Scala/Art Resource, NY; Mosaic in S. Vitale, Ravenna, Italy

The two main contenders for the ruler who oversaw construction of the Cardo are the Roman emperor Hadrian (117–138 C.E.) and the Byzantine emperor Justinian I (527–565 C.E., shown here). The Cardo was clearly built by the time of the Madaba map in the sixth century, but it looks a lot like a Roman road. Might part have been built by Hadrian when he rebuilt Jerusalem as Aelia Capitolina c. 135 C.E. and part (the southern part that Nahman Avigad excavated) by Justinian to access his magnificent new church, the Nea, in the Byzantine period?