Sources for Simon bar Kokhba.

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Stuart
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Re: Sources for Simon bar Kokhba.

Post by Stuart » Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:57 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:21 pm
they read:

Impertori Caesar/(ari di)v[i Traiani]
Parthic(i) F/[ilio divi Nerv]ae nep(oti)
Traiano H/(adri)ano August[o]
Pont[ifici] maxim/[o] tribunicia pot[estate] XIIII
Co[n]/s[uli] III P[atri] P[atrie]
[L]egio X F/retensis Antonianae


To the Emperor Caesar Trajan Hadrian Augustus, son of the deified Trajan defeater of the Parthians, grandson of the deified Nerva, high priest, invested with tribunician power XIV, consul III, father of the country, [dedicated by] the Tenth Legion Fretensis Antoniniana.

(The slash marks signify the break between the two parts of the inscription.)

We have coins from the era of bar Kokhba: https://www.ngccoin.com/news/article/24 ... Bar-Kokhba.

So... what else is there?
Thanks.

Ben.
I just wanted to comment on the above.

First, on the coins stashes, an excellent mapping of them has been done, as well as tunnels, and other artifacts related to the revolt. What was most surprising, excepting a single Bar Kokhba coin found in Jerusalem, and another isolated coin found near the Israeli coast (not hoards, and found with a mix of Roman and other coins) which seem to have arrived either as souvenir or by some wandering trader, all the physical evidence points to a revolt limited to a the Hills of Judea South of Aelia Capitolina. A lot of the fantasies of a great revolt and vastly roaming Jewish army simply are not supported by the physical evidence. However the account in Dio of a brutal guerilla war are supported. They dug in and hid, forcing the Romans to come after them. The Roman Army did learn how to fit as small units, which proved extremely useful against the German tribes in Marcus Aurelius' campaigns in the wet dark forests where large formations simply didn't work. Dio's account is also accurate about the devastation of Jewish towns in the region. Archeology shows that the towns ceased being Jewish, and in fact many simply ceased to exist in the mid-2nd century, and in the region starting at a similar time onward appear gentile towns - Jewish layouts were a little different, and Jewish everyday artifacts are no longer found, but instead Roman/Byzantine common items are found. These Jewish towns were thriving and showed no effects from Bellum Iudiaca of 67-73 AD.

As for the part about the temple in Dio (Xiphilini Manus), there is major problem with the text being Christianized. You rightly underline καὶ ἐς τὸν τοῦ ναοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ τόπον ναὸν τῷ Διὶ. "The temple of God" is not how a Roman Pagan would refer to the Jewish God, rather "their temple" or a"the temple to their God." Obviously that passage was added much later when the myth of the revolt having been sparked by offense to the same God as that of the Christians had become popular. I would venture to say sometime between the 4th and 11th centuries. Also the reference to a foreign deity is not how a Pagan who honored Jupiter would refer to a God of his liking. This indicates the Christian interpolation is much greater than realized.

As for the location of the actual Roman Temple, I have pointed you to papers by modern Jewish scholars who follow the archeology that indicate the
actual Roman Temples were within the walls of Aelia Capitolina, as is the pattern of any Roman polis. The Temple Mount was not used, or if it was, it would have been the encampment of a cohort of the the 10th legion. (Comment later on this)

I am aware of the inscription you refer to. And IIRC it was found with the camp, including horse stables of the 10th legion near the Holiday Inn about a mile (roughly 15 minutes walk) north of Aelia Capitolina. This appears to have been the primary base of the legion in the 2nd century, and was probably set up specifically to build Aelia Capitolina, then became the base of operations to put down the revolt.

What is important to understand is there was nothing on the Temple Mount. It was not part of Aelia Capitolina. Every artifact found of Jerusalem from before the Byzantine era has been found south of Aelia Capitolina (which is the "old city" today). The Gihon Spring, the pools of Siloam, Herod's Palace, some foundations of old walls, as well as roads and importantly underground passages. This has caused new thinking about the temple location. To keep it on "Temple Mount" many now propose a southern location, moving it from the Domed mosque to Al-Aqsa mosque area. But I think even this is going to prove wrong. There is no evidence the Temple Mount area was ever divided by a wall for the Fortress on the north and the Temple on the South. There would be some residue from piles or changes in earth that would show up in imagery, even if flattened over and paved. But nothing. My own view is the Temple was probably close to the Gihon Spring, as Jews would have built the Temple inside the city walls, just like most cities (Athens an exception). This means the Temple lay outside the walls of Aelia Capitolina, and possible to the South of the Temple Mount.

The reason I think the Temple Mount was Fortress Antonia, is that it had to be large enough to house the bulk of a Legion, which at a minimum was 4-5,000 men. To keep with Christian tradition, original depictions of the fortress -with fortress being intentionally translated as "tower" to fit- was supposedly just north of Temple Mount and merely a tall building. This is silly as such a building could not have housed more than a few dozen troops in less than ideal conditions. But the Temple Mount is similar in size and shape to typical Roman camps. It would have had a commanding position over the city and surrounding area. It unfortunately lacks water, but cisterns have been found which conform to Roman style. The lack of water would have made it unsuitable for Jewish sacrifices and Temple rituals, such as the washings. It would have required a daily march of priests up the hill bearing water for the day. If you can find evidence of that, I'll listen.

