More artifacts of the Tenth Roman Legion

We had a good response to our recent posts, here and here, about the Roman Tenth Legion in Jerusalem.  I will post a few photos of other artifacts that are readily available for those who visit Israel.

The first is an inscription of the eighth cohort of the Tenth Legion. According to the accompanying sign in the Israel Museum this limestone inscription comes from Jerusalem or Samaria and belongs to the first or second century A.D. The inscription reads “LEG X FRE COH IIX” and is decorated with dolphins and a wild boar, symbols of the legion.

Inscription of the Eighth cohort of the Tenth Legion. Israel Museum.

Inscription of the eighth cohort of the Tenth Legion. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

About halfway between Jerusalem and Bethlehem is the site of Ramat Rachel. It was first occupied in the 7th century B.C. Stratum III revealed evidence of a Roman villa dating to the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D. Some of the clay tiles from the villa are displayed in the hotel at the site.

Information about Ramat Rachel is available on the Archaeological Project website here.

Tile of the Tenth Legion from Ramat Rachel. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Tile of the Tenth Legion from Ramat Rachel. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Finally, here is a tile fragment with a stamp of the Tenth Legion. The inscription reads “LG X F.” A wild boar and a battleship are the symbols on this one. The Israel Museum says this tile dates to the 1st-2nd century A.D.

Tenth Legion tile in the Israel Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Tenth Legion tile in the Israel Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Roman period in the Holy Land is usually dated from about 63 B.C. to A.D. 323. This includes the entire period of Jesus, the early church, and the New Testament, but it also includes the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and the period when Jerusalem was rebuilt by the Emperor Hadrian and named Aelia Capitolina.

Added Note: See the helpful comments by Tom Powers below. Tom is licensed as a guide in Israel, but is no longer living there. Here is the photo he mentions in the comment about the reused stone in the wall of the Old City near Jaffa Gate.

Partial stone bearing inscription of the Tenth Legion reused in the wall of the Old City near Jaffa Gate. Photo by Tom Powers.

Partial stone bearing inscription of the Tenth Legion reused in the wall of the Old City near Jaffa Gate. Photo by Tom Powers.

About these ads

4 responses to “More artifacts of the Tenth Roman Legion

  1. It’s interesting too that several years ago the tile FACTORY where many of these Roman LXF terra cotta items were made — roof tiles, piping, etc. — was discovered way out in West Jerusalem, where the International Convention Center stands today. On the Center’s lowest level, visitors can view preserved remains of the kilns, etc. and a small museum exhibit about the finds. For background, see: http://www.academia.edu/4173571/The_Jerusalem_International_Convention_Center_-Binyanei_Hauma_by_Arubas_and_Goldfus

    TOM POWERS / NC, USA

  2. I scratched my head for a moment over “IIX” for the Eighth Cohort. It turns out that, while “VIII” is standard today, IIX is in fact an alternate form known from many historical examples. Live and learn… (TP)

  3. One more on the Tenth Legion. This truly falls in the category of Jerusalem minutiae!

    Outside Jaffa Gate, walk north along the Old City wall, past the third protruding tower, then to the third floodlight fixture set into the grassy verge. Face the wall and follow the stones upward for several courses (5? 7? — I forget). This is what you’ll see:

    [See the photo at the bottom of the post.]

    The inscribed stone originally said:
    LEG X
    FRET
    Probably in the medieval period, the stone was found, cut in half vertically, rotated 90 degrees to the right, and set into the masonry of the city wall.

    TOM POWERS / NC, USA

  4. Full disclosure: I completed the Israeli guide training and passed their licensing exam but, not being a citizen, was ineligible to actually hold the license — their rules. — TOM POWERS

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s