The first years of Hadrian’s reign witness meaningful changes in the Roman policy in Judea, identifiable with the strengthening of military forces, the change of the status of the province to that of provincia consularis, the building of new military roads, emphasis on the pagan character of the settlement displayed both in coinage and in new temples devoted to the emperor cult, and the beginning of the preparation works for the building of a Roman colony in Jerusalem. The background of this policy is examined, and its relation with the Diaspora uprisings, which were finally quelled in the late summer of 117.
Important new data on the beginning of Hadrian’s reign in Judea emerge from recent archaeological excavations. An inscription from France mentions a hitherto unknown Roman governor officiating in Judea, and the new excavations of the Cardo in the Old City of Jerusalem not only confirm scholarly consensus that the foundation of Aelia Capitolina preceded the Bar Kochba war, but also suggest a new date for the beginning of the preparatory works.
1 A New Roman Governor in Judea to Replace Lusius Quietus
A new Roman governor in Judea is mentioned in an inscription found during the excavations directed by Jean-Marc Mignon in the Roman forum of Vaison-la-Romaine in the Lyon Gallia (today Autun, in eastern France) between 2013 and 2015.1 Inscribed in marble and more than two meters long, the inscription appears on a pedestal that in all probability carried an equestrian statue. It describes the cursus honorum of Marcus Titius Lustricus Bruttanius: tribunus militum in Domitian’s days, quaestor in the province of Achaia in Greece, aedile plebis and praetor in Rome. He was commander of the I legio Italica and then, with the X Legio Augusta (the X Gemina), participated in the first Dacian war in 101-102
The responsibility for the military forces of both Judea and Arabia is somewhat unusual, but not without parallels. In the same months, Marcius Turbo, too, the military commander who had fought valiantly against the Jews in Egypt, received from Hadrian an exceptional position that embraced Dacia and Pannonia Inferior.4
This kind of unusual appointment is probably to be linked to the lack of loyal consular governors, due to the problematic situation obtaining in the first months of Hadrian’s reign. Hadrian’s very appointment to Emperor stemmed not from the senate but rather from his troops in Antioch, and, moreover, rumors circulated in Rome, which are later reported by Dio/Xiphilinus and by the Historia Augusta, that his adoption by Trajan was not lawful. Both of them state that Trajan’s death had been concealed for several days in order to allow for Hadrian’s adoption to become public.5 The “letter of adoption,” we are told, reached Hadrian in Syria on 9 August 117. It was signed not by Trajan but by his wife Plotina. On August 11 came another dispatch, announcing Trajan’s death. The news was at once communicated to the troops, who duly acclaimed him as Imperator. According to Syme, one may well suspect that “Trajan was no longer among the living when he adopted Hadrian,”6 and, in Birley’s words, Hadrian’s adoption was, at best, carried out by a dying man and stage-managed by the Empress.7
Moreover, the senate may well have resented Hadrian’s foreign policy. Within a few days and perhaps even only a few hours of his acclamation, Hadrian gave the order to withdraw from all the new territories conquered by Trajan beyond the Euphrates. All the territory east of the Euphrates was immediately relinquished, as was the Syrian pre-desert. Dura Europos was abandoned before 30 September 117.8 In the meantime, war broke out in Dacia.9 As Birley observes, the empire was in a state of disarray not seen since the Year of the Four Emperors and it could easily have turned into a catastrophe.10 The decision to withdraw was certainly a sound one in view of the failure of the Parthian war,11 but the Roman senate could resent Hadrian’s policy as a sharp deviation from that which had been implemented by Trajan. The renunciation of Trajan’s achievements meant a return to the late Augustan policy, which stipulated that the empire should be kept within its natural boundaries, and was an outright denial of Rome’s manifest destiny. Personal worries may have been at work too. The withdrawal from the territories conquered by Trajan directly affected senators by reducing the number of high-ranking administrative posts they could aspire to.12 The hostility of the prevailing senatorial historical tradition toward Hadrian clearly emerges in the work of Dio and in the Historia Augusta.13 Hadrian had also to cope with the fear of possible contenders to the throne. Both at Rome and elsewhere, he had rivals and enemies, and this led to a shortage of loyal allies to occupy the consular commands. As Syme points out, “reliance on a few persons carries manifest disadvantages, and even danger.”14
From a background of this kind stems Hadrian’s decision to replace provincial governors liable to support possible enemies with reliably loyal people. Several abrupt changes in the governorship of provinces are attested to in these first months of Hadrian’s reign. In Egypt, less than one month after Trajan’s death, Q. Rammius Martialis replaced the prefect Rutilius Lupus;15 in Judea, Marcus Titius Lustricus Bruttanius was sent in place of Lusius Quietus, the well-known Moorish general who had fought with an iron hand against the Jews in Mesopotamia.16
These choices are probably to be linked to Hadrian’s new policy. Scholars emphasize that his violent break with the militaristic and imperialistic ideals of his predecessor led him to choose new men in order not to rely on Trajan’s appointees, many of whom were inveterately hostile to him. Gray and Bennett, for example, claim that in his days, there would be no place for some of Trajan’s more aggressive marshals.17 Hengel and Schäfer, too, observe that Hadrian subverted the power of the most prominent representatives of the warring faction—among whom was Lusius Quietus as the main advocate of the hard-liners—since his declared goal was to be remembered as an Emperor of peace and as restitutor orbis.18 Political and personal considerations probably went hand in hand. According to Petersen, it was Quietus’ position as legatus Augusti and his command of personal military forces that had made him dangerous to Hadrian,19 and, moreover, there may have been good reasons to fear that Quietus might join an alternative pretender to the throne.20
Quietus’ presence in Judea, therefore, must have been rather brief. He was sent to Judea after the unsuccessful siege of Hatra,21 namely, in late autumn 116 or early summer of 117.22 His task was seemingly to keep Judea under strict control and to prevent the diaspora turmoil from spreading to Judea.23
