Franz Joseph Dölger-Institut

zur Erforschung der Spätantike

Zu den Hütten im linken Rundnischenmosaik ›Dominus legem dat‹ in Santa Costanza in Rom (mit Tafel 4b)

JbAC 60 (2017) Seiten: 133-139

The ›dominus legem dat‹-mosaic in Sta. Costanza shows the apostles Peter and Paul in front of two buildings, usually interpreted as representing the cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The iconography of these structures is, however, rather more suggestive of huts: This paper presents some literary sources showing that the hut, σκῆνος or σκήνωμα, can be understood as a temporary dwelling place for the human soul and that abandoning the hut, breaking it down, or leaving it could be a metaphor for ›dying‹. The huts could thus symbolize the earthly bodies of the apostles, which they left behind as they – corresponding to the potential overall interpretation of the mosaic – stand in front of paradise where Christ instructs them in the Law of Heaven.

Vollmer, Cornelius