Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Introducing the first image of the Devil! (continued)

The Judgment of the Nations, early 6th century C.E., Mosaic,
Ravenna, Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, upper register of the nave.
 After the excitement of finding the oldest image of the devil cooled down (I don’t think it will ever die out completely) and I got my head back I read up on the image.
The mosaic is dated 520 common era.  The halo in this case represents not divinity like in later medieval art but is a symbol of power negative and/or positive. Also it was typical to present the devil as a humanoid rather than as an animal hybrid which became orthodox from 11th century.
Red as a color for the devil that we are accustomed to is a 9th century development, earlier on he was usually black, blue or violet because he was composed of the dark, thick, lower air, as opposed to the good angels, who were made of ethereal fire and were thus colored red.   
In other words everything we think the devil is developed around the Middle Ages if not later.

My favourite book ever 'Lucifer' by J.B. Russell

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