From the 6th to the 12th century a large number of massive and splendid works in the precious metals were produced at Byzantium or under Byzantine influence, many of which were largely decorated with niello; the silver dome of the baldacchino over the high altar of S.
The new, now the old, buildings at Magdalen were begun the same year, the foundation-stone being laid in the middle of the high altar on the 5th of May 1474 (Wood, 207).
Its general plan is that of a Greek cross, with two great naves and three aisles, twenty side-chapels and a magnificent high altar supported by marble columns and surrounded by a tumbago balustrade with sixty-two tumbago statues carrying elaborate candelabra made from a rich alloy of gold, silver and copper.
Even at the present day, in spite of a decree of the Congregation of Rites (27th of May 1697) ordering it to be placed over all altars, it is - even at Rome itself - usually only found over the high altar and the altar of the Blessed Sacrament.
Giotto and others, the most famous of which are those over the high altar by Giotto, illustrating the vows of the Franciscan order; while the upper church has frescoes representing scenes from the life of St Francis (probably by Giotto and his contemporaries) on the lower portion of the walls of the nave, and scenes from Old and New Testament history by pupils of Cimabue on the upper.
Alarmed by a hint dropped by Edward, he left England secretly, and in the church of the Friars Minorite at Dumfries on the 10th of -February 1306 met Comyn, whom he slew before the high altar for refusing to join in his plans.
He died on the r rth of May 1486, and was buried in the chantry chapel of St Mary Magdalen behind the high altar in Winchester cathedral, which he had erected in his lifetime.
The description of the gold and silver retable given to the high altar of Ely by Abbot Theodwin in the 11th century, shows it to have been a large and elaborate piece of work decorated with many reliefs and figures in the round.
The Turkish envoy then in Bucharest was persuaded to invest Brancovan with the caftan, or robe of office, in token of Turkish approval, and the patriarch of Constantinople, who was also present, and the archbishop of Walachia, Theodosius, consecrated him together at the high altar of the cathedral, where he took the coronation oath to devote his whole strength to the good of his country and received the boiars' oath of submission.
Behind the high altar is the banner sent by Pope Pius V.