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Personification of natural forces

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Chapter Summary

Personification is a common theme on secular and Christian mosaic pavements inherited from Hellenistic art. Themes found on the pavements are personification of natural elements such as Earth, Sea, and rivers. Time and the year are embodied in the personification of the zodiac, months and seasons, the sun and the moon. Some less frequent and unique personifications are the ocean, wisdom, and representations of a country or a city. The personifications of natural elements show some association with Hellenistic tradition, although generally they have 'long lost any sense of representing actual deities'. Some of the personifications might have assigned a symbolic significance to the images, such as the role of God as the creator of Heaven and Earth as proclaimed by an inscription surrounding the personification of Sea in the Apostles church at Madaba, or the prosperity and thriving of the people represented by the cycle of nature and time.

Keywords:Christian mosaic pavements; Earth; months; Natural Forces; Personification; rivers; Sea; seasons; the sun; zodiac



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