Zev Radovan

Helios, Greek god of the sun, raises his right hand in greeting at the center of the Hammath Tiberias synagogue mosaic. A wide band of twisted ribbon encircles him. Originally Helios rode a chariot, but that portion of the mosaic has been all but obliterated. (At the lower right corner of the mosaic a bit of the horse’s mane can be seen.) In his left hand, Helios holds a whip and a celestial globe divided into four quarters by bands that stand for the equator and a meridian.

A disk of light encircles the young god’s head, and seven rays of multicolored light emanate from his hair, a motif repeated in the star to the right of the whip, which is surrounded by seven pointed rays. Around Helios’s left shoulder is a purple cloak fastened by a circular clasp. The right shoulder of his white tunic is covered by a yellow square, probably a segmentum, which was worn by emperors and very high Roman officials.