Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Star of David as an Archaeological Artifact


Archaeologists have not found, yet, in their excavations the shield used by King David in his wars, so we do not know if this shield was in the form of a Star of David, or if there had been a Star of David carved on it. They also did not find the Seal of Solomon, so it is likely that we will have to wait under the control of demons till the messiah comes instead of the demons being under our control. But thanks to the archaeologists we know today about many artifacts that have the Star of David on them, such as: seals, reliefs, mosaics, amulets, household items, coins, monuments, incantation bowls.

Thanks to the archaeologists we know today about findings that preceded the birth of King David by a few centuries, at least, so it is clear to everyone (except those who claim that the shield of David appears in the Bible under the name "lily") that the origin of the Star of David is not Jewish. However, symbols are made not only from form but also from name and from meaning, and these had been provided, both to the Star of David and to Solomon's seal, by the legends of the Jews, since archaeological finds emerge under piles of dirt without a name and without a meaning.

In the legends of the Jews the Star of David appears alone. It is the specific protective shield that King David used in his wars, and thanks to it he defeated his enemies, or it was engraved on a particular seal ring, the one by which King Solomon controled the demons. But, as we shall see, in archeology the Star of David is often found as one of many symbols, or in combination with other symbols, and those other symbols highlight certain meanings at the expense of other meanings.

Archaeological artifacts that have the Star of David on them can be divided into types according to:
The place where they were discovered such as a synagogue, a church or a monastery, a mosque;
According to the language inscribed around them, such as Hebrew, Latin, Arabic, Sanskrit;
According to adjacent symbols such as a Menorah, a Cross, a Crescent.

The following list of types is arranged according to their order, from the sooner to the later:
A. Stars of David used for commercial purposes or for decoration.
B. Pagan Stars of David.
C. Jewish Star of David.
D. Christian Star of David.
E. Muslim Star of David.
F. Indian Star of David.
In addition to these the following Stars of David were also found:
G. Assyrian Stars of David.
H. Stars of David in the Mayan culture.

Star of David researchers generally indicate the Non-Jewish Star of David by the name Hexagram. Hexagram is a name invented only in recent centuries; I mean, it is not known for thousands of years how the non-Jewish Stars of David were named. "Hex" is the Greek word that represents the number six, "gram" means form. Even the Christian name for the Shield of David "the Star of David" was invented only in recent centuries. Muslims called the Star of David always the Seal of Solomon, but Seal of Solomon was used both in Judaism and in Islam also as the name of a pentagram. The Indian Star of David is commonly named Yantra.

A. Stars of David used for commercial purposes or for decoration

The first publication [1] of the Star of David as an archaeological artifact was, apparently, in 1880, and it tells us that the Star of David served in the Bronze Age as one of the main design models of tools in the UK and France. It is quite clear that this finding had no religious or spiritual significance, and that this Star of David had not been used as a symbol. This conclusion is compatible with more recent findings, in which also the Magen David was used for commercial purposes or for decoration. Thus, for example, "Festos Palace" (Crete), where the Italian archaeologist of Jewish descent Doro Levy [2] discovered the Star of David of the Minoan civilization, was used as a commercial center, and the seals that were found in it were not used by kings but by dealers.

Ephraim Stern wrote in Qadmoniot (Journal for the Antiquities of Eretz-Israel and Bible Lands) under a photograph of a Star of David which was engraved on the handle of a jug from Gibeon [3], and another photograph of a Star of David framing a bird, that these symbols are from the First Temple, and that they are merely copies of Greek symbols of Chios and Tasos - used to mark wines. This, he remarks ironically, raises the question why would Greeks use symbols of the kings of Judah?

It is an amazing coincidence that after two thousand years, in the Middle Ages, the Star of David served as an alchemical symbol for the unity of the opposites fire and water, and as a symbol of alcoholic beverages [Also known as "firewater") for beer brewers and sellers.

At the Tax Museum in Jerusalem they display the "Jerusalem Star" from the first to the fourth centuries BC, which is an imprint of the shape of the Star of David which was sunk on a pottery handle revealed at the excavations in Kibbutz Ramat Rachel. Here, too, it seems that the Star of David served as a commercial company logo.

