The Triumphal Arch at Santa Maria Maggiore: Right side

5th century
Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

Top register: The Presentation in the Temple (Luke 2:22-28) and The Angel Warns Joseph (Matthew 1:20-23).

Second register: The people of Sotinen greet the boy Jesus as he and his parents arrive in Egypt (Pseudo-Matthew, 24). At their head are their governor, Affrodosius, and a man wearing an exomis, which in classical iconography identifies a figure as a philosopher. His copious hair and beard, which classical iconography associated with Jupiter, may be a reference to the governor's calling Jesus "the God of our gods" (Pseudo-Matthew, 24). As in the other panels Mary wears the golden garment that expresses her status as the eternal Mary, Maria Ecclesia.

Third register: The Magi with Herod (Matthew 2:1-5). Herod is the only person in the arch who is labeled with his name. The Magi's elaborate trousers and Phrygian caps identify them as men of the East. They wear the same garb in the procession mosaic at Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna.

Bottom register: The Apostles as sheep at the gate of Bethlehem.

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Read more about images of the Presentation in the Temple.
Read more about images of St. Joseph.
Read more about images of the Magi.
Read more about images of the Holy Innocents.
Read more about images of the Flight into Egypt.

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