Justinian as Conqueror

Justinian as Conqueror

Date ca. 525-50 CE

Movement Byzantine

Medium Ivory

Dimensions 13.5 x 10.5″

Housed at Musée du Louvre, Paris


Byzantine sculpture survives in architectural decorations, sarcophagi and a number of silver and ivory relief panels. Here, Justinian is celebrated for his victory over India, Africa and Italy, noted by the peoples in the panel below paying homage to him. In Justinian’s panel, a winged Victory blesses his triumphs, while a personification of Earth upholds his foot, clearly marking his triumph over the entire world; to his left, a Roman general holds out another figure of Victory. Above, Christ, representing the heavens behind him, proclaims divine approval. Though this work is based upon the Equestrian Statue, it is vastly different from the Stoic and calm Marcus Aurelius.