Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Ancient menorah graffito

Gladiator Fights Revealed in Ancient Graffiti (Owen Jarus, Live Science).
Hundreds of graffiti messages engraved into stone in the ancient city of Aphrodisias, in modern-day Turkey, have been discovered and deciphered, revealing what life was like there over 1,500 years ago, researchers say.

The graffiti touches on many aspects of the city's life, including gladiator combat, chariot racing, religious fighting and sex. The markings date to a time when the Roman and Byzantine empires ruled over the city.


Aphrodisias also boasted a sizable Jewish population. Many Jewish traders set up shop in an abandoned temple complex known as the Sebasteion.

Among the graffiti found there is a depiction of a Hanukkah menorah, a nine-candle lamp that would be lit during the Jewish festival. "This may be one of the earliest representations of a Hanukkah menorah that we know from ancient times," said Chaniotis.

Jarus's parallel article, In Photos: Ancient Graffiti Discovered in Aphrodisias, has a photo of the graffito (fourth photo down).

More on ancient depictions of menorahs is here and here and links.