The earliest Israeli hexagram (from the years 1600 to 1400 BC) was discovered in the excavations at Gezer, painted on a ceramic bowl. It frames orbiting circles within circles [4]. This Star of David is meant, apparently, for decoration.

Everyday use was also the destination of a series of verification seals to prevent counterfeiting of coins issued on the Greek island of Aegina [5], one of which, surrounded by a circle with a dot in the middle, is from the sixth century BC, and it has the shape of the Star of David.

The Star of David is a rare archaeological artifact in Greek culture, compared to the pentagram which appears there many times. Perhaps the Greeks preferred the pentagram on the hexagram because it was the symbol of the Pythagoreans. Historians attribute to the Pythagoreans the foundation of geometry as a science. Either way there is a distinct geometrical origin for these two symbols as well as for many of the symbols that accompany them, such as the octagram (two interlocked squares which have eight vertices], the circle (symbol of eternity), and the flower that has six petals.

B. Pagan Stars of David

It is likely that the transition from prosaic commercial Stars of David to magical Pagan ones- took place under the influence of Pythagoreans who attributed to the pentagram qualities of Health maintenance, and loaded their "Holy Tetraktys" (triangle made up of ten points) with religious meanings. The Pythagoreans had no separation between mathematics and geometry, and the points of the Tetraktys were at the same time the ten digits from which every number is made of. The Pythagoreans identified number as form and number as spiritual meaning. It seems that they did not use the Star of David, but because it appeared earlier (in the Minoan culture) and later (in the Roman culture) along with the pentagram, it seems that the identification of the Pentagram with the meaning of protection also influenced the identification of the Star of David with the meaning of protection.

The magical use of the Star of David (with a point in its center) is noticeable in an Etruscan hexagram [6] which appears on the back of a mirror, on a ball held in the hands of the goddess of fate. Such mirrors were made between 530 and 200 BC. This finding sheds new light on the later meaning of the Star of David as a symbol of protection, since whoever holds it can, apparently, change his fate, and if sentenced to death or illness - this symbol, so believed, was able to rescue him.

The Star of David was discovered in the Excavations at Megiddo [7], inscribed on the wall in a double line, in a structure of a cult of idolaters of the ninth or eighth century BCE. This date is very close to the days Kings David and Solomon lived in. Senior researcher of the Star of David, Gershom Scholem [7a], offered not to take this finding seriously because it appears so blurred in the photograph, due to the ravages of time, that may be its identification as a Star of David is false.

But Assyriologist Hildegard Levy included this finding as one of the proofs to her claim [8] that the Star of David was an astronomical / astrological symbol representing the star of Saturn.

As one of many symbols the Star of David appears tens if not hundreds of times throughout the Roman Empire. The main concentration of Roman Stars of David is in Marion Blake's book (1930). She photographed and documented for years the mosaics of Pompeii [9].
In Pompeii the Star of David appears for the first time in endless patterns, that is, when the star appears as one of many identical stars [10].

The use of mosaics was not invented by the Roman but it seems that they were the first who incorporated Stars of David in their mosaics. The Roman mosaics can be divided into an early period and a later period. The early period usually includes mosaics from Pompeii and its immediate vicinity (Pompeii was destroyed in 79 CE by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius) and the late period usually includes mosaics from around the Roman Empire.

One of the characteristics of Roman mosaics which include Stars of David is that each design is unique. This feature strengthens the opinion that the Star of David was used as decoration and expressed the artistic intentions of the creators of the mosaics. On the other hand the existence of many symbols of protection in these mosaics reinforces the theory that the Star of David was used in Roman times as a symbol of protection.

Even though the designs of the Star of David in Roman mosaics are unique these mosaics have artistic motifs that repeat themselves. For example, there is an element called Guilloche (see pictures). In the Monastero Museum in Aquileia, Italy, they display a mosaic floor from the first century CE, and it has a Star of David made of Guilloche. This star is very similar to the one discovered in 1993 by archaeologist Gershon Edelstein [11] in a Roman villa from the second century CE at Ein Yael in the south of Jerusalem, and it is also made of Guilloche, as were the Stars of David discovered by archaeologist Miriam Avissar in 1996 in Lod in a Roman 180 square meters mosaic floor of the third-fourth century CE. Star of David made of Guilloche is also shown at the El-Jem Museum in Tunisia, and appears often in Villa Romana del Casale in Sicily.

