Get PJ Media on your Apple

PJM Lifestyle

The Wonder and Beauty of Israel’s Old, Old Mosaics

Treasures unearthed in a timeless land.

by
P. David Hornik

Bio

June 16, 2013 - 8:00 am
Page 1 of 5  Next ->   View as Single Page

shutterstock_100198562

In the fall of 1983 we took a sort of pilot tour of Israel, a year before moving here. For me, naturally, as someone who had never been outside of North America, it was all a breathtaking experience.

Perhaps most amazing of all, though, was our visit to Masada—the mountain fortress by the Dead Sea where, somewhat over two thousand years ago, a group of Jewish guerrillas plus their families committed mass suicide rather than be taken captive by the Romans. Masada has remains of the synagogue, storehouses, and bathhouses the rebels set up in the years they hid out there. It offers stunning views of the surrounding, austerely beautiful desert countryside.

Yet for me the most arresting thing at Masada was not any of this, but something seemingly much more plain—one (I no longer know which) of its mosaic floors, which were laid in the Herodian period about a century before the rebels were there.

As mosaics go, these—the one on this page is an example—aren’t particularly impressive. No, what got to me was a shock of intimacy—intimacy with an ancient person, very possibly a Hebrew-speaking Jew, possibly even a forefather of mine, who had once been there toiling over the details of that very mosaic floor I was looking at.

Masada with its wonders, including its mosaics, was excavated in the early 1960s. From the 1920s to the present, though, many other mosaic floors of ancient synagogues, churches, and pagan structures—generally dating back about 1500 years—have been found in the Holy Land. They offer that same thrill of communion with an unknown, ancient artist along with much richer and more artistically accomplished contents.

Comments are closed.

All Comments   (8)
All Comments   (8)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
like Luis responded I'm in shock that a person able to profit $9039 in 1 month on the computer. did you see this page... can99.ℂ­om
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
She is more beautiful and more "modern" than Mona.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
David, while anyone who knows history, especially that of the Mid East and the centuries Jewish connection to the Jewish homeland, understands the visceral attachment, the world would have us believe that there is no such connection. In fact, they posit that we just parachuted into Israel a little before 1948, you know, as occupiers.
But never mind. Aside from all the astounding, breathtaking beauty and history all over Israel, the highlands in Judea and Samaria is where it all began; the same areas which Kerry (and the rest) is busy twisting Jerusalem's arms, all in order to gift to Arafat's protege, Abbas/Abu Mazen, our Jewish history!

To be sure, in light of the above, it is more than prudent for said busybodies - as they dare wrest our mosaics from Jewish heritage - to peer through the BINOCULARS of a PA intelligence officer. They must let Israel's leaders, its citizens and Jews worldwide, know why we should "gift" our patrimony to anyone, let alone those whose Charter exhorts Israel's destruction - http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/06/27/the-two-state-solution-peering-through-the-binoculars-of-a-palestinian-intelligence-officer-embedded-pictorials-commentary-by-adina-kutnicki/

Will Israel's leaders allow Masada to fall again?

Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
And for further proof of what would happen to these amazing sites, we have to look no further than the time of the Ottoman Empire.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Blame the Jews. They bankroll and vote for Kerry's Party no matter what. So who cares about them?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Very cool, thanks for sharing these great reports from Israel. It would be interesting to know to what degree ancient Israel was economicly and socially intergrated into the overall Roman Empire. I imagine boats sailing he Med Sea w/ people and cargo and tax collectors from Rome.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
There was indeed a good deal of integration and interaction. "Judeans" - people ethnically and religiously linked to the land of Judea - were found scattered across the Roman Empire. By some estimates, 5-10% of the Empire's population were Jews or people who'd taken on Jewish practices.

Even before the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in the year 70, there were major settlements of Jews in Alexandria and Rome, in Anatolia and North Africa (including Cyrene - present day Cyrenaica in eastern Libya) and as far west as Gaul. Before the Temple's destruction they constituted a Diaspora, not an Exile, that maintained an active connection to the homeland.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
My impression is that there was a lot of integration and interaction. Thanks!
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
View All