©1985 Trustees For Harvard University, Dumbarton Oaks

Pilate’s henchmen are portrayed as barbarians with tousled hair in a detail from a mosaic scene of Jesus’ betrayal by Judas. With one exception, in the center, the Roman soldiers appear in profile, gazing intently toward the accused Jesus and toward Judas, whose red hair is partially visible at the far right. Staffs of weapons, torches and lanterns bristle in the air above the group of seven heads. To enhance the barbaric appearance of the Roman soldiers, the mosaicist “hung” a golden ring dangling a pearl from the left ear of the bearded figure who faces forward and gave the other bearded henchman the pointed, goat-like ear of the satyr.

The mosaic of the Betrayal of Jesus by Judas, based on the Gospel narrative, begins the late 12th-century Passion and Resurrection cycle of mosaics in the church of San Marco.