The ceiling was made to symbolize the firmament.
By the 12th century, mitre and gloves were worn by all bishops, and in many cases they had assumed a new ornament, the rationale, a merely honorific decoration (supposed to symbolize doctrine and wisdom), sometimes of the nature of a highly ornamental broad shoulder collar with dependent lappets; sometimes closely resembling the pallium; rarely a "breast-plate" on the model of that of the Jewish high priest.'
This, of course, symbolizes the Ascension; but meanwhile the other lamps in the church have received their light from the Paschal Candle, and so symbolize throughout the year the continued presence of the light of Christ.
The scorpion, attacking the genitals of the bull, is sent by Ahriman from the lower world to defeat the purpose of the sacrifice; the dog, springing towards the wound in the bull's side, was venerated by the Persians as the companion of Mithras; the serpent is the symbol of the earth being made fertile by drinking the blood of the sacrificial bull; the raven, towards which Mithras turns his face as if for direction, is the herald of the Sun-god, whose bust is near by, and who has ordered the sacrifice; various plants near the bull, and heads of wheat springing from his tail, symbolize the result of the sacrifice; the cypress is perhaps the tree of immortality.
In time the villages dependent on a chartered city, as they grew to be towns themselves, fotight for, and in many cases won, emancipation, which they then sought to have confirmed by the king and proceeded to symbolize by setting up their own gallows in the market-place.
According to some, Niobe is the goddess of snow and winter, whose children, slain by Apollo and Artemis, symbolize the ice and snow melted by the sun in spring; according to others, she is an earth-goddess, whose progeny - vegetation and the fruits of the soil - is dried up and slain every summer by the shafts of the sun-god.
Arose from the supposed resemblance of the corona to the crown of thorns, and of the other parts of the flower to the nails, or wounds, while the five sepals and five petals were taken to symbolize the ten apostles - Peter, who denied, and Judas, who betrayed, being left out of the reckoning.
All phenomena, moral as well as material, are contemplated by him in their relation to one great organic whole, which he acknowledges under the name of "Natura daedala rerum," and the most beneficent manifestations of which he seems to symbolize and almost to deify in the "Alma Venus," whom, in apparent contradiction to his denial of a divine interference with human affairs, he invokes with prayer in the opening lines of the poem.
As to the internal evidence, if the Gospel typifies various imperfect or sinful attitudes in Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman and Thomas; if even the mother appears to symbolize faithful Israel: then, profoundly spiritual and forward-looking as it is, a type of the perfect disciple, not all unlike Clement's perfect " Gnostic," could hardly be omitted by it; and the precise details of this figure may well be only ideally, mystically true.