Catacomb mosaic with Jonah
Date: Late fourth century
Location or Findspot (Modern-Day Country): Italy
Description: The biblical story of Jonah was a popular motif in catacomb art because of its associations with salvation and resurrection. For similar reasons, Daniel in the lions' den and the resurrection of Lazarus also appeared regularly. The mosaic fragments seen here were originally from the catacomb of Gordianus and Epimachus in Rome. They may have appeared on the closure for a loculus (a niche housing a body, Latin for "little place"). In the first fragment, sailors cast the prophet overboard where he is consumed by a large sea monster. In the second fragment, the monster spits Jonah back onto the shore, leaving him nude and reclining in the shade of a miraculous vine.
Relevant Textbook Chapter(s): 1
Repository and Online Resources: • This fragment is now in the Vatican Museums (in the Museo Pio Cristiano).
Image Credits: Genevra Kornbluth
Tags: Access to the sacred, Bible, Burial and tombs, Christian, Late Antique, Western European, Roman, Mediterranean