A Rare 3rd-Century Synagogue, and Its Even Rarer Mosaic – Mosaic

Posted By on December 7, 2019

In 2014, archaeologists discovered the ruins of a synagogue from the 3rd century CE in the ancient town of Majdulia. Located in the Golan Heights, Majdulia was founded in the 1st century CE, around the time of the destruction of the Second Temple, and was abandoned around 350. Further excavations have recently uncovered the remains of the colorful mosaics that once decorated the synagogue, as Amanda Borschel-Dan writes:

The rainbow tiles in the black basalt-stone synagogue shed light on a little-known but thriving Jewish community in the Land of Israels far north. . . . [Depicted on the tiles] are animal legs and other portions of intricate designs. The fact that no complete image remains may point to a deliberate dismantling of the decorations.

[T]he archaeologists see the lively decorations as pointing to a community that had its eye on transforming the more somber study hall typical of the early Roman period into an ornate public meeting hall.

In the 3rd century CE, we see an interesting mix of the continuation of a tradition from Second Temple synagoguesfor example the seating arrangementand the tradition of a relatively unadorned architectural style, with the addition of some new elements that with time became common in synagogues, such as colorful mosaics including animals, said Mechael Osband, [the excavations director].

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: ancient Judaism, Golan Heights, Jewish art, Synagogues

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A Rare 3rd-Century Synagogue, and Its Even Rarer Mosaic - Mosaic

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