Celestial Transports

From ancient times, chariots drawn by horses, fanciful Pegasus-like equines, or griffins (part lion, part eagle) served as psychopomps for their divine or heroic passengers. Another representation of the eagle, this time as the surrogate of the Greek god Zeus, is depicted in its entirety as the abductor of Ganymede, symbolizing the soul in the funerary art of the time. In another type of abduction, the inscription of the Christian Severa describes how the Lord seizes the "inviolable soul" of the maiden; and in a Jewish inscription, Regina rises to the "eternal home."

Soaring Pegasus
. In a wall painting from cubiculum I in the Vigna Randanini catacomb, the fabulous winged horse connotes ascension and apotheosis.

close menu back next