1-100 CE

The Land of Israel under Roman Rule

The Arch of Titus, Photo by Ardon Bar-Hama

Parchment scroll

Israel Museum / Israel Antiquities Authority

The Sh'ma Yisra'eil
From the Caves of the
Dead Sea Scrolls

Deuteronomy 6:4-5
Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Parchment from Qumran Phylacteries:
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

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Best Representation of the Menorah from Herod’s Temple 

Inscribed on the wall of the “Mansion House” overlooking the Temple Mount is an accurate representation of the Temple Menorah as described in the Bible. 

Exodus 25:31-39
You shall make a lampstand of pure gold…its base and its shaft, its cups, calyxes, and petals shall be of one piece.

Six branches shall issue from its sides
; three branches from one side of the lampstand and three branches from the other side of the lampstand.

On one branch there shall be three cups shaped like almond-blossoms, each with calyx and petals…so for all six branches issuing from the lampstand.

Make its seven lamps—the lamps shall be so mounted as to give the light on its front side… 

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Israel Museum / Israel Antiquities Authority

Tallit (Prayer Shawl) Fragment Found at Masada

Numbers 15:38
Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel.

A white wool mantle marked with the Greek letter gamma, a motif used on men’s prayer shawls, or tallit, is among the 2,000 textiles found at Masada.

Israel Antiquities Authority

Seneca, Antikensammlung, Berlin

Plutarch, Delphi Museum, Greece

The Celebration of the Sabbath

Roman Stoic Philosopher Seneca, 4 BC-65 CE
“Let us forbid lamps to be lighted on the Sabbath, since the gods do not need light, neither do men take pleasure in soot.”

Greek Philosopher Plutarch, 46 - 119 CE:
“The feast of the Sabbath is not completely unrelated to Dionysus.  The Jews themselves testify to a connection with Dionysus when they keep the Sabbath by inviting each other to drink and enjoy wine.”

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Crucifixions by the Romans in the Holy Land

Josephus, Antiquities 17.10.10
“Upon this Varus sent a part of his army into the country, to seek out those that had been the authors of the revolt: and when they were discovered, he punished some of them that were most guilty; and some he dismissed. Now the number of those that were crucified on this account were two thousand.”

The crucified heel bone of Yehohanan ben Hagkol, 21 AD

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Israel Museum, Jerusalem / Israel Antiquities Authority

The Zealots, formed by Judas of Galilee, Revolt Against Roman Taxation, 6 CE

In 6 CE, Roman Emperor Augustus annexed what was then a client kingdom of Judea into the Roman Empire. In the same year, Judas of Galilee led a resistance group known as the Zealots to fight against the Romans.

Josephus, The Jewish War, 2.8.1
“And now (Herod) Archelaus’s part of Judea was reduced into a province, and Coponius, one of the equestrian order among the Romans, was sent as a procurator, having the power of [life and] death put into his hands by Cæsar. Under his administration it was, that a certain Galilean, whose name was Judas, prevailed with his countrymen to revolt, and said they (the Jews) were cowards, if they would endure to pay a tax to the Romans, and would, after God, submit to mortal men as their lords.”

Hillel the Elder and the Golden Rule

Hillel the Elder (d. 10 CE) was one of the foremost Israelite sages in Jerusalem.  He is noted for saying:

"What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah…”

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And being only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?"

Tower of David Museum, Photo by Ardon Bar-Hama

Sacrificial Doves

Josephus, Antiquities 3.9.3
“The sacrifices for sins are offered in the same manner, as is the thank offering. But those who are unable to purchase complete sacrifices, offer two pigeons, or turtle doves: the one of which is made a burnt offering to God; the other they give as food for the Priests.”

