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The Wandering Throne of Solomon

Objects and Tales of Kingship in the Medieval Mediterranean

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Allegra Iafrate

In The Wandering Throne of Solomon: Objects and Tales of Kingship in the Medieval Mediterranean Allegra Iafrate analyzes the circulation of artifacts and literary traditions related to king Solomon, particularly among Christians, Jews and Muslims, from the 10th to the 13th century.

The author shows how written sources and objects of striking visual impact interact and describes the efforts to match the literary echoes of past wonders with new mirabilia. Using the throne of Solomon as a case-study, she evokes a context where Jewish rabbis, Byzantine rulers, Muslim ambassadors, Christian sovereigns and bishops all seem to share a common imagery in art, technology and kingship.

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The Crescent on the Temple

The Dome of the Rock as Image of the Ancient Jewish Sanctuary

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Pamela Berger

"The Crescent on the Temple" by Pamela Berger elucidates an obscured tradition—how the Dome of the Rock came to stand for the Temple of Solomon in Christian, Muslim, and Jewish art. The crusaders called the Dome of the Rock the “Temple of the Lord,” while Muslim imagery depicted Solomon enthroned within the domed structure. Jews knew that the ancient Temple had been destroyed. Nevertheless, in their imagery, they commonly labeled the Muslim shrine “The Temple.” That domed “Temple” was often represented with a crescent on top. This iconography, long hidden in plain sight, reflects one aspect of an historical affinity between Jews and Muslims.