Romans temples were always built inside the city walls, and statues placed at the main gates or at the temples. These were meant to be seen and part of daily life. That is why a temple on the Mount is highly improbable, as the only reason to have placed a statue up there would have been to deliberately poke an eye at the Jews, rather than fulfill Roman needs. This renders Dio's supposed account flat wrong. The 4th century Church of the Holy Sepulcher almost certainly replaced the temples. This would fit pattern of Churches replacing pagan temples, much like Haggia Sofia became a mosque after the Ottoman Turks defeated the Byzantines. It is also in the same location as the maps indicate the temples were. It's the center of town, just off the business district.

The evidence comes back to the suggestion that the Judea Hills revolted because of the costs of the Roman visit and building program. All the roads were outside their region, as was the new polis. They would have been hit with a variety of taxes to pay for the visit and building, as was Roman practice. When an Emperor visited a province that province was expected to pay for the trip. And when things were build there they also paid for it. What is striking about the area that revolted is a complete lack of Roman building or infrastructure projects in the region. It would have been perceived that while the Samaritans benefited from the new roads and projects, the Judea Hill people only paid taxes. And this we are told by both Jewish source and Dio is how the revolt started, people stopped paying taxes and began resisting. Absolutely no doubt religious and cultural identity played a role in the revolt. But it was not a classic uprising with a raised army. This is why it took a few years to build up, and why the Romans initially took it as nothing more than increased banditry. By 132 AD it got serious enough to require being put down. This coincides with Simon taking a leading role, and likely the confiscation of Imperial estates in the region -- which would have yielded some hordes of coins, which were the source of the re-stamped currency.

That is the picture the archeology paints. It's very different than the notion of a great sweeping army running riot over the eastern empire and sought out Christians to persecute. While they definitely agitated for allies (Simon's letters hint at that), it looks like an in place revolt that was a hit and run game until the Romans got fed up and started to simply slaughter the inhabitants of towns in the region, and finally identified Betar as the HQ and surrounded it in 135 AD.

Back to the statues. The plaque is not a statue. When looking around the empire the statues of Hadrian which are found are from the Antoninus era. One statue in Galilee is an equestrian Hadrian celebrating the defeat of Bar Kokhba and the formation of the Syria-Palestine province. This had to be post revolt, no earlier than 136 AD, if not 138 AD or later when Antoninus came to the throne. Given that all other statues seem to be after his reign, and the short time period between the end of the revolt and the beginning of Antoninus' reign there is little reason to push up the date a couple years just to fit in the last days of Hadrian -- although this fits Christian myth, and that is where most tradition is founded.
“’That was excellently observed’, say I, when I read a passage in an author, where his opinion agrees with mine. When we differ, there I pronounce him to be mistaken.” - Jonathan Swift

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Sources for Simon bar Kokhba.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:49 am

Thanks for this, Stuart.
There is no evidence the Temple Mount area was ever divided by a wall for the Fortress on the north and the Temple on the South.
What do you think of this passage from Josephus?

Josephus, Wars 5.6.2 258-260: 258 Now when affairs within the city were in this posture, Titus went round the city on the outside with some chosen horsemen, and looked about for a proper place where he might make an impression upon the walls; 259 but as he was in doubt where he could possibly make an attack on any side, (for the place was no way accessible where the valleys were, and on the other side the first wall appeared too strong to be shaken by the engines,) he thereupon thought it best to make his assault upon the monument of John the high priest; 260 for there it was that the first fortification was lower, and the second was not joined to it, the builders neglecting to build strong where the new city was not much inhabited; here also was an easy passage to the third wall, through which he thought to take the upper city, and, through the tower of Antonia, the temple itself [διὰ τῆς Ἀντωνίας τὸ ἱερὸν αἱρήσειν].

Does this not imply that the Fortress was adjacent to the Temple, or at least very close?
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Jax
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Re: Sources for Simon bar Kokhba.

Post by Jax » Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:01 pm

Stuart wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:57 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:21 pm
they read:

Impertori Caesar/(ari di)v[i Traiani]
Parthic(i) F/[ilio divi Nerv]ae nep(oti)
Traiano H/(adri)ano August[o]
Pont[ifici] maxim/[o] tribunicia pot[estate] XIIII
Co[n]/s[uli] III P[atri] P[atrie]
[L]egio X F/retensis Antonianae


To the Emperor Caesar Trajan Hadrian Augustus, son of the deified Trajan defeater of the Parthians, grandson of the deified Nerva, high priest, invested with tribunician power XIV, consul III, father of the country, [dedicated by] the Tenth Legion Fretensis Antoniniana.

(The slash marks signify the break between the two parts of the inscription.)

We have coins from the era of bar Kokhba: https://www.ngccoin.com/news/article/24 ... Bar-Kokhba.

So... what else is there?
Thanks.

Ben.
I just wanted to comment on the above.

First, on the coins stashes, an excellent mapping of them has been done, as well as tunnels, and other artifacts related to the revolt. What was most surprising, excepting a single Bar Kokhba coin found in Jerusalem, and another isolated coin found near the Israeli coast (not hoards, and found with a mix of Roman and other coins) which seem to have arrived either as souvenir or by some wandering trader, all the physical evidence points to a revolt limited to a the Hills of Judea South of Aelia Capitolina. A lot of the fantasies of a great revolt and vastly roaming Jewish army simply are not supported by the physical evidence. However the account in Dio of a brutal guerilla war are supported. They dug in and hid, forcing the Romans to come after them. The Roman Army did learn how to fit as small units, which proved extremely useful against the German tribes in Marcus Aurelius' campaigns in the wet dark forests where large formations simply didn't work. Dio's account is also accurate about the devastation of Jewish towns in the region. Archeology shows that the towns ceased being Jewish, and in fact many simply ceased to exist in the mid-2nd century, and in the region starting at a similar time onward appear gentile towns - Jewish layouts were a little different, and Jewish everyday artifacts are no longer found, but instead Roman/Byzantine common items are found. These Jewish towns were thriving and showed no effects from Bellum Iudiaca of 67-73 AD.

