Synagogue pavement | The Israel Museum, Jerusalem



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Synagogue pavement

Synagogue pavement

Synagogue pavement

Stone mosaic

H: 141; W: 214 cm

Israel Antiquities Authority


Archaeology/Hellenistic, Roman & Byzantine Periods

This is the oldest known synagogue mosaic with figurative motifs. The colorful scene depicts a battle between a giant - only his arms and legs are visible - and soldiers armed with swords, shields, and lances. The soldiers are wounded or dead. At the edge of the mosaic is a fleeing cavalryman and, above, the legs of another warrior. The scene may depict Samson fighting the Philistines or Goliath battling the Israelites. An Aramaic donor inscription is found below: “... son of Shimona and ... made this mosaic at their own expense.”

From the Israel Museum publications:

3x50@50: IMJ Collection Highlights, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2015