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KHIRBET EL-MAIN (“Menois”) Israel.

A site which may be Menois 16 km S of Gaza and known from the late Roman period and later. Eusebius (Onom. 130.7) identified Menois, “a small town near Gaza,” with biblical Madabana (Josh. 15:31), and in the same corrupted form (Madmenah is correct) it appears on the Madaba mosaic map. According to the Notitia Dignitatum a cohort of Illyrian cavalry was stationed there.

The accidental discovery of a mosaic floor led to excavation of a synagogue: a basilica (15.3 x 13.5 m) with an apse to the NE, towards Jerusalem. On the mosaic in the nave was an amphora flanked by peacocks, from which emerged a vine that formed 54 medallions arranged in five rows; the medallions were filled with animals and birds. Specific Jewish symbols such as a seven-branched candlestick, a shofar (ram's horn), and a lulab (palm branch) were portrayed only near the apse, and here also was a dedicatory inscription in Aramaic. The floor is dated on stylistic grounds to the first half of the 6th c. A.D.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

F. M. Abel, Géographie de la Palestine II (1938) 384; 5. Levi et al., Rabinowitz Bulletin 3 (1960) 6-40; M. Avi-Yonah, The Holy Land (1966) 161-62.

A. NEGEV

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