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Museum of Chora :: King Herod 's order for the massacre of

King Herod 's order for the massacre of

On the eastern wall of the outer narthex of the museum, King Herod is depicted while giving orders for the massacre of the innocents. Some Magi inform the King that a child is born in Bethlehem and that this child will lead the Israel nation. These Magi are sent to Bethlehem in search of this child. After the Magi have seen the infant and Mary there, they are notified in their dreams that night not to return to King Herod. The obeying Magi go back to their own countries. An angel that Joseph has seen in his dream warns him that King Herod will have the child killed and advise him that they therefore must flee to Egypt. Joseph, flees to Egypt taking with him Mary and the infant Jesus. The king, not being able to find the infant and understanding that he was betrayed by the Magi, gives orders that all chidren below two years of age in Bethlehem and its vicinity be killed. (Matthew 2: 16)

The mosaics in question deal with this subject. The king is seated on a high throne, and is giving orders to the soldiers facing him. On the other side of the mosaics, the execution of this order and the distress of the mothers are shown. Opposite the location of these mosaics, a Samaritan woman is depicted beside a well. Jesus, while passing through Samaria comes across this woman at the well. (F-23) In this section, there is a decorative medallion at the middle of the dome, In section K. no mosaics are in existence. On the arch situated between sections J and K, the healing by Christ of a sick youth and again healing of the leper, are depicted. (Matthew 2: 16}


Above text and pictures are from the book titled "Chora Byzantium's Shining Piece of Art".

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