Alinari/Art Resource, NY

Wondering at the wisdom of King Solomon’s decision, two onlookers in the lower left corner of the painting observe the proceedings. Author Theodore Feder believes these clearly depicted figures represent the great Greek philosophers Socrates and Aristotle. With the creation of the Septuagint in the third century B.C., the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. The presence of these men in a Biblical scene suggests that the owner of this house was a gentile who wanted to draw a parallel between the Classical Greek sages and the wisdom of the Hebrew Bible.