Travel bottle

Find from the Judean fortress of Masada

Bottles were already common utensils in ancient times. A bottle from the 1st century AD can be seen in the Bible House. The bottle was found on the Judean fortress of Masada. On one side it is relatively flat and has only a slight curvature. On the opposite side, however, it is strongly bulging. In addition, there are two small handles to the right and left of the neck of the bottle at right angles to the flat and pronounced bulge.

The unusual shape indicates that this is a travel bottle. A ribbon is threaded through the two handles, with the help of which travellers can hang the bottle around their neck. The relatively flat side rests against the body when carried. The voluminous belly on the other side makes it possible to carry a sufficient amount of drinks, primarily water.

2021 03910 NT Pilgerflasche

Travel bottle from the 1st century AD

The pilgrimage to the Herodian Temple

In Judea in the 1st century, the pilgrimage to the Herodian Temple in Jerusalem was the most important journey from a religious point of view. Bottles like this were certainly carried along. The 5th Book of Moses / Deuteronomy 16:16 states: “Three times a year all that is male among you shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which the LORD shall choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread [Passover], at the Feast of Weeks [Shavuot], and at the Feast of Tabernacles [Sukkot].”

The pilgrimage obligation is thus only for men, but not for women. However, in his account of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the temple, the evangelist Luke reports of a pilgrimage on the occasion of the Passover festival, in which Mary also took part. So it seems to have been quite common for women to join the pilgrimages.

The Jew Jesus of Nazareth also fulfilled his pilgrimage duty as an adult man. The evangelist John reports on several of his pilgrimages to Jerusalem. During a pilgrimage for the Passover festival around the year 30, Jesus is executed on the cross by the Romans.

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