by Ezequiel Doiny
On June 15, 2001 Bruce Johnston reported in The Telegraph “THE Colosseum…was built with the spoils of the sack of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem…a large, altar-like stone with a chiselled Latin inscription, which tells how a senator, Lampaudius, had the Colosseum restored in AD 443.
But holes still visible in the surface clearly corresponded to different lettering, this time in bronze, which had been previously fitted into the stone. After a long study, Prof Geza Alfoldy of Heidelberg University, working with Italian archaeologists, deciphered the puzzle. He concluding that the original inscription read: “Imp. T. Caes. Vespasianus Aug. Amphitheatrum Novum Ex Manubis Fieri Iussit.”
The translation is: “The Emperor Caesar Vespasian Augustus had this new amphitheatre erected with the spoils of war. There is no doubt what war this was, the sack of Jerusalem,” said Cinzia Conti, the director of surface restoration at the Colosseum, yesterday.
Ms Conti said the Emperor Titus inaugurated the Colosseum in AD 80 with 100 days of festivities, but his father, Vespasian, had first opened it in AD 79, shortly before he died, when it was still unfinished. The original bronze lettering on the stone altar would have been made for the original opening.
The sack of Jerusalem occurred in Vespasian’s reign in AD 70, when a revolt by the Jews was crushed and Jerusalem was captured by Titus. The temple was destroyed and a million people were said to have died in the siege. The Arch of Titus, at the end of the Roman Forum nearest to the Colosseum, commemorates the victory, and bas-reliefs show Roman soldiers making off with booty from the temple.
Two years after the sack of Jerusalem, in AD 72, work on the Colosseum, officially known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, began.”
On March 26, 2017 the Biblical Archeology Review reported “…As demonstrated in a BAR article by Louis H. Feldman, a hidden inscription on the Colosseum itself suggests that the construction of the amphitheater was financed by the plundered booty from the Jewish Revolt.b Vespasian faced a serious deficit when he became emperor, but the spoils of war from Judea—the riches of the Temple treasury, the golden vessels from the Temple, the seized personal treasures of Jewish citizens and the sale of the Jewish captives themselves—provided enormous wealth for the emperor and the plundering army commanded by his son Titus. Thus did the conquest of Judea fund the most recognizable structure of imperial Rome.
These same plundered spoils of Judea are depicted prominently on another monument that still stands in Rome, which is the focus of exciting new research. The marble Arch of Tituswas built in 81 C.E. by the emperor Domitian to commemorate the victory and triumphal parade of his brother Titus, the conquering army general, and Emperor Vespasian’s son and successor…In the most famous of the panels, Roman soldiers carry the Jerusalem Temple spoils on parade, including the menorah, the showbread table and trumpets, which were then deposited in Rome’s Temple of Peace.”
The Arch of Titus located in the Via Sacra in Rome depicts Titus triumphal return to Rome carrying several looted treasures from the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem including the Temple’s gold Menorah.
The Jewish Temple was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 C.E., the Roman Colosseum construction began in the year 72 C.E. by emperor Vespasian in big part financed with money looted from Jerusalem.
Today the city of Rome charges €12 for admission to the Colosseum. The Roman Colosseum is Italy’s most popular tourist attraction after the Vatican with over 4,000,000 visitors per year. Since archaeological evidence shows that the Colosseum was built with money looted from Jerusalem, part of the money collected from the Roman Colosseum admission tickets should be given to protect Jewish Archaeological remains in Temple Mount and prevent Mount of Olives Cemetery desecrations, there should also be a monument to dedicated to the Jerusalem’s Temple built at the entrance of the Colosseum to educate visitors how it was financed.
Josephus describes in “The War of the Jews” the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 70 C.E. in which 1.1 million Jews were slaughtered “Now as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury, [Titus] Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and Temple, but should leave as many of the towers standing as they were of the greatest eminence; that is, Phasaelus, and Hippicus, and Mariamne; and so much of the wall enclosed the city on the west side. This wall was spared, in order to afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison [in the Upper City], as were the towers [the three forts] also spared, in order to demonstrate to posterity what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman valor had subdued; but for all the rest of the wall [surrounding Jerusalem], it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it [Jerusalem] had ever been inhabited. This was the end which Jerusalem came to by the madness of those that were for innovations; a city otherwise of great magnificence, and of mighty fame among all mankind.
