Emory Report

January 20, 1998

 Volume 50, No. 17

Carlos exhibit spotlights art and relics of ancient city in Galilee

Treasures from a city once described as "the ornament of all Galilee" highlight "Sepphoris in Galilee: Crosscurrents of Culture," running Jan. 24 through April 12 at the Carlos Museum.

Once the capital of Galilee, Sepphoris (Zippori in modern-day Israel) was located four miles northwest of Nazareth and was a thriving provincial town in Roman Palestine where Jews, Romans and later Christians co-existed in relative harmony. During the Roman and Byzantine periods (first century B.C. to seventh century A.D.), Sepphoris was a leading center of Jewish scholarship, and archeologists continue to uncover physical evidence of flowering cultures co-habitating in antiquity.

Because of its proximity to Nazareth, Sepphoris also offers valuable insight into the cultural milieu in which Jesus of Nazareth lived and Christianity took root. The gradual emergence of a strong Christian presence at Sepphoris is evident from the excavations of Christian buildings and mosaics in a city where early tradition located the birthplace of the Virgin Mary and the home of her parents, Anne and Joachim. The Arab and Crusader periods also left their traces at Sepphoris and are explored in the exhibition as well.

Working in cooperation with site archaeologists and the Israel Antiquities Authorities, the curators have selected sculpture, architectural fragments, mosaics, jewelry, coins, ritual objects, and ceramic and glass vessels for this exhibition that illuminate the multicultural nature of this important city. One of the most impressive works is a beautifully preserved mosaic with a life-sized figure of a hunter. The objects are supplemented with maps, photomurals, diagrams of the excavation site, scale models of representative buildings, and facsimiles of other mosaics and architectural fragments.

Accompanying the exhibition will be a video program on the excavations and computer stations with interactive programs on aspects of the city and its architectural treasures. The exhibition catalog features a series of well-illustrated scholarly essays on aspects of the archaeology, art, history and religious life of Sepphoris.

A living theater production, "Zippori/Sepphoris Live!," is planned later in the run of the exhibition. Originally commissioned by Zippori National Park in Israel, the production recreates daily life in Galilee during the third century A.D. Emory's Theater Studies Department will work with show creator Joyce Klein to complete the project in conjunction with the exhibition and in collaboration with the Religion and Classics departments.

-Joy Bell

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