Introduction
to the Madaba Mosaic Map

General list
of all places in the Map


The real geography
of the Madaba Mosaic Map
Map Sections




This site is an expanded version of a chapter of the book:
M. Piccirillo - E. Alliata (Eds.), The Madaba Map Centenary 1897-1997. Travelling through the Byzantine Umayyad Period. Proceedings of the International Conference Held in Amman, 7-9 April 1997 (SBF Collectio Maior 40), Jerusalem 1999.

Elaboration of texts by students taking part in the seminary on "Ancient Christian Itineraries in the Holy Land" held by Fr. Eugenio Alliata at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum - Jerusalem. February-May 1999: Sr. Abi-Aad Rose, Aguilera Maria, Fr. Bugililimfura Philippe, Fr. De Luca Stefano, Delprete Anna Maria, Fr. Rendón Gonzalo.

The Madaba Mosaic Map is a unique piece of art realised in 6th-7th cent. A.D. as a decoration for the pavement of a church in the town of Madaba (Jordan) in the Byzantine Near East.

The mosaic represents the biblical land from Egypt to Lebanon, including Sinai, Israel, Palestine, and Transjordan.

The Madaba Mosaic map is deemed to be one of the best topographical representations of the Biblical Lands.

Our aim is to present the richness of this until now little known masterpiece of art , religion and science to all people interested in the biblical places or just in the best achievements of humanity.

PRESENTATION

The Madaba Mosaic Map is a unique piece of art realised in 6th cent. A.D. as a decoration for the pavement of a church in the town of Madaba (Jordan) in the Byzantine Near East. At that time Madaba was part of the so called Provincia Arabia, and was inhabited by Aramaic speaking Christians descendant from the ancient biblical people of the Moabites. The mosaic was discovered accidentally about one hundred years ago (in 1897) while constructing a new church for the Greek-Orthodox Arab community, which was then settling on the very ruins of the ancient town of Madaba.

The mosaic represents the biblical land from Egypt to Lebanon, including Sinai, Israel, Palestine, and Transjordan. Unfortunately the northern sector is almost completely lost, and the rest suffered a lot of damage too. The original panel would have measured about 94 square meter but only 25 are still preserved. What remains is still of the greatest importance for art, history and biblical topography. The city of Jerusalem is depicted with the uppermost care but a total of 156 places or biblical memoirs are present in the preserved portion of the map.

The mosaicist conceived and carried out his masterwork with great topographical skill and biblical knowledge. The Madaba Mosaic map is deemed by some scholars to be the best topographic representation ever done before modern cartography. As a source of biblical topography the map is fully comparable with the well-known treatise on the biblical places written in Greek about 395 A.D. by the historian Eusebius of Caesarea and translated into Latin by Jerome about 490 A.D.

Our aim is to present the richness of this little known masterpiece of art , religion and science to all people interested in the biblical places or just in the best achievements of humanity.

Eugenio Alliata

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Created Saturday, December 16, 2000 at 10:30:03
by Eugenio Alliata ofm in collaboration with Stefano de Luca ofm
Webmaster: John Abela ofm - Space by courtesy of Christus Rex
copyright - Studium Biblicum Franciscanum - Jerusalem 2000