The Attarouthi Treasure

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The Attarouthi Treasure, Period: Early Byzantine, circa: 500-650s. Made in Attarouthi, Syria. Materials: Silver, silver-gilt. On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 300.

These well-wrought liturgical items– chalices, censers, a filter, and also a depiction of the dove of the Holy Spirit– were amongst the belongings of a Christian church in the wealthy seller city of Attarouthi in Syria, after that among the wealthiest lands of the Byzantine Empire. The chalices, censers, and also filter were made use of for the Divine Liturgy, or Eucharist, where Christians take consecrated wine and bread in ceremony of the Last Supper and also Christ’s death. According to their inscriptions, written in Greek with several spelling variants, many of the objects were offerings of local citizens to the major church of the town, which was dedicated to Saint Stephen, and to a smaller church dedicated to Saint John (probably Saint John the Forerunner [the Baptist]).  In the very early 7th century Syria dropped initially to the Sasanian Persians and afterwards to the militaries of Islam. These works were most likely hidden in haste in a safety container at some minute when the Byzantine military was pulling away from strikes on the area.

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