Daily Archives: August 31, 2010

Cupid cameo found in Jerusalem

The 11th Annual City of David Archaeology Conference is scheduled for Wednesday, September 1. One item that will be discussed is the recently discovered 2,000 year old semi-precious cameo with an image of Cupid (the Eros of Greek mythology) on it.

Cupid Cameo found in Jerusalem.

Cupid Cameo found in Jerusalem. Photo IAA/Clara Amit.

This inlaid stone is of the “Eros in mourning” type, and is one of a group of visual motifs connected with the imagery of mourning practices. Jewelry bearing such motifs – earrings and rings, were not necessarily worn only in mourning rites, rather, they also served as memento mori, reminders of the fleeting nature of life.

The cameo, which is thought to have come from a piece of jewelry, is 0.39 in. long and 0.03 in. wide. It was discovered in the Givati Parking lot excavation under the direction of Dr. Doron Ben Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets.

We have noted other surprising discoveries in this area here and here. The area is not open to the public. Last May I made this photo through a hole which had been made (by someone else) in the metal fence surrounding the area. This site is immediately south of the old city wall, a few hundred feet east of Dung Gate. Needless to say, construction of the garage has been delayed. This is what happens when one begins to dig in Jerusalem.

Givati Garage Excavations. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Givati Garage Excavations. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Eros. William Barclay often mentions erōs when he comments on a text dealing with love. You recall the four words: agape, philia, storgé, and erōs. Barclay says,

There is the noun erōs and the accompanying verb eran. These words describe the love of a man for a maid; there is always passion in them; and there is always sexual love. Sophocles described erōs as “the terrible longing.” In these words there is nothing essentially bad; they simply describe the passion of human love; but as time went on they began to be tinged with the idea of lust rather than love, and they never occur in the New Testament at all. (The Gospel of Matthew at Matthew 5:43-48)

HT: Joseph I. Lauer