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There is a dolphin featured in the mosaic in the villa found in Somerset at 
Lopen a few years ago. The information board on display when the site was 
briefly open to the public stated that, "The style is similar to others 
known to be of mid fourth century AD date, ie c.350 AD. It has style 
characteristics which suggest a link with the Cirencester group of mosaic 
artists."

Cosh and Neal, Vol. II, 2005, attribute it to the 'Saltire' Group and date 
it to the third quarter of the fourth century. As well as the dolphin there 
is a [damaged] fish, but, "Although the presence of a fish and canthari may 
be construed as Christian iconography, especially in connection with a 
central saltire (Henig, 2001a,13), there is no supporting archaeological 
evidence of Christianity, and the authors doubt such an interpretation. The 
presence of a single dolphin at the margin of Panel B and of a fish at the 
margin of Panel A is unusual, but whether this is significant, given the 
asymmetrical nature of the pavement, is open to question."

I do not have any other information to hand.

Andrew Smith.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Guillermo-Sven Reher Díez" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, December 30, 2009 11:37 PM
Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] late Roman dolphin belt buckles as a Xtian symbol?


Assuming a neptunian reference is a classic (never better said) anachronism. 
Christian-identity explanations are closer in time and space. Though other 
forms of identity (sailors, collegium of this or that, any other type of 
identity) can not be discarded. Using it as an element in the Saxon 
paganism-Briton christianity is also, by the way, an explanation so 
simplistic it is probably wrong.

> Date: Wed, 30 Dec 2009 20:26:41 +0000
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [BRITARCH] late Roman dolphin belt buckles as a Xtian symbol?
> To: [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?
>
> Does anyone have any further thoughts on this?

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