Ancient Roman Weapons Support Josephus’ Account of the Siege of Jerusalem

Over the past four years, archaeologists have discovered military equipment used by Roman legions in the battle for Jerusalem in 70 CE. Some of the artefacts were recently put on public display by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). Sue Surkes writes:

According to the IAA, an account by the 1st-century Roman-Jewish historian Josephus of the fall of Jerusalem is being confirmed by objects discovered on an ancient road that once ascended from the city’s gates and the Pool of Siloam to the Temple. “On the following day, the Romans, having routed the brigands from the town, set all on fire as far as Siloam,” Josephus wrote in The Jewish Wars.

Among other finds, archaeologists dug up ballista stones flung by Roman catapults and arrowheads used by Jewish rebels behind barricades as the city fell to the Romans in 70 CE.

“Josephus’ descriptions of the battle in the lower city have come face-to-face for the first time with evidence that was revealed in the field in a clear and chilling manner,” the [archaeologists] Nahshon Szanton and Moran Hagbi said in a statement.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Archaeology, History & Ideas, Josephus, Judean Revolt

 

Reforms to Israel’s Judiciary Must Be Carefully Calibrated

The central topic of debate in Israel now is the new coalition government’s proposed reforms of the nation’s judiciary and unwritten constitution. Peter Berkowitz agrees that reform is necessary, but that “the proper scope and pace of reform, however, are open to debate and must be carefully calibrated.”

In particular, Berkowitz argues,

to preserve political cohesiveness, substantial changes to the structure of the Israeli regime must earn support that extends beyond these partisan divisions.

In a deft analysis of the conservative spirit in Israel, bestselling author Micah Goodman warns in the Hebrew language newspaper Makor Rishon that unintended consequences flowing from the constitutional counterrevolution are likely to intensify political instability. When a center-left coalition returns to power, Goodman points out, it may well repeal through a simple majority vote the major changes Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition seeks to enact. Or it may use the legislature’s expanded powers, say, to ram through laws that impair the religious liberty of the ultra-Orthodox. Either way, in a torn nation, constitutional counterrevolution amplifies division.

Conservatives make a compelling case that balance must be restored to the separation of powers in Israel. A prudent concern for the need to harmonize Israel’s free, democratic, and Jewish character counsels deliberation in the pursuit of necessary constitutional reform.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Judicial Reform