>> Date: Wed, 30 Dec 2009 20:26:41 +0000
> From: [log in to unmask]
>I'm sure I may be shot down for this, but I've been researching into the continuity
>of Christianity in to the 5th and 6th in terms of the religion providing a common
>'British' identity against the influx of Saxon paganism.
> I am considering the possibility of the dolphin that had been adopted as a
> Christian symbol in late Roman Britain (I've based this on the evidence of mosaics
> such as Frampton, Littlecote Park etc) and this in turn was the meaning behind
> the dolphins found on numerous late Roman belt buckles. Laycock doesn't seem to
> consider the dolphin on the buckles as anything but a classical Neptunian
> reference (which indeed is a more than plausible explanation), but I'm wondering
> whether these buckles on 5th century belts may indicate militias who were
> fighting under some sort of Christian banner?
I wouldn't entirely dismiss the use of dolphins as a Christian symbol, but I think you'd need more evidence to prove it. The range of imagery used on these mosaics is drawing on a range of both Christian and classically pagan symbolism,a nd I'd be pretty ambivalent about trying to seperate out some elements as specifiically Christian.
I've argued elsewhere that the appearance of peacocks on some late Romano-British belt-buckles is indicative of a Christian identity, but in that case we have documentary evidence for the Christian symbolism of peacocks (from the works of Augustine amongst others) and also the regular appearance of peacocks on clearly Christian gravestones from the mainland Western Empire. If you can track down similar circumstantial supporting evidence for the use of dolphins in a clearly Christian context I think your hypothesis would be stronger.