The CBd
Bonner, SMA, 223.

obverse. The upper part is not oval but an inexact circle which does not actually touch the cross below it. There is an inscription, εἷς θεός , the first five letters running downwards from the upper right, the remainder downwards from the upper left.
A few stones illustrate the cult of saints. Those to be described here are all cut on haematites of a tall, narrow oblong form rounded at the corners, a shape that became common in early Byzantine times and corresponds to the elongation of human figures which is characteristic of many works of Byzantine art. An example in the British Museum (D. 334) shows a beardless saint standing to front, hands raised, his head, which is encircled with a nimbus, turned to right; the hair is confined with a band. The arrangement of the garment resembles that shown on certain ivory carvings of the early sixth century.56 In the field on each side is a cross potent. The reverse is inscribed ἅγιε Προκόπι (for Προκόπιε).
St. Procopius is the subject of an interesting chapter in Delehaye's Les Légendes hagiographiques, where the evidence for his cult is presented in full.57 He was born at Scythopolis and martyred at Caesarea in Palestine on June 7, 303. His tomb was restored by the emperor Zenon in 484 and received the veneration of pilgrims.
A similar haematite in the Newell collection (D. 335) represents a saint standing with hands raised and head turned to left; there is a cross potent at each side in the lower field. The saint seems to be rising from a tomb or a sarcophagus, the end of which is done in crosshatching. His head is youthful and beardless, the hair confined by a band. The texture of the garment is indicated by a herringbone pattern. Its arrangement is not clear, but a vertical panel from neck to waist seems to represent a material or a pattern different from the rest. On the reverse is ἅγιε Λεόντι.
Leontius, with two companions, is said to have suffered martyrdom under Vespasian at Tripoli in Phoenicia.58 In his account of Justinian's buildings Procopius says that the emperor built, or restored, a house of St. Leontius in Damascus, and Theodoret mentions a festival of the saint.59 The cult seems to have been popular. Dalton lists two silver rings, the bezels of which show the saint standing, holding a long cross in his left hand and supporting a shield with his right. Inscriptions identify the figure as Leontius. The name occurs on two other objects listed by the same editor, but it is not certain that St. Leontius is meant.60
A smaller haematite of the same shape belonging to the Michigan collection (D. 336) shows a robed figure with face turned to the right, the hair bound with a fillet. The poor carving and an abrasion of the surface make the action of the hands uncertain; apparently they were held forward supporting

56 Dalton, Byz. Art and Arch. pp. 198 f., figs. 119–120.
57 Third ed., pp. 119–139.
58 Acta Sanct. Jun. IV, 455; Propyl. Novem., p. 755.
59 Procop. De aedif. Just. 5, 9, 26; Theod. Graec. affect. cur. 9 ad fin. (PG 83, 1033 B).
60 Dalton, Cat. of Early Christian Antiquities, 124–125; cf. 164, 487.

Last modified: 2012-11-02 12:42:52

Related objects: 3 item(s)