1500-year-old mosaic is thought to show Alexander the Macedonian

A unique mosaic dating back to the fifth century has been uncovered in an ancient Israeli synagogue by a team of archaeologists.

The 1,500-year-old mosaic is thought to show Alexander the Great meeting with the High Priests.  If that is correct it would be the first Jewish mosaic ever discovered in the region that depicts a non-biblical scene and researchers say it could give new insight into the beliefs and customs of people living at the time.

"It's so unique because it doesn't match any specific biblical study," said Chad Spigel, assisstant professor of religion at Trinity University in San Antonio, "It tells us about aspects of ancient Judasim that we hadn't previously considered." Spigel said.

The mosaic is said to show a bull piereced by spears, with blood gushing from his wounds, and a dying or dead soldier.  Another panel depicts an arcade, with the arches framing young men arranged around a seated elderly man holding a scroll.

However, it is the final panel that has yielded the most clues about what the images represent, largely because of the appearance of the world's largest land animal, the elephant.

According to a news release from the project, the uppermost register depicts a meeting between two large male figures.


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