2015 | 28 | 105–120
Article title

An ‘Enigmatic Man’ in the Anastasis Scene from the Lower Church in Banganarti An Attempt at Identification

Title variants
Languages of publication
The purpose of this paper is twofold: to identify an ‘enigmatic man’ represented on the right side of the Banganarti Anastasis painting as Abel and to exclude the identification of the figure as ‘Moses at the Burning Bush’. The ‘enigmatic man’ is young and he holds a stick in his hand, which seems to be the shepherd’s crook. Such an attribute is typical for images of Abel (a younger son of Adam and Eve killed by his brother). The absence of the Manus Dei and sandals makes the identification of the figure as ‘Moses at the Burning Bush’ a bit unlikely. In Banganarti, Abel is set in a separate field, what makes this image unusual. Solitude of Abel brings to mind an apocryphal Ethiopic Book of Enoch. In this text the lonely spirit of Abel cries and awaits for the Resurrection and condemnation of Cain’s offspring. The image from Banganarti allows to state that some apocryphal texts had an impact on Nubian painting and for this reason several murals are unique on the background of Byzantine art.
  • 1 En: The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, transl. Knibb, M.A, [in:] Sparks, H.F.D. (Ed.), The
  • Apocryphal Old Testament, Oxford 1984, 169–320
  • Acheimastou-Potamianou, M. 1994: Greek Art: Byzantine Wall Paintings, Athens
  • Cabrol, F. 1907: Abel dans la liturgie, [in:] Dictionnaire d’Archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie I/1, 62–66
  • Cyprian of Carthage, De dom. or.: De Dominica oratione, [in:] Moreschini, C. (Ed.), Sancti Cypriani episcopi Opera, Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina 3A, Turnhout 1976, 87–113
  • Dahan, G. 1982: L’exégèse de l’histoire de Caïn et Abel du XIIe au XIVe siècle en Occident: notes et textes, RTAM 49, 21–89
  • Daniélou, J. 1956: Les Saints « païens » de l’Ancien Testament, Paris
  • Deihmann, F.W. 1976: Ravenna: Hauptstadt des spätantiken Abendlandes II, Kommentar 2, Wiesbaden
  • Deliyannis, D.M. 2010: Ravenna in Late Antiquity, Cambridge-New York
  • Demus, O. 1984: The Mosaics of San Marco in Venice II/1. The Thirteenth Century, Chicago-London
  • Epiphanius, The Panarion: The Panarion of Ephiphanius of Salamis, Book I (sects 1–46), transl. Williams, F., Leiden 1987
  • Evans, H.C., Wixom, W.D. (Eds) 1997: The glory of Byzantium: Art and Culture of the Middle Byzantine Era, A.D. 843–1261, New York
  • Ferrua, A. 1990: Catacombe sconosciute. Una pinacoteca del IV secolo sotto la Via Latina, Firenze
  • Forsyth, G.H., Weitzmann, K. 1973: The Monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai – The Church and Fortress of Justinian, Ann Arbor
  • Gamillscheg, E., Talbot, A.M., Cutler, A. 1991: Roll, [in:] Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium III, New York, 1803
  • Glenthøj, J.B. 1997: Cain and Abel in Syriac and Greek Writers (4th–6th centuries), CSCO 567, Lovanii
  • Hadermann-Misguich, L. 1975: Kurbinovo. Les fresques de Saint George et le peinture byzantine du XII siècle, Bibliothèque de Byzantion 6, Bruxelles
  • Hennig, J. 1946: Abel’s Place in the Liturgy, Theological Studies VII/1, 126–141
  • Kalomairakis, D. 1989–1990: Ερμηνευτικές παρατηρήσεις στο εικονογραφικό πρόγραμμα του Πρωτάτου, Δελτίον τῆς Xριστιανικῆς Ἀρχαιολογικῆς Ἑταιρείας 15, 197–218
  • Kartsonis, A.D. 1986: Anastasis: The Making of an Image, Princeton
  • Kobielus, S. 2013: Concordia Novi et Veteris Testamenti. Zapowiedzi dzieła odkupienia i jego spełnienie w teologii i sztuce średniowiecza, Poznań
  • Kominko, M. 2013: The World of Kosmas: Illustrated Byzantine Codices of the Christian Topography, Cambridge-New York
  • Kraeling, C.H. 1956: The excavations at Dura-Europos conducted by Yale University and the French Academy of Inscriptions and Letters. Final report VIII/I. The synagogue, New Haven-London
  • Łaptaś, M. 2008: A Feast of the Archangel Michael. A New Interpretation of a Mural Painting from Old Dongola, Eastern Christian Art V, 75–85
  • Łaptaś, M. 2010: Archangels as Protectors and Guardians in Nubian Painting, [in:] Godlewski, W., Łajtar, A. (Eds), Between the Cataracts. Proceedings of the 11th Conference of Nubian Studies, Warsaw University, 27 August – 2 September 2006, vol. II/2, PAM Supplement Series 2/2, Warsaw, 673–681
  • Mathews, T.F. 1993: The Clash of Gods: A Reinterpretation of Early Christian Art, Princeton
  • Moryto-Naumiuk, D., Piekacz, L. 2010: Banganarti. Appendix 2. Conservation Works in 2007, PAM XIX (Reports 2007), 339–341
  • Nersessian, S. Der 1975: Program and iconography of the frescoes of the Parecclesion, [in:] Underwood, P.A. (Ed.), The Kariye Djami IV. Studies in the Art of the Kariye Djami and Its Intellectual Background, Princeton, 303–339
  • Oxford Annotated Bible: The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version, 4th ed., Eds Coogan, M.D., Brettler, M.Z., Newsom, C., Perkins, P., Oxford 2001
  • RCS 1: Bovini, G., Brandenburg, H., Deichmann, F.W. 1967: Repertorium der christlichantiken Sarkophage 1. Rom und Ostia, Wiesbaden
  • Schrenk, S. 2001: Kain und Abel, [in:] RLAC XIX, 943–972
  • Stern, H. 1958: Les mosaï ques de l’é glise de Sainte-Constance à Rome, DOP 12, 157–218
  • TAb: Testament of Abraham, transl. N. Turner, [in:] Sparks, H.F.D. (Ed.), The Apocryphal Old Testament, Oxford 1984, 399–422
  • Ulrich, A. 1981: Kain und Abel in der Kunst: Untersuchungen zur Ikonographie und Auslegungsgeschichte, Bamberg
  • Underwood, P.A. 1966: The Kariye Djami I. Historical Introduction and Description of the Mosaics and Frescoes, New York
  • Weitzmann, K. 1977: Late Antique and Early Christian Book Illumination, New York
  • Weitzmann, K., Kessler, H.L. 1990: The Frescoes of the Dura Synagogue and Christian Art, DOS XXVIII, Washington
  • Wessel, K. 1978: Kain und Abel, [in:] RBK III, 717–722
  • Żurawski, B. 2007: The Anastasis Scene from the Lower Church III at Banganarti (Upper Nubia), EtudTrav XXI, 161–182
  • Żurawski, B. 2012: St Raphael Church I at Banganarti mid-sixth to mid-eleventh century. An introduction to the site and the epoch, Gdańsk Archaeological Museum African Reports 10, Monograph Series 2, Gdańsk-Włocławek
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.