Thursday, October 18, 2007

Welcome Quiz. χαίρειν. τί λέγει;

7

If anyone has flown into Israel in the last three years they have been greeted by a large mosaic as they descend a long walkway and proceed to passport control. Maybe not as expected, the inscription is in Greek. What is it saying? τί λέγει;

7 comments :

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. As far as I know, KALOKERIA isn't Classical Greek.

    Keria, though, is a city. Could it possibly mean something like "Welcome to Keria"? It's certainly not as I would expect it to be, nor is it obvious why a city in Israel would be welcoming someone to a city in Greece. No, it makes no sense. Sorry, I'm not sure what it means!

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  3. The first half seems easy enough. Is the second bit from κυρία?

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  4. KALOKERIA is the name of the woman, holding a fruit basket. The mosaic is from Caesarea Maritima and the name has to do with prosperity.

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  5. My take would be that the woman personifies the abundance of a good harvest, the good time, properly spelled η καλοκαιρια (LSJ gives ευτηρια as synonym). Καλοκαιρια as a name for a woman is quite rare, it occurs more often as καλοκαιρος.

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  6. εὖ ἐποίησας, Θῶμα,
    ναί, καὶ σύ, Διρκ.

    ἡ καλοκαιρία etymologically comes from 'good season' as in 'to have a good year' εὐετήρια 'things of a good year', a 'good harvest'. The word is a good ancient Greek coinage, though spelled here in a "post-Alexander the Great" Koine ἡ καλοκερία. The mosaic would be 4-6th century Byzantine.

    I like it in its current setting, where it is a kind of blessing to arrivals "have a good time" "have a good harvest", even if few read the message. It is an impressive mosaic.

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  7. I came across the Kalokeria mosaic yesterday and was quite amazed to see how stunningly similar its design is to the Megiddo Fish Mosaic in the supposed earliest Christian church. Has anyone else made this observation and what light might it shed on better understanding the Megiddo Fish Mosaic? The mosaics are said to be separated by some 200 years.

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