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Revisiting Epigraphic Evidence of the Oldest Synagogue in Morocco in Volubilis

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The Department of General History, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, P.O. Box 653, Be’er Sheva 84105, Israel
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International Center for Jewish Education and Field Studies, Kfar Eldad 90916, Israel
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College of Engineering & Applied Science, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 3200 N Cramer St., Milwaukee, WI 53211, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Arts 2019, 8(4), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8040127
Received: 17 August 2019 / Revised: 8 September 2019 / Accepted: 23 September 2019 / Published: 27 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synagogue Art and Architecture)
Volubilis was a Roman city located at the southwest extremity of the Roman Empire in modern-day Morocco. Several Jewish gravestone inscriptions in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, likely from the 3rd century CE, have been found there. One of them belongs to “Protopolites Kaikilianos, the head of a Jewish congregation (synagogue)”, and it indicates the presence of a relatively big Jewish community in the city. The Hebrew inscription of “Matrona, daughter of Rabbi Yehuda” is unique occurrence of using the Hebrew language in such a remote region. The Latin inscription belongs to “Antonii Sabbatrai”, likely a Jew. In addition, two lamps decorated with menorahs, one from bronze and one from clay, were found in Volubilis. In nearby Chellah, a Jewish inscription in Greek was also discovered. We revisit these inscriptions including their language, spelling mistakes, and their interpretations. We relate epigraphic sources to archaeological evidence and discuss a possible location of the synagogue in this remote city, which was the first synagogue in Morocco. View Full-Text
Keywords: Volubilis; ancient synagogues; Morocco; Mauretania; Hebrew epigraphy; Greek epigraphy; Jewish gravestone inscriptions; epitaphs; Jewish cemeteries Volubilis; ancient synagogues; Morocco; Mauretania; Hebrew epigraphy; Greek epigraphy; Jewish gravestone inscriptions; epitaphs; Jewish cemeteries
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Andreeva, S.; Fedorchuk, A.; Nosonovsky, M. Revisiting Epigraphic Evidence of the Oldest Synagogue in Morocco in Volubilis. Arts 2019, 8, 127.

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