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Figure 11.

Relics being granted an imperial reception, Constantinople. Ivory, Cathedral Treasury, Trier. Fifth century A.D. (Photograph: Bildarchiv Foto Marburg)

Figure 11.

Relics being granted an imperial reception, Constantinople. Ivory, Cathedral Treasury, Trier. Fifth century A.D. (Photograph: Bildarchiv Foto Marburg)

brated feats."[89] What the pictures showed was people; they constituted narrative art—that is, they told stories about people. These were scriptural examples; at other times the pictures were of Christian saints and martyrs or scenes from their lives.[90] Thus the Life, represented in literature as a pattern to follow, is also seen as such in visual art. As the Platonic language of representation used in so many Christian texts was translated into concrete expression, Christians were presented with a pictorial world thickly populated by holy people. It would not be long before they became as familiar and as beloved as living friends.

It was entirely predictable that pictures would become more and more important as a means for representing Christian truth.

[89] PG 79, 578, trans. ibid., 33; see H. G. Thummel, BZ 71 (1978): 10-21.

[90] For examples, see Mango, Art of the Byzantine Empire, 36 ff. Even before such narrative scenes became common, the effect of the new churches built from the time of Constantine on must have been considerable; see M. Miles, "The Evidence of Our Eyes: Patristic Studies and Popular Christianity in the Fourth Century," Studia Patristica 18 (1985): 59-63.

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