And truly, the very view itself was a melancholy thing; for those places which were adorned with trees and pleasant gardens, were now become desolate country every way, and its trees were all cut down. Nor could any foreigner that had formerly seen Judaea and the most beautiful suburbs of the city, and now saw it as a desert, but lament and mourn sadly at so great a change. For the war had laid all signs of beauty quite waste. Nor had anyone who had known the place before, had come on a sudden to it now, would he have known it again. But though he [a foreigner] were at the city itself, yet would he have inquired for it.”
This is an excerpt from Mark Twain’s “The Innocents Abroad” describing his visit to the Mosque of Omar and the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem in 1867:
“Everywhere about the Mosque of Omar are portions of pillars, curiously wrought altars, and fragments of elegantly carved marble – the precious remains of Solomon’s Temple…see the costly marbles that once adorned the inner Temple…the designs wrought upon these fragments are all quaint and peculiar…one meets with these venerable scraps at every turn, specially in the neighboring mosque Al Aqsa, into whose inner walls a very large number of them are carefully built for preservation. These pieces of stone, stained and dusty with age, dimly hint at a grandeur we have all been taught to regard as the princeliest ever seen on earth; and they call up pictures of a pageant that is familiar to all imaginations – camels laden with spices and treasure – beautiful slaves, presents for Solomon’s harem – a long cavalcade of richly caparisoned beasts and warriors – and Sheba’s Queen in the van of this prison of Oriental Magnificence. These elegant fragments bear a richer interest than the solemn vastness of the stones the Jews kiss in the place of wailing can ever have for the heedless sinner.
“Down in the hollow ground, underneath the olives and oranges trees that flourish in the court of the great mosque , is a wilderness of pillars – remains of the ancient Temple, they supported it. There are ponderous archways down there…we never dreamed we might see portions of the actual Temple of Solomon…”
The Jewish Temple was not only destroyed by the Romans 2000 years ago, it continues being destroyed by the Arabs today. If the Palestinians assume responsibility over the site they will have freedom to destroy much more.
Journalist Ilan Ben Zion reported in December 2012: “The Muslim authority managing the Temple Mount on Sunday dumped tons of unexamined earth and stones excavated from the holy site into a municipal dump, in violation of a High Court injunction, Maariv (Hebrew Daily, ed.) reported on Monday.”
Israel’s top court in September 2004 prohibited removal of earth from the Temple Mount and ruled that, should it be necessary [to do so], the Antiquities Authority must be notified a month in advance so it may examine the earth for artifacts.
Jews regard the Temple Mount as their holiest site, where the First and Second Temple were located. Muslims call it the Noble Sanctuary and regard it as their third holiest site after Mecca and Medina. According to the existing arrangement, the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, or trust, administers the Temple Mount complex.
Despite the High Court of Justice’s ruling, the Waqf has reportedly removed large piles of dirt from the Temple Mount in recent years and dumped them in the valley east of the Old City walls, provoking an outcry from biblical archaeologists and Jewish groups.
Tzachi Dvira, the archaeologist managing the team that sifts through soil excavated from the Temple Mount, told Maariv that mounds of earth containing historic relics were carted off and dumped on Sunday without notification and before archaeologists could investigate them…
Soil from the Temple Mount that had been removed by the Waqf to the Kidron Valley in recent years has yielded “tens of thousands of finds, including signet rings from the First Temple era, painted floor tiles from the Second Temple era, ancient gold coins, and horseshoe nails and arrowheads belonging to the Knights Templar, who stabled their horses in Solomon’s Stables,” Dvira said.
