A group of archaeologist, who were excavating near the Jewish neighborhood in old Jerusalem to leave space for the construction of a modern Mikbe (Jewish ritual bath), have found a jewel of Roman architecture, a bath house dating back at least 1,800 years.’We were surprised to find this bath house,’ the director of the excavation, Ofer Sion, said to the Spanish daily El Pais.
The ruins of the bath house show the symbol of the Tenth Legion Fretensis (XFR-LEG), which gives information about the city of Aelia Capitolina, the city that was erected by Emperor Hadrian on the ruins of Jerusalem in 135 CE, after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE.
Until now, the absence of any such discovery led historians to believe that Aelia Capitolina was a small and limited area. However, this and other excavations have shown that the city could be bigger than was previously thought.
‘We know that the camp of the Tenth Legion was located within the boundaries of what we know today as the old town, probably in the Armenian quarter and that more soldiers were propagated in other parts of the old city,’ Sion explained.
It is the first time in which ruins belonging to a Roman Legion are found in Jerusalem. Therefore, the archaeologists have claimed that it is an essential discovery to understand the historical evolution of the city, especially the Roman era.
Professor Yuval Baruch, a member of Israel Antiquities Authority, added, ‘Aelia Capitolina shaped the character and appearance of Jerusalem, as we know it today. That city determined the profile of the walls and the location of the doors that we see today,’