Arian Baptistery

Date: ca. 500
Location or Findspot (Modern-Day Country): Italy
Description: This small, octagonal baptistery was erected under the patronage of the Ostrogothic King Theoderic (r. 489–526). The name "Arian Baptistery" is used to distinguish it from the earlier Orthodox or Neonian Baptistery, also in Ravenna. Theoderic was an Arian Christian, meaning that he practiced a form of non-trinitarian Christological doctrine that was common among medieval Germanic tribes. The dome of the Arian Baptistery is similar to that of the Orthodox baptistery, to which this new baptistery was likely responding. Within a central medallion, John the Baptist baptizes a youthful, naked Christ, half-submerged in water as the dove of the Holy Spirit descends towards his head. A river personification sits to the left of Christ. Peter (holding keys) and Paul (holding the scrolls of the law) lead the apostles in a procession around the central scene. They head towards a throne with a jeweled crucifix resting on a purple cushion.
Relevant Textbook Chapter(s): 3
Image Credits: Genevra Kornbluth

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Arian Baptistery, Paul and Peter flanking the prepared throne Arian Baptistery, river personification