The Discovery of an Ancient Pool May Help Explain an Obscure Talmudic Term

Dec. 12 2018

The Talmud mentions people washing in the krona in the Galilean city of Tsipori (Sepphoris); the obscure term is thought to refer to a bathhouse of some sort. Now Israeli archaeologists believe they may have found the krona itself, as Rachel Bernstein writes:

The newly discovered pool, which measures nearly 70-by-48 feet and is more than eleven-feet deep, dates to the 3rd century CE. . . . A small bronze statue of a bull was also found at the site, dating to the Roman period. The ancient city, one of the prime examples of the Roman-designed cities preserved in the land of Israel, sprawls on top of a hill in the western lower Galilee, about three miles northwest of Nazareth. . . .

A smaller pool was also found to the west of the large one, dating to the 2nd century CE. During the excavation, workers [also] found coins dating to the late Islamic period (14th and 15th centuries CE) as well as ceramic vessels and other coins dating from the late Roman and Byzantine periods (3rd to 5th centuries CE). . . .

Tsipori was well known in the Roman and Byzantine period as a Jewish city and a hub for Jewish administration, particularly since the 3rd century CE. The Romans also built a number of roads that connected the city to other major cities in the region, including to the port of Acre and to Tiberias, making it a flourishing point of trade for the area [as well as an important Roman] military stronghold.

The city had served as the seat of the Sanhedrin during the time of Rabbi Judah the Prince, [ca. 200 CE], who compiled the Mishnah, [the earlier stratum of the Talmud].

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Archaeology, Galilee, History & Ideas, Talmud

The Syrian Civil War May Be Coming to an End, but Three New Wars Are Rising There

March 26 2019

With both Islamic State and the major insurgent forces largely defeated, Syria now stands divided into three parts. Some 60 percent of the country, in the west and south, is in the hands of Bashar al-Assad and his allies. Another 30 percent, in the northeast, is in the hands of the mostly Kurdish, and American-backed, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The final 10 percent, in the northwest, is held by Sunni jihadists, some affiliated with al-Qaeda, under Turkish protection. But, writes Jonathan Spyer, the situation is far from stable. Kurds, likely linked to the SDF, have been waging an insurgency in the Turkish areas, and that’s only one of the problems:

The U.S.- and SDF-controlled area east of the Euphrates is also witnessing the stirrings of internal insurgency directed from outside. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, “236 [SDF] fighters, civilians, oil workers, and officials” have been killed since August 2018 in incidents unrelated to the frontline conflict against Islamic State. . . . The SDF blames Turkey for these actions, and for earlier killings such as that of a prominent local Kurdish official. . . . There are other plausible suspects within Syria, however, including the Assad regime (or its Iranian allies) or Islamic State, all of which are enemies of the U.S.-supported Kurds.

The area controlled by the regime is by far the most secure of Syria’s three separate regions. [But, for instance, in] the restive Daraa province in the southwest, [there has been] a renewed small-scale insurgency against the Assad regime. . . .

As Islamic State’s caliphate disappears from Syria’s map, the country is settling into a twilight reality of de-facto division, in which a variety of low-burning insurgencies continue to claim lives. Open warfare in Syria is largely over. Peace, however, will remain a distant hope.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: ISIS, Kurds, Politics & Current Affairs, Syrian civil war, Turkey