Daniel in the Lions' Den

5th century, with medieval and modern restorations
Mosaic
Nave, Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

The episode is in Daniel 6. Although King Darius has ordered Daniel thrown into the lions' den, when he arrives in the morning the young man is alive and safe. In the mosaic we see him addressing Daniel: "Daniel, servant of the living God, hath thy God, whom thou servest always, been able, thinkest thou, to deliver thee from the lions?" Daniel answers, "O king, live for ever: My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut up the mouths of the lions, and they have not hurt me" (6:20-21). In the mosaic the king poses his questions from above the den, while below each lion sits with its mouth firmly shut.

This is part of the extensive series of Old Testament scenes portrayed in mosaics along the two walls of the nave. Follow this link for links to the others.

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