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Davud ve Calut’un Savaşını Anlatan Bizans Tabağı

Met curator Helen Evans on climax in the Byzantine Plate with the Battle of David and Goliath,  629–30.

In 628–29 the Byzantine emperor Herakleios (reigned 610–41) successfully ended a long, costly war with Persia and regained Jerusalem, Egypt, and other Byzantine territory. Silver stamps dating to 613–29/30 on the reverse of these masterpieces place their manufacture in Herakleios’s reign. The biblical figures on the plates wear the costume of the early Byzantine court, suggesting to the viewer that, like Saul and David, the Byzantine emperor was a ruler chosen by God. Elaborate dishes used for display at banquets were common in the late Roman and early Byzantine world; generally decorated with classical themes, these objects conveyed wealth, social status, and learning. This set of silver plates may be the earliest surviving example of the use of biblical scenes for such displays. Their intended arrangement may have closely followed the biblical order of the events, and their display may have conformed to the shape of a Christogram, or monogram for the name of Christ. At the top of this magnificent plate, David confronts Goliath, and between them is a personification of the river from which David gathered stones for his sling. The major scene shows the decisive battle. Although David appears to be on the defensive, his men move forward, forcing Goliath’s soldiers into retreat. At the bottom, the victorious David beheads the giant (1 Samuel 17:41–51).

View this work on metmuseum.org.

Are you an educator? Here's a related lesson plan. For additional educator resources from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, visit Find an Educator Resource.

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