• Gathering the Shepherds. Uses and Meanings of Pastoral Imagery and Shepherding Metaphors between 3rd and 6th Centuries.
  • Marchioni, Giulia <1987>


  • M-STO/07 Storia del Cristianesimo e delle Chiese


  • This work is a study of the shepherding metaphors and their use in visual and verbal Early Christian rhetoric in the centuries from the third to the sixth. A discourse on imagery in a wide sense, in spite of the narrower field of images, puts this work among the cultural studies, rather than the art-history or literary ones. The work is divided in two parts, Visual and Verbal, mirroring respectively the two main parts of cultural imagery. In this work images and texts will be taken into account as cultural products likewise, without the idea of dependency of one on the other. Both the sections are organized in a first part of structural analysis and a second part of interpretation. The structural analysis is a necessary premise for the disentanglement of some misinterpretations: for example, the structural analysis of the kriophoros figure leads to highlight the differences from the image of the so-called Good Shepherd. Verbal imagery is approached from a structural point of view likewise: the first part of the verbal section approaches pastoral vocabulary and lexicon, with a special attention to the roots of words and their relations. Successively, pastoral vocabulary will be considered in its meanings, stressing the importance of its cultural uses. The parallel analysis of visual and verbal products of pastoral imagery highlights the uses of pastoral imagery and what messages and ideas these metaphors were supposed to convey: for example the figure of the Christ, the rising institution of the Church, the establishment of episcopal hierarchy. Pastoral imagery was the most fortunate pool of images (both visual and verbal) employed by Early Christianity to express a certain type of sovereignty and leadership, such as the clergy’s one, and the paradoxical role of the Christ as both sacrifice lamb and shepherd of God’s flock.


  • 2018-04-26


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Marchioni, Giulia (2018) Gathering the Shepherds. Uses and Meanings of Pastoral Imagery and Shepherding Metaphors between 3rd and 6th Centuries., [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Studi sul patrimonio culturale / cultural heritage studies , 30 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/8494.