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date: 07 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an introduction to early Christian mosaics that emphasizes the important role played by archaeology in improving our understanding of their geographical and architectural contexts. After a short discussion of the position of early Christian mosaics in the history of the medium, a brief review of the most productive methodologies used in research on mosaics is undertaken, followed by a survey of mosaic technology that includes the workshops and artists involved in mosaic production. In the rest of the chapter, a selection of mosaics in churches, martyria, chapels, and Christian mausolea located in various parts of the Mediterranean world is examined. The evidence from archaeology demonstrates that although early Christian mosaics share universal themes, the diversity reflected in their iconography and the presence of secondary themes rooted in local traditions necessitate a regional approach to their interpretation.

Keywords: floor mosaic, wall mosaic, vault mosaic, early Christian art, architectural decoration, mosaic technology, artist workshops, patronage

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