Sunday, February 21, 2010

Intimate theater at Herodium

About a year ago, TimesOnline mentioned a newly discovered theater at the 'Herodium'. This mausoleum of King Herod, who ruled Judea from 37 BC to 4 BC, was built at a hilltop, nine miles south of Jerusalem. In an ealier entry I already wrote about Herod (July, 2009), and I recommend reading 'The Jewish War' or Bellum Judaicum by Flavius Josephus.

The theater, just below and to the west of the mausoleum, fitted about 650-750 specatators and contained a loggia, located at the the top of the theater seats, decorated with wall paintings and plaster mouldings. The wall paintings were produced around 15-10 BC. With this date, they were probably painted for the visit of the Roman general Marcus Agrippa in 15 BC. The subject of the painting is highly unusual for Israel, since it shows living creatures, a dog and a deer. The colors, even after all this years, are still stunning. Information and picture of the painting is taken from http://www.bible-lands.net/.

Next time in Israel, I will absolutely visit this site!

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