Silver bowl from the first Cyprus treasure
Early Byzantine, AD
From Constantinople or possibly Tarsus (modern Turkey); found west of Kyrenia, Cyprus on the ancient site of Lambousa
The bust of a military saint
This bowl, together with a paten, hexagonal censer and twenty-four spoons, was found at the end of the nineteenth century by villagers quarrying the ruins of ancient Lambousa for building materials.
In the centre of
the bowl is a half-length image of a saint, possibly Sergius, an
officer in the Roman army who incurred the anger of Emperor
Maximian (died AD 310). He is shown beardless and with short curly
hair, wearing a military costume which includes a
chlamys (cloak) held by
a crossbow fibula (brooch) at the shoulder and a type of torc
called a maniakion. He
holds a Latin cross and is
Although the subject matter is Christian, the bowl itself was probably made for domestic use, perhaps by a military man devoted to this particular saint.
This is one of the last silver objects to bear the control stamps which were placed on silver made in official workshops of the Byzantine Empire. Five stamps dated to the reign of emperor Constans II (AD 641-51) are arranged inside the foot-ring. Tarsus in Asia Minor is named twice on one stamp, thus the bowl may have been made there.
D. Buckton (ed.), Byzantium: treasures of Byzant (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)
Height: 7.800 cm
Weight: 922.000 g