Embossed Panel representing the Deity Helios
It is the nature of human beings to desire the light and fear the darkness. And the truth is that most upper deities in any religion are connected with light, sun, sky and brightness. In Ancient Syria, there is the deity Baa' Shamsin, in Ancient Egypt there is Ra, and in Ancient Persia there is Mithra.
This carved panel from the classical period represents a bust of the deity Helios, god of the sun, with his head surrounded by a bright halo. According to legend, the God Helios has a daily tour across the sky. In the morning he appears from the east in order to lighten the cosmos and spread warmness with his rising.
This high relief bust of Helios is surrounded with a decorated frame while, at the lower portion, there is a panel carved in low relief showing seven men standing side by side, faces in profile and orienting towards centre, i.e. two of them are face to face and the others directed toward them.
It is intriguing to note that the symbol of the sacred halo which surrounded the head of the sun-god, and goes back to pagan religions, was transferred to the Byzantine age and became the halo of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Lady and all the saints.