However, Quietus’ presence in Judea did not secure peace. On the contrary, a range of different sources attest that a military confrontation took place in Judea. The question arises whether this confrontation was a response to a Jewish rebellion, as is often suggested.24
Against this possibility stands the silence of Dio Cassius and Eusebius, the main literary sources which report on the Jewish Diaspora revolts, both of whom do not mention Judea among the places where the Jewish uprisings took place. Something, however, did happen in Judea. A Roman military operation is briefly mentioned in an inscription from Sardinia,25 and two rabbinical sources report on a war called “the war of Qitos” without adding details. Seder Olam deals only with the chronology of the “War of Qitos,” between that of Vespasian and that of Bar Kokhba, while the Mishnah mentions the ordinances enacted by the sages following each of these wars.26 However, a few admittedly late Oriental Christian sources, written between the fifth and the thirteenth centuries, mention not a Jewish rebellion but rather a Roman military offensive taking place in Judea in Trajan’s days,27 which may well be the “Judean expedition” mentioned in the inscription from Sardinia.28
A military offensive, however, does not stand in a vacuum. Something must have happened which aroused it. In this context, the testimony of Hippolytus (third century
Immediately after Hadrian was elected Emperor, Quietus was removed from his position.32 The Historia Augusta reports that Hadrian “deprived Lusius Quietus of the command of the Moorish tribesmen, who were serving under him, and then dismissed him from the army, because he had fallen under the suspicion of having designs on the throne.”33 Such aspirations, Birley points out, seem preposterous for the Moorish chieftain. Quietus was still regarded as a barbarian, and besides must have been an old man now. But Hadrian and he were enemies, and the fear that Quietus might lend his support to a rival might well have seemed serious enough in the summer of 117.34 Soon afterwards—in a moment between the spring and the summer of 11835 —Quietus was executed.36 The Historia Augusta report that along with three other ex-consuls he was accused of having participated in a conspiracy against Hadrian37 —an accusation, however, whose historicity is impossible to prove.38 In any case, Quietus’ execution may well have engendered happiness among the Jews, and it may be referred to in a passage of a rabbinical source, where the figure of Trajan stands for that of Quietus: “When Trajan slew Pappus and Lulianus his brother in Laodicea, he said to them … They said to him, ‘You are a wicked king … in the end the Omnipresent will avenge our blood from you.’ It is said that Trajan had not moved from there before a dispatch came from Rome, and they knocked out his brain with clubs.”39
The letter of dismissal was presumably conveyed to Quietus by his successor. Fifty years ago, Sir Ronald Syme observed that “one would like to know who governed Judaea after Lusius Quietus the Moor.”40 He would be happy to know that now, thanks to the inscription of Vaison-la-Romaine, we know his name, Marcus Tittius Lustricus Bruttanius.41 Arriving in Judea he may have brought along with him the legio II Traiana, if this had not happened already in Quietus’ days. 42 When one considers the two possibilities, it appears more reasonable to imagine that the legion arrived with Bruttanius. In the first half of 117, Trajan was deeply involved in the problematic development of the Parthian war, and the Jewish Diaspora uprisings were not yet quelled. It is doubtful whether he would have the time and peace of mind to plan and arrange a different setting of the provincial situation in Judea. The change of the status of Judea, on the other hand, with the addition of a second legion, would fit well with Hadrian’s policy aimed at settling and improving the security of the provinces43 —security, of course, from the Roman point of view. Isaac and Roll, too, point out that that the change in the status of the province came at the moment when Hadrian abandoned Mesopotamia,44 since the legio II Traiana, active in Trajan’s Parthian war, was available for service in Judea from the second half of 117 onward.45
2 The Change of the Status of Judea and the Construction of New Roads
With the arrival of a second legion, in addition to the X Fretensis which had been stationed in Judea since the Great War, the status of Judea was changed to that of a provincia consularis.46
The new legion was immediately used for the construction of roads. By 120
The construction of new roads characterizes Hadrian’s policy.53 Before Hadrian there is no evidence of a Roman road-network existing in Judea. Up to that time the local standard may have been thought sufficient, while in war-time, the legions brought with them units whose task it was to straighten, broaden and level existing roads. Starting from the first years of Hadrian’s reign, roads were built to connect key sites in Judaea both with each other and with neighboring provinces, probably in order to serve the military. 54
While the construction of new roads reflected Hadrian’s care and concern for safe connections in Judea and between provinces, the particular timing when this took place is instructive. The improvement of the road network in the entire province took place immediately after the repression of the Diaspora uprisings. This may be no accident. As Eck notes, it may well have been the result and consequence of those unrests. With the stationing of a second legion in Judaea at about the same time, there was greater need both for communication between a greater number of military bases and for the safe transport of supplies and reinforcements.55
Moreover, the Romans often built new roads when they founded new colonies. The combination of road-building and the foundation of colonies was a familiar pattern in Roman history, and often the stationing of a legion followed the founding of a colony or vice-versa. “In Judaea,” Isaac points out, “we have seen the foundation of Caesarea as a Roman colony at the time when X Fretensis was first established at Jerusalem. Similarly there may be a connection between the two decisions taken by Hadrian: to assign a second legion to the province and to found a new colony.”56
3 A New Date for the Beginning of the Preparatory Works of Aelia Capitolina
Indeed, from recent excavations the possibility emerges that these years witnessed both the arrival of a new legion and the beginning of the preparatory works for the new colony to be founded in Jerusalem, the Aelia Capitolina.
