Wall inlay, Sardis synagogue
Installation of marble wall inlays began in the 4th century CE and took generations to complete.
A section of the marble wall inlay has been restored here using new materials & is just spectacular.
Jews are prohibited from making "graven images" (lest these become focuses of idol worship, a la the golden calf). This has been interpreted differently in different times & places, but ancient decorations often stick to geometric motifs. In this synagogue floral designs and representations of a camel, birds and fish were also found.
Sardis was the ancient Lydian capital, rebuilt successively as a Hellenistic & then a Roman city. There was an important Jewish community here from the 5th century BCE. This large synagogue, which may have served a Jewish community of 5,000–10,000, dates from 200–616 CE. Jews were integrated into civic life here; many were prominent citizens, & the synagogue is situated within the Roman bath and gymnasium complex (see floorplan of the complex here).