Brick and stamp

2021 04007 NT Ziegelstueck

The sign of the winners

A Roman roof tile

In Roman times, only important buildings in Palestine were covered with roof tiles. These included the facilities of the Roman occupying army, for example those of the Tenth Legion, the “Legio X Fretensis”. It was instrumental in putting down the first Jewish uprising, for example in the siege of Jerusalem in 70 and in the conquest of Masada in 72. The distribution of the roof tile finds in Palestine indicates the locations of the Roman military presence, for example Jaffa and Caesarea Maritima in addition to Jerusalem.

The fragment of a roof tile from a building of the Tenth Legion seen here clearly shows the imprint of the characteristic legion stamp. This stamp was made of wood. It was used before firing a tile to imprint the legion symbol on it. Next to the name of the legion in abbreviation (LCXF), the legion symbol, a wild boar, can be seen. However, the wild boar was an ancient symbol traditionally associated with the Legion. It must nevertheless have had a very provocative effect on the Jewish population.

The Tale of the Possessed Man of Gerasa

An interesting reference to the Tenth Legion can be found in the New Testament account of the possessed man of Gerasa (Gospel of Mark 5:1-20). The name of the possessed man is Legion and Jesus, after casting out the demons, has them enter a herd of pigs. This is interpreted by theologians as a hidden criticism of Jesus against the Roman occupying power.

In the Bible House, you can not only study a brick fragment, but also stamp the Legion sign in wet sand at a hands-on station with a stamp replica.

2021 04076 NT Stempelstation

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