chapter  11
-282 Pages

The Throne and Banquet Hall of Khirbat Al-Mafjar

WithRichard Ettinghausen

This chapter demonstrates that the dynamic type of encounter is the so-called “Bath Hall” of Khirbat al-Mafjar within a large complex near Jericho. It was built in the period of the Umayyad Caliph Hisham as the first unit of a spacious compound that also included a large two-story palace, a fair-sized mosque, and a forecourt with a pavilion in a pool. According to the explanation, the large hall with its stately porch, sixteen massive pillars, rich stucco and stone work, and wall paintings, was a “frigidarium combined with vestiary and reception room” or “frigidarium-apodyterium.” In addition to this interpretation of the function of Khirbat al-Mafjar, there has also been a kind of moral evaluation, based on the lavish, even luxurious aspect of the building. At Khirbat al-Mafjar the half-flower forms an ensemble with the large mosaic in the surrounding half-circle. The basic concept of the Throne Hall of Khirbat al-Mafjar therefore goes back to an older Roman prototype.