Israeli researchers from the University of Haifa have deciphered a rare inscription found on an underwater artifact. The inscription sheds new light on Roman rule over the province of Judea prior to the Bar Kokhba Revolt. Archaeologists uncovered a massive rectangular stone bearing the name Gargilius Antiques during a maritime excavation at the Tel Dor archaeology site, which is located south of Haifa. The inscription enabled researchers to determine with certainty that Antiques was the Roman procurator who ruled over Judea just prior to the Bar Kokhba Revolt.
“Not only did we manage to identify with certainty for the first time the name of the procurator that controlled Judea during the critical years before the Bar Kokhba Revolt, but this is only the second time that a reference to the name Judea was revealed in any inscription from the Roman period,” University of Haifa’s Prof. Assaf Yasur-Landau and Dr. Gil Gambash said in a joint statement.The Bar Kokhba Revolt, also known as the Third Jewish-Roman War, was fought from 132-136 CE amid religious and political tensions following the failure of the First Revolt from 66-70 CE.
The latter revolt—led by Simon bar Kokhba, who promised to restore Jewish independence— ended in a crushing defeat for the Jewish people that led to extensive Jewish depopulation in the land of Israel as well as Roman efforts to erase any memory of Judea and ancient Israel.
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