Asher Ovadiah, Yehudit Turnheim

Art in the Public and private spheres in Roman Caesarea Maritima

Temples, Architectural Decoration and Tesserae

Rivista di Archeologia Supplementi, 27
2002, 80 pp., 116 illustrazioni
ISBN: 8876891838

€ 148,00  € 140,60
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The three independent sections of this book form together a tightly woven whole, focused upon Caesarea Maritima. Each section treats a different aspect of one and the same subject: the art created in Caesarea Maritima during the various stages of the Roman period, concentrating on the media of architecture, architectural decoration and mosaics. 
The section on the temples deals with the architectural and cultic aspects of Caesarea Maritima during the Roman period. The section on architectural decoration focuses on the blocks used in construction of one of the main monuments of the city - the theatre - as well as on a number of decorated fragments belonging to unidentified buildings from other areas of Caesarea. The section on the geometric mosaic provides an extensive discussion of a unique coloured mosaic, and examines the artistic, stylistic and chronological connections with mosaic pavements found in other Mediterranean countries. 
Through these media one can follow not only the visual arts of the city in particular, but also of Eretz Israel in general. The studied artistic works also reflect the spiritual, religious and material culture of metropolitan Caesarea, a flourishing microcosmos whose fame spread far beyond its shores. 
The three media studied in the book reveal the migration of formal artistic notions and decorative motifs from the West, the Classical world and its heritage, and show how these were borrowed, adapted and later assimilated by this large port city in the Eastern Mediterranean. The architecture, for example, mainly of a religious nature (temples and places of cult or worship), attests to the adoption of Western cults (Greek and Roman) that depicted gods and emperors side by side, together with the existence of Oriental cults such as Mithraism.


1. Temples and Shrines
2. Miscellaneous Ornamented Architectural Elements
3. The Geometric Mosaic in the 'Promontory Palace'
General Index


Susan B. Downey, American Journal of Archaeology, 12/04/2006

Hagith Sivan, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 19/05/2003