Vatican, Jewish museums explore menorah in art and dark legend
The Vatican Museums and the Jewish Museum of Rome are exploring together the significance of the menorah, although they also give a nod to the centuries-old legend that the Vatican is hiding the golden menorah from the Temple of Jerusalem.
A two-part exhibition, one at the Vatican and the other at the Jewish Museum of Rome, prominently features a replica of the first century Arch of Titus, showing Roman soldiers carrying the menorah and other treasures into Rome.
From a coin minted in the century before Christ’s birth to a 1987 Israeli comic book featuring a superhero with a menorah on his chest, the exhibition, The Menorah: Worship, History and Myth, documents the use of the seven-branched candelabra both as a religious item and a symbol of Jewish identity. The exhibition is scheduled to run until 23rd July. One ticket includes admission to the main part of the exhibit in the Charlemagne Wing just off St Peter’s Square and to the Jewish Museum, located about a mile away at Rome’s main synagogue.
Among the pieces displayed at the Jewish Museum stands a towering mosaic inscription describing treasures buried at the Basilica of St John Lateran, the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome. Dating from the 13th century, while the Crusades were raging, the mosaic’s 37-line inventory includes “the golden candelabrum” Titus brought to Rome.
Photo: A bust of Roman Emperor Titus is pictured next to a replica of the first century Arch of Titus, showing Roman soldiers carrying the menorah, in a exhibition at the Vatican.Tags: Arch of Titus, exhibition, Jewish Museum, menorah, rome, Vatican Museums