Daily Archives: February 19, 2010

Roman Legions in Jerusalem

Rome gained control over the western Mediterranean in 146 B.C. By 131 B.C. Rome controlled the previous territory of Attalus, king of Pergamum. By 64 B.C., the Roman general Pompey ended the Seleucid dominion in Syria and the territory was annexed as another Roman province. Judea became a part of the Roman province of Syria. The Romans occupied the land they would name Palestine until the 4th century A.D.

There are numerous tangible evidences of the Roman rule of the country. One Roman column is located inside the Old City at Jaffa Gate. If you enter the Old City through Jaffa Gate, look to the left. I think the first street is Latin Patriarchate. The next “street” is a covered entry to several small businesses. Anyway, if you get to Jaffa Gate you can look down the little streets until you see the Roman Column serving as a lamp-post. (It appears that this was never any higher; not a column, but a post.)

Roman Legions Column near Jaffa Gate. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Roman Legions Post near Jaffa Gate. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Murphy-O’Connor (The Holy Land) says the post honors the Legate of the emperor Septimius Severus, and was erected about A.D. 200. He gives the following reading of the inscription:

M(arco) Iunio Maximo leg(ato) Aug(ustorum) Leg(ionis) X Fr(etensis) — Antoninianae — C. Dom(itius) Serg(ius) str(ator) eius.

The tenth legion participated in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and remained in the city for about 200 years.

Roman Column of Tenth Legion in Jerusalem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Roman Post of Tenth Legion in Jerusalem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.