S. Maria Maggiore (Rome, Italy): Mosaic: Melchizedek Offering Bread and Wine to Abraham

ca. 440 BCE
Date Depicted:
8000 BC - 499 AD
Frequently the Christ figure is represented in a dalmatica. This cape appears to be shaped into a half circle. It is fastened with a medallion at the center front.
Basically a tunic, the dalmatica is the main Early Christian garment. It is introduced to Rome from the Orient and is made of wool, cotton, or silk. Long at first, by the third century the hem moves up to the knee where it stays for the next 500 years. It is always unbelted. Extra fullness in the width is gathered into a decorative neckband. Sleeves are tubular and do not taper. The dalmatica often is over another garment. Clavi are vertical stripes which decorate the front and back of the dalmatica. At first they are simple stripes woven or embroidered into the tunica tolaris. Eventually they are highly decorative, with matching borders added to the hem, neck, upper arm, and wrist. Clavi sometimes break into spot designs called segmentum. The tunica tolaris, belted or unbelted, is still popular among the Romans. It is floor length for women and knee length for men. Sleeves are long and tapering.
Mosaics -- Italy -- 5th century -- (YVRC)
Early Christian
Accession Number:
costume (mode of fashion): clothing (AAT)
mosaics (AAT)
Content Type:
Clothing & Accessories
Furnishings & Decorative Arts
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Access Restrictions:
Yale Community Only
Source Creator:
Button, Jeanne and Sbarge, Stephen
Source Title:
History of Costume, In Slides, Notes and Commentaries: Volume 1
Source Created:
New York, NY
Theatre Arts Slide Presentations
Call Number:
GT513 +B87 1 (LC)
Orbis Barcode:
Yale Collection:
Visual Resources Collection
Digital Collection:
Visual Resources Collection
Original Repository:
Rome, Italy: S. Maria Maggiore