SECTION 10

The Sinai Desert and Egypt


The mosaicist of Madaba synthesized graphically the Sinai Peninsula with a mountain situated between the Negev in Palestine and the egyptian Delta. Three toponyms refer to as many incidents during the exodus... (more)


The mosaicist of Madaba synthesized graphically the Sinai Peninsula with a mountain situated between the Negev in Palestine and the egyptian Delta. Three toponyms refer to as many incidents during the exodus.
Two occur close to the mountain: Raphidim where Israel fought Amalek who was attacking. Desert of Zin where the manna and the quails were sent. The third in the valley of Arabah; Desert where the serpent of bronze saved the Israelites.
The pilgrims, as far back as the IV century localised the battle against the Amalekites in the Oasis of Feinan at the foot of Jabal Serbal in the vicinity of the city of Faran.
The mosaicist shifted the biblical episode of the bronze serpent to the Arabah, south of Zoara where copper mines were present near to the city of Feino. The city was an episcopal seat whose name reminded the biblical station of Pumon on the road to Edom.
Because of the restrictions imposed by the rectangular form of the mosaic having the sea finishing off the western side of it, and in line with biblical geography that indicated the Nile as being one of the rivers of paradise which is set to the east, the mosaicist altered the flow of the river to be from east towards the west.
The Nile Delta is shown with the traditional seven branches as represented in greek geography. Only five survive, whose names, except for the Pelusiac branch, are written in the river flow; Saitic, Sebennytic, Bucolic and Bulbytic.
The 14 toponyms that can be read in the spaces between the river branches, were found along the three main roads that formed the triangle of the Delta. The city of Pelusion, which is given considerable importance, Thenesos on an island in the lagoon, Sethroitis-Erakleon, Tanis, Thmuis, Sais, Xois, that were on the road that took from the Sinai coast to Alexandria; Athribis, and the city of Nicius which joined the city of Pelusion to Menphis; the city of Chaireus, Kaenupolis, Chortaso, Hermopolis and the city of Paulinus on the road between Alexandria and Menphis. (Michele Piccirillo)





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Created Sunday, December 17, 2000 at 18:50:06
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