscilla: Evidence and Questions

CASTELLI E
2013

Abstract

The paper investigates the use and the importance of the symbols of anchor and fish in the most ancient Christian catacombs of Rome, in particular in the cemetery of Priscilla (first decades of the 3rd century). The epigraphic documentation shows that the anchor is the dominant symbol of the primitive parts of the catacomb of Priscilla, while the image of the fish is very rare and appears in the catacomb in a more recent period only. It is remarkable that the Greek and Latin literary sources of the 2nd and 3rd century show a completely different situation: Christian writers do not seem to be very interested in giving a Christian interpretation of the image of the anchor, while there are numerous literary testimonies concerning the Christian interpretation of the symbol of the fish. This discrepancy makes evident the problem of the relationship between written sources and epigraphic/iconographic testimonies and poses various questions from a methodological point of view.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11570/3203362
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