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Mosaic pavements adorning buildings in the Hellenistic–early Roman Period

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the mosaic pavements present in the buildings of the Helleinistic and early Roman periods. The pavements are broadly categorised as floor pavements and motifs. Two types of floor pavements are found in such buildings: mosaic pavements and floors paved in opus sectile. Mosaic pavements were most frequently used in bathhouse rooms and vestibules, where water flowed. Several mosaic pavements were found at Masada, among them three polychrome mosaic paved rooms at the Western Palace. The chapter describes the mosaic pavements revealed in private houses, and the mosaics discovered in desert fortress palaces. The repertoire of Second Temple period mosaic art consists of ornamental motifs which can be divided into the following types: geometric patterns, plant, floral and vegetation motifs, and unique designs of the spindle bottle motif and the 'gamma'. All the mosaic panels have a white ground with polychrome (red, black, brown) designs.

Keywords:early Roman period; Hellenistic period; mosaic pavements; ornamental motifs; Second Temple period



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