jueves, 23 de octubre de 2014

Inscription dedicated to Emperor Hadrian uncovered in Jerusalem (Israel)

A large fragment of stone engraved with an official Latin inscription dedicated to the Roman emperor Hadrian, is being hailed as an important discovery for understanding the history of Jerusalem nearly two thousand years ago.
During the past year the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) conducted salvage excavations in several areas north of Damascus Gate where the stone  was discovered. It had evidently been re-shaped and incorporated into the opening of a deep cistern at a later date.

Latin inscription

The inscription, consisting of six lines of Latin text engraved on hard limestone, was read and translated by Avner Ecker and Hannah Cotton of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem:
“To the Imperator Caesar Traianus Hadrianus Augustus, son of the deified Traianus Parthicus, grandson of the deified Nerva, high priest, invested with tribunician power for the 14th time, consul for the third time, father of the country (dedicated by) the 10th legion Fretensis – Antoniniana.”
According to Ecker and Cotton, “This inscription was dedicated by Legio X Fretensis to the emperor Hadrian in the year 129/130 CE.”
This fragment completes another piece discovered nearby in the late nineteenth century and its inscription was published by the French archaeologist Charles Clermont-Ganneau. That stone is currently on display in the courtyard of Studium Biblicum Franciscanum Museum.

Presence of the Tenth Legion in Jerusalem

A very small number of official Latin inscriptions have been discovered in archaeological excavations throughout the country, and this one represents a tangible confirmation of the historical account regarding the presence of the Tenth Legion in Jerusalem during the period between the two revolts, and possibly even the location of the legion’s military camp in the city, and one of the reasons for the outbreak of the Bar Kokhba revolt several years later and the establishment of ‘Aelia Capitolina’.
The events of the Bar Kokhba revolt are ascribed to the reign of the emperor Hadrian. He is remembered in Jewish history for having issued dictates imposing the persecution and forced conversions of Jews, which the sources referred to as the ‘Hadrianic decrees’. The history of the Bar Kokhba revolt is known from, among other things, the works of the contemporary Roman historian Cassius Dio, who also mentions Hadrian’s visit to Jerusalem in the year 129/130 CE, within the framework of the emperor’s travels in the eastern empire. These travels are also documented on coins issued in honour of the occasion and in inscriptions specifically engraved prior to his arrival in different cities. This is apparently exactly what happened in Jerusalem.
The fate of Jerusalem following the destruction of the Second Temple (70 CE) and prior to the Bar Kokhba revolt (132-136 AD) is one of the major issues in the history of the city, and therefore the discovery of the inscription helps with the understanding of these major events.
According to Dr. Abner, “The inscription itself might have been set in the top of a free-standing triumphal arch on the city’s northern boundary such the Arch of Titus in Rome.”

Source: Past Horizons: http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/10/2014/inscription-dedicated-to-emperor-hadrian-uncovered-in-jerusalem

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