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Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo: Interior, 6th century marble sarcophagus with birds and lambs
The short end of the sarcophagus features peacocks (an Early Christian symbol of Eternal Life) with a cross in the middle. The long side features lambs facing the cross with the Tree of Life motif (palms) behind them. Other birds decorate the lid.
Originally built as Theodoric's palace church and dedicated to the Saviour, it was rededicated to St Martin of Tours during the episcopate of Agnellus (556-569) and finally to St Apollinaris in the 9th century, probably after the saint's relics were translated there in 856. It is a standard western basilica with a nave and two aisles, an apse and arcaded colonnades. The sumptuous mosaics reflect the dominant role that mosaics had assumed in the churches of the Christian East; the architecture is subordinate. One of eight Ravenna sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List.