Guilloche at Aquileia. CC photo by gbertoia (c( from Flickr

Guilloche at Ein Yael. Photo: Ze'ev Barkan

Guilloche at Lod courtesy of Oded Israeli

C. Jewish Stars of David

In the courtyard of the Museum of Tarentum [Italy] [12] there's a tombstone bearing the Hebrew inscription: "Here rests the wife of Leon son of David ✡  of Milo". This tombstone is no later than the sixth century CE. From the inscription on the tombstone researchers concluded that in the sixth century CE there was already a connection between the name and the shape of the Star of David. This is the first Jewish tombstone bearing the Star of David. Later it appeared here and there [13] on other tombstones, until it became one of the most popular motifs that mark the graves of Jews.

Almost every researcher of the Star of David mentions the "seal from Sidon" [14], but although the seal was purchased in Sidon It belonged, according to the inscription on it, to a fellow named Joshua son of Asayahu, who lived in Israel during the later kingdom - the sixth century BCE. In this finding of the Star of David appears partially and blurred, if it is a Star of David at all. Scholem declared this finding as the oldest appearance of the Star of David in Judaism. the Librarian Shlomo Zucker noted (on the margin of Scholem's book) that the identification of this shape as the Star of David is uncertain, since it is "by a certain interpretation", and referred the reader to a book where the author, Diringer, claims [15] that the Magen David that appears in the seal of Sidon was a decorative motif, and that we can understand from it that the Magen David was a sign used by the Jews already in this early period.

in the Tarentum tombstone and in the seal from Sidon the Star of David does not appear alone - it appears along with Hebrew words, and is understandable in the light of the context that these words create for it.

"The "Seal from Sidon" comes from, apparently, the land of Israel, and the Tarentum tombstone was found out of Israel, in exile, in Italy. Discovering the Star of David in Israel is particularly important because it may verify the legend (which first appeared in the Middle Ages) about the shield that protected King David in his wars. It seems that the Star of David is Jewish, and if it is discovered in excavations within the State of Israel it is supposed to be Jewish, but out of the findings of the Stars of David in Israel, a majority of them is actually Christian hexagrams discovered in a church or a monastery or near a Cross. This series includes findings from Acre, from Khirbet er-Ribba, from Khirbet Carmel near Hebron, from Roglit in the Negev, from Shilo. In the Euthymius monastery mosaic appears a crescent in the inner hexagon and it indicates a Muslim influence or a Muslim design of the mosaic.

Star of David Findings certainly originating in Israel are three reliefs, carved in stone, discovered by German archaeologists Kohl and Watzinger in Capernaum [16], on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Alongside them were also discovered, among other things, reliefs of a Menorah, an Ark on wheels, a Pentagram, a Pelta ("Amazons' Shield") and a swastika. Kohl and Watzinger noted in their book on ancient synagogues in the Galilee that the origin of the Star of David is indeed pagan, and its meaning for pagans was magical, but its amazing appearance among the decorations of synagogues in Israel shows that the Jews have adopted it as an emblem, although their spiritual leadership ignored it as part of the fight against idolatry. Gershom Scholem, however, concluded from these findings the opposite conclusion. He says:

" the synagogue of Capernaum (second or third century C.E.) it is found side by side with the pentagram and the swastika on a frieze. There is no reason to assume that it was used for any purposes other than decorative". [17]

Recently archaeologist Professor Jodi Magness, from the University of North Carolina, dated the construction of the synagogue in Capernaum to the first half of the sixth century CE [18].

The population of Capernaum was mixed from descendants of the first Christians (known in Judaism as Minim) and from Jews, and it is not entirely clear to which of the two groups belonged the synagogue. Which means that it is not entirely clear whether these Stars of David are Jewish or Christian.

