The Clash of Gods
A Reinterpretation of Early Christian Art
Revised and Expanded Edition
Thomas F. Mathews


Between the third and sixth centuries, the ancient gods, goddesses, and heroes who had populated the imagination of humankind for a millennium were replaced by a new imagery of Christ and his saints. Thomas Mathews explores the many different, often surprising, artistic images and religious interpretations of Christ during this period. He challenges the accepted theory of the "Emperor Mystique," which, interpreting Christ as king, derives the vocabulary of Christian art from the propagandistic imagery of the Roman emperor. This revised edition contains a new preface by the author and a new chapter on the origin and development of icons in private domestic cult.

Thomas F. Mathews is John Langeloth Loeb Professor of the History of Art at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. Among his most recent books is Byzantium from Antiquity to the Renaissance (1998).