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Artefact ID717
Findspot (DEChriM ID)15   (al-Baǧawāt)
ClassFunerary element, Textual
Writing mediumDipinto
Text contentSubliterary

Dome of the "Chapel of Peace": Best known chapel called after the allegory of Peace painted as a woman holding a crux ansata in her right hand and a sceptre upright in her left hand as part of the fine decorative program of the dome. Other subjects painted are common biblical or allegorical ones, except one Egyptian subject: Thekla and Paul – Thekla being the only Egyptian Christian saint painted in three different chapels of al-Baǧawāt.

Every painted scene has over it a legend painted in white on a red band, written in square angular letters: Adam / Eva; Abraam / Isak / Sara ; Eirene (Peace); Daniel ; Dikaiosyne (Justice); Euche (Prayer); Jakob; Noah (with the Arch); Maria (annunciation scene); Paul / Thekla.

The Chapel seems to have been always accessible to visitors who came to look at the paintings of the dome and left many graffiti in Greek, Coptic and Arabic – but always preserving the paintings.

Selection criteriaChristian terms/formulas/concepts, Christian symbols/gestures/isopsephy, Biblical quote or paraphrase
Date from300
Date to450
Dating criteria

Dated on art historical considerations to 4th, 5th (or 6th c.). More recently Cipriano 2003: 235 suggested the first half of the 5th c. while Bowen 2014 favored 4th c. in comparison with the large church in Kellis.

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

Small Chapel belonging to the square oldest type (Type 4) according to Fakhry's classification.

Accession number

Al-Baǧawāt, in situ (Chapel no. 80 / Chapel of Peace).


• Bowen, Gillian. 2014. "The crux ansata in early Christian iconography: evidence from Dakhleh and Kharga oases." In Le myrte et la rose, ed. G. Tallet and Ch. Zivie-Coche. Montpellier, 292-303.

• Cipriano, Giuseppina. 2003. "El-Bagawat. Un cimitero paleocristiano nell'alto Egitto". Rivista di archeologia cristiana (RAC) 79, 195-235.

• Davis, S.J. 2001 [paperback edition 2008]. The Cult of St Thecla. A Tradition of Women’s Piety in Late Antiquity, Oxford.

• Fakhry, Ahmed. 1951. The Necropolis of El-Bagawat in Kharga Oasis. Cairo: Government Press, 67-78.

• Guarducci, M. 1978. Epigrafia Greca IV. Rome, 461-464.

• Riddle, F. 1983. "Frescoes in Dakhleh and Khargeh Oases." In New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity 3, ed. G.H.R. Horsley, 162-164 (§106).

• Zibawi, Mahmoud. 2005. Bagawat. Peintures paléochrétiennes d'Egypte. Paris, 95-132.  

Valérie Schram, 2021
Suggested citation
Valérie Schram, 2021, "Artefact ID 717", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,
External links