As for the part about the temple in Dio (Xiphilini Manus), there is major problem with the text being Christianized. You rightly underline καὶ ἐς τὸν τοῦ ναοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ τόπον ναὸν τῷ Διὶ. "The temple of God" is not how a Roman Pagan would refer to the Jewish God, rather "their temple" or a"the temple to their God." Obviously that passage was added much later when the myth of the revolt having been sparked by offense to the same God as that of the Christians had become popular. I would venture to say sometime between the 4th and 11th centuries. Also the reference to a foreign deity is not how a Pagan who honored Jupiter would refer to a God of his liking. This indicates the Christian interpolation is much greater than realized.

As for the location of the actual Roman Temple, I have pointed you to papers by modern Jewish scholars who follow the archeology that indicate the
actual Roman Temples were within the walls of Aelia Capitolina, as is the pattern of any Roman polis. The Temple Mount was not used, or if it was, it would have been the encampment of a cohort of the the 10th legion. (Comment later on this)

I am aware of the inscription you refer to. And IIRC it was found with the camp, including horse stables of the 10th legion near the Holiday Inn about a mile (roughly 15 minutes walk) north of Aelia Capitolina. This appears to have been the primary base of the legion in the 2nd century, and was probably set up specifically to build Aelia Capitolina, then became the base of operations to put down the revolt.

What is important to understand is there was nothing on the Temple Mount. It was not part of Aelia Capitolina. Every artifact found of Jerusalem from before the Byzantine era has been found south of Aelia Capitolina (which is the "old city" today). The Gihon Spring, the pools of Siloam, Herod's Palace, some foundations of old walls, as well as roads and importantly underground passages. This has caused new thinking about the temple location. To keep it on "Temple Mount" many now propose a southern location, moving it from the Domed mosque to Al-Aqsa mosque area. But I think even this is going to prove wrong. There is no evidence the Temple Mount area was ever divided by a wall for the Fortress on the north and the Temple on the South. There would be some residue from piles or changes in earth that would show up in imagery, even if flattened over and paved. But nothing. My own view is the Temple was probably close to the Gihon Spring, as Jews would have built the Temple inside the city walls, just like most cities (Athens an exception). This means the Temple lay outside the walls of Aelia Capitolina, and possible to the South of the Temple Mount.

The reason I think the Temple Mount was Fortress Antonia, is that it had to be large enough to house the bulk of a Legion, which at a minimum was 4-5,000 men. To keep with Christian tradition, original depictions of the fortress -with fortress being intentionally translated as "tower" to fit- was supposedly just north of Temple Mount and merely a tall building. This is silly as such a building could not have housed more than a few dozen troops in less than ideal conditions. But the Temple Mount is similar in size and shape to typical Roman camps. It would have had a commanding position over the city and surrounding area. It unfortunately lacks water, but cisterns have been found which conform to Roman style. The lack of water would have made it unsuitable for Jewish sacrifices and Temple rituals, such as the washings. It would have required a daily march of priests up the hill bearing water for the day. If you can find evidence of that, I'll listen.

Romans temples were always built inside the city walls, and statues placed at the main gates or at the temples. These were meant to be seen and part of daily life. That is why a temple on the Mount is highly improbable, as the only reason to have placed a statue up there would have been to deliberately poke an eye at the Jews, rather than fulfill Roman needs. This renders Dio's supposed account flat wrong. The 4th century Church of the Holy Sepulcher almost certainly replaced the temples. This would fit pattern of Churches replacing pagan temples, much like Haggia Sofia became a mosque after the Ottoman Turks defeated the Byzantines. It is also in the same location as the maps indicate the temples were. It's the center of town, just off the business district.

The evidence comes back to the suggestion that the Judea Hills revolted because of the costs of the Roman visit and building program. All the roads were outside their region, as was the new polis. They would have been hit with a variety of taxes to pay for the visit and building, as was Roman practice. When an Emperor visited a province that province was expected to pay for the trip. And when things were build there they also paid for it. What is striking about the area that revolted is a complete lack of Roman building or infrastructure projects in the region. It would have been perceived that while the Samaritans benefited from the new roads and projects, the Judea Hill people only paid taxes. And this we are told by both Jewish source and Dio is how the revolt started, people stopped paying taxes and began resisting. Absolutely no doubt religious and cultural identity played a role in the revolt. But it was not a classic uprising with a raised army. This is why it took a few years to build up, and why the Romans initially took it as nothing more than increased banditry. By 132 AD it got serious enough to require being put down. This coincides with Simon taking a leading role, and likely the confiscation of Imperial estates in the region -- which would have yielded some hordes of coins, which were the source of the re-stamped currency.

That is the picture the archeology paints. It's very different than the notion of a great sweeping army running riot over the eastern empire and sought out Christians to persecute. While they definitely agitated for allies (Simon's letters hint at that), it looks like an in place revolt that was a hit and run game until the Romans got fed up and started to simply slaughter the inhabitants of towns in the region, and finally identified Betar as the HQ and surrounded it in 135 AD.

