Article

The Date of the Sardis Synagogue in Light of the Numismatic Evidence

109.3
Marble table and lion before the main apse of the Sardis Synagogue.
Marble table and lion before the main apse of the Sardis Synagogue.

In the 1960s excavations at the site of Sardis in Lydia brought to light the remains of a large and richly decorated synagogue building. The synagogue was installed in a pre-existing Roman bath and gymnasium complex along one of Sardis's main thoroughfares. Based largely on the coins discovered beneath the mosaic floors, the excavators have dated the synagogue's construction to the mid- to late-fourth century C.E. In this paper I reexamine the numismatic evidence and conclude that the synagogue was constructed about two centuries later. Dating the synagogue to the mid-sixth century places the building and the Jewish community it served in a different historical setting.

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DOI: 
10.3764/aja.109.3.443