In Capernaum the Star of David appears as part of a large group of symbols. Thus, it appears in the Minoan culture. Already there it appears along with the pentagram which will accompany it throughout all its history. Also in many Roman mosaics, followed by Christian mosaics, the Star of David appears as part of a large group of symbols. One of the Stars of David of Capernaum appears in combination with the Pelta ("Amazons' Shield"), which is a symbol of protection. The Pelta separates each two of its vertices. A combination of two symbols of protection emphasizes the significance of protection that each of them has individually. Even the pentagram, which appears with the Stars of David in Capernaum, was used by the Pythagoreans as a symbol of protection (on health) and sometimes they thrust the Greek word for Health ("Hygieia") between its points.

Star of David which was drawn only from its contour lines (such as in the IDF symbol nowadays) appears above an illustration of the Temple [19] in a coin from the Bar Kochba era (132-135 CE). This is one of many currencies in which this shape does not appear. On the other side of the coin appear the words second year of the freedom of Israel, and the shapes of a lulav and an etrog. This finding suggests a messianic meaning of the Star of David, which stands out also when the Star of David is carved on tombstones of deceased named Menachem, since Menachem is one of the synonyms of the name of the messiah. Many tombstones like that were discovered in the cemetery of Prague.

Inscription that appears on top of an incantations bowl [20] from the second or third century CE, was found in 1853 south of the Sea of Galilee and was used to protect an unborn child, includes the words "Star of David" (without the shape of the Star of David):

"And now with the wand of Moses and the shining-plate of Aaron the high priest, and with the seal of Solomon and with [the Shield] of David, and with the mitre of the chief priest have I pronounced (?) [the wo]rd".

This finding demonstrates the magical meaning of the Star of David and the ring [Seal] of Solomon. It is interesting to note that archaeological findings on which the Star of David symbol appears as a Magical symbol are relatively few. However this meaning in literary evidence plays a key role. Because the authors of the articles at the end of the 19th century did not recognize the Star of David archaeological findings, and relied mostly on literary evidence, they got the twisted impression that the Star of David is an imitation of the worst superstitions of the Gentiles. In contrast, the decision makers who decided to put the Star of David in the center of the flag of the State of Israel could already see many archaeological findings, which weakened their resistance to make the Star of David one of the main symbols of Judaism.

A relief of the Star of David framing a Rosetta engraved in stone was discovered in a synagogue in the excavations (sixth century CE) at the ruins of Shura [21] in the Upper Galilee. This star is probably the only archaeological find, from the first centuries CE, discovered in Israel, whose Jewishness is not controversial.

In 1898, in excavations in Vienna, a stone was found which was engraved with a cross on its top and a Star of David at its bottom. This stone was used, probably, as a border between the Jewish Quarter and the Christian Quarter. This finding in Vienna served for the researchers of the Star of David as one of the proofs to the change in the meaning of the Star of David from a religious symbol on objects of worship to a national symbol of Judaism.

D. Christian Stars of David

In 1904 Josef Strzygowski published illustrations of several Coptic Stars of David [22] that he saw in the Cairo museum [23]. There was one star within a circle framing a "flower" that has six petals, another - in a circle, framed a triangle, another one framed a cross, which is, according to Winkler, from 4-7 centuries CE [24]. The circle and triangle are distinct geometric shapes, but so is the Flower with the six petals, obtained from painting six circles of the same size partially overlapping each other (two circles of the same size partially overlapping each other create the Christian symbol called Vesica Piscis).

The similarity between the geometric "Flower" and a naturalistic painting of certain flowers that have six petals is amazing. It seems like these flowers are created using compasses. In the Bible this amazement on the use of compasses for the creation of the world is phrased in a few verses such as Proverbs 8:22, 27:

"The LORD formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else... I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out [with compasses] on the face of the deep"

The "flower" that has six petals illustrates the difference between the divine and the human, between the natural and the artificial. Humans can not create, they can only describe the creation, and the description can be verbal or graphic, and the graphic and the verbal can replace each other.

The "flower" that has six petals created using compasses

Star of David under a cross appears [25] in a Roman table game, from the Christian era, discovered in excavations in Rome. This is the first of many artifacts in which the Star of David appears next to a Cross or framing a Cross. The Cross changes the meaning of the Star of David, and if without it it would be, let's say, only a symbol of protection, combined with the Cross it is already defending Christianity, or used as a frame to make The Cross more important. Generations of Star of David researchers have ignored the significance of the change in the meaning of symbols when they are intertwined. The Christian Star of David is a symbol in itself, distinct from the Pagan Star of David, it stands separate from the Jewish Star of David, apart from the Muslim Star of David, distinct from the Indian Star of David... The Christian Star of David has its own name and its own significance. Referring only to the shape of all the Stars of David, to their common denominator, as if they were one symbol, contributes to the confusion that surrounds the study of the Star of David.

