Anonymous, second half of the 11th-12th century. Medallion (Bronze, 48 mm, 52.48 g, 12 h). IC - XC - I/Δ/૪ / H - [MHP] / C/૪ - I/Δ/Є / Ⲱ - V/O / C/૪ ('Jesus Christ - Behold, your mother! - Behold, your son!') The Crucifixion: Christ crucified, wearing a cloth around his waist and a large nimbus cruciger; in upper left and right fields, Sun and Moon; to left, Saint John; to right, the Mother of God; both nimbate; all within a pearled border intersected with globules. Rev. + H ANAC/TACHC / IC-XC The Resurrection: Christ advancing to right, raising Adam from Hell, Eve standing behind; between them, lock and key to the gates of Hell; all within a pearled border intersected with globules. Cf. S. Bendall: An Official Byzantine Religious Medallion or Amulet?, in: Numismatic Circular 98 (2010), 5-6 (for three related medaillons). Roma XVIII (2019), 1316 var. An exceptionally impressive medallion of the finest middle-Byzantine style. Good very fine.
From a European collection, acquired before 2021.
This spectacular medallion shows the Crucifixion ('Staurosis' in Greek) on one side in a traditional scene with Saint John and the Mother of God. The legend is taken from the Gospel of John (19:26-27), which describes how Christ beheld his mother and his beloved disciple standing at the Cross, upon which he uttered 'Woman, behold your son!' to Mary, and 'Behold your mother!' to Saint John, after which the latter took Mary into his own home. The other side of the medallion shows the Resurrection ('Anastasis' in Greek), more specifically the Harrowing of Hell, i.e. the period between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection on Easter when Christ triumphantly descended into Hell to free the righteous born before the coming of the Savior, starting with Adam and Eve. Though the event is alluded to in different parts of the New Testament, the most complete version of the story can be found in the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus. As a whole, the medallion celebrates Christ's triumph over death and suffering, with the promise that the same is possible for the true believer.