The Ark Crosses the Jordan

5th century, with medieval and modern restorations
Nave, Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

Two episodes from the Book of Joshua.

In the lower register, Joshua on the left sends two spies into Jericho. The spies wear orange mantles, by which we can identify them on the city walls with Rahab (in the blue mantle). They stay in her home, which is presumably the pedimented building in the background (Joshua 2:1).

In the upper register the waters of the Jordan flow backward so that the priests can cross with the Ark (Joshua 3:14-17). Joshua stands on the right with his soldiers.

This is part of the extensive series of Old Testament scenes portrayed in mosaics along the two walls of the nave. To view the others, follow this link.

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Photographed at the basilica by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.