The photograph here displays a column style used by Herod on Masada. The columns were made of sandstone pieces that were plastered to look like fluted columns. When new, they probably looked like polished limestone or even marble. In the same place, the stone panels are painted to look like marble. Even when Herod could not afford the greatest luxury, he attempted to create that impression.

In between the columns, you can see the remains of fresco panels that Herod included in most of his palaces. The stone wall was plastered and then painted in deep, rich colors. Much of the plaster has fallen off, but enough remains for us to envision the beauty of entire rooms decorated in this manner. This style of decoration was popular with wealthy people during Jesus’ time and after.

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