3.1 Scholarly Consensus that the Works Began before the Bar Kokhba War
The exact date of its foundation is still difficult to define. A firm point is that it preceded the Bar Kokhba revolt, since a number of hoards were found in refuge caves in different places around the country in the last fifty years, which display coins of Bar Kochba along with coins representing the foundation of Aelia Capitolina—which means that the Roman mint started to operate before or during but not after the Bar Kochba war. In the sixties and seventies of the last century, when the first hoards were discovered, the dubious circumstances of their discovery, in illicit excavations, and their handling by antiquities dealers57 arouse legitimate doubts as to their belonging to one and the same hoard.58 However, in 1998 an additional hoard was found in a controlled excavation by Hanan Eshel in the el-Jai Cave in Nahal Mikhmash (Wadi Suweinit).59 Here, too, four Bar Kochba coins were found along with two coins representing the founding of Aelia Capitolina, where Hadrian appears as founder plowing the sulcus primigenius with bull and cow during the ceremony of circumductio aratri to mark out the boundaries of the new colony, accompanied by the legend col[onia] ael[ia] capit[olina] cond[ita].60 These coins, it appears, were brought to the el-Jai Cave by Jewish refugees looking for shelter, possibly toward the end of the war.61 In fact, since the fifties of the last century, an extraordinary great number of caves have been discovered in the Judean desert and mountains, in the Shephelah and in the Galilee, which were used as hiding places for Jews toward the end of the Bar Kokhba revolt. The location of these caves and the domestic finds therein, as well as the contents of some of the papyri, make it quite evident that toward the end of the Bar Kokhba war the caves were meant to be chiefly hideaways and shelters. The use of these caves as a last refuge may have begun at any time during the Roman re-conquest, when the Jews, other than the field force, were being overpowered.62
As for the hoard of the el-Jai Cave, there is no doubt that it is a real hoard. As Hanan Eshel points out, it is not reasonable that the coins of Aelia Capitolina and those of the Bar Kokhba war were brought there in different moments by different peoples:63 the coins were found in an inner chamber approachable only by crawling in a complex system of natural passages and burrows.64 The conclusion, therefore, was reached that the Aelia Capitolina coins circulated before or during the Bar Kochba war, and that the mint cannot be regarded as a consequence of the war.65 Consequently, scholarly consensus was reached: the foundation of Aelia Capitolina is probably to be dated to 130
3.2 The Beginning of Hadrian’s Reign as a New Date for the Preparatory Works of the Aelia Capitolina
In fact, the recent archaeological excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem may support even an earlier date. According to Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah, the new finds beneath the Cardo in the Western Wall Plaza suggest that the paving works of the Roman colony started several years before, at the very beginning of Hadrian’s reign. The excavations revealed that the construction of the Eastern Cardo was done in two phases: first the preparation of the infrastructure and later the actual paving of the street—both under Hadrian, as is attested by pottery and coins sealed under the flagstones. During the preparation works a quarry, located along the route of the Cardo, was filled up and a massive retaining wall was built inside it along the route of the eastern stylobate. A dump was deposited against this wall and the accumulation was sealed under the mosaic pavement of the Cardo’s eastern portico, as well as under the flagstones of the northern of the two streets that extended eastward from the Cardo. All the materials found in the dump—coins, glass, pottery, military bread stamps—have been dated to the first century
Weksler-Bdolah points out: “Based on finds beneath the Cardo, we can date the eastern thoroughfares of Aelia Capitolina in the early years of Hadrian’s reign, probably in the 120s, long before his famous visit to the east in 130 and the ‘official’ founding of Aelia Capitolina … It is clear that when he was appointed emperor soon after that, he had already begun the planning and re-building of Jerusalem as a Roman city.”70
An earlier date for the beginning of the infrastructures of the Aelia Capitolina does not contradict the testimony of Dio concerning the foundation ceremony in 130. As Leah Di Segni points out, the laying down of the city plan and the preparation of the infrastructures must certainly have taken considerable time, considering the topography of Jerusalem and the state in which large part of the city had remained after the destruction in 70. As the excavators observed in the Eastern Cardo, the pavement of the cardo was laid at a later stage, and when Hadrian visited Jerusalem in 130, the official ceremony of the foundation could take place.71
If this is the case, it may not be an accident that in the third century
4 The Strengthening of the Pagan Character of Judea
Additional evidence of Hadrian’s policy in Judea in the first years of his reign comes from numismatics. From this time on, the coins from Tiberias bear mainly pagan emblems, such as representations of Zeus, Sarapis and Poseidon, or goddesses like Hygieia, Nike and Tyche.76 In particular, the coin representing Nike, the goddess of victory, carrying a palm-branch and a wreath to crown the victor77 has been interpreted as referring to the successful Roman military action against the Jews in the last years of Trajan’s reign.78 Another coin issued at Tiberias at the same time portrays Zeus seated in a tetrastyle temple,79 perhaps the Hadrianeion built at Tiberias in Hadrian’s honor in 119/120.80 Another Hadrianeion was also built in Caesarea.81 These testimonies are variously interpreted. Schäfer sees in them indications of an increasing adoption by assimilated Jewish circles of the Hellenization propagated by Hadrian.82 Jones, on the other hand, interprets them as meaning that Hadrian disenfranchised the Jewish and Samaritan aristocracies that had hitherto ruled the Galilean cities where the coins have been found, namely Tiberias, Neapolis and Sepphoris, and entrusted their government to pagans.83 This, Oppenheimer suggests, may well have contributed to the arousal of ill will among the Jews.84 In this context one should also take into consideration the cessation of Jewish minting at Sepphoris. Here, in Trajan’s days a mint was attested striking coins that one might call “Jewish-Roman,” in which one side was devoted to the Roman emperor, while the other depicted Jewish symbols: laurel wreaths, palm trees, and the caduceus. Around the head of Trajan the inscription appeared ΤΡΑΙΑΝΟΣ ΑΥΤΟΚΡΑΤΩΡ ΕΔΩΚΕΝ. Here, Meshorer points out, the expression ΕΔΩΚΕΝ, meaning “gave” or “permitted,” exclusive to these coins of Sepphoris, may be interpreted as reflecting positive relations between the municipality of Sepphoris and the Roman authorities, which enabled the people of Sepphoris to mint almost “real” Jewish coins. In Hadrian’s time, however, this mint stops abruptly. After the death of Trajan in 117, not a single coin was minted for Hadrian in Sepphoris.85
The first years of Hadrian’s reign, therefore, witness important changes in the Roman policy in Judea, identifiable with the strengthening of military forces, namely, the addition of a second legion; the change of the status of the province to that of provincia consularis; the building of new military roads; emphasis on the pagan character of the settlement displayed both in coinage and in new temples devoted to the emperor cult; and the beginning of the preparation works for the building of a Roman colony in Jerusalem.
