A 10th Century Byzantine Casket.
The captive king of Ai.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York



These panels are from a casket that illustrated Joshua’s conquest of the Promised Land and carry paraphrasings of texts from the Book of Joshua. The second panel shows the captive king of Ai, first bent in submission before Joshua and then, at the far right, hanged on a forked stake. The inscription reads, “And they brought the King of Ai to Joshua and they hanged him” (8:23, 29).
Dimensions: 6.5 x 8.7 x 0.6 cm
Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York



The first narrative panel, designed to fit a lock plate, shows the capture of the city of Ai and is inscribed, “And Joshua stretched out his hand toward the city and they rose up quickly and they slew all” (Joshua 8:18–19).

The third panel, showing emissaries from the Gibeonites approaching Joshua, has the inscription, “The Gibeonites displaying their torn clothes” (9:13). Joshua’s story was often invoked in the middle Byzantine period, when Byzantines identified themselves with God’s chosen people, likening their own military victories and defeats to those of the ancient Hebrews.



This scene, 'Joshua Condemning the King of Ai' in the Joshua Roll, Byzantine, 10th Century
Back to the panels of the Joshua Casket, Byzantine, 10th Century, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York