Back to the statues. The plaque is not a statue. When looking around the empire the statues of Hadrian which are found are from the Antoninus era. One statue in Galilee is an equestrian Hadrian celebrating the defeat of Bar Kokhba and the formation of the Syria-Palestine province. This had to be post revolt, no earlier than 136 AD, if not 138 AD or later when Antoninus came to the throne. Given that all other statues seem to be after his reign, and the short time period between the end of the revolt and the beginning of Antoninus' reign there is little reason to push up the date a couple years just to fit in the last days of Hadrian -- although this fits Christian myth, and that is where most tradition is founded.
Just wanted to second Ben, thank you for this nice informative writeup. :thumbup:

If you have any links germane to this subject I would love to read them. :)

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Stuart
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Re: Sources for Simon bar Kokhba.

Post by Stuart » Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:58 pm

On Ben's comment about the fortress being adjacent (almost) to the temple. If you look at a map of the Gihon Springs and imagine a Temple just slightly north, that would place very close to the southern tip of the Temple Mount (Antonia). It would also be in a location where Herod could look down from his Palace without it being a skyscraper. BTW, the Walls of the Temple Mount were no more than half their current height if that. The area seems to have been enlarged as well during the Islamic years (we tend to look at the Muslim square there now and presume it looked like that two thousand years ago ... it did not). We still have trouble getting our minds wrapped around how small and compact cities were.

As for Aelia Capitolina, it was meant as a polis for older legionnaires to settle, and the lack of purpose for the temple mount after the Jewish War (no city to guard), and lack of resources, is probably why the encampment (where the plaque was found) was a little under a mile to the north of Aelia, where there was good land for horses.

A few to help you with the actual physical location of the revolt

1. Another good article: Boaz Zizzu and Amos Kloner Archealogical Study
http://151.12.58.75/archeologia/bao_doc ... KLONER.pdf

The tunnels and forts were largely south and west of Aelia Capitolina. Although some were built north and east of it. There is some evidence that Samaria and Galilee made some preparations to revolt, but it appears they did not. It was definitely a brutal dig them out revolt. It shoudl be noted the documents and coins indicate that the revolt controlled territory to the east all the way to the dead sea (almost) for the bulk of the revolt, although the tunnels/caves and population involved in the fighting was predominantly to the east (see map page 46).

2. On JStor you can read http://www.jstor.org/stable/31105
Bar Kokhba Coins and Documents, Leo Mildenberg

I attach two maps Use are the two maps from this article to help show just how localized the revolt was
Attachments
Leo Mildenberg Map 2.png
Leo Mildenberg Map 2.png (42.3 KiB) Viewed 4470 times
Leo Mildenberg Map 1.png
Leo Mildenberg Map 1.png (39.62 KiB) Viewed 4470 times
“’That was excellently observed’, say I, when I read a passage in an author, where his opinion agrees with mine. When we differ, there I pronounce him to be mistaken.” - Jonathan Swift

andrewcriddle
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Re: Sources for Simon bar Kokhba.

Post by andrewcriddle » Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:47 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:52 am
andrewcriddle wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:36 am
Even if Bar Kochba claimed to be the Messiah (highly probable), and was recognised as Messiah by Akiva (unclear), they presumably did not use the phrases reported in the Jewish sources. Hence the exact verbal parallel with Mark is probably not relevant.
Akiva is purely an extra here, correct? Even if he made no such claims about our boy Simon, it stands to reason that there were people (besides Simon himself) who did, does it not? I doubt his followers and supporters were risking life and limb for him and none of them agreed with his claim; he was a rebel leader, not some lonely loon in a padded room.

The main link which Detering offers is that, by our best evidence, the title of Messiah was attached to Simon bar Kokhba, whereas it is harder to tell whether this was the case with, say, Simon ben Giora. I am still sifting through our evidence for Simon bar Kokhba, though, and if you have anything to add on that thread please do.
Hi Ben

you suggested I follow up in this thread.

Whether Akiva recognised Simon as Messiah is, as you suggest, of little importance.

However if none of the contemporary rabbis recognised Simon as Messiah (i.e. he was recognised as Messiah by many Jews but he and the rabbis largely ignored each other) then this would probably make rabbinic claims about Simon in later sources historically nearly worthless.

Andrew Criddle

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Re: Sources for Simon bar Kokhba.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:20 pm

andrewcriddle wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:47 am
Whether Akiva recognised Simon as Messiah is, as you suggest, of little importance.

However if none of the contemporary rabbis recognised Simon as Messiah (i.e. he was recognised as Messiah by many Jews but he and the rabbis largely ignored each other) then this would probably make rabbinic claims about Simon in later sources historically nearly worthless.
That makes sense. Thanks, Andrew.
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john1565
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Re: Sources for Simon bar Kokhba.

Post by john1565 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:45 am


I just wanted to comment on the above.

First, on the coins stashes, an excellent mapping of them has been done, as well as tunnels, and other artifacts related to the revolt. What was most surprising, excepting a single Bar Kokhba coin found in Jerusalem, and another isolated coin found near the Israeli coast (not hoards, and found with a mix of Roman and other coins) which seem to have arrived either as souvenir or by some wandering trader, all the physical evidence points to a revolt limited to a the Hills of Judea South of Aelia Capitolina. A lot of the fantasies of a great revolt and vastly roaming Jewish army simply are not supported by the physical evidence. However the account in Dio of a brutal guerilla war are supported. They dug in and hid, forcing the Romans to come after them. The Roman Army did learn how to fit as small units, which proved extremely useful against the German tribes in Marcus Aurelius' campaigns in the wet dark forests where large formations simply didn't work. Dio's account is also accurate about the devastation of Jewish towns in the region. Archeology shows that the towns ceased being Jewish, and in fact many simply ceased to exist in the mid-2nd century, and in the region starting at a similar time onward appear gentile towns - Jewish layouts were a little different, and Jewish everyday artifacts are no longer found, but instead Roman/Byzantine common items are found. These Jewish towns were thriving and showed no effects from Bellum Iudiaca of 67-73 AD.

