ruins 50 km SW of Cyrene, Libya, probably the remains
of the small town of Olbia mentioned by Synesius (Ep.
76). The chief remains are two churches, one of which
was rebuilt as an Italian fort. The second, excavated in
1957, has a nave and two aisles, with an apse at its W
end. A remarkable mosaic (10.75 x 6.10 m) of 50 square
panels framed with borders of guilloche pattern was
found intact on the nave floor. Near its center an inscription records the laying of the mosaic by Bishop Makarios in A.D. 539. In the top line is a stylized picture of a town, Polis Nea Theodorias, indicating a refoundation in honor of the Empress Theodora. The most
interesting panel shows a stepped tower, Pharos, entered
over a bridge. This can scarcely be other than the Pharos
of Alexandria, for a dark figure on top with radiate
crown must be the bronze statue of Helios; behind is
a second figure on a building, presumably on the mainland.
In the N aisle a well-preserved mosaic shows the
familiar Nilotic theme of a crocodile swallowing a cow
which a man is trying to drag away by its tail. This
scene and the Pharos panel hint that the floors are the
work of Alexandrian mosaicists. A third mosaic, with
crosses and animals, lay by the altar.
R. G. Goodchild, ILN
1957) 1034-35; J. B. Ward Perkins, “A New Group
of Sixth-Century Mosaics from Cyrenaica,” RACrist
A work by J. B. Ward Perkins and the late R. G.
Goodchild on the churches of Cyrenaica, with a chapter
on mosaics by E. Rosenbaum, is forthcoming.