Ancient Mosaic Depicting Fiery Bible Story Discovered
By Stephanie Pappas | LiveScience.com
A glittering mosaic of colored stones once decorated an ancient synagogue floor with scenes of the Biblical hero Samson getting revenge on the Philistines.
This newly excavated discovery in the ancient Jewish village of Huqoq not only depicts an unusual scene — Samson tying torches to foxes’ tails in order to burn his enemies’ crops — it’s also remarkably high-quality, said dig archaeologist Jodi Magness of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
In a mosaic, "the smaller the cubes, the finer the work," Magness told LiveScience. "Our cubes are very small and fine."
The mosaic decorates part of a synagogue dating back to about A.D. 400 to 500. So far, Magness and her team have excavated only part of the eastern wall of the structure, so they don’t yet know how big the synagogue was. But the building appears to be made of large, "beautifully cut" blocks of stone, Magness said, suggesting an expansive structure.
A female face depicted in mosaic on an ancient Jewish synagoge. Archaeologists uncovered this high-quality artwork in June 2012. CREDIT: Jim Haberman
The mosaic, which is incomplete, depicts several scenes. In one, two female faces flank a Hebrew inscription about rewards for people who perform good deeds. In the other, Samson, of the biblical story Samson and Delilah, ties torches to pairs of foxes, an event described in the Book of Judges in both the Christian and Hebrew Bibles. As the story goes, Samson falls in love with a woman of Philistine origin, a people who ruled the city-states of Gaza, Askelon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gath in the ancient Middle East. The Philistines are depicted as enemies of the Israelis in the Bible.
At his wedding feast with his Philistine bride, Samson taunts the Philistine groomsmen with a riddle they cannot possibly answer. When his bride begs Samson for the solution and passes it on to her kinsmen, he kills 30 men from Askelon in a rage. When he returns home, he finds that his bride has been given to someone else. In revenge, Samson gathers pairs of foxes and ties their tails together with torches between them. He then looses 300 of the animals on the Philistines’ fields, destroying their crops.
It’s this scene that is depicted in the mosaic. It’s an "unusual" subject, Magness said, because only two other synagogues have been found that depict Samson at all, much less a fiery scene of revenge. But one of the other ancient synagogues that does depict Samson is only a few miles from the newly excavated building, Magness said.
"It suggests that, for whatever reason, Samson was popular in the local area," she said.
Read the full article at: livescience.com
"Pagan" Cult Mosaic Found Under Cathedral
Medieval Islamic Mosaics Used Modern Math
Oldest confirmed cave art is a single red dot
Art sleuths believe long-lost Da Vinci found in Italy
Ancient Bethlehem seal found; first reference to city outside Bible
God’s Wife Edited Out of the Bible - Almost (Videos)
Ultraviolet light reveals how ancient Greek statues really looked
Latest News from our Front Page
Pro-Israel bias: BBC admits editorial breach in interview with Israeli defense chief
The BBC has reached a â€śprovisional findingâ€ť to uphold complaints made by Palestinian activists that the broadcaster breached its editorial guidelines in a â€śsoftâ€ť interview with the Israeli defense minister.
Complaints focused on BBC journalist Sarah Montagueâ€™s alleged failure to challenge controversial claims made by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaâ€™alon.
Journalist Amena Saleem, who works with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), wrote ...
41% of Americans Support Criminalizing "Hate Speech"
The following are from a recent poll about what some are calling on for "hate speech"
1. Support for Hate Crimes Legislation
Do you support or oppose the federal law that requires increased penalties for hate crimes committed on the basis of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or gender of any person?
2. Support for Expanding Hate Crimes
FBI Admits No Major Cases Cracked with Patriot Act Snooping Powers
FBI agents canâ€™t point to any major terrorism cases theyâ€™ve cracked thanks to the key snooping powers in the Patriot Act, the Justice Departmentâ€™s inspector general said in a report Thursday that could complicate efforts to keep key parts of the law operating.
Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said that between 2004 and 2009, the FBI tripled its use of bulk ...
Sweetener Stevia Was Once Hailed As An Anti-Fertility Agent for Population Reduction
Maybe it's not so sweet now... If you've thought stevia, the natural alternative to sugar and artificial sweetners with aspartame, et al., is too good to be true, there may be a catch. Check out this textbook written in 1970 by Paul and Anne Ehrlich, the precursor to the textbook Ecoscience they wrote with Obama Science Czar John P. Holdren ...
TPP Aproved: Senate Republicans Give Obama New Powers - Details Remain 'Classified'
President Obama won a big victory for his trade agenda Friday with the Senateâ€™s approval of fast-track legislation that could make it easier for him to complete a wide-ranging trade deal that would include 11 Pacific Rim nations.
A coalition of 48 Senate Republicans and 14 Democrats voted for Trade Promotion Authority late Friday, sending the legislation to a difficult fight ...
|More News » |