The Apostles in Early Christian Art and Poetry


Author: Roald Dijkstra
The Apostles in Early Christian Art and Poetry presents the first in-depth analysis of the origins of the representation of the apostles (the twelve disciples and Paul) in verse and image in the late antique Greco-Roman world (250-400). Especially in the West, the apostles are omnipresent, in particular on sarcophagi and in Biblical and martyr poetry. They primarily function as witnesses of Christ’s stay on earth, but Peter and Paul are also popular saints of their own. Occasionally, the other apostles come to the fore as individual figures. Direct influence from art on poetry or vice versa appears to be difficult to trace, but principal developments of late antique society are reflected in the representation of the apostles in both media.

Prices from (excl. VAT):

Add to Cart
Roald Dijkstra, Ph.D. (2014), Radboud University, is postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at that university. He publishes on late antiquity and co-edited East and West in the Roman Empire of the Fourth Century. An End to Unity? (Brill, 2015).

' This work has much to commend it. It is both ambitious and, as regards a study of early Christian poetry, admirably thorough. It is accompanied by an extensive bibliography, appendices, and 50 illustrations, most in color.'
Robin M. Jensen, University of Notre Dame, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2017.02.55

' This wonderful, learned book [...] provides a feast for anyone who takes an interest in early Christian literary and material culture, or in the development of apostolic tradition before 400.'
Jane Heath, Durham University, Expository Times 128, 2017.08.407


1 Early Christian Poets and the Apostles
1.1 Commodianus
1.2 Juvencus
1.3 Proba
1.4 The Hymnum dicat turba fratrum or Hymnus de Christo
1.5 Damasus
1.6 Ambrose
1.7 Claudian
1.8 Amphilochius of Iconium
1.9 Gregory of Nazianzus
1.10 Prudentius
1.11 Paulinus of Nola
1.12 The Oratio consulis Ausonii versibus rhopalicis
1.13 Synthesis: The Apostles in Early Christian Poetry 270

2 Art, Poetry and the Apostles
2.1 The Apostles and the Canon
2.2 The Apostles and Non-Canonical Traditions
2.3 Concluding Remarks

General Conclusion

Appendix 1: Overview of Canonical References to the Apostles in Art and Poetry
Appendix 2: Overview of Non-Canonical References to the Apostles in Art and Poetry
Appendix 3: Figures
This book is relevant for anyone interested in late antique culture, in particular for those concerned with early Christian poetry, art and religion.