5 The Background of Hadrian’s Decision to Build a Roman Colony in Judea
This policy does not stand in a vacuum. When Hadrian became emperor, at the beginning of August 117, the Diaspora Jewish rebellions were not yet quelled. In Egypt the fights between the Jews and the Roman forces, helped by the local strategoi, were apparently still proceeding. Fighting may have been over everywhere only by September.86 This may well explain the passage of Eusebius’ Chronicon preserved by Hieronymus which states that in the first year of his reign, Hadrianus Iudaeos capit secundo contra Romanos rebellantes,87 where Hadrian is taken to be responsible for the final repression of the rebellion.
Nor this was Hadrian’s only successful military confrontation. At the beginning of his reign, Hadrian had to cope also with disorders that broke out in Dacia, in Mauretania and in Britain.88 The image of Hadrian as victorious leader over crushed enemies is emphasized in a statue from Istanbul, where a captive is represented under Hadrian’s leg. A similar message is conveyed in a number of breastplates surviving in statues erected in honor of Hadrian in various places around the Eastern Mediterranean basin in the years between 117 and 123. In the group called by Gergel the “eastern Victory type,” a female captive is shown either in abject humiliation beneath the emperor’s foot or bound and kneeling at the emperor’s side. This depiction was meant to celebrate “not only Hadrian’s succession to the rank of Augustus, but also the military accomplishments that mark the beginning of his reign.”89 The final repression of the Diaspora uprisings, too, may have been one of the victories celebrated in these representations.
After the Jewish uprisings, it is no wonder that Hadrian tried to strengthen Roman authority in Judea in order to restrain and block possible further unrest.90 The link between Hadrian’s policy in Judea and the Jewish revolts in Trajan’s days is stressed by Goodman. “Judea,” he points out,
was affected by these upheavals only indirectly … Judean Jews’ non-participation should not be taken to indicate lack of sympathy but only a reluctance to risk all in what proved to be a hopeless cause … but the passivity of the Jews in Judea did not free them from Roman suspicion … As far as the Romans were concerned, disaffection among Jews in one part of the empire necessarily threw under suspicion those in another.91
Aelia Capitolina was envisaged by Rome from the beginning as a means to punish and control what they saw as a stubbornly rebellious nation … It is self-evident that the Roman state could change its attitude to the Jewish homeland in the light of disturbances in the diaspora. This would not be the first time that Roman policy towards the Jews approached the problem of diaspora Jews alongside the problem of the Jews in their homeland, and vice versa … After the war of 66-70
cein Judea, all Jews, irrespective of where they lived and of their legal status, bore the consequences of the war fought by Judean Jews by being forced to pay the Fiscus Judaicus to the Roman treasury. In Egypt, moreover, minor Jewish disturbances led to Vespasian’s decision to close, and then demolish, the temple of Leontopolis since he ‘was suspicious of the interminable tendency of the Jews to revolution and fearing that they might again collect together in force and draw others away with them.’92
In fact, this global outlook is found already in the middle of the first century
“Hadrian’s solution” Goodman contends,
was to ensure that the Jews could never again expect to have a temple on their sacred site in Jerusalem … by founding a miniature Rome on the site of the Jews’ holy city, explicitly intended for the settlement of foreign races and foreign religious rites. Aelia Capitolina was to be the last of the Roman colonies which involved the transplantation of a new population to populate the city. Within Hadrian’s great policy of urban reconstruction, with the foundation of many cities, Aelia Capitolina is unique in its use of the new colony not to flatter but to suppress the natives.94
Of course, Hadrian’s final goal was that of securing peace, as Schäfer emphasizes. In taking care of road building, Hadrian wanted to get better connections between the eastern provinces—Egypt, Judea and Arabia. The strengthening of military forces, too, reflects Hadrian’s ultimate goal of providing peace and security in the eastern parts of the Empire.95 To this aim were probably directed the
No doubt, Hadrian’s ultimate goal was peace. This, he seems to have believed, was to be assured by making Judaea a normal part of the pagan world, turning Jerusalem into a miniature Rome, settled by gentiles and devoted to Roman religious rites. The new Jerusalem was meant to be a pagan city like all the other cities of the Empire, with its pagan cults and ceremonies—an integral part of the surrounding world.98 Judean Jews, he may have thought, would get used to these new patterns. What happened a few years later, however, indicates that this was not to be the case.