Excavations in Abd el Qadir Church discovered a medieval Christian Hexagram. On its left and right appears an Islamic crescent and they all are part of the crown of the ruler of the Dongola Kingdom, Nubia (southern Egypt and northern Sudan). Nubians converted to Christianity in the sixth century CE. This Christian artifact [26] highlights the meaning of Royalty of the Star of David, which is expressed already in the name: Shield of [King] David and its synonym: [King] Solomon's Seal.

Stars of David from the 17th century were discovered in a Christian Basque cemetery [27]. One of them is surrounded by six circles surrounded by a circle. This design, which is also a common design in the illustrations of Jewish manuscripts from the Middle Ages, points at the geometric origin of the Star of David. In another Christian Basque design a Star of David appears framing a cross.

E. Muslim Stars of David

Stars of David appear, from the ninth century CE, on many Islamic coins from Turkey, Persia, Egypt, Afghanistan, Morocco, Tunisia and other places [28]. In these currencies the Star of David appears usually in combination with the symbol of the circle, (circled and frames a tiny circle or a dot). This theme is not genuine because it appeared before in the Minoan culture, and after, among the Greeks. In contrast, an original Muslim motif is the Star of David that frames a Star of David which appears on a Turkish coin from the ninth century. Following this design appeared in the twentieth century on Morocco coins a Star of David which frames a pentagram. A Star of David which frames another Star of David which frames another Star of David is fixed in the wall of Jerusalem (near the New Gate) built by Suleiman the Magnificent between 1535-1538.

The sympathy Muslims felt towards the Star of David (they called it Solomon's seal) can be explained by the assumption that their artistic urge could not be expressed in painting or sculpture of people and animals which are prohibited by Islam, but found a way out in painting vegetation and geometric shapes, that Islam permits. Muslims also excelled in mathematics and geometry, and it was only natural that the shape of the Star of David occupied their imagination as one of many geometrical shapes. Muslim influence on Jews is clear in multiple geometric patterns of the Stars of David in Bible illustrations that were discovered in the Cairo Geniza.

Muslim star [29] appears in ten out of one hundred and forty reliefs fixed in the walls of Jerusalem. A city wall is a line where the internal that needs protection meets with the dangerous external. As a symbol of protection the Star of David appears also on the walls of other cities such as Byblos in Lebanon, Diyarbakir in Turkey and Niš in Yugoslavia.

Basalt stones decorated with reliefs were discovered during conservation work in Tiberias [30] in a Muslim mausoleum of the 13th century CE, called nowadays The Tomb of Rachel, wife of Rabbi Akiva. One stone bears a relief of a menorah. Another has a Star of David, which is decorated with shallow relief, one foot in diameter, similar to the one discovered in the Shura ruins of the synagogue in Ramat Korazim. It is not clear to the researchers whether this finding is Jewish or Muslim.

F. Indian and Ethiopian Stars of David

Yantra [31] (Indian star) carved into the rock was discovered near Adam Peak in Sri Lanka. Local residents say it is ten thousand years old, but the Star of David came to India and spread there, apparently, only with the coming of the Muslims at the beginning of the 11th century. The rarity of archaeological finds of the Star of David in India indicates its late appearance there - India was not part of the Roman world and was not part of the Christian world, where the Star of David flourished. Although Alexander the Great reached Pakistan, which was then part of India, in the fourth century BC, Greek culture, as noted, in which Alexander the Great took part, had a preference to the pentagram, and the findings of Star of David there were rare as in India.

A similar contrast between the legend and rarity of archeological findings exists in Ethiopia, where local legend has it that they received the Star of David by Queen of Sheba, who conceived to King Solomon, and founded the royal Ethiopian dynasty, which has the Star of David as one of their symbols.

