Ancient Mosaic Pavements

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.

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Rachel Hachlili, Ph.D in Archaeology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, is Professor of Archaeology, University of Haifa, Israel. She has published extensively on ancient Jewish art and archaeology in the land of Israel (Brill, 1988); in the Diaspora (Brill, 1998); on the excavations of the Jewish cemetery at Jericho (1999) on the Menorah (Brill, 2001); and on Jewish burial practises in the Second Temple period (Brill, 2005).
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Chapter One: Mosaic Pavements Adorning Buildings in the Hellenistic–Early Roman Period
Chapter Two: The Jewish Symbols Panel
Chapter Three: The Zodiac Panel and Its Significance
Chapter Four: Biblical Narrative Themes and Images: Representation, Origin, and Meaning
Chapter Five: Iconographic Elements of Nilotic Scenes On Byzantine Mosaics Pavements
Chapter Six: The ‘Inhabited Scrolls’ Mosaic Pavements – A Sixth-Century Trend
Chapter Seven: Iconographic Aspects of Rural Life
Chapter Eight: Personification of Natural Forces
Chapter Nine: Designs of Symmetrical Antithetic Animals
Chapter Ten: Iconoclasm on Mosaic Pavements of Synagogues and Churches
Chapter Eleven: Between Synagogue and Church
Chapter Twelve: Mosaicists, Workshops, and the Repertory
Chapter Thirteen: Concluding Remarks, Comments, and Observations
All those interested in the art and significance of ancient mosaic pavements in the Levant, as well as in ancient Jewish and Christian iconic art.