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. Eck, Werner “Soldaten und Veteranen des römischen Heeres in Iudaea/Syria Palaestina und ihre inschriftlichen Zeugnisse.”In ‘Let the Wise Listen and Add to their Learning’ (Prov 1:5): Festschrift for Günter Stemberger on the Occasion of His 75th Birthday, ed. ( and Constanza Cordoni Gerhard Langer Berlin: De Gruyter, ), 2016 127- 140.
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. Horbury, William “The Uprisings under Trajan and Roman-Jewish Relations.”In Judaism and Crisis: Crisis as a Catalyst in Jewish Cultural History, ed. ( , Armin Lange , and K.F. Diethard Römheld Matthias Weigold Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, ), 2011 183- 200.
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. Kloner, Amos “Hiding Complexes in the Northern Judaean Shephelah and the Northern Boundary of the Bar Kokhba Administration.”In One Land—Many Cultures. Archaeological Studies in Honor of Stanislao Loffreda OFM, ed. ( , Giovanni Claudio Bottini , and Leah Di Segni L. Daniel Chrupcala Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, ), 2003 261- 268.
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. Mazor, Gabriel “Concerning the Urban Plan of Aelia Capitolina: Colonnaded Streets, Monumental Arches and City Gates.”In Eretz-Israel: Archaeological, Historical and Geographical Studies, vol. 28 (Teddy Kollek Volume), ed. ( , Joseph Aviram , Dan Bahat , Gabriel Barkay , and Yehoshua Ben-Arieh Magen Broshi Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, ), 2007 116- 124.
Meshorer, Ya‘akov. “A Hoard of Coins from Hebron Mountains.” In Mount Hebron—Collection of Studies, ed. Shim‘on Dar (Tel Aviv: Hamador Liydi’at Ha-aretz Ba-tenu’ta Ha-kibbutzit, 1970), 67-69.
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Mols, Stephan. “The Cult of Roma Aeterna in Hadrian’s Politics.” In The Representation and Perception of Roman Imperial Power: Proceedings of the Third Workshop of the International Network Impact of Empire (Roman Empire c. 200 B.C.-A.D. 476), Rome, March 20-23, 2002, ed. Lukas de Blois, Paul Erdkamp, Olivier Hekster, Gerda de Kleijn, and Stephan Mols (Leiden: Brill, 2003), 458-465.
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. Mols, Stephan “The Cult of Roma Aeterna in Hadrian’s Politics.”In The Representation and Perception of Roman Imperial Power: Proceedings of the Third Workshop of the International Network Impact of Empire (Roman Empire c. 200 B.C.-A.D. 476), Rome, March 20-23, , ed. 2002 ( , Lukas de Blois , Paul Erdkamp , Olivier Hekster , and Gerda de Kleijn Stephan Mols Leiden: Brill, ), 2003 458- 465.
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Schäfer, Peter. “Hadrian’s Policy in Judaea and the Bar Kokhba Revolt: a Reassessment.” In A Tribute to Geza Vermes: Essays on Jewish and Christian Literature and History, ed. Philip R. Davies and Richard T. White (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1990), 281-303.
Sotgiu, Giovanna. “L’epigrafia latina in Sardegna dopo il C.I.L. X e l’ E.E. VIII.” Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt II.11.1 (1988), 552-739.
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Tepper, Yotam. “The Roman Legionary Camp at Legio, Israel: Results of an Archaeological Survey and Observations on the Roman Military Presence at the Site.” In The Late Roman Army in the Near East from Diocletian to the Arab Conquest: Proceedings of a Colloquium Held at Potenza, Acerenza and Matera, Italy (May 2005), ed. Ariel S. Lewin and Pietrina Pellegrini (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2007), 57-71.
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. Tepper, Yotam “The Roman Legionary Camp at Legio, Israel: Results of an Archaeological Survey and Observations on the Roman Military Presence at the Site.”In The Late Roman Army in the Near East from Diocletian to the Arab Conquest: Proceedings of a Colloquium Held at Potenza, Acerenza and Matera, Italy ( May ), ed. 2005 ( and Ariel S. Lewin Pietrina Pellegrini Oxford: Archaeopress, ), 2007 57- 71.
Tsafrir, Yoram. A Hiding Complex of the Second Temple Period and the time of Bar-Kokhba Revolt at ‘Ain Arrub in the Hebron Hills (Jerusalem: The Israel Museum, 2002) [Hebrew].
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Weksler-Bdolah, Shlomit. “Two Aspects of the Transformation of Jerusalem into the Roman Colony of Aelia Capitolina.” In Knowledge and Wisdom: Archaeological and Historical Essays in Honour of Leah Di Segni, ed. Giovanni Claudio Bottini, L. Daniel Chrupcala, and Joseph Patrich (Milano: Edizioni Terra Santa, 2014), 43-61.
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. Weksler-Bdolah, Shlomit “Two Aspects of the Transformation of Jerusalem into the Roman Colony of Aelia Capitolina.”In Knowledge and Wisdom: Archaeological and Historical Essays in Honour of Leah Di Segni, ed. ( , Giovanni Claudio Bottini , and L. Daniel Chrupcala Joseph Patrich Milano: Edizioni Terra Santa, ), 2014 43- 61.
