Explore This Mysterious Mosaic—It May Portray Alexander the Great
A decorated floor uncovered in the buried ruins of an ancient synagogue in Israel may depict a legendary meeting with the famous conqueror.
After several years of digging and study, archaeologists are revealing an extraordinary—and enigmatic—mosaic discovered among the ruins of a Roman-era synagogue at a site in Israel known as Huqoq. Nothing like it has come to light in any other building yet known from the ancient world, experts say.
Dated to the fifth century A.D., the mosaic depicts a meeting between two high-ranking male figures, one of whom appears to be a great general leading his troops. A major challenge to interpreting the scene is a total lack of identifying inscriptions.
“It’s very frequent in late antique and early Byzantine art to have figures in mosaics and other media that are labeled,” says Karen Britt, an art historian at Western Carolina University and