JERUSALEM, May 26 (Xinhua) -- The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) on Wednesday presented a 1,500-year-old necklace pendant used as a protective amulet.
The artifact was found 40 years ago by a resident in a northern village, and was now handed over to the IAA. It was discovered in an ancient Jewish settlement site at today's village of Arbel near the Sea of Galilee in northeastern Israel.
The Byzantine-period artifact attests to its owner's beliefs. The obverse bears the figure of a rider on a galloping horse. The rider's head is encircled with a halo and he thrusts a spear down toward a female figure lying on her back.
The rider is thus depicted overcoming a female identified with the mythological figure Gello, who threatens women and children and is associated with the "evil eye," according to the IAA.
Engraved in a semicircle above the rider is a Greek inscription that reads "The one God who conquers evil." Beneath the horse's legs are four Greek letters which stand for the Jewish divine name of Yahweh.
An eye depicted on the reverse is pierced by arrows and by a forked object. The eye is threatened from below by two lions, a snake, a scorpion, and a bird. On the upper part of the same side is the abbreviated Greek inscription "One God."
The pendant is part of a group of amulets, called "Solomon's Seal" from the Levant, probably produced in the Galilee region and Lebanon, the IAA said. Enditem