Weksler-Bdolah, Shlomit, Alexander Onn, Shua Kisilevitz, and Brigitte Ouahnouna, “Layers of Ancient Jerusalem.” Biblical Archaeology Review 38, 1 (2012), 37-47.
Zahrnt, Michael. “Zahl, Verteilung und Charakter der hadrianischen Kolonien (unter bosonderer Berücksichtigung von Aelia Capitolina).” Stuttgarter Kolloquium zur Geographie des Altertums 2 (1991), 463-486.
Mignon, Lavergne and Rossignol, “Un nouveau cursus sénatorial,” 294. A French translation is offered online at https://www.facebook.com/notes/vaison-la-romaine/fouilles-au-forum-antique-marcus-titius-d%C3%A9couverte-dun-vaisonnais-au-sommet-de-l/1647686558810126: “À Marcus Titius Lustricus Bruttianus, fils de Marcus, inscrit dans la tribu Voltinia, consul, proconsul de la province d’Achaïe, préteur, édile de la plèbe, questeur de la province d’Achaïe, légat de la province d’Afrique, légat d’Auguste de la première légion Italica, de la 10ème légion Auguste, pro préteur de la province de Cilicie, tribun des soldats de la [nième] légion, décoré des dons militaires pour la guerre dacique par l’Imperator César Nerva Trajan Auguste, vainqueur des Germains, vainqueur des Daces, d’une couronne vallaire dorée, d’une couronne murale dorée, de trois lances pures et de trois fanions, …, légat propréteur de l’Imperator César Nerva Trajan Auguste, vainqueur des Germains, vainqueur des Daces, de l’armée (?) qui est en Germanie supérieure et inférieure, septemvir épulon, légat propréteur de l’Imperator César Trajan Hadrien Auguste des armées de Judée et d’Arabie, les Éduens à leur patron.” My warmest thanks to Prof. Günter Stemberger for drawing my attention to the inscription found at Vaison-la-Romaine. It was its content which led me to look into Hadrian’s policy in Judaea in the first years of his reign.
Plinius, Ep., 6.22.
Eck, “Soldaten und Veteranen,” 129, n. 7.
“Hadrian had not been adopted by Trajan; he was merely […] a companion of his [….], and had been assigned to Syria for the Parthian War. Yet he had received no distinguishing mark of favor from Trajan, such as being one of the first to be appointed consul. He became Caesar and emperor owing to the fact that when Trajan died childless, Attianus, a compatriot and former guardian of his, together with Plotina, who was in love with him, secured him the appointment, their efforts being facilitated by his proximity and by his possession of a large military force. […] [T]he death of Trajan was concealed for several days in order that Hadrian’s adoption might be announced first. This was shown also by Trajan’s letters to the senate, for they were signed, not by him, but by Plotina, although she had not done this in any previous instance” (Dio, 69.1.1-4). “And the statement has even been made that it was not until after Trajan’s death that Hadrian was declared adopted, and then only by means of a trick of Plotina; for she smuggled in someone who impersonated the Emperor and spoke in a feeble voice” (
Syme, “Praesens,” 571.
Birley, Hadrian, 77.
Birley, Hadrian, 78.
Hadrian even considered giving up Dacia too, but was discouraged from doing so by a number of colonists who had settled in the province. See Bennett, Trajan, Optimus Princeps, 203, n. 104-6.
“By the time the ship with Trajan’s remains was under sail for Italy, Hadrian will have known the dimensions of the crisis. A century later Marius Maximus rose to Tacitean heights (it may be argued) when summarizing the simultaneous eruption of revolt and invasion which had flared up all around the frontiers. The
See Cizek, L’époque de Trajan, 463; Birley, Hadrian, 75.
Bennett, Trajan, 202-4; Birley, Hadrian, 85.
The widespread opposition at Rome to the idea of Hadrian becoming Trajan’s successor is vividly portrayed by Birley: “A letter from Attianus urged rapid and ruthless action. Three men were named. If the City Prefect, Baebius Macer, seemed likely to resist confirming Hadrian’s nomination, he should be killed; likewise two prominent exiles, Laberius Maximus … and Crassus Frugi … both languishing on islands … [as] the
Syme, “Hadrian and the Senate,” 304.
Martialis is attested in Egypt already before the end of August. See Birley, Hadrian, 79.
See above, n. 1.
Gray, “New Light from Egypt,” 21; Bennett, Trajan, 203.
Hengel, “Hadrians Politik,” 158; Schäfer, “Hadrian’s Policy,” 282.
Petersen, “Lusius Quietus,” 216.
Birley, Hadrian, 79. Goodman observes that Hadrian evidently set his own political security above the need for a strong military commander in the Jewish homeland: Goodman, Rome and Jerusalem, 481.
Dio tells us that before being sent to Judea, he was made consul by Trajan, a consulate covered in absentia: “(Quietus) advanced so far in bravery and good fortune during this present war [the Parthian] that he was enrolled among the ex-praetors, became consul, and then governor of Palestine” (Dio, 68.32.5, Exc. Val. 290). It did not happen often that a barbarian of African origin, such as him, was given the honor of the consulate without advancing through the ranks, but in the last ten years of Trajan’s reign similar cases are attested, in which the consulate was offered as a reward for military exploits. See Petersen, “Lusius Quietus,” 215, n. 4. “Urbs Roma,” Sir Ronald Syme observes, “was spared the spectacle of a native chieftain flaunting the insigna of the supreme magistracy”: “Consulates in Absence,” 391. See also Cizek, L’époque de Trajan, 463; Barnes, “Trajan and the Jews,” 159; Eck, “Jahres- und Provinzialfasten,” 359-61; 148.
