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The Beardless Jesus

Archaeologists got more than they bargained for when they investigated the ancient city of Castulo in southern Spain. Between the ruins were...

Archaeologists got more than they bargained for when they investigated the ancient city of Castulo in southern Spain. Between the ruins were glass shards with images. When reassembled, a history-changing plate from the fourth century emerged. Although about 20 percent of the artifact remains missing, there was enough to identify it as a plate used to serve Eucharistic bread.

But it was not the plate’s purpose that shocked the archaeologists. Together, the shards revealed the image of a beardless Jesus wearing a Roman toga. With him were the apostles Paul and Peter, also clean-shaven and swathed in togas. Each man’s hair was also cropped short.

Around this time, Christianity often faced Roman persecution, and any visual reference to Christ used a symbol such as the shape of a fish. This discovery could force a rewrite of the religion’s history in Spain and how much Roman influence occurred during early Christian art. Since it was made of glass, it is likely that it was forged in Ostia, near Rome, and it remains one of the earliest images of Christ and the apostles ever discovered.

The Beardless Jesus is found in...

10 Rare Recently Discovered Religious Artifacts
( 10 items )
Item Position (rank): 4