Monday, September 13, 2010

Surprises in the gardens

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Let's stroll around the outdoor part of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem for our weekly tour meme, That's My World.

Half-hidden in the bushes is this 3rd century Samaritan sarcophagus.
Bulls' heads, a conch shell, garlands--beautiful what they carved in stone, eh?
It was discovered in Kfar Siris, near Jenin.
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This marble lid of a Roman period sarcophagus was found in Caesaria.
According to the myth depicted, Zeus changed himself into a swan to ravish Leda, wife of the king of Sparta.
From their union, Helen of Troy was born, whose beauty was the cause of the Trojan War.
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Too bad it is missing the upper part of the figures.
But, I guess you can't have everything . . . .
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Ossuaries and sarcophagi are scattered all around the grounds.
I have a feeling they are the ones not perfect enough to be placed INSIDE the museum, but they make for delightful surprises when you find them.
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It seems like even the form of these benches was inspired by the surrounding sarcophagi.
Enlarge the photo and take a close look. You think so?
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Interment in these large stone coffins was widespread in the Mediterranean basin in the 2nd to 5th centuries CE.
This funerary custom was first practiced among pagans and was later also adopted by Jews, Christians, and Samaritans.
The Greek word sarcophagus means “flesh-eating.”
The sarcophagi were placed inside mausoleums or in rock-hewn burial caves.
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And on that lively note we end the tour. ;-)
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16 comments:

Robin said...

Can you imagine all the work that went into hewing those from the rough stone by hand? That Samaritan one looks like a crown, and the Roman figures are so true to life...

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noel said...

aloha dina,

these are so beautiful scenes, i enjoyed how the grounds contain all these historical pieces like they were accidentally found and left in that exact spot


my tuesday tour of a hike to the lava on my sari blog.

Sara said...

I never knew the meaning of the word before - interesting.

richies said...

Wow! some amazing workmanship. The artistry is outstanding. It amazes me that they place these pieces outside. Thanks for the lovely tour

An Arkies Musings

VP said...

In this bunch of coffins (I am joking!) I definitely pick the last picture with four nice bench!

ρομπερτ said...

Thank you for this interesting journey through time and life. Please have a good Tuesday.

daily athens

Kay said...

I didn't realize that Helen of Troy was the result of the union of Leda and Zeus. That's so interesting. I've always been a sucker for Greek and Roman myths. I loved seeing all the sculptures.

VioletSky said...

such amazing carvings - and so old. I live in such a young country, finding such antiquities is beyond my imagining.

Pietro said...

Dina, what a nice tour. The sarcophagus is interesting and all those carvings in the stone are really astonishing.

BraCom (Bram) said...

Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos

Have a nice week,
Greetings, Bram

My Word Tuesday post

Seen on My World Tuesday

J Bar said...

Great place. Would like to visit.

spacedlaw said...

What a beautiful sacorphagus. I wonder whose it might have been. Fancy having a woman's rape depicted on your grave...

JM said...

Fantastic sarcophagus! This place must be something special.

Arija said...

Ah well, Zeus was mainly interested in the lower part of Leda anyway.
Sarcophgi are such interesting memorials to other times.
Nice post Dina.

Petrea said...

My kind of tour. I love the ancient things.

Glennis said...

Sure is a surprise to find in a garden. Well made it has lasted a very long time, with unfortunately some damage but still it is impressive.