G. Assyrian Stars of David

Assyriologist Julius Levy Published in 1937 [32] two Assyrian seals in cuneiform one of which (marked in the Louvre in Paris AO.8758) has a hexagram next to a Menorah and a second, AO.8781, has a hexagram along with planetary symbols such as the sun and moon. On these findings and others Julius Levy's wife, Hildegard Levy, based her claim that the shield of David is an astrological / astronomical symbol.

Another finding in which the shield of David may be an astrological / astronomical symbol is a Roman mosaic floor from the first century CE, today exhibited at the Bardo Museum in Tunisia. This floor consists of a large hexagon framing a star of David framing the Roman god Saturn who represents the Sabbath, the 7th Day, (Saturn = Saturday= Saturn['s]day), surrounded by 6 other Roman gods representing the rest of the week, and around all these - the Zodiac.

H. Stars of David in Mayan Culture

Star of David engraved on a rock in Uxmal [33], Yucatan, Mexico, was discovered in the ruins of a Mayan city, from about thousand CE, before the discovery of America by Columbus. other such Stars of David were discovered in a Mayan site at Koppen, Honduras (stone relief of a half star of David], at Tikal in Guatemala, at Campeche in Mexico. In addition researchers know that in the Mayan culture they used wooden molds in the shape of a Star of David for the production of salt [34]. Such findings sharpen the question about the plausibility of archetypal symbols discussed by psychiatrist Carl Jung (1875-1961) in his books.


[1] Dakwins William Boyd., Early Man in Britain and His Place in the Tertiary Period, London, 1880, p. 378

[2] Levi Doro, Festos ela Civilta Minoica tavole I, Roma, 1976
See illustrations of Stars of David and many other designs from the same Palace at:
Yule Paul, Early Cretan seals: a study of chronology (Marburger Studien zur Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Bd. 4 Mainz) 1981, Table 19-20
On this occasion I want to thank Baruch Brendel, Director of the Library in the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem, for referring me to the book by Paul Yule.

[3] Ephraim Stern [Hebrew] Land of Israel in the late period of the monarchy: an archaeological survey, Qadmoniot, Journal for the Antiquities of Eretz-Israel and Bible Lands, 6, 1973.

[4] R. A. Stewart Macalister, The Excavation of Gezer, London 1912, Vol. III. PI. 159, Nr. 12.

[5] Ernest Babelon, Traité des monnaies grecques et romaines. II, 1 (Paris 1907) p. 661.

[6] Jeremias A., Handbuch der altorientalischen Geisteskultur, 1929, p. 196, Abb. 115.

[7] May, Herbert G., Material Remains of the Megiddo Cult, (Chicago 1935, p. 6.)

[7a] Gershom Scholem, Magen David: Toldotav shel Semel. (The Star of David: History of a Symbol ). Ed. A. Shapira, tr. and ed. G. Hasan-Rokem. Ein Harod: Mishkan Le-Omanut, 2008, [Hebrew]

[8] Lewy Hildegard, Origin and Significance of the Magen Dawid, Archiv Orientalni, Vol. 18, 1950, 330-65

[9] Blake Marion, The Pavements of the Roman Buildings of the Republic and Early Empire in Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome, 1930
On this occasion I would like to thank Dr. Ze'ev Goldmann for referring me to this book, and to many other books dealing with the Star of David in archaeological finds.

[10] Blake Marion, ibid.
Stars of David in Roman mosaics in addition to those published by Marion Blake are (among others):
Two Roman mosaics from Gaule (France) from the first century CE, published in:
Inventaire de mosaique de la Gaule et de L'Afrique, Edition Leroux, Paris, 1922

In the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York there's a Star of David on a spear mount from the fourth-century CE discovered in Vermand France.

About the Mildenhall Treasure displayed in the British Museum, see:
Painter, K.S., The Mildenhall Treasure. Roman Silver from East Anglia , London 1977
This treasure was discovered in 1943 in the small town Mildenhall in Suffolk, England. It was buried there since the 4th century CE. Star framing a flower with six petals appears there in the center of a silver bowl.

One of the IAA exhibits in The Good Samaritan Museum is a stone relief of a [Roman?) Star of David framed by a circle and framing a circle with six petaled flower. This finding was discovered in Tell es-Simadi, between Adam Bridge and Jericho.

Star of David on a section of a Roman mosaic is displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Cuenca, Spain.