Suzanne Singer, a contributing editor to the Biblical Archeological Review reported in September 2000 “Large-scale illegal construction on the Temple Mount and wholesale dumping of earth in the nearby Kidron Valley resumed this spring…”
“… The Temple Mount is, of course, sacred to three great Western faiths and is part of the world’s cultural patrimony. Here may lie remnants from the time of the First Temple of Solomon, the Second Temple built by Herod, the Byzantine period and the early Islamic eras. Israeli excavations around the exterior of the Temple Mount since 1967 have found remains from all these periods, but the Mount itself has been terra incognita, protected by an understanding between Israel and the Waqf that says no construction will take place there…
” …Last November, we reported that the Waqf, in the dead of night, had dumped hundreds of truckloads of earth from the Temple Mount into the Kidron Valley and municipal garbage dumps. About 6,000 tons of earth were removed …Despite the flagrant disregard by the Waqf of the requirement for IAA supervision, there was no serious response by Israeli authorities. Today the dumped earth is unprotected and is being covered with garbage, making it unlikely that the IAA will ever act on its announced intention to salvage artifacts by sifting through the piles.”
“…This spring and early summer, trucks and tractors returned to the Temple Mount, bringing building materials in and carting earth away through the Lions’ Gate, just north of the Temple Mount. For 200 yards along the inside of the Temple Mount’s eastern wall, from the al-Marawani Mosque’s new entrance to somewhat south of the Golden Gate, lie stacks of paving stones, scaffolding, wood and iron materials, along with large architectural fragments, such as pieces of ancient columns…
” …The construction on the Temple Mount is only the latest, albeit perhaps the most egregious, example of the Waqf’s disregard for the protection of antiquities. In 1993 Israel’s Supreme Court found that the Waqf had violated the country’s antiquities laws no less than 35 times, with many of the violations causing the irreversible destruction of archaeological remains.
” …Due to Prime Minister Barak’s concern for negotiations with the Palestinians, no effective archaeological oversight is taking place on the Temple Mount. No one halts the work so that potential damage can be assessed and prevented; as a result, heavy equipment is free to move about the Mount for projects that are neither approved nor supervised. The frequently heard view is that a tough stance by Israel will enflame the Palestinians and set back the peace talks…”
The Jewish Virtual Library reports “Before the United Nations voted in favor of the Patition Plan on November 29, 1947, the Arab Legion of Jordan attacked Jerusalem. Their forces blocked Jerusalem’s roads and cut off the city’s access to water. After bitter fighting, the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City fell to the vastly superior arms and numbers of the Arab Legion. The surviving Jewish inhabitants fled to the “New City,” the four-fifths of the capital that Israel successfully held.
The Old City, including the Jewish Quarter, officially fell to Jordan on May 27, 1948. Nearly twenty years later, during the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel’s army liberated Jerusalem’s Old City, finding the area completely neglected and virtually destroyed.
… All but one of the thirty five synagogues within the Old City were destroyed; those note completely devastated had been used as hen houses and stables filled with dung-heaps, garbage and carcasses. The revered Jewish graveyard on the Mount of Olives was in complete disarray with tens of thousands of tombstones broken into pieces to be used as building materials and large areas of the cemetery leveled to provide a short-cut to a new hotel. Hundreds of Torah scrolls and thousands of holy books had been plundered and burned to ashes…”
Menachem Lubinsky, co-chairman of the International Committee for the Preservation of Har Hazeitim (Mount of Olives Cemetery in Jerusalem) (ICPHH) declared “Despite signing an Armistice Agreement that was to allow Jews access to Har Hazeitim, the Jordanians not only banned Jewish burials and access but proceeded to build roads, housing, hotels and even latrines from tombstones they destroyed (1948-1967). “We know that if we do not protect our past, our future is also in doubt,”the ICPHH leader said. “It is unfathomable that these gravesites remain in such a state and after 50 years these holy neshamos (souls) still do not have headstones.” Mr. Lubinsky said
…The ICPHH recently announced that it was launching a worldwide campaign to fund the restoration of the desecrated graves. “We dare not allow our enemies to believe that we do not have the resolve to protect the resting places of our departed,” the organization said. “Anti-Semitism of all forms must be uprooted, but especially when it targets those who no longer have a voice and cannot defend themselves. This is especially true for Har Hazeitim, which is the historic cemetery of the Jewish people.”
Part of the money collected from the Roman Colosseum admission tickets should be used to build a memorial to the Jewish Temple at the Colosseum, protect Jewish archaeological remains in Temple Mount and restore desecrated graves at Mount of Olives Cemetery
Ezequiel Doiny is author of “Obama’s assault on Jerusalem’s Western Wall”