Early Christian Symbols in the House of Eustolios

Eustolios dedicated his home and the public baths he built for Kourion to Christ.  This mosaic inscriptioni is at the main entrance.

Mosaic showing the Christian Dedication of Eustolios' House
 “This House in Place of its Ancient Armament of Walls, Iron, Bronze, and Adamant
has Now Girt Itself with the much Venerated Signs of Christ.”

Cruciform Mosaic detail from the House's main Christian Mosaic

Cruciform mosaic from Eustolios' House

Early Christians used symbols to carry specific meanings used in showing their beliefs, communicating among themselves, and marking locations.

Some symbols used by them are still used today; the cross is the perfect example. Other early symbols are meaningless to Christians today who can only guess at what they might have meant.

Main Central Christian Mosaic in the House of Eustolios

A Guinea Fowl is the most prominent animal symbol of this central mosaic in the House of Eustolios. Guinea fowl are excellent guards and warn of danger, monogamous, quick to protect their young, and live in flocks.

Perhaps the symbol means a person with steadfast Christian values and defender of the Faith.

Mosaic of a Peahen

Christian Mosaic depicting a Fish at the House of Eustolios

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. …[Matt4:19-20]

Each letter of the Greek word ICHTUS represents:

Jesus, Christ, Lord, Son, Saviour.

 

The mosaic of Ktisis (right) is found on the floor of the frigidarium in the House of Eustolios. She is the personification of ‘Construction,’ and the only example in Cyprus of this 4th to 6th Century decorative trend. She holds a measuring device, the Roman foot.

Ktisis belongs to a similar family of personifications such as “Power,” “Renewal,” and “Manliness” which were very popular throughout the eastern Mediterranean especially in Antioch.

 

Mosaic of Reverence

Mosaic of a PheasantThe pheasant could represent the soul, beauty, and knowledge.

Mosaic of a FalconThe tame falcon represented a pagan’s conversion to the Faith

Cross Mosaic detail from the House of EustoliosMore variations of the Cross found in the House of Eustolios.

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