Height: 18.900 cm
Diameter: 18.600 cm
Weight: 642.800 g (just under 2 Roman pounds)
Britain, Europe and Prehistory
Room 41: Europe AD 300-1100
Silver chalice from the Kaper Koraon treasure
Early Byzantine, early 7th century AD
Probably made in Antioch; Found at Stuma, northern Syria
With a dedicatory inscription
A few years after this chalice was first seen, it was offered for sale to T. E. Lawrence (‘Lawrence of Arabia’) when he was staying at the Baron Hotel in Aleppo in 1913. A year later it was purchased in Jerusalem by the British Museum.
Four large hoards of ecclesiastical silver, comprising about fifty-five objects, appeared on the art market around the same time. It is thought that this chalice was originally part of the group known as the Kaper Koraon treasure. We know from inscriptions that many of these objects were given as donations to the church of St Sergius in Kaper Koraon (modern Kurin, near Stuma). This is also the case with this chalice, whose inscription translates: ‘In fulfillment of a vow of Sergios and John’. The lettering is so similar to that on a paten from the Kaper Koraon treasure (now in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, USA) that the two objects may have been a joint offering. The simple design of the chalice – a broad plain cup on a flaring foot with a knop – is typical of silver given to village churches in the sixth and seventh centuries.
M.M. Mango, Silver from Early Byzantium: t (Baltimore, Maryland, 1986)
D. Buckton (ed.), Byzantium: treasures of Byzant (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)