Zev Radovan

Mosaic portrait of a young man. Fashioned for the synagogue floor about 450 A.D., the mosaic shows a youth wearing a short tunic, with a red cape buttoned over his right shoulder. An emblem adorns his right sleeve just below the shoulder, and another emblem sits on his right hip. On his head he wears a kind of crown. His clothing suggests a high official or military officer of the time. But strangely enough, he wears no weaponry or armor. Instead, weapons and armor are strewn about him. Above his right shoulder is a helmet (the yellow tesserae suggest it was made of brass). At the lower left of the mosaic is a large oval shield. Above him dangles a long sword. We can’t identify this youth. Perhaps he is the young David, just after the battle with Goliath. His hands may have held a slingshot, or Goliath’s head.

Along the left of the mosaic, Hebrew letters spell out Yodan bar Shimeon Mani, perhaps the name of a Meroth villager who donated money for the mosaic, or the artist who created the mosaic. In the reconstruction drawing, the mosaic appears in the northeast corner of the synagogue floor.