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Theodorias (Qasr Libya)


Theodorias, church  (Qasr Libya). Photo Marco Prins. Theodorias: Byzantine city in the Cyrenaica, founded by Justinian. The floor of one of its churches is one of the greatest artistic treasures of Libya. The first page is here.

Today, the East Church in the Cyrenaican town of Theodorias look like this. The entire floor was covered by the mosaic that was shown on the first page. There was a second mosaic in the room to the left, which will be now be discussed. 

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Theodorias, church mosaic (Qasr Libya). Photo Marco Prins. This is the entire mosaic as it is displayed in the small, one-room museum of modern Qasr Libya. It contains two inscriptions and the picture consists of a central scene and a decorated edge.
Theodorias, church mosaic (Qasr Libya). Photo Marco Prins. An overview of the center of the mosaic. These scenes are called 'nilotic', because the Nile and the Indus were the only known river with crocodiles.
Theodorias, church mosaic (Qasr Libya). Photo Marco Prins. The left part of the center: a crocodile attacking a cow. Look at the cow's tail to the right of the mosaic...
Theodorias, church mosaic (Qasr Libya). Photo Marco Prins. ... which you can see here at the left hand side. The peasant tries to draw away his cow, but probably, he is no match for the crocodile. The right part of the center shows fishermen with lotuses and a duck.
Theodorias, church mosaic (Qasr Libya). Photo Marco Prins. The edge was decorated with all kinds of animals and plants, like this stag fighting with a snake.
Theodorias, church mosaic (Qasr Libya). Photo Marco Prins. The inscription says that the building was finished in the third year of the indiction by Theodorus, the new bishop. The problem is that the inscripton on the other mosaic, made by the same artists, was made in the same third year (539), by bishop Macarius. Probably, Theodorus was successor of Macarius.
Theodorias, church mosaic (Qasr Libya). Photo Marco Prins. This is a prayer that can be rendered as follows: "The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob [is] our high stronghold. Great God, Eternal One, also be a refuge to the family of your servant Theodorus, if You will." The first line is a quotation from from Psalm 45.11.
Theodorias, church mosaic (Qasr Libya). Photo Marco Prins. Finally, the mosaic in the West Church, showing a cross between two stags. After the splendor of the East Church, it is a bit of a disappointment.
Theodorias, church  (Qasr Libya). Photo Marco Prins. But on the other hand, here at least the church survives. The West Church is opposite the museum. Jona Lendering for
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Revision: 31 Dec. 2006
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