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Part of a wall painting from a Roman villa

300/399

British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

This wall painting was found at Lullingstone, Kent, in the Darenth valley, when the remains of a Roman villa were excavated in 1949. The villa had been built in the late first century AD, and altered and extended several times in the succeeding 300 years. There was evidence for pagan worship at the site well into the fourth century AD, but eventually the family which ran the estate adopted Christianity. At this early date in the history of Christianity, house-chapels and other types of accommodation must have been at least as common as purpose-built churches. A small suite of first-floor rooms at Lullingstone (probably provided with external access) was set aside as a Christian place of worship. The walls were decorated with elaborate paintings on Christian themes, which have been partially reconstructed . This area bears a monogram formed by the Greek letters chi and rho, the first two letters of Christ's name, which was the standard symbol of Christianity at this period, together with the Greek letters alpha and omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, another symbol of Christ - 'I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last' (Revelation 1:8).

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  • Title: Part of a wall painting from a Roman villa
  • Date Created: 300/399
  • Physical Dimensions: Diameter: 900.00mm (roundel)
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: painted
  • Subject: architecture
  • Registration number: 1967,0407.1.a
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Lullingstone Roman Villa
  • Period/culture: Romano-British
  • Material: plaster
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Kent County Council
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