Themes, Issues, and Trends
Author: Rachel Hachlili
This publication is engaged in issues, trends, and themes depicted on mosaic pavements discovered in Israel, the Gaza Strip and Petra (the provinces of ancient Palaestina Prima, Secunda and Tertia) with comparable floors in Jordan (Arabia). The majority of the mosaic pavements discussed in this study are dated to the 4th-8th centuries CE. Mosaic pavements were the normal medium for decorating the floors of synagogues, churches, monasteries, and chapels, as well as public and private buildings. Inscriptions found on many of the pavements commemorate the donors, refer to the artists, and sometimes date the mosaics. The ornamentation of the mosaics in this region is remarkable, rich, and varied in its themes and provides many insights into the contemporary artistic and social cultures.
Nira Stone (1938-2013) was a scholar of Armenian and Byzantine Art. Her broad and close acquaintance with the field of Armenian art history covered many fields of Armenian artistic creativity. Nira Stone made notable contributions to the study of Armenian manuscript painting, mosaics, and other forms of artistic expression. Of particular interests are her researches on this art in its historical and religious contexts, such as the study of apocryphal elements in Armenian Gospel iconography, the place of the mosaics of Jerusalem in the context of mosaics in Byzantine Palestine, and of the interplay between religious movements, such as hesychasm, and Armenian manuscript painting.
Early Evidence of Egyptian Religion in Italy
The famous Nile Mosaic of Palestrina, ancient Praeneste in central Italy, dating to c. 100 B.C., is one of the earliest large mosaics which have been preserved from the classical world. It presents a unique, comprehensive picture of Egypt and Nubia. The interpretation of the mosaic is disputed, suggestions ranging from an exotic decoration to a topographical picture or a religious allegory.
The present study demonstrates that the mosaic depicts rituals connected with Isis and Osiris and the yearly Nile flood. The presence of these Egyptian religious scenes at Praeneste can be explained by the assimilation of isis and Fortuna, the tutelary goddess of Praeneste, and by the interpretation of the mosaic as a symbol of divine providence.
Early Evidence of Egyptian Religion in Italy
The famous Nile Mosaic of Palestrina, ancient Praeneste in central Italy, dating to c. 100 B.C., is one of the earliest large mosaics which have been preserved from the classical world. It presents a unique, comprehensive picture of Egypt and Nubia. The interpretation of the mosaic is disputed, suggestions ranging from an exotic decoration to a topographical picture or a religious allegory.
The present study demonstrates that the mosaic depicts rituals connected with Isis and Osiris and the yearly Nile flood. The presence of these Egyptian religious scenes at Praeneste can be explained by the assimilation of isis and Fortuna, the tutelary goddess of Praeneste, and by the interpretation of the mosaic as a symbol of divine providence.