Salvage excavations conducted in 2015, north of the famous Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, brought a surprising and extremely valuable find from Roman times. There, archaeologists from the Israel Office of Antiquities (IAA) discovered a fragment of a stone stele engraved with the official Latin text, dedicated to the Roman emperor Hadrian.
Scholars believe that the one dating back to 129 or 130 CE the monument is the most important Latin inscription ever found in Jerusalem. It was dedicated to Emperor Hadrian by the notorious Legion X Fretensis on the eve of the second Jewish uprising.
A Latin inscription carved in limestone has six lines. Scholars at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem translated the text as follows: “Emperor Caesar Trajan Hadrian Augustus, son of the divine Trajan of Parthia, grandson of the divine Nerva, high priest, gifted with the power of the tribune for the fourteenth time, consul for the third time, father Fretensis [Tenth Legion]Antoniniana”. The new discovery is further evidence of the presence of the Legion X Fretensis in the capital of Judea during the turbulent period after the fall of the first Jewish uprising (70 CE) and before the outbreak of the second revolt, the Bar-Kochba uprising (132-135 CE).
The discovered inscription may come exactly from the time when the emperor initiated his plans for Jerusalem. Most likely it was created in connection with Hadrian’s visit to the capital of Judea.