June 117 according to Lepper, Trajan’s Parthian War, 89. Bennet and Strobel, on the other hand, suggest the late autumn of 116: Bennett, Trajan, 200-201; Strobel, Kaiser Traian, 392. See also Piso, “Zum Judenkrieg,” 256.
See Schäfer, “Hadrian’s Policy,” 282-83; Goodman, “Origins of Roman Hostility,” 26; Goodman, “Bar Kokhba War,” 26-28; Horbury, “Uprisings under Trajan,” 196.
See Horbury, “Uprisings under Trajan,” 196; Pucci Ben Zeev, Diaspora Judaism, 256-57; Strobel, Kaiser Traian, 392.
Ann. Ep. 1929, 167 = Sotgiu, “L’epigrafia latina in Sardegna,” 560, A 57 (ph.). See Pucci Ben Zeev, “Expeditio Iudaeae,” 256-58.
S. ʿOlam Rab. 30; m. Soṭah 9:14 (Kaufman manuscript). See Pucci Ben Zeev, Diaspora Judaism, 100-102.
The Armenian Moses Khorenatsi states that, after pacifying all the east, Trajan “descended on the Egyptians and Palestinians,” and Eutychios, patriarch of Alexandria in the first half of the tenth century, writes that Trajan sent a general with great military forces to Jerusalem and that on that occasion an enormous number of Jews were killed. A similar tradition is reported two centuries later by Michael Syrus, and then, one century later, by another Syrian author, Gregorius Abû’l Faraj, a bishop who, because of his Jewish origins, is known as Bar Hebraeus. See Pucci Ben Zeev, Diaspora Judaism, 247-49.
See above, n. 25.
This passage is preserved in the work of Dionysius Bar-Salibi. See bibliographical details in Pucci Ben Zeev, Diaspora Judaism, 83.
“To Jupiter Optimus Maximus Sarapis, for the welfare and victory of the Emperor Nerva Trajan Caesar, most excellent Augustus, Germanicus, Dacicus Parthicus, and (for the welfare) of the Roman people, a detachment of the Third Legion Cyrenaica erected (this)” (
Eck, “Jahres- und Provinzialfasten,” 149, n. 354.
Birley, Hadrian, 78-79.
The conspiracy against Hadrian is mentioned in the
“A plot to murder him while sacrificing was made by Nigrinus, with Lusius and a number of others as accomplices … but Hadrian successfully evaded this plot. Because of this conspiracy Palma was put to death at Tarracina, Celsus at Baiae, Nigrinus at Faventia, and Lusius on his journey homeward, all by order of the senate, but contrary to the wish of Hadrian, as he says himself in his autobiography” (
The existence of a conspiracy is defended by Meckler, “Historia Augusta,” 370 and by Birley, Hadrian, 75. Syme, however, recommends prudence, since “the evidence is far from establishing a conspiracy” (Syme, “Guard Prefects,” 1281). Birley suggests that something may have happened, which—perhaps only later—could be construed as an abortive assassination attempt. If Nigrinus plotted—or could plausibly be alleged to have plotted—to kill Hadrian, his real motive and that of his supposed fellow-conspirators might have been deep resentment at the abandonment of Trajan’s conquests. In any case, the account of the
Sifra, Emor, Pereq 9:5 on Lev 22:32 “But I will be hallowed among the children of Israel.” Translation based on that given by Horbury, “Pappus and Lulianus,” 294.
Syme, “Governors of Pannonia Inferior,” 343.
See above, n. 1.
See Strobel, Kaiser Traian, 392.
See below, n. 95.
Isaac and Roll, “Judaea,” 190.
Isaac and Roll, “Legio II Traiana,” 204.
Schäfer, “Hadrian’s Policy,” 283.
Isaac, The Near East, 198, n. 2 and 203, n. 26; Isaac and Roll, “Judaea,” 186. On the Roman legionary camp at Legio, see Tepper, “Roman Legionary Camp.”
Isaac and Roll, “Judaea,” 190.
Isaac and Roll, “Judaea,” 191.
See Hengel, “Hadrians Politik,” 159, n. 33.
Isaac and Roll, “Legio II Traiana,” 201-3.
The road from Ptolemais to Caparcotna through the plain was part of the network of major Roman roads in the province and gave access to all parts of it via the cross-roads at Caparcotna (Legio). See Isaac, The Near East, 202, n. 15.
See Oppenheimer, “Jewish Community in Galilee,” 62-63.
Isaac, “Milestones,” 49-50. See also Isaac and Roll, “Judaea,” 186.
Eck, “Hadrian, the Bar Kokhba Revolt,” 155.
Isaac, “Roman Colonies,” 101-2.
These hoards, in the possession of antique dealers, were found in the northern region of the Judean desert and in the Hebron Mountains when the place was under Jordanian governance. However, from the identical patina which covered the Bar Kokhba coins and the Aelia Capitolina coins, Meshorer concludes that they must have belonged to one and the same hoard: Meshorer, Jewish Coins, 92-93; Meshorer, “Coins from Hebron Mountains”; Meshorer, “Hoard in the Region of Hebron.”
See Tsafrir, “Numismatics,” 34.
Eshel, Zissu, and Frumkin, “Wadi Suweinit,” 94-98; Eshel and Zissu, “Coins from the el-Jai Cave.”
Eshel, “Date of the Founding,” 641-43.
Hanan Eshel points out that the refugees were probably in the cave in the months September-October 135. Among the coins, one of the city Aza was found, minted in the year 133/4. See Eshel, “Bethar was Captured,” 22, n. 28.
