The Saltiel Coat of Arms is a replica of an original relief now located in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion. The text on the relief reads: “The coat of arms of Don Shealtiel Hen.”
The original coat of arms was the bone of contention in an open confrontation that took place in the mid-sixteenth century over its placement above the Ehal in the Tall Synagogue in Candia. This request by the Saltiel family was immediately rejected by the Romaniote rabbis. Eventually, the coat of arms was placed over the entrance to the synagogue, rather than in the interior. It remained there until 1941 when the synagogue was destroyed during the Nazi bombing of the city. Bizarrely, all that remained of the structure was the entrance with the escutcheon in situ above it.
Several years ago, the director of Etz Hayyim Synagogue identified the escutcheon in the storerooms of the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion. Subsequently four copies were cast in marble dust – one of which is now displayed on the outer wall of the Mikveh on the way to the Lauder garden, but not inside Etz Hayyim Synagogue.
Photo 1: © Etz Hayyim Synagogue
Photo 2: © Anastasios Skikos