As for the part about the temple in Dio (Xiphilini Manus), there is major problem with the text being Christianized. You rightly underline καὶ ἐς τὸν τοῦ ναοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ τόπον ναὸν τῷ Διὶ. "The temple of God" is not how a Roman Pagan would refer to the Jewish God, rather "their temple" or a"the temple to their God." Obviously that passage was added much later when the myth of the revolt having been sparked by offense to the same God as that of the Christians had become popular. I would venture to say sometime between the 4th and 11th centuries. Also the reference to a foreign deity is not how a Pagan who honored Jupiter would refer to a God of his liking. This indicates the Christian interpolation is much greater than realized.

As for the location of the actual Roman Temple, I have pointed you to papers by modern Jewish scholars who follow the archeology that indicate the
actual Roman Temples were within the walls of Aelia Capitolina, as is the pattern of any Roman polis. The Temple Mount was not used, or if it was, it would have been the encampment of a cohort of the the 10th legion. (Comment later on this)

I am aware of the inscription you refer to. And IIRC it was found with the camp, including horse stables of the 10th legion near the Holiday Inn about a mile (roughly 15 minutes walk) north of Aelia Capitolina. This appears to have been the primary base of the legion in the 2nd century, and was probably set up specifically to build Aelia Capitolina, then became the base of operations to put down the revolt.

What is important to understand is there was nothing on the Temple Mount. It was not part of Aelia Capitolina. Every artifact found of Jerusalem from before the Byzantine era has been found south of Aelia Capitolina (which is the "old city" today). The Gihon Spring, the pools of Siloam, Herod's Palace, some foundations of old walls, as well as roads and importantly underground passages. This has caused new thinking about the temple location. To keep it on "Temple Mount" many now propose a southern location, moving it from the Domed mosque to Al-Aqsa mosque area. But I think even this is going to prove wrong. There is no evidence the Temple Mount area was ever divided by a wall for the Fortress on the north and the Temple on the South. There would be some residue from piles or changes in earth that would show up in imagery, even if flattened over and paved. But nothing. My own view is the Temple was probably close to the Gihon Spring, as Jews would have built the Temple inside the city walls, just like most cities (Athens an exception). This means the Temple lay outside the walls of Aelia Capitolina, and possible to the South of the Temple Mount.

The reason I think the Temple Mount was Fortress Antonia, is that it had to be large enough to house the bulk of a Legion, which at a minimum was 4-5,000 men. To keep with Christian tradition, original depictions of the fortress -with fortress being intentionally translated as "tower" to fit- was supposedly just north of Temple Mount and merely a tall building. This is silly as such a building could not have housed more than a few dozen troops in less than ideal conditions. But the Temple Mount is similar in size and shape to typical Roman camps. It would have had a commanding position over the city and surrounding area. It unfortunately lacks water, but cisterns have been found which conform to Roman style. The lack of water would have made it unsuitable for Jewish sacrifices and Temple rituals, such as the washings. It would have required a daily march of priests up the hill bearing water for the day. If you can find evidence of that, I'll listen.

Romans temples were always built inside the city walls, and statues placed at the main gates or at the temples. These were meant to be seen and part of daily life. That is why a temple on the Mount is highly improbable, as the only reason to have placed a statue up there would have been to deliberately poke an eye at the Jews, rather than fulfill Roman needs. This renders Dio's supposed account flat wrong. The 4th century Church of the Holy Sepulcher almost certainly replaced the temples. This would fit pattern of Churches replacing pagan temples, much like Haggia Sofia became a mosque after the Ottoman Turks defeated the Byzantines. It is also in the same location as the maps indicate the temples were. It's the center of town, just off the business district.

The evidence comes back to the suggestion that the Judea Hills revolted because of the costs of the Roman visit and building program. All the roads were outside their region, as was the new polis. They would have been hit with a variety of taxes to pay for the visit and building, as was Roman practice. When an Emperor visited a province that province was expected to pay for the trip. And when things were build there they also paid for it. What is striking about the area that revolted is a complete lack of Roman building or infrastructure projects in the region. It would have been perceived that while the Samaritans benefited from the new roads and projects, the Judea Hill people only paid taxes. And this we are told by both Jewish source and Dio is how the revolt started, people stopped paying taxes and began resisting. Absolutely no doubt religious and cultural identity played a role in the revolt. But it was not a classic uprising with a raised army. This is why it took a few years to build up, and why the Romans initially took it as nothing more than increased banditry. By 132 AD it got serious enough to require being put down. This coincides with Simon taking a leading role, and likely the confiscation of Imperial estates in the region -- which would have yielded some hordes of coins, which were the source of the re-stamped currency.

That is the picture the archeology paints. It's very different than the notion of a great sweeping army running riot over the eastern empire and sought out Christians to persecute. While they definitely agitated for allies (Simon's letters hint at that), it looks like an in place revolt that was a hit and run game until the Romans got fed up and started to simply slaughter the inhabitants of towns in the region, and finally identified Betar as the HQ and surrounded it in 135 AD.

