Thursday, February 3, 2011

Foxes Among the Beautiful Mosaic Floors in 1500 Byzantine Church

Being excavated in Horbat Midras, Israel.  The photographs aren't the best but the fine condition of the mosaic floor is astounding!

Story at
Salvage excavations in Israel uncover an impressive mosaic floor
Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fox - center animal facing to the left (tail to the right), lower left.
 [Excerpted] Part of a 1,500-year-old Byzantine church, the mosaic floor was decorated with images of lions, foxes, fish and peacocks.

The excavation, conducted on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority was necessary due to the site being the target of robbers, trying to access its underground tunnels.

The ruins are built on top of another structure which is believed to have been in use in Roman times. Its underground tunnels were thought to have been used by Jewish rebels around the 2nd century AD. Horbat Midras is believed to be the site of a large Jewish settlement that dates from the Second Temple period until its destruction during the Bar Kokhba uprising in 135 CE.

The later basilica comprises a large flagstone courtyard from which worshippers passed into a corridor. Entering into the nave there were eight breathtaking marble columns that bore magnificent capitals which were imported from Turkey.

For the past month the Israel Antiquities Authority has been engaged in exposing the magnificent structure, unravelling its secrets and preserving the mosaic floors.

I would be very interested to read the possible interpretation of fox images being present inside what I assume is an Orthodox Christian church!


Robur d'Amour said...

Continuing the fox conversation... and the idea of fox as psychopomp, a guide to the soul.

While it is true that male foxes would be considered guides for women, female foxes would be guides for men.

ie, real foxy women guide men to their future, in this world.

Jan said...

Fox as psychopomp - very interesting concept. I shall look up the other animals mentioned in as appearing in the mosaics and learn more about them, too.

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