Alinari/Art Resource, New York, NY

Surprise, awe or fear seems to overtake a river god of the Eastern type, half submerged at lower right in the central panel, as he observes the baptism of Jesus in “his” river. At upper right, angels also witness the event, a standard part of the iconography of the scene. This panel, among others, decorates the Maximianus Cathedra, the ivory throne of the sixth-century archbishop Maximian. Although its provenance is debated, the throne probably originated in Constantinople about 545 to 560. Today it is in the Archepiscopal Museum in Ravenna, Italy.