Back to the statues. The plaque is not a statue. When looking around the empire the statues of Hadrian which are found are from the Antoninus era. One statue in Galilee is an equestrian Hadrian celebrating the defeat of Bar Kokhba and the formation of the Syria-Palestine province. This had to be post revolt, no earlier than 136 AD, if not 138 AD or later when Antoninus came to the throne. Given that all other statues seem to be after his reign, and the short time period between the end of the revolt and the beginning of Antoninus' reign there is little reason to push up the date a couple years just to fit in the last days of Hadrian -- although this fits Christian myth, and that is where most tradition is founded.


Thanks mate! It's very in-depth analysis

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Re: Sources for Simon bar Kokhba.

Post by Stuart » Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:32 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:26 am
Stuart wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:15 am
Hadrian could not possibly have placed his own statue in front of any temple, or in any temple complex. It would have been a faux pax similar to a pope sanctifying himself, and ordering he be revered among the great saints and a statue erected in Cathedral in his own honor.
But is that not exactly what Caligula had proposed to do nearly a century earlier, according to Philo and Josephus? Philo, citing a fellow countryman: "Our temple is destroyed! Gaius has ordered a colossal statue of himself to be erected in the holy of holies, having his own name inscribed upon it with the title of Jupiter!"
This is probably a later Christian interpolation about Gaius (I think your quoting Josephus). It also seems unlikely to have occurred for a number of reasons, more than I care to go into.

A minor correction on Statues of Hadrain and others. After more research, I can say very rarely was it ever the Emperor who erected them, but others wishing to win favor. Most of Hadrian's do date to his reign, as we can find from the dedications on the base. These are often are gifts from cities and individuals. Hadrian also had many erected after his death by Pius. If there is no Divi in the name, then he is still alive, not referred to as a God. Also there seem to have been roughly the same number of statues for Hadrian erected than of Trajan or Antoninus, each of whom ruled similar lengths of time, indicating a rather continuous social behavior, and no great relationship to travel or policy

Were there a statue of Hadrian it would have been in front of the Temples to Jupiter and Venus in the square where the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is situation now (Archeology confirms the location of the Temple of Venus there). This would have been typical for Roman Polis.

Ben, a comment on your including my comments -- thanks for including my typos like "honer" for "honor" (ouch).

In general both Christians and Jews had great political reasons for hyping up the scale of the Bar Kokhba revolt in the 5th century onward. Hence the interpolations. The archeological evidence is decisive in showing that revolt was confined to the hill region of Judea south of Aelia Capitonlina and was never involved large units in combat until the final siege of Betar. Similarly, by the Crusades the location and size of Jerusalem during Bellum Iudaica has also been much aggrandized.

My basic view is the Temple Mount was not the site of the Temple, but was instead the fortress Antonia which housed a legion. The Jewish War caught the Romans off guard with only a cohort rearguard in the fortress, the rest of the legion elsewhere, and so they took the better part of valor and high tailed it out of town. This gave the Jews an huge defense to the north. The ruins of this fort, were described in the 4th century by a pilgrim looking east from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher as the ruined walls (plural) of a "Praetorium." Christians had not yet come to see this as the location of the temple.

In general we are trying to read history into the NT scriptures that archeology says simply isn't there. We confuse opinions from the middle ages with those of the Roman era.

Note Dr. Eliav's work has focused on the location of Aelia Capitolina and he has concluded that the location was on empty ground north of the old city of Jerusalem. There have been ZERO finds of any structure in the old city prior to the Byzantine/Roman period. This contrasts sharply with the areas south of Aelia's walls where almost all of Herod's Jerusalem has been uncovered. IMO only "faith" based opinion keeps the Temple north of this region.
“’That was excellently observed’, say I, when I read a passage in an author, where his opinion agrees with mine. When we differ, there I pronounce him to be mistaken.” - Jonathan Swift

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Sources for Simon bar Kokhba.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:50 am

Stuart wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:32 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:26 am
Stuart wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:15 am
Hadrian could not possibly have placed his own statue in front of any temple, or in any temple complex. It would have been a faux pax similar to a pope sanctifying himself, and ordering he be revered among the great saints and a statue erected in Cathedral in his own honor.
But is that not exactly what Caligula had proposed to do nearly a century earlier, according to Philo and Josephus? Philo, citing a fellow countryman: "Our temple is destroyed! Gaius has ordered a colossal statue of himself to be erected in the holy of holies, having his own name inscribed upon it with the title of Jupiter!"
This is probably a later Christian interpolation about Gaius (I think your quoting Josephus).
What are the specific arguments in favor of such an interpolation? For Cassius Dio I have that article by Eliav. What or whom may I consult for Josephus? Also, what about Philo's Embassy to Gaius?
A minor correction on Statues of Hadrain and others. After more research, I can say very rarely was it ever the Emperor who erected them, but others wishing to win favor.
We have evidence from the Roman historians that this observation, however true it may be of most emperors, was not true of Caligula.
Ben, a comment on your including my comments -- thanks for including my typos like "honer" for "honor" (ouch).
I probably noticed that when I first read it (I seldom miss typos), but I almost certainly did not reread that entire snippet of yours when the time came to quote you, sorry. I have now corrected this typo in my quotation.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΕΘΕΙΑ

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Re: Sources for Simon bar Kokhba.

Post by Stuart » Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:08 pm

Ben,

You are correct on Eliav. I should know better than to check first, my bad.

