Meir Ben-Dov

Titus inscription. Latin letters carved into a stone column include the name of Titus, the general who led the catastrophic assault on Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The complete Tenth Roman Legion dedicatory inscription appears in the drawing below.

According to Josephus, Titus destroyed the Temple on the ninth of the Hebrew month of Av, the same date the Babylonians destroyed Solomon’s Temple. The ninth of Av has been and continues to be a day of fasting and prayer for Jews throughout the world. Ben-Dov writes of the inscription’s discovery: “The year was 1970, on the eve of the ninth of Av. We were filled with emotion because of the uncanny symbolism of the find. One thousand nine hundred years ago to the day, Titus had briefed his troops on the storming of the Temple Mount. And now, in the renewed State of Israel, standing in Jerusalem, digging alongside the Temple Mount, we had come into tangible contact with Titus and his legions. What more could an archaeologist ask for?”

The inscription states Titus’s name and surname Vespasianus and his imperial titles as in Imperator Augustus, etc., and also mentiones the Tenth Roman Legion.