(Roman?) Star of David made from six rhombuses which meet in a circle is shown at the Bled Museum, Slovenia.

Roman star of David surrounding a hexagon, and surrounded by a hexagon, geometric shapes and a circle - is shown at the Museum of Art and Archaeology in Besancon, France.

Dr. Rachel Milstein, wrote in her book King Solomon's Seal, Jerusalem, The Tower of David Museum, 1995, about a Roman Star of David in Baalbek, Lebanon from the 2-4 century.

[11] Edelstein G., Vila Romit b’Ein Yael. Qadmoniot, vo. 26, 3-4 1993, pp. 114-119 [Hebrew]

[12] H. M. Adler, The Jews in Southern Italy, JQR XIV (1902) p. 111

[13] Other famous tombstones on which the Star of David appears are: the tomb of Menahem Ben-Moshe in Prague from 1529; The tomb of David Ganz, Prague, 1613; the tomb of Moses Lanyero in Bordeaux, France, 1731; The tomb of the Rabbi of Prague, David Oppenheimer;1736, on the tomb of Samuel Falk, the Baal Shem of London, London, 1782.

[14] Torrey, Charles C., Semitic Epigraphical Notes, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 24 (1903), pp. 205-226

[15] Diringer, D., Le Iscrizione antico-ebraiche Palestinesi, Florence 1934, p. 187.

[16] Kohl, Heinrich; Watzinger, Carl., Antike Synagogen in Galilea, Leipzig 1916, p. 185.

[17] Scholem, G., Entry: "Magen David", in: Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol. XI, Jerusalem 1971 ff., 687-697

[18] Magness Jodi, "when were Galilean synagogues built?" [Hebrew] "Kathedrea" 101, October 2001, p 39-70

[19] Samuel Raphael (Rfalovic), "Jewish coins" [Hebrew] Jerusalem 1913 p. 175

[20] Montgomery J. A., "Some Early Amulets from Palestine", Journal of the American Oriental Society, 31 (1911), p. 273

[21] Gideon Foerster, Hadashot Arkheologiyot 82, [Hebrew] 1983

[22] J. Strzygowski, Koptische Kunst, Catalogue général des antiquités égyptiennes du Musée du Caire, Bd. XII, Wien 1904, p. 140, 231.

[23] Al. Gayet, L'art Copte, Paris 1901, p. 98
Star of David in combination with a circle (which is a symbol of eternity) and a flower with eight petals.

[24] Winkler, H. A., Siegel und Charaktere in der Muhammedanischen Zauberei, 1930, p. 125.

[25] Rich Anthony, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, 1883. Entry: Abacus.
About a Star of David on a Chancel Screen from Horvat Sufa framing a lily see:
Reich Ronny, On some Byzantine remains, Atikot 17, 1985, pp. 205-206

In Israel Museum, at the entrance, there's a mosaic from El-Makr near Acre, with a cross next to geometric symbols including the Star of David.

About a Star of David that appears with some crosses and a few other icons on the Kefar-Yasif mosaic see:
Ben Zvi, J., Historical Survey of the Jewish Settlement in Kefar-Yasif, The Journal of the Palestine Oriental Society. Vol. 5, 1925

In the British Museum they display four bowls from the seventh century discovered in 1939 in Sutton Hoo, Suffolk, England, with a Star of David engraved on them. In its central hexagon there's a flower with eight petals. Within each triangle on top of the hexagon appears a lily (Fleur De Lis), and birds fly between the triangles. The Star of David is in the center of a large cross made from sixteen lozenges, each surrounded by a circle - so that this is probably a Christian Star of David.

[26] Shinnie P.L., Medieval Nubia, Sudan Antiquities Service, 1954, Fig. 5

[27] Louis Colas, La Tombe Basque, 1923

[28] Valentine, W. H. William H., Modern copper coins of the Muhammadan states of Turkey, Persia, Egypt, Afghanistan, Morocco, Tripoli, Tunis, etc., 1911

[29] Muslim Stars of David were discovered in Israel also on the Temple Mount, in Ramle, in Jericho and in Hebron.

