Hexagonal Baptistery Font and Floor

4th century
Stobi, North Macedonia

Jensen suggests that the hexagonal shape of many baptismal fonts from this period refers to Friday, the sixth day of the week, when Christ died (Baptismal Imagery, 162). See also Romans 6:14, "For we are buried together with him by baptism into death; that as Christ is risen from the dead…so we also may walk in newness of life."

Encircling the octagonal font are four panels featuring kantharos-fountains approached by peacocks and deer. The peacocks are traditional symbols of the rebirth expounded in Romans 6; the deer, of Christians in general and catechumens non-Christians preparing for baptism in particular.

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Follow this link to a discussion of the symbolism.
View a detail of one of the fountain-and-does panels.

Photo © by Jan Piebe Tjepkema