See Geoffrey B. Waywell and Andrea Berlin, “Monumental Tombs from Maussollos to the Maccabees,BAR 33:03.



References are also found in the Talmud.


Antiquities 20.34.


Antiquities 20.17.


Antiquities 20.39.


Antiquities 20.42.


Antiquities 20.43–46.


Antiquities 20.49.


Antiquities 20.49.


Mishnah, Yoma 3.10.


Antiquities 20.53.


See the comment on Antiquities 20.51 by Louis H. Feldman, trans., in Jewish Antiquities, vol. 9, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1965), p. 416; cf. Antiquities 20:101. This is likely the famine during the reign of Claudius that is also mentioned in Acts 11:28–30.


Mishnah, Nazir 3.6.


Mishnah, Nazir 4.4. According to the Talmud, Sukkah 2b, Helena also had a sukkah in Lydda; its roof was higher than the law permitted.


Antiquities 20.94.


Antiquities 20.95; see also Jewish War 5.55,147.


Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.16.5; Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica 2.12.3; Jerome, Epitaphium Sanctae Paulae 9:1.


1 Maccabees 13:28.


Richard Pococke, A Description of the East and Some Other Countries, vol. 2.2 (London, 1743), pp. 20–21.


Edward Robinson, Biblical Researches in Palestine and the Adjacent Regions: A Journal of Travels in the Years 1838 & 1852, vol. 1 (Jerusalem: Universitas Booksellers, 1970), pp. 356–364.


Amos Kloner and Boaz Zissu, The Necropolis of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period (Leuven: Peeters, 2007), p. 133.


This was confirmed in a private message by the Louvre’s Département des Antiquités Orientales.


Maximiliam Kon, Kivre Ha-Melachim: nefesh malkey beit hadayav (Jerusalem: Dvir, 1947), pp. 71–74 [Hebrew]; see Rachel Hachlili, Jewish Funerary Customs, Practices, and Rites in the Second Temple Period, Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 94 (Leiden: Brill, 2005), p. 168; “The meaning of the name is not clear. Scholars identified the inscription with Queen Helene of Adiabene … ” Fitzmyer and Harrington have read the dalet in Tsadah/Tsadan as a resh, thus reading, Tsarah/Tsaran; Joseph A. Fitzmyer and Daniel J. Harrington. A Manual of Palestinian Aramaic, Biblica et Orientalia 34 (Rome: Bible Institute Press, 1978), p. 243.


Félicien de Saulcy, Voyage en Terre Sainte, vol. 1 (Paris: Didier, 1872), pp. 393–394.


At least one scholar is of the opinion that the inscription is from a later period. See Jacqueline Pirenne, “Aux origines de la graphic syriaque,” Syria 40 (1963), pp. 106–137.


Kon suggested that the only thing certain regarding the sarcophagus with the inscription is that it belonged to a descendant of the Adiabene family; Kon, Kivre Ha-Melachim, p. 73.


Hachlili, Jewish Funerary Customs, p. 36; Doron Ben-Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets, “Has the Adiabene Royal Family ‘Palace’ Been Found in the City of David?” in Katharina Galor and Gideon Avni, eds., Unearthing Jerusalem: 150 Years of Archaeological Research in the Holy City (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2011), p. x.


Ben-Ami and Tchekhanovets, “Adiabene Royal Family ‘Palace,’” p. 234.


Ben-Ami and Tchekhanovets, “Adiabene Royal Family ‘Palace,’” p. 234.


See Doron Ben-Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets, “A Roman Mansion Found in the City of David,” Israel Exploration Journal 63 (2013), pp. 164–173; Ben-Ami and Tchekhanovets, “Adiabene Royal Family ‘Palace,’” p. 234.


Ben-Ami and Tchekhanovets, “Adiabene Royal Family ‘Palace,’” p. 236.


Ben-Ami and Tchekhanovets, “Adiabene Royal Family ‘Palace,’” p. 236.


Jewish War 5.253.


Here is the passage from Josephus mentioning Helena’s palace: “Simon occupied the Upper City and the great wall as far at the Kidron (Valley); and a portion of the ancient wall where it bent back to the east from Siloam and descended until the palace of Monobazus (II), king of Adiabene beyond the Euphrates. He held also the spring and the Akra, that is the Lower City as far as the (palace) of Helena, mother of Monobazus” (Jewish War 5:252–253). Josephus uses Helena’s palace and that of her son Monobazus II to mark the northern line of Simon’s occupation of the Lower City. The palace of Monobazus II was located near the ancient wall that coursed (north)east from the Pool of Siloam along the eastern slopes of the City of David. The palace of Queen Helena is described together with “the spring” and “the Akra.” Routinely, when Josephus refers to “the spring” in Jerusalem, he has in mind the western opening at which the Gihon flows out from rocky escarpment on the slope of the City of David.

For Josephus the Greek term akra (height, hilltop, citadel) can refer to various designations in Jerusalem. In the passage concerning the palace of Helena, he qualifies the term to mean “the Lower City” which would include the area of the City of David. He is here demarking the northernmost point of the southern neighborhood held by Simon where it meets the Ophel under John’s control. These geographical markers suggest that Helena’s palace was in the Lower City between the Ophel and the western outlet for the Gihon spring where it begins its descent to the pool of Siloam.


Jewish War 6.355.


Ben-Ami and Tchekhanovets, “Adiabene Royal Family ‘Palace,’” pp. 235–237. The editors of the volume in which their article appears state flatly that according to Ben-Ami and Tchekhanovets, this monumental building “constituted one of the palaces built by the Adiabene Dynasty in the first century C.E.” See Galor and Avni, Unearthing Jerusalem, p. xv.