Nebuchadnezzar's Idol

Late 4th century
Marble
Basilica of St. Ambrose, Milan

This panel in the reliefs on the so-called Sarcophagus of Stilicho pictures the events recounted in Daniel 3. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the second figure from the left, has a golden statue of himself erected and orders all his subjects to fall down and worship it. But the young Jews Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse to worship the idol, so the king orders them thrown into a fiery furnace.

The young men's Phrygian caps were a device images used in late antiquity to indicate that the wearer was from the East. The caps are also pictured in this 4th-century relief of the same scene. In both images the other men do not wear Phrygian caps, even though as Babylonians they are even more "eastern" than the Jews.

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Read more about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

Photographed at the basilica by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.