Pectoral cross

Gold pectoral cross. A small cross of the Maltese type is formed in its centre with splayed arms; the twin stems which sprout from each arm curve around a disc. The chain of the pendant cross passed through two parallel loops on the top of the vertical arm. The primary Christian symbol, the cross has been a popular shape for jewellery from very early on. Crosses served a protective and apotropaic function, and very often contained a compartment in which holy relics could be placed. Gold crosses such as this one would have belonged to wealthy individuals; ordinary people wore crosses made of less noble materials, such as copper.

Skampavias K. 2007. Catalogue no. 73, in Skampavias K.—Chatzidakis N. (eds), Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Museum.Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Art, Athens, 79.