Adoration of the Magi. Panel from a Roman sarcophagus, 4th century CE. From the cemetary of St. Agnes in Rome.

A few interesting features I noted, reflecting on this early depiction of the story. Firstly, the Magi aren’t in philosophers garb and in fact have short tunics, which suggests lower class. Secondly, there are three, which suggests this aspect of iconography had settled early. Thirdly, nevertheless, Jesus is depicted as a child rather than a newborn, which suggests that part of the iconography was still more open. Thirdly, the star is five pointed, with a circle around it, which is sure to excite a few Wiccans!

One thought on “Adoration of the Magi

  1. Interesting!
    Lower class, eh? I always assumed that high status was assumed because of the gifts brought by the magi.
    The star doesn’t excite me. I hope you’re not too disappointed. (Then again, I don’t consider myself Wiccan….)


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