The Triumphal Arch at St. Paul's Outside the Walls

5th century
Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls

The twenty-four figures left and right of Christ are the "four and twenty ancients" first mentioned in Revelation 4:6, "clothed in white garments, and on their heads were crowns of gold." Then in 4:10 they "cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 'Thou art worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory, and honour, and power.…'"

The image of Christ seems also to be based on Revelation 4. The circle of colors around his head corresponds to the "rainbow round about the throne" (verse 3), and the nine rays emanating from his head may reflect verse 5, "from the throne proceeded lightnings."

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Photographed at the basilica by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.