Good Shepherd and Sheep

Good shepherd motif, third century C.E. Painting from the Catacomb of Priscilla, Rome. 

The Catacombs of Priscilla were used for early Christian burials in the second through fourth centuries C.E. The site is located in an ancient Roman quarry and is the burial site for many early Christian martyrs. The walls of the catacombs are decorated with murals depicting early Christian iconography. The oldest known image of the Virgin Mary with Jesus on her lap is found here. Images of the good shepherd, like this one, are the most common allegorical representations of Christ found in early Christian art. This type of imagery would be used for centuries after the Roman Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in 313 C.E.

Painting with a “good shepherd” motif from the Catacomb of Priscilla, Rome. Second half of the third century C.E.

Underground passages used for burial and religious practice; originally referred specifically to the catacombs beneath Rome.

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