Saturday, July 18, 2015

Alexander the Great Meets Hebrew Priest

 An ancient  mosaic believed to depict Alexander the Great meeting a Hebrew high priest has been discovered in a 5th century synagog in Hoqoq,  Israel, unearthed by a team of archaeologists led by Professor Jodi Magness, of the University of North Carolina.

The scene shows a bearded soldier wearing battle dress and a purple cloak leading a bull by the horns, followed by other soldiers, and elephants with shields tied to their sides. He is meeting with a bearded elder who wears a ceremonial white tunic and mantle, accompanied by young men with sheathed swords, also in ceremonial clothes.

According to Professor Magness “Battle elephants were associated with Greek armies beginning with Alexander the Great, so this might be a depiction of a Jewish legend about the meeting between Alexander and the Jewish high priest.” 

An article in the Daily Mail describes other fabulous mosaics discovered previously during this excavation project, which began in 2012 in cooperation with a team from the Israel Antiquities Authority.

This is a unique and important discovery because of the high level of artistic skill it evidences, as well as the fact that the depiction of Alexander the Great is the first non-Biblical figure ever to be discovered in a mosaic in an ancient synagogue.

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