I personally align that two phrases are interpolations The second one here from my notes:
Jewish scholar Dr. Menaham Mor, Are there Any New Factors Concerning the Bar Kokhba Revolt?, Studia Antiqua et Archaeologica XVIII, 2012, 161-193, points out that Joannes Xiphilinus, the 11th century epitomator of Cassius Dio, had a clear agenda for adding the phrase "for the Jews deemed it intolerable that foreign races should be settled in their city and foreign religious rites planted there" (Ἰουδαῖοι γὰρ δεινόν τι ποιούμενοι τὸ ἀλλοφύλους τινὰς ἐς τὴν πόλιν σφῶν οἰκισθῆναι καὶ τὸ ἱερὰ ἀλλότρια ἐν αὐτῇ ἱδρυθῆναι) which Mor says is not Dio's. While I mostly agree, the passage which precede need some examination. It is highly unlikely Dio would have referred to the destroyed Jewish Temple with such reverence to make the statement, "and on the site of the temple of the god he raised a new temple to another deity" (καὶ ἐς τὸν τοῦ ναοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ τόπον ναὸν τῷ Διὶ ἕτερον). So I think the phrase about the Temple must be removed, as it suggests primacy of the Jewish and Christian God, and Jupiter is referred to as merely as "another deity". Also it has been demonstrated that no Temple was built on the Temple Mount, and Dio would no that. But something had to have been said to after it started a War. I think it is the phrase "for the Jews found it intolerable" (Ἰουδαῖοι γὰρ δεινόν τι ποιούμενοι) referring obliquely to the burden of taxation to pay for the new Polis.
So the text was originally (with both interpolations removed)
12 At Jerusalem he founded a city in place of the one which had been razed to the ground, naming it Aelia Capitolina, and on the site of the temple of the god he raised a new temple to another diety. This brought on a war of no slight importance nor of brief duration, for the Jews deemed it intolerable that foreign races should be settled in their city and foreign religious rites planted there. So long, indeed, as Hadrian was close by in Egypt and again in Syria, they remained quiet, save in so far as they purposely made of poor quality such weapons as they were called upon to furnish, in order that the Romans might reject them and they themselves might thus have the use of them; but when he went farther away, they openly revolted. To be sure, they did not dare try conclusions with the Romans in the open field, but they occupied the advantageous positions in the country and strengthened them with mines and walls, in order that they might have places of refuge whenever they should be hard pressed, and might meet together unobserved under ground; and they pierced these subterranean passages from above at intervals to let in air and light.
13 At first the Romans took no account of them. Soon, however, all Judea had been stirred up, and the Jews everywhere were showing signs of disturbance, were gathering together, and giving evidence of great hostility to the Romans, partly by secret and partly by overt acts; many outside nations, too, were joining them through eagerness for gain, and the whole earth, one might almost say, was being stirred up over the matter. Then, indeed, Hadrian sent against them his best generals. First of these was Julius Severus, who was dispatched from Britain, where he was governor, against the Jews. Severus did not venture to attack his opponents in the open at any one point, in view of their numbers and their desperation, but by intercepting small groups, thanks to the number of his soldiers and his under-officers, and by depriving them of food and shutting them up, he was able, rather slowly, to be sure, but with comparatively little danger, to crush, exhaust and exterminate them. Very few of them in fact survived.
14 Fifty of their most important outposts and nine hundred and eighty-five of their most famous villages were razed to the ground. Five hundred and eighty thousand men were slain in the various raids and battles, and the number of those that perished by famine, disease and fire was past finding out. Thus nearly the whole of Judea was made desolate, a result of which the people had had forewarning before the war. For the tomb of Solomon, which the Jews regard as an object of veneration, fell to pieces of itself and collapsed, and many wolves and hyenas rushed howling into their cities. Many Romans, moreover, perished in this war. Therefore Hadrian in writing to the senate did not employ the opening phrase commonly affected by the emperors, "If you and our children are in health, it is well; I and the legions are in health." ...