Gichon, “New Insights,” 38 and n. 60. See also Kloner and Tepper, Hiding Complex; Eshel and Amit, Refuge Caves; Tsafrir, Hiding Complex; Kloner, “Hiding Complexes in Judaea”; Kloner, “Hiding Complexes in the Northern Judaean Shephelah.”
See Tsafrir, “Numismatics,” 33-36 and Isaac, “Jerusalem—an Introduction,” 19.
Eshel, “Bethar was Captured,” 27, n. 29.
See Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. 4.6.
In July, Hadrian was already at Gaza on his way to Egypt. See Birley, “Hadrian’s Travels,” 431.
Historia Romana 69.12.1-2. On 130 as the foundation date of Aelia Capitolina, see Bowersock, “Old and New,” 185; Mildenberg, Coinage of Bar Kokhba War, 99-101; Schäfer, “Hadrian’s Policy,” 281; Zahrnt, “Zahl, Verteilung und Charakter,” 475-77; Meshorer, “Coins of Aelia Capitolina,” 183; Boatwright, Hadrian and the Cities, 197; Kindler, “Aelia Capitolina Founded” (offering additional proofs, such as the shape of Hadrian’s portrait on the coins and the mention of Trajan, which was abandoned in 134); Eshel, “Date of the Founding,” 643; Mazor, “Magical Amulet,” 130; Mazor, “Urban Plan,” 123, n. 2. On the inscriptions probably commemorating Hadrian’s visit to Judea in 130, see Mor, “Tel Shalem.”
L8144, B81249 and
In the names preserved on the bread stamps found in the dump, the use of praenomen and nomen alone, without the cognomen, would point to a date not later than the end of the first century
Weksler-Bdolah et al., “Layers of Ancient Jerusalem,” 47; Weksler-Bdolah, “Two Aspects,” 48-49, and Di Segni and Weksler-Bdolah, “Three Military Bread Stamps,” 21*-31*.
Leah Di Segni, “Epiphanius,” 448.
On Weights and Measures, ch. 14.
See the different interpretations of Baker, “On Weights and Measures,” and of Di Segni, “Epiphanius,” 441-51.
Capponi, “Hadrian in 117.”
The stations of Hadrian’s journey to Rome are mentioned in
Kindler, Coins of Tiberias, 20-21 and 88, no. 7b.
Kindler, Coins of Tiberias, 39-40, no. 8b.
Smallwood, “Palestine c. A.D. 115-118,” 507.
Kindler, Coins of Tiberias, 39, no. 7b.
See Vincent, “Chronique: II,” 440.
See the bibliography cited by Schäfer, “Hadrian’s Policy,” 284 and 289 on his view of the meaning to attach to this testimony.
Schäfer, “Hadrian’s Policy,” 287, 296.
Jones, “Urbanization of Palestine,” 82, and Jones, Cities, 278. See also Isaac and Roll, “Judaea,” 63.
Oppenheimer, “Jewish Community in Galilee”; Oppenheimer, Galilee in the Mishnaic Period, 34-35. See also Isaac and Roll, “Judaea,” 64.
Meshorer, “Sepphoris and Rome,” 163-65.
Pucci Ben Zeev, Diaspora Judaism, 154-55.
ccxxiiii Olymp. 117
This breastplate type is found in five statues, three of which from Crete (Hierapytna, Gortyna and Kisamos); the fourth comes from Antalya in Asia Minor and the fifth from Haidra in Tunisia. See Gergel, “Agora S166,” 377, 383, 385, 407.
See Goodman, “Bar-Kokhba War,” 27-28; Goodman, “Origins of Roman Hostility,” 26; Eck, “Hadrian, the Bar Kokhba Revolt,” 155.
Goodman, Rome and Jerusalem, 480-81.
“Less noted is the likelihood of a link between Trajan’s suspicion [of a revolt in Judea] and the causes of the Bar Kochba revolt. No ancient source directly connects the diaspora revolt under Trajan with the outbreak of the Bar Kochba rebellion in Judea in 132, but that should not inhibit modern historians from doing so … With these events clouding the start of his tenure of the principate, how would one expect Hadrian to treat the Jews?” (Goodman, “Trajan and the Origins of the Bar-Kokhba War,” 23-27).
Pro Flacco, 28, 66-69 = Stern, Greek and Latin Authors, 1:196-201, no. 68.
Goodman, “Bar-Kokhba War,” 28-29.
“The forced road construction is also doubtless to be seen in relation to the efforts to ensure peace and secure the borders in the Near East … It is plausible to view the extension of the network of roads under the larger aspect of improving connections between the provinces of Egypt, Arabia and Syria. Equally important is the establishment of a passageway and military corridor for the defense of the Empire’s eastern borders which this construction enabled … To this aim was also directed all his reorganization of the government of the provinces of the empire, which consisted in a series of financial, military, administrative and legal changes on a scale that had not been seen for a century and a half. The new policy of security within fixed frontiers was advertised in some places in concrete form. Hadrian himself went in person to each province, strengthening military discipline but also advertising his beneficence by the foundation of new cities and other similar magnificent gestures” (Schäfer, “Hadrian’s Policy in Judea,” 295).
Mattingly, Coins of the Roman Empire, vol. 3, nos. 493-494.
Goodman, Rome and Jerusalem, 483.
Among the deities later worshipped in the colony were Bacchus, Sarapis, Astarte and the Dioscuri, all of whom are represented in the city’s coinage, while the main cult was that of Jupiter Capitolinus. See Goodman, Rome and Jerusalem, 484-87. On the importance attached by Hadrian to Roman cults, see Mols, “Cult of Roma Aeterna.”