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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.


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.


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