Gabi Laron, courtesy Zeev Weiss

SEPPHORIS ZODIAC. One of the most striking scenes in the fifth-century synagogue at Sepphoris is the zodiac pavement. Consisting of two concentric circles, the zodiac shows the sun’s apparent path across the sky during the year. The smaller circle in the center of the pavement shows the sun god Helios driving his four-horsed chariot (quadriga). But unlike a number of other synagogue mosaics, the face of Helios is not portrayed in the Sepphoris synagogue. Instead, the sun itself is substituted for his face. Ten rays of light emanate from the sun, with the central ray attached to the chariot. The outer, larger circle is divided into 12 sections, each containing a zodiac sign and associated with a particular constellation and month. The Hebrew names of both the months and zodiac signs are inscribed on the pavement. The four seasons of the year are represented as women in the square outer portion of the pavement that frames the zodiac—one in each corner— surrounded by the name of the seasons in Hebrew and Greek, as well as their attributes, and are situated by their corresponding zodiac signs.