Name Of Herod The Great Found On Ancient Wine Jar -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 09:4 (Autumn 1996)
Article: Name Of Herod The Great Found On Ancient Wine Jar
Author: Anonymous

Name Of Herod The Great Found
On Ancient Wine Jar

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a 2000-year-old clay wine jar at Masada inscribed with the name of King Herod. This is the first time the full title of Herod, who ruled from 37 BC until his death in 4 BC, had been found in an inscription. Herod was the ruler of Judea when Christ was born. He is infamous for putting to death all the boy babies in Bethlehem under two years of age in an effort to eliminate any competition for the throne (Mt 2).

The Latin inscription says either “Herod, King of Judea” or “Herod, King of the Jews,” said archaeologist Ehud Netzer of Hebrew University who is in charge of the dig. It was inscribed on a large amphora used for shipping Italian wine to the king. Dating to about 19 BC, the jar was found in an ancient garbage dump near the synagogue at Masada. Archaeologists also discovered food remains from Herod’s time, including nuts, eggshells, dates and olive pits, and pieces of cloth and basketware. This is some of the first evidence for daily life at the fortress in the first century BC.

The inscription “Herod, King of the Jews” was found on this wine jar fragment discovered in excavations at Masada.

Masada, a citadel built by Herod atop an isolated cliff on the edge of the Judean desert and the Dead Sea valley, was the last outpost of the zealots during the Jewish revolt against Rome that began in AD 66. Before the Romans gained access to the fortress at the end of a long siege, hundreds of Jews committed suicide rather than fall into Roman hands. Netzer said most of the artifacts found previously were from the period when the zealots lived at Masada. The new artifacts give archaeologists a glimpse of life during the time of Herod.

— BW

(Associated Press and Reuters news releases, July 8, 1996)

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