Battling Giant

Illustration

Dana Murray
by
published on 29 August 2015

The oldest known synagogue mosaic with figurative motifs, this scene depicts a battle between a giant and soldiers armed with swords, shields, and lances. The soldiers are depicted as either wounded or dead. At the edge of the mosaic a cavalryman flees, with the legs of another warrior included above him.

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."

Excavated at Khirbet Wadi Hamam, near the Sea of Galilee dating to the 3rd-4th century CE. Stone Mosaic, currently housed in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.



About the Author

Dana Murray
Researcher with interest in the art, architecture and religion of ancient Greece and the Near East.

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