Byzantine Plates - Herakleios, early 7th century
with scenes from the life of David


Confrontation of David with Eliab



Presentation of David to Saul



Arming of David

David and Goliath

In 628–29 the Byzantine emperor Herakleios (r. 610–41) successfully ended a long, costly war with Persia and regained Syria, Egypt, and other Byzantine territory. Silver stamps dating to 629–30AD on the reverse of these plates place their manufacture in Herakleios’ reign. The biblical figures on the plates wear the costume of the early Byzantine court, suggesting that, like Saul and David, the Byzantine emperor was a ruler chosen by God. Elaborate dishes used for display at banquets were common in the late Roman and early Byzantine world; generally decorated with classical themes, these objects conveyed wealth, social status, and learning. This set of silver plates may be the earliest surviving example of the use of biblical scenes for such displays.
Other plates:
Plate with David Slaying a Lion
Plate with David Anointed by Samuel



A 7th-8th Century Byzantine Skutatos in Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066 by Ian Heath
A Heraclian Byzantine Heavy Cavalryman in The Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome by Phil Barker & Ian Heath

See also Byzantine soldiers on the Throne of Archbishop Maximian of Ravenna, Constantinople or Alexandria, 545–553AD
The Rabbula Gospels Evangelia characteribus Syriacis exarata Northern Syria, 586AD
Byzantine soldiers in 'Pharaoh's army drowns', from the Ashburnham Pentateuch
The Syriac Bible of Paris, Syria or Turkey, BnF MS. Syriaque 341, 7th Century
Syrian or Byzantine Horse Archer on a textile, 6th-8th century
Ancient Illustrations
Other Byzantine Costume & Soldiers
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