I just wanted to comment on the above.Ben C. Smith wrote: ↑Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:21 pmthey read:
(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?
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.