Courtesy Cave of Letters Expedition

Ancient multiculturalism. The scene that decorates this patera was a popular one in the pagan world: It shows Thetis, the mother of Achilles, giving armor to her son while riding a sea creature that is depicted with a man’s upper body and the lower body of a fish. The scene appears on many objects from the ancient world, including, apparently, the base of the menorah (candelabrum) of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, as depicted on the Arch of Titus in Rome (see photograph).