Category Archives: mosaics

Beit She’an and the divinities

Beith Shean vue du Tell

Beit She’an ” Scythopolis ” is certainly one of the most beautiful archaeological sites in Israel.

It was one of the ten cities of the decapole located around the Jordan river, a strategic crossroads of 40,000 inhabitants in Roman times and destroyed in 749 CE by an earthquake, the beauty of its vestiges keeps impressing me at each of my visits :

  • His theater (still used for events and shows),
  • Its public hot baths (the most important found to date in Israel),
  • The Cardo ” Palladius ” largely restored main alley adorned with magnificent columns,
  • The ” Nymphaeum ” monumental public fountain, adorned with sculptures and water games.
  • The Temple of Zeus, the King of the Gods whose crushed columns remind us of the relentless violence of this earthquake and of course many mosaics, some of which are exhibited at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem,
  • The magnificent reconstructed mosaic of the goddess Tyche, the Greek goddess of Good Fortune, holding the Horn of Abundance. It was stolen a few years ago, but a reconstruction was made and is exhibited on the site.

 

  • Goddess Tyche

    Goddess Tyche

Dionysus was also the protector of Beit Shean, the God of grape harvest, vinification and wine, ritual madness and fertility.

Legend tells us that the nymph Nysa nourished him and raised him during his childhood.

 

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Herod the Great – the King of Judea

The suspended Palace - Masada

The suspended Palace – Masada

Herod, the king of the Jews, was actually not a Jew himself.

Herod was placed on the throne of Jerusalem by the Romans and was to reign for 37 years.

Mosaic at the western palace Masada

Mosaic at the western palace Masada

He was one of the most important figures in the history of the Second Temple period.

He was considered as a ‘converted’ Jew, but in fact King Herod was an Edomite,  Arab people presented in the Bible as descendant of Esau.

Not wanting to offend his Jewish subjects’ mosaics palaces never accounted for humans or animals, the King used geometric designs with only the seven species of Israel : 

                               barley, dates, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and wheat.  

He died at the age of 67, a rare age in those days, which originated the expression

                                                                           ‘Old as Herod’

                                   

                                                                         

Mosaic at King Herod palace Masada

Mosaic at King Herod palace Masada