Scala/Art Resource, NY

THE CURSE OF THE TEMPLE TREASURE. According to a legend preserved in the writing of historian Procopius, the Temple treasures were cursed, and any city that housed them was destroyed. Thus it is possible that in 534 C.E. when Justinian’s general Belisarius triumphantly returns to Constantinople with the treasures he gained from sacking Vandal Carthage, Justinian decides to return the Temple treasures, which might include the Menorah, to Jerusalem. Justinian, who is pictured here in this sixth-century C.E. mosaic from the San Vitale Basilica in Ravenna, Italy, perhaps even built the Nea Church on the Cardo in Jerusalem as a sanctuary for the treasures.