Two dead doves and the inscription “korban” (sacrifice) on the fragment of a limestone vessel, found in the excavations around the Western Wall of the Temple Mount

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Israel Museum, Jerusalem / Israel Antiquities Authority

Portraits of Judeans from the 1st Century CE

Herod of Chalcis, r. 41-48 CE. Struck 43-44 CE. ​Grandson of Herod the Great; Father of Herod Aristobulus, Inscribed: “King Herod, a friend of (Roman Emperor) Claudius”  
Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

King Herod Agrippa I, ruled Judea and Samaria  from 41-44 CE by the will of the Roman Emperor Claudius, bust created based on images from coins by artists at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem 

Head of Augustus on obverse of King Herod Philip coin. Struck year 5 of Herod Philip, 1/2 CE
Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

King Herod Philip, r. 4 BCE-34 CE.  Struck 1/2 CE
Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Salome of the Seven Veils, Struck 66/67 CE under Nero, Inscribed “of Queen Salome

Salome’s husband, Herod Aristobulus of Chalcis, r. 57-92 CE 

Jewish Author Philo of Alexandria Describes the Murder of Jews and Destruction of Synagogues in Alexandria, Egypt, 37 CE

In 37 CE, the Jewish King Agrippa I stopped in Alexandria enroute from Rome to Jerusalem. At that time, Aulus Avilius Flaccus, the Governor of Roman Egypt, allowed an anti-semtic mob to murder, and destroy the property of the Jewish commnity members. 

Philo of Alexandria (Philo Judaeus) wrote an eyewitness account:

“Jews were scourged, were hung up, were tortured on the wheel, were condemned, and were dragged to execution in the middle of the orchestra (theatre)...

...it was sufficiently evident that the report about the destruction of the synagogues, which took its rise in Alexandria would be immediately spread over all the districts of Egypt, and would extend from that country to the east and to the oriental nations, and from the borders of the land in the other direction…”  

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Where Jews Entered The Temple Mount 

Reconstruction of the underground passageway of the Double Gate 

Fragment of Dome of the Double Gate
Israel Antiquities Authority 

Fragment of Dome of the Triple Gate
Israel Antiquities Authority 

Flavius Josephus, 68 CE

Flavius Josephus, born Joseph Ben Matthias, was a historian best known for writing The Jewish War and Antiquities of the Jews. At the beginning of the Great Jewish Revolt in 66 CE, he was the military leader of Gamla in the Galilee.

He surrendered to Roman forces led by Vespasian in 67 CE. After being captured, Josephus predicted Vespasian would become Emperor.

After Vespasian became Emperor in 69 CE, he granted Josephus his freedom, at which time Josephus assumed the emperor's family name of Flavius. 

City of David Megalim Institute, Courtesy of George Blumenthal and the Gol Family

On the Road to Jerusalem:
The Pilgrimage to the Temple for Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot

Philo of Alexandria, On the Special Laws, I:
“Thousands of people from thousands of cities--some by land and some by sea, from east and west, north and south--come for every festival to the Temple, as to a shared haven, to a harbor sheltered from the storms of life.” 

City of David Megalim Institute, Courtesy of George Blumenthal and the Gol Family

The Revolt Against the Roman Empire Begins, 66 CE

Josephus, Wars 2.14.6, 2.17.2
“[Roman Procurator] Florus… sent some to take seventeen talents out of the sacred treasure (i.e. in the Temple), and pretended that Cæsar (i.e. Nero) wanted them. At this, the people were in confusion immediately, and ran together to the Temple, with prodigious clamours, and called upon Cæsar by name, and besought him to free them from the tyranny of Florus.” 

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City of David Megalim Institute, Courtesy of George Blumenthal and the Gol Family

“Shekel of Israel” / “Jerusalem the Holy”
Silver Shekel from Year 2 of the Revolt Against Rome,  67 CE

Courtesy of George Blumenthal

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Nero and Israelite Prisoners. 67 CE

Roman Emperor Nero broke ground on building a canal through the Isthmus of Corinth, Greece, in 67 CE. His plan to build the canal included using as slave labor 6,000 Israelite prisoners captured in the Revolt in Judea.   

Isthmus of Corinth

Column Fragment Inscribed with the Names of Vespasian and Titus, 68 CE

The column reads:
Imp(erator) Caesar
Vespasian[us]
Aug(ustus), Imp(erator) T(itus) [Cae]
sar Vesp(asianus) Aug(ustus) [F(ilius)]
L(ucius) [Flavius Silva legatus]
Aug(usti) pr(o) pr(aetore)
Leg(io) X Fr(etensis) 

Israel Antiquities Authority

Jerusalem and the Temple Are Destroyed by Titus, 70 CE

Josephus, Jewish War, 7:1:1
"Jerusalem ... was so thoroughly razed to the ground by those that demolished it to its foundations, that nothing was left that could ever persuade visitors that it had once been a place of habitation." 

