Angelos Chaniotis

SIGNS OF THE TRIBE. A close look at the numerous graffiti carved into the walls and columns of ancient Aphrodisias reveals just how prevalent Jews and Jewish traditions were among the city’s population. Jewish tradesmen and merchants of the fourth to sixth centuries, for example, set up shop in the abandoned rooms and colonnaded halls of the city’s ancient Sebasteion, originally built as a monument to the cult of the emperor. Among the graffiti-carved marble ruins of their stalls, one can spot the distinctive symbols of Jewish art and iconography, including one column inscribed with a seven-branched candelabra (menorah) that has been partially erased.