About Muslim Stars of David from the 18th century on the ceiling of the Greek Orthodox Church (St. Theodosia) from the Ottoman period turned into a mosque called the Mosque of the Roses (Gul Camii) see:
Ebersolt Jean , Thiers Adolphe, Les Eglises de Constantinople, Paris, 1913

About a 9th century Star of David carved from wood from Tikrit, Iraq, see:
Dimard Maurice, Ars Islamica, 1937, p. 296

In the IAA Archive photos at Mount Hozvim they have many photos of Muslim Stars of David discovered in Israel (on weights, plates, rings, on a jar handle).

In the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York they show:
A. Star of David framing Arabic text and surrounded by circles with an Arabic inscription appears on an Egyptian talisman from 11th century.
B. Bowl, circa 12th century, from the Afghan city Ghaznavid with Star of David in a unique (amazing!) design.

[30] stepansky J. & Damti I., Hadashot Arkheologiyot 104 [Hebrew] 1995

[31] Wirz Paul, Kataragama the Holiest Place in Ceylon (originally published in German), 1954, p. 13-15

[32]  Lewy J., Tablettes Coppadociennes, 3me serie, 3me partie (Musee de Louvre, Departement de Antiqitees Orientales, Texts Cuneinformes, Vol XXI, Paris 1937, Pl. CCXXXV, NO. 74 and ibid Pl. CCXXIII no. 48
In The National Museum in Baghdad, before the war, there was an exhibition titled "Treasure of Nimrud" which included 613 items from the palaces of the kings of Assyria from the 9-8 centuries BCE. One of them is a gold seal with a "Star of David" whose lines are made from dots. This seal was probably used commercially .

[33] Second Annual Report Of the Bureau of Ethnology for 1880-1881, 1883, pp. 174-305

[34] Andrews P. Anthony, Maya salt production and trade, University of Arizona, 1983

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Star of David in Fun Math Art Animation

Thanks to 
 Lucian Craciun
For referring me to this link

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Signum Salomonis - Introduction

Signum Salomonis
(Study of comparable Etnography)
Leite De Vasconcelos
(1858 – 17 May 1941)
Published in  (1918)
Translation from Portugese
(of most of the introduction - some words or sentences
were omitted for the sake of clarity)

Signum Salomonis [Solomon's Seal] which spread over a vast part of the globe since ancient eras, enjoys great vitality in Portugal’s beliefs and culture, and has, there and overseas, different shapes, such as those shown in the following illustrations:
1. pentagram [1]

Fig. 2 is Fig. 1 but upside-down:

3. hexagram (six-pointed star) [2]

our people gave the name "Folded Solomon's Seal" to the following shapes or to some of them:

[1] Pentalpha, from penta, meaning “five”, and alpha, name of the first letter of the alphabet. It shows “five alphas” - according to the shape’s appearance. Pentalpha is a word used by several scholars, like, for example:
Chr. A. Lobeck, Aglaophamus sive de theologiae mysticae Graecorum causis, 1829, p. 1346;
Minervini, Novelle dilucidazioni sopra un antico chiodo magico, 1846, p. 23;
Le Blant & Renan, in Revue Archéolog., II, 345;
Teixeira de Aragão, Moedas de Portugal, I, 147;
Head, Historia nummorum, p. 465 (pentagon or pentalpha).
Scholars also call it: pentagram, pentagon and starred-polygon.
The English say pentacle (see Webster’s Dictionary).
In Magic books you can find it as Mercury’s star, as in Secrets merveilleux de la magie naturelle et cabalistique du Petit Albert, translated from Latin, Lyon, France, 1791, p. 147. 

Model of Mercury talisman
From the above mentioned book

And there are other names as well.
People also gave, pretty improperly, the name Solomon's Seal to an armillary sphere* which you can see in certain Portuguese coins from the XVIII and XIX centuries
[3] See O Archeologo Portugues, x, 171.

The page from Vol. X (1905) of O Archeologo Portugues mentioned above
Which is the journal of the Porugal Ethnological Museum
Edited by Leite De Vasconcelos

* "An armillary sphere is a model of objects in the sky consisting of a spherical framework of rings, centred on Earth, that represent lines of celestial longitude and latitude and other astronomically important features" (Source: Wikipedia)
[2] Hexalpha, from six and alpha. Synonym: hexagram.

Designed by Ze'ev Barkan