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Summary

Three pictorial scenes represented on the walls of the newly discovered Mithraeum in Hawarte (Syria) are deeply rooted in the Middle-Iranian religious world. The pictures of the ‘City of Darkness’, and of ‘The Twin Riders’, as well as that of ‘The Lion and the Demons’, can only be explained by their evident Iranic background. Some of these iconographies are not limited to the Syrian area but are spread all around the Roman world, until London and Vienne-sur-Rhône. Moreover, a possible connection with a heterodox doctrine concerning the post-mortem vehiculated by the Pseudo-Macarius is proposed in this contribution.

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The subject of my paper concerns the iconography of the mysterious relief at Modena (Galleria Museo e Medagliere Estense, inv. 2676) showing a young god in a cosmic egg. The paper is to review the state of research in modern scholarship since 1863, to discuss various attempts at its interpretation, and to propose my own working hypothesis, which links the Modena relief to the Orphic Rhapsodies and the Middle-Platonic passage transmitted by Porphyry of Tyre in his The Cave of the Nymphs 21–29.

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The residential network of bishops of Olomouc (Kroměříž, Olomouc, Brno, Vyškov, Mírov, Hukvaldy), in the form carried out by Charles of Liechtenstein-Castelkorn (1664–1695) after extensive reconstructions, represented the main constituent of the building contractor's self-representation of power. It was based upon three components: 1) antiquity of the bishopric founded by St Cyril and Method; 2) the bishops' appartenance to the princes of the Empire and their privileged political position in the country; 3) economical and military power of the bishopric. Bishop Charles accentuated in the iconography of his residences the cumulation of secular and clerical power of ecclesiastical aristocracy.

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A progress report on a research dealing with the attribution and localisation of a curious painting. The iconography, the motifs and the composition show many links with the pictorial tradition of the subject-matter in the Netherlandish art of the 15th-16th centuries. But the support is not the usual oak panel used there and the style is not to be linked with any known hand. The painting might have been painted by an emigrant or wandering Flemish painter either in France or in Spain, but it can not be localised exactly. It is an remarkable example of the radiation of Flemish painting and style in the mid-16th century.

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The myth of Orpheus experienced a great popularity in ancient world, covering the path from a mythical legend to a complex and sophisticated mystic cult. There were many various features of Orpheus that characterized the Thracian singer, being the result of his different adventures: from the quest of the Argonauts and the pathetic story of love of Eurydice, to his journey to the underworld.

The myth of Orpheus was highly represented in iconography. The most frequent representations are those showing Orpheus as a singer surrounded by the beasts and, in smaller amount, in the scene representing the story of descent to the underworld in search of Eurydice. Numerous images connected with the legend of Orpheus, dating from the Classical times to Christian era, are the proof of a wide influence of the mystery cult of Orpheus on ancient and late antique culture.

This paper aims to present an overview of ancient coinage iconography representing Orpheus. Various motives considering the story of Orpheus appear on one of the most powerful means of propaganda – the coins, particularly from the Roman provinces, that were easily able to reach a wide audience. In the limited space of coins, the engravers could highlight effectively the most important and popular events from the story of Orpheus.

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In this article a magical gem in lapis lazuli is analyzed. It is engraved on both sides and bears an inscription running along the oblique edge. The main side of the gem is divided in 3 sectors where the engraved symbols recall the iconographies well known through the corpus of the Danubian stele: a goddess between two riders; a ritual banquet; a bipodia flanked by two worshipping female figures. Gems with these particular iconographies are very rare and this lapis lazuli can be compared for the complexity of the scenes only with a cornelian gem preserved in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Wien. The symbols on the other side of the gem are connected to the magical and Gnostic pseudo-Egyptian cultural panorama, as confirmed by the snake Chnoubis around the neck of the bird (Ibis?) depicted standing on a crocodile. It is not difficult to find comparisons among the magical gems for the single elements engraved on the lapis lazuli. Finally, Greek letters are engraved on the large edge of the gem: * CWBAPP — IKVPBH; they are divided by a star realized in a fracture suffered by the stone; in exergue there are the letters IAW in engraved double cartouche. The fact that the solar symbol which divides the Gnostic legend was engraved in the breakage could confirm that the side with the scene of Danubian riders was carved before the other one with magical-Gnostic symbols. Probably the gem was reused with magical purpose between the 2nd and the 3rd century AD.

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The past was reinvented in the Augustan culture through true or fictitious archaic cults, and this paper deals with some priesthoods related to sacred groves, or with the iconography of sacred luci appearing in some coins. Some examples are considered, such as an inscription from Peñaflor/Celti (Seville) mentioning a pontufex nemoris, a reference to the eques P. Aelius Marcellus, who appears in an epigraph from Umbria not only as Laurens Lavinas but also as flamen lucularis, or some images that document the reception of ancient notions of the sacred groves in the Roman provinces, as some recurrent types in the coins of Juba II of Mauritania depicting trees with an altar between them and the legend Lucus Augusti show. The question of whether these manifestations are merely expression of loyalism to the Emperor or whether they might imply some kind of local tradition is also posed.

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The purpose of this paper is to produce an approach to Sol through Numismatics. I intend to point out the possible correspondences existing between the god Sol, referred to as Sol Invictus in historiography,1 and Apollo. While the solar facet of Phoebus Apollo is well known, to what extent he exerted an influence over Sol Invictus has yet to be elucidated. Comparing types and chronologies plus describing correspondences between the two gods in an homogeneous process may actually constitute a different approach. Three aspects will be taken into consideration: iconography exchange, the chronological relationship and the propagandistic function of coin legends. The aim is to incorporate the knowledge thus gained into a critical analysis of Sol in the 3rd century.

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The Aquincum Museum houses the fragments of a terracotta object belonging to the finds unearthed in the so-called Symphorus Mithraeum. Careful study and following restoration of the object, previously identified as an architectural ornament in the museum inventory book, made it clear that the fragments belonged to a terracotta sculpture. The surviving parts of the hollow terracotta sculpture suggest that it was a representation of Mithras. This paper does research on which scene in Mithraic iconography this rare terracotta depiction of Mithras was an element of; whether the object can be connected to any other terracotta sculptures of gods originating from the cult place; and whether it was once part of the shrine equipment.

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This article studies the intercultural links between the Uygurs and Dunhuang in the tenth-eleventh centuries. Some of the biggest caves at Dunhuang show large-scale representations of Ganzhou Uygur brides as donors. It is argued that the marriage of a Chinese ruler of Dunhuang with the daughter of the Ganzhou Uygur kaghan acted as a catalyst for the formation of a new Sino-Uygur ruling class. A sketch and a painting from Dunhuang are examined in detail. Emphasis is on the appearance of new colours and decorative technologies such as applied gold leaf, iconography including the clothing of the figures and style, including facial features and mannerisms. It is concluded that Ganzhou Uygur brides as patrons played an important role in the formation of tenth-century Dunhuang art, and Uygur influence continued to grow in the eleventh century.

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