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The church of Santa Pudenziana in Rome was rebuilt in the late fourth century. The apse mosaic probably dates from the early fifth century.
The winged human and lion-like figure in the upper register of the image. The winged human, seen in profile, gestures down towards the enthroned Christ.
The winged calf and the eagle in the top right of the image. The jewelled cross represents the heavenly Christ, around whom the four living creatures are distributed.
The enthroned Christ instructs his disciples within the temple precincts of an earthly Jerusalem. The worshipper views here the source and legitimation of the instruction he or she receives from the apostles’ living successors, the priests and bishop seated directly below.
In this image as in the one above, a female figure bestows martyrs’ wreaths on Peter to the left of Christ’s throne and Paul to the right.
The enthroned Christ holds an open codex in his left hand with the inscription Dominus conservator ecclesiae Pudentianae, a possible reference to the church’s survival of the sack of Rome by Alaric’s Goths in 410.