One side of this pendant features the image of a Holy Rider defeating an enemy with a cross-topped spear. An inscription reading "Saint Sissinnios help…" encircles the image of the rider. On the other..
One side of this pendant features the image of a Holy Rider defeating an enemy with a cross-topped spear. An inscription reading "Saint Sissinnios help…" encircles the image of the rider. On the other side, there is an image of Saint Thekla encircled by the inscription "Lord help the wearer". Another inscription next to the central figure says "St. Thekla." The pendant has tremendous religious value. The holy rider is an image symbolizing military might and protection. Saint Thekla, when she converted to Christianity, was persecuted by her village and they attempted to burn her at the stake. Through her faith in God, the fire did not affect her. The imagery on the pendant, therefore, provides protection above all else, sending the message that through faith, God will protect the wearer. In terms of production, bronze items like this pendant were mass produced using stone molds. From looking at pendants with similar iconography, we can speculate that this pendant was likely made between the 6th and 7th century in Syria or Palestine. One similar pendant is held by the Harvard Art Museums (no. 1922.214.171.1248). It portrays the Holy Rider attacking an enemy below his horse with a spear. The pendant is thought to be from between the 5th and 7th century and is very similar to the pendant in the Blick-Harris Study Collection. These objects were worn as amulets for protection. Sources Consulted Helen C. Evans, and William D. Wixom, eds., The Glory of Byzantium: Art and Culture of the Middle Byzantine Era, A.D. 843-1261 (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997). Anna Kartsonis, “Protection against All Evil: Function, Use and Operation of Byzantine Historiated Phylacteries,” Byzantinische Forschungen 20 (1994): 73-102. Eunice Dauterman Maguire, Henry Maguire, and Maggie J. Duncan-Flowers, Art and Holy Powers in the Early Christian House (Urbana: Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1989). William Henshaw ('24) for ARHS 110 Introduction to Western Art (Spring 2021).
The inscription displayed along the edge of the medallion on the side with the rider: +ΑΓΙΕCΙCΙΝΙΒO[…]ẸΝ+ ἅγιε Σισίνιε βοήθει(?)… “St. Sisinnios help…” The inscription displayed along the edge of the medallion on the side with the individual figure: +ΘΕΟ[…]ḲΕΒΟΗΘỊ[…]ΤΟΦΟΡΟΝΤΙ+ …Κύριε βοήθει τῷ φορῶντι "Lord help the wearer." The inscription next to the central figure: ΥΓΙΑΘΕΚΛΑ ὑγεία Θέκλα “health Thekla” An alternate reading of this inscription: AΓΙΑΘΕΚΛΑ ἁγία Θέκλα “St. Thekla”