15 This, then, was the end of the war with the Jews.
or in the Greek
12 ἐς δὲ τὰ Ἱεροσόλυμα πόλιν αὐτοῦ ἀντὶ τῆς κατασκαφείσης οἰκίσαντος, ἣν καὶ Αἰλίαν Καπιτωλῖναν ὠνόμασε, καὶ ἐς τὸν τοῦ ναοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ τόπον ναὸν τῷ Διὶ ἕτερον ἀντεγείραντος πόλεμος οὔτε μικρὸς οὔτ᾽ ὀλιγοχρόνιος ἐκινήθη. Ἰουδαῖοι γὰρ δεινόν τι ποιούμενοι τὸ ἀλλοφύλους τινὰς ἐς τὴν πόλιν σφῶν οἰκισθῆναι καὶ τὸ ἱερὰ ἀλλότρια ἐν αὐτῇ ἱδρυθῆναι, παρόντος μὲν ἔν τε τῇ Αἰγύπτῳ καὶ αὖθις ἐν τῇ Συρίᾳ τοῦ Ἁδριανοῦ ἡσύχαζον, πλὴν καθ᾽ ὅσον τὰ ὅπλα τὰ ἐπιταχθέντα σφίσιν ἧττον ἐπιτήδεια ἐξεπίτηδες κατεσκεύασαν ὡς ἀποδοκιμασθεῖσιν αὐτοῖς ὑπ᾽ ἐκείνων χρήσασθαι, ἐπεὶ δὲ πόρρω ἐγένετο, φανερῶς ἀπέστησαν. καὶ παρατάξει μὲν φανερᾷ οὐκ ἐτόλμων διακινδυνεῦσαι πρὸς τοὺς Ῥωμαίους, τὰ δὲ τῆς χώρας ἐπίκαιρα κατελάμβανον καὶ ὑπονόμοις καὶ τείχεσιν ἐκρατύνοντο, ὅπως ἀναφυγάς τε ὁπόταν βιασθῶσιν ἔχωσι καὶ παρ᾽ ἀλλήλους ὑπὸ γῆν διαφοιτῶντες λανθάνωσι, διατιτράντες ἄνω τὰς ὑπογείους ὁδοὺς ἵνα καὶ ἄνεμον καὶ φέγγος ἐσδέχοιντο.
13 καὶ τὸ μὲν πρῶτον ἐν οὐδενὶ αὐτοὺς λόγῳ οἱ Ῥωμαῖοι ἐποιοῦντο· ἐπεὶ δ᾽ ἥ τε Ἰουδαία πᾶσα ἐκεκίνητο, καὶ οἱ ἁπανταχοῦ γῆς Ἰουδαῖοι συνεταράττοντο καὶ συνῄεσαν, καὶ πολλὰ κακὰ ἐς τοὺς Ῥωμαίους τὰ μὲν λάθρᾳ τὰ δὲ καὶ φανερῶς ἐνεδείκνυντο, πολλοί τε ἄλλοι καὶ τῶν ἀλλοφύλων ἐπιθυμίᾳ κέρδους σφίσι συνελαμβάνοντο, καὶ πάσης ὡς εἰπεῖν κινουμένης ἐπὶ τούτῳ τῆς οἰκουμένης, τότε δὴ τότε τοὺς κρατίστους τῶν στρατηγῶν ὁ Ἁδριανὸς ἐπ᾽ αὐτοὺς ἔπεμψεν, ὧν πρῶτος Ἰούλιος Σεουῆρος ὑπῆρχεν, ἀπὸ Βρεττανίας ἧς ἦρχεν ἐπὶ τοὺς Ἰουδαίους σταλείς. ὃς ἄντικρυς μὲν οὐδαμόθεν ἐτόλμησε τοῖς ἐναντίοις συμβαλεῖν, τό τε πλῆθος καὶ τὴν ἀπόγνωσιν αὐτῶν ὁρῶν· ἀπολαμβάνων δ᾽ ὡς ἑκάστους πλήθει τῶν στρατιωτῶν καὶ τῶν ὑπάρχων, καὶ τροφῆς ἀπείργων καὶ κατακλείων, ἠδυνήθη βραδύτερον μὲν ἀκινδυνότερον δὲ κατατρῖψαι καὶ ἐκτρυχῶσαι καὶ ἐκκόψαι αὐτούς.
14 ὀλίγοι γοῦν 1 κομιδῇ περιεγένοντο. καὶ φρούρια μὲν αὐτῶν πεντήκοντα τά γε ἀξιολογώτατα, κῶμαι δὲ ἐνακόσιαι καὶ ὀγδοήκοντα καὶ πέντε ὀνομαστόταται κατεσκάφησαν, 2 ἄνδρες δὲ ὀκτὼ καὶ πεντήκοντα μυριάδες ἐσφάγησαν ἔν τε ταῖς καταδρομαῖς καὶ ταῖς μάχαις ῾τῶν τε γὰρ λιμῷ καὶ νόσῳ καὶ πυρὶ φθαρέντων τὸ πλῆθος ἀνεξερεύνητον ἦν᾽, ὥστε πᾶσαν ὀλίγου δεῖν τὴν Ἰουδαίαν ἐρημωθῆναι, καθάπερ που καὶ πρὸ τοῦ πολέμου αὐτοῖς προεδείχθη· τὸ γὰρ μνημεῖον τοῦ Σολομῶντος, ὃ ἐν τοῖς σεβασμίοις οὗτοι ἄγουσιν, ἀπὸ ταὐτομάτου διελύθη τε καὶ συνέπεσε, καὶ λύκοι ὕαιναί τε πολλαὶ ἐς τὰς πόλεις αὐτῶν ἐσέπιπτον ὠρυόμεναι. πολλοὶ μέντοι ἐν τῷ πολέμῳ τούτῳ καὶ τῶν Ῥωμαίων ἀπώλοντο· διὸ καὶ ὁ Ἁδριανὸς γράφων πρὸς τὴν βουλὴν οὐκ ἐχρήσατο τῷ προοιμίῳ τῷ συνήθει τοῖς αὐτοκράτορσιν, ὅτι ‘εἰ αὐτοί τε καὶ οἱ παῖδες ὑμῶν ὑγιαίνετε, εὖ ἂν ἔχοι· ἐγὼ καὶ τὰ στρατεύματα ὑγιαίνομεν. ...
15 ὁ μὲν οὖν τῶν Ἰουδαίων πόλεμος ἐς τοῦτο ἐτελεύτησεν
I am suspicious of Philo's statement, but I am not ready to comment beyond saying he had little affinity for Palestinian version of Judaism, and instead heaped great emphasis upon the allegorical version of Theraputae. I will follow up on this.

I also have to look up the study of Trajan, Hadrian, and Antoninus statuary. I'll amend this post later with the reference.

In general a lot of questionable history has been heaped on Caligula and Nero by much later stories, always with a Christian angle. Why would the Jews be of any concern to Gaius? They would not be, but the Britain or Germanic tribes might. Judea was a very minor province and Jews unimportant. Alarm bells should go off in our heads when such a backwater locale, which just happens to be important to Christians, especially after Julian the Apostate and again then the crusades (Xiphilinus), is written into the story.
“’That was excellently observed’, say I, when I read a passage in an author, where his opinion agrees with mine. When we differ, there I pronounce him to be mistaken.” - Jonathan Swift

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