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For thousands of years major factors that influence a society are the effects of such things as religion government and art When people study history art does not seem to play such an important role However art helps us understand how a society feels thinks and looks at the surroundings which in they live Ecclesiastical art or commonly know as Christian art dates back to the first and second centuries The first influences of Christian art were believed to be Roman in nature While other historians feel that the Christian art influence came from the east particularly the Orient The first know works of Christian art were found in the Roman catacombs The works found there were considered to be done during the first or second century A problem with finding at art in a Christian nature is very complicated during the first and second centuries due the religion still being small During this time it is believed to be more decoration then really art Historians feel that the first glimpses of art are not pagan but rather ornamentation There also seems to be no real pattern of items that can be considered Christian other then a noticeable recurrence of vines Symbolism is seen more in the second century in public cemeteries These works of art were rather different then pagan art during this same time Two examples of this would be the dove and the fish Both of these symbols could be recognized by normal people but were not used in pagan decoration thus having to be brought about by some type of Christian influence After the triumph of Constantine and around 313 AD to the fifth century came the main birth of Christian art Examples would include art seen on the walls of Roman catacombs also the believed figure of Christ changed from a beardless good shepherd to a bearded man Christ also was depicted as standing or sitting with
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