A Rare 2,000 Year Old Commemorative Inscription
Dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian was Uncovered in Jerusalem
According to Dr. Rina Avner, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority...A rare find of tremendous historical significance was discovered in Jerusalem: a fragment of a stone engraved with an official Latin inscription dedicated to the Roman emperor Hadrian. Researchers believe this is among the most important Latin inscriptions ever discovered in Jerusalem...north of Damascus Gate...
Upon finding the inscription it was immediately clear to the excavators that they had uncovered an especially significant discovery, as indicated by the size and clarity of the letters.
The inscriptions, consisting of six lines of Latin text engraved on hard limestone...[are] as follows:
(1st hand)To the Imperator Caesar Traianus Hadrianus Augustus, son of the deified Traianus Parthicus, grandson of the deified Nerva, high priest, invested with tribunician power for the 14th time, consul for the third time, father of the country (dedicated by) the 10th legion Fretensis (2nd hand) Antoniniana.
According to Ecker and Cotton, “This inscription was dedicated by Legio X Fretensis to the emperor Hadrian in the year 129/130 CE.” Their analysis shows that the fragment of the inscription revealed by the IAA archaeologists is none other than the right half of a complete inscription, the other part of which was discovered nearby in the late nineteenth century and was published by the pre-eminent French archaeologist Charles Clermont-Ganneau. That stone is currently on display in the courtyard of Studium Biblicum Franciscanum.