Martyr Soldier with the palm

Soldato martire con la palma
Soldier or Martyr? Probably both. Of the martyr he has the palm, linked to the East, the land wherein this elegant and strong tree mainly grows, with mighty crests of leaves opened up in many rays as those of the sun. The link with martyrdom is set by Christian iconography, which assigns the palm to martyrs. Its meaning is that of victory, rise and immortality. It is also connected with the phoenix and assumes the role of tree of life. He does not look very much as a soldier, but the roman tunic and the shoes identify him as a Roman; the beard seems to suggest a veteran general, converted to Christianity and then martyred. He would not be the first. He stands on the apse, the gaze looking East. He holds the palm as a reed pen, rising the suggestion, supported by the beard, of an ancient scholar, a forgotten language writer, researcher of past alchemies, or an industrious officer of the Roman government, who sorted the post from Antakya, from Toledo, from Trier. But that is only a suggestion. The statue is one of the many examples of the martyr soldiers following the Madonna in her triumph, being them the pillars on which Christianity rests.