CIIP IV.1 (2018): 3471 (ph.)
The mosaic floor of the northern aisle.
Mosaic scene in an octagonal frame showing a reclining man; his head has been defaced. The man’s body is framed, and there is a branch with leaves above the man’s sprawled body. Below the latter a Greek caption identifies the figure.
The frame around the body of Ionas was interpreted as showing him in the belly of the fish with his head sticking out (Baramki), but it is better to understand it as the shade created by the mysterious kikayon (perhaps to be identified with the gourd plant) over the body of the sleeping prophet (Ovadiah 1974). One of the scenes depicted in the mosaics of the southern aisle also recalls the Ionas story. In the third octagon from the east there is a mutilated picture of a boat with a mast and furled sails. A sitting sailor is rowing the boat. It has been claimed that the picture also shows another sailor casting a third person, Ionas, into the sea (Foerster). The picture is far from clear, but there can be no doubt that the boat is encircled by sea-monsters and that the Ionas story occupies a prominent place in church mosaics. — Dov Gera (CIIP)
Mosaic scene of Biblical Jonah within an octagonal frame, in the northern aisle.