A Rare Mosaic Discovered in Caesarea

Feb. 13 2018

Archaeologists excavating in the coastal city of Caesarea have uncovered a colorful and sophisticated mosaic dating from the 2nd or 3rd centuries CE. Some 300 years later, a sort of Byzantine shopping mall had been built on top of it, obscuring it until now. Amanda Borschel-Dan writes:

[This] is one of the few extant examples of a mosaic from this time period in Israel; its craftsmanship is compared by archaeologists to the fine artistry found in Antioch. . . . According to Peter Gendelman and Uzi Ad, the directors of the excavation for the Israel Antiquities Authority, the mosaic . . . was once part of an even earlier building from approximately 1,800 years ago.

According to the archaeologists, the mosaic measures 3.5-by-8 meters and is “of a rare high quality.” . . . There are three figures depicted on the uncovered section, as well as typical multicolored geometric patterns, which were formed using small tesserae (mosaic pieces) placed densely at about 12,000 stones per square meter. . . .

Of potentially even more interest than the beautifully formed images is a long inscription in ancient Greek. It was unfortunately damaged by the Byzantine building constructed on top of it, but is being studied now by the epigrapher Leah Di Segni from the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology. . . .

The mosaic dates from when the area was the Roman Empire’s administrative center in the province of Judea.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Ancient Rome, Archaeology, Byzantine Empire, History & Ideas

In Dealing with Iran, the U.S. Can Learn from Ronald Reagan

When Ronald Reagan arrived at the White House in 1981, the consensus was that, with regard to the Soviet Union, two responsible policy choices presented themselves: détente, or a return to the Truman-era policy of containment. Reagan, however, insisted that the USSR’s influence could not just be checked but rolled back, and without massive bloodshed. A decade later, the Soviet empire collapsed entirely. In crafting a policy toward the Islamic Republic today, David Ignatius urges the current president to draw on Reagan’s success:

A serious strategy to roll back Iran would begin with Syria. The U.S. would maintain the strong military position it has established east of the Euphrates and enhance its garrison at Tanf and other points in southern Syria. Trump’s public comments suggest, however, that he wants to pull these troops out, the sooner the better. This would all but assure continued Iranian power in Syria.

Iraq is another key pressure point. The victory of militant Iraqi nationalist Moqtada al-Sadr in [last week’s] elections should worry Tehran as much as Washington. Sadr has quietly developed good relations with Saudi Arabia, and his movement may offer the best chance of maintaining an Arab Iraq as opposed to a Persian-dominated one. But again, that’s assuming that Washington is serious about backing the Saudis in checking Iran’s regional ambitions. . . .

The Arabs, [however], want the U.S. (or Israel) to do the fighting this time. That’s a bad idea for America, for many reasons, but the biggest is that there’s no U.S. political support for a war against Iran. . . .

Rolling back an aggressive rival seems impossible, until someone dares to try it.

Read more at RealClear Politics

More about: Cold War, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, Ronald Reagan, U.S. Foreign policy