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Israel Museum / Israel Antiquities Authority 

A Temple in Flames: The Final Battle for Jerusalem and the Destruction of the Second Temple

City of David Megalim Institute, Courtesy of George Blumenthal and the Gol Family

Underground Tunnels Found Beneath the City of David

Josephus, The Jewish War, 6.370-6.432
“The last hope… lay in the underground passages. They did not expect them to be searched if they took refuge in them, and they intended, after the complete capture of the city and the departure of the Romans, to come out and make good their escape. But this proved to be an idle dream, for they were not destined to escape from either God or the Romans. ...the victors instituted a search for those in the mines, tearing up the ground… many precious objects were found in these passages…”    


Sections of the Herodian Road were shattered by Roman soldiers in their search for Jews fleeing the destruction. Pottery for food storage was found in the underground passages.   

Israel Antiquities Authority / City of David Excavations

The Journey along the Pilgrimage Road in the City of David, the Heart of Ancient Jerusalem

City of David Excavations, Jerusalem

“Judea Capta” Coin
After the Destruction of the Second Temple 70 CE

Coin of Emperor Vespasian who left Judea in 68 CE. His son Titus destroyed the Temple in 70 CE.


Israel Museum / Israel Antiquities Authority
 

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The Arch of Titus and the Temple Menorah From Jerusalem to Rome, 81 CE

City of David Megalim Institute, Courtesy of George Blumenthal and the Gol Family

“The Jews Survive It!” Sigmund Freud Wrote on This Postcard Featuring the Arch of Titus

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The Arch of Titus in the Roman Forum​ 

Coin from 81 CE, Israel Museum, Courtesy of David Sofer 
Photograph by Ardon Bar Hama 

The Coloseum today, Photo by Ardon Bar-Hama

The Roman Colosseum, Built with Spoils from the Jewish War, Opens in 80 CE

The Roman Colosseum Inscription
"Ex manubiis" translates to "with the proceeds from the spoils of war (i.e. the Jewish War)."

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Louis H. Feldman, Giovanni Lattanzi, Biblical Archaeology Review

The Body of a Descendant Exiled by the Babylonians 
Is Returned to Jerusalem

Tomb of Abba, 1st Century CE
“I am Abba, son of the priest Eleazar, son of Aaron the Great. I am Abba, the oppressed, the persecuted, who was born in Jerusalem and went to exile into Babylonia…” 

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Israel Antiquities Authority / Israel Museum, Photo by Neta Dror

לְאַחַר שֶׁשָּׁאוּל הַמֶּלֶךְ וּבְנוֹ יְהוֹנָתָן מֵתִים בַּקְּרָב, פּוֹנִים רָאשֵׁי הַשְּׁבָטִים לְדָוִד, שֶׁמָּלַךְ כְּבָר שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים וָחֵצִי בְּחֶבְרוֹן. הֵם מְמַנִּים אוֹתוֹ לְמֶלֶךְ עַל הַקּוֹנְפֵדֵרַצְיָה הַשִּׁבְטִית הַמְּאֻחֶדֶת שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל.     

דָּוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ פּוֹנֶה מִיָּד לְכִוּוּן יְרוּשָׁלַיִם, אַחַת הֶעָרִים הָאַחֲרוֹנוֹת שֶׁטֶּרֶם נִכְבְּשָׁה בְּמַהֲלַךְ כִּבּוּשׁ הָאָרֶץ בִּידֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.   דָּוִד בּוֹחֵר בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם מֵאַרְבַּע סִבּוֹת עִקָּרִיּוֹת: מַיִם, בִּטָּחוֹן, אִחוּד וְשִׁלְטוֹן קַרְקָעִי נֵיטְרָלִי, אַךְ חָשׁוּב מֵהַכֹּל, בִּגְלַל הַקְּדוֹשָׁה שֶׁל יְרוּשָׁלַיִם הַטְּבוּעָה בַּמָּקוֹם הַנִּבְחָר, שֶׁבּוֹ יִבָּנֶה בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ הָעֲתִידִי.     

לְפָנֶיךָ סִרְטוֹן הַמְּסַפֵּר אֶת הַסִּבּוֹת שֶׁל דָּוִד בְּכִבּוּשׁ הָעִיר.