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Byzantine Highlights by Theme

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Thinking about Byzantine art in terms of themes offers an intriguing way of thinking about the recurrence of certain motifs throughout the empire’s history. A focus on function, for example, draws attention to the uses of artifacts such as liturgical objects, icons, jewelry for private devotion, and jewelry to promote status. Iconographic themes also speak to the persistence and shifting meanings of imagery over many centuries, such as the image of the emperor or figures from Greek and Roman mythology. Lastly, foregrounding archaeological context draws connections among meaningful groupings of objects discovered together, such as the sixth-century horde known as the Sion treasure, or artifacts from the excavations at Antioch.