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Anicius Auchenius Bassus, African Red Slip Ware, and the Church

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Chapter Summary

Some years ago a remarkable rectangular ceramic panel of North-African type appeared at auction in London. The object made its way to Boston, where it was in the collection of Cornelius C. Vermeule III, who placed it on loan at the Museum of Fine Arts. The technical term in English to describe the fabric of this kind of ceramic is "African Red Slip Ware (ARS)". ARS images of Peter and Paul tend to flank a monogrammatic cross. Placing the consul in a central position between the two major saints of Rome and Christianity is a remarkable intertwining of religious and secular imagery. This deviation from standard iconographic practice and the involvement of Anicius Auchenius Bassus makes sense in a particular political and ideological context, one that was of relatively short duration.

Keywords: African red slip ware (ARS); Anicius Auchenius Bassus; Christianity; Rome



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