Several months earlier, research students from the Coastal Archeological Laboratory at Haifa University discovered a large stone tablet etched with an ancient Roman inscription at the bottom of the Tel Dor reserve.
After consultations with the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Nature and Parks Authority, a decision was taken to remove the tablet from the sea as soon as possible to prevent damage to the inscription.
The excavation site was led by Prof. Assaf Yasur-Landau from Haifa University, who identified the stone inscription of seven lines. The rectangular stone is roughly 85 centimeters long and weighs about 600 kilograms.
"Apparently, this is the base of a statue from Roman times and according to the best of our knowledge, this is the longest inscription ever discovered underwater in Israel", explained Prof. Yasur-Landau. "Not only did we decipher for the first time the name of the governor who ruled Judea during the critical years before Bar Kokhba revolt, but this is the second time that the name Judea is mentioned in writing from the Roman period."
Dr. Gil Gambash, head of the Department of Maritime Civilizations at Haifa University, explained that the beginning of the study was to identify the name of the governor of Judea during that period. "On the tablet, the name Gargilius Antiquus is written along with his position; governor of Judea," explained Gambash. "The name of Antiquus is found on another inscription that was discovered at Tel Dor 70 years ago, but the section of the inscription dealing with the provincial governor did not survive."
Previous research posited that Antiquus was commissioner of the province of Syria, but in light of this new discovery, it is proved without a doubt that Gargilius Antiquus was the Roman governor of Judea in the years before the outbreak of the Bar Kokhba revolt in 131 CE.
The only other mention of the name Judea was on a tablet discovered in Caesarea, which also bore the name of a previous governor, Pontius Pilate.
“…Following a series of setbacks, Hadrian called his general Sextus Julius Severus from Britain, and troops were brought from as far as the Danube. The size of the Roman army amassed against the rebels was much larger than that commanded by Titus sixty years earlier - nearly one third of the Roman army took part in the campaign against Bar Kokhba. It is estimated that forces from 12 Legions participated in Severus' final campaign, including Legio X Fretensis, Legio VI Ferrata, Legio III Gallica, Legio III Cyrenaica, Legio XXII Deiotariana, Legio X Gemina, Legio V Macedonica, Legio XI Claudia, Legio II Traiana Fortis and Legio XII Fulminata, with a total force of 60,000–120,000 Roman soldiers facing Bar-Kokhba's rebels. While it is generally accepted that Legio XXII Deiotariana was destroyed during the revolt, it is not clear whether the legion's fall occurred in the initial stages of the revolt or during the decisive campaign of Sextus Julius Severus. A similar case may be assumed about Legio IX Hispana, whose disappearance during the second century is often attributed to this war.…”
“…After losing many of their strongholds, Bar Kokhba and the remnants of his army withdrew to the fortress of Betar, which subsequently came under siege in the summer of 135. Legio V Macedonica and Legio XI Claudia are said to have taken part in the siege. According to Jewish tradition, the fortress was breached and destroyed on the fast of Tisha B'av, the ninth day of the lunar month Av, a day of mourning for the destruction of the First and the Second Jewish Temple. Rabbinical literature ascribes the defeat to Bar Kokhba killing his maternal uncle, Rabbi Elazar Hamudaʻi, after suspecting him of collaborating with the enemy, thereby forfeiting Divine protection. The horrendous scene after the city's capture could be best described as a massacre. The Jerusalem Talmud relates that the number of dead in Betar was enormous, that the Romans "went on killing until their horses were submerged in blood to their nostrils."
Roman Inscription found near Battir mentioning the 5th and 11th Roman Legions.
According to a Rabbinic midrash, in addition to Bar Kokhba himself, the Romans executed eight leading members of the Sanhedrin (The list of Ten Martyrs include two earlier Rabbis): R. Akiva; R. Hanania ben Teradion; the interpreter of the Sanhedrin, R. Huspith; R. Eliezer ben Shamua; R. Hanina ben Hakinai; R. Jeshbab the Scribe; R. Yehuda ben Dama; and R. Yehuda ben Baba. The Rabbinic account describes agonizing tortures: R. Akiva was flayed with iron combs, R. Ishmael had the skin of his head pulled off slowly, and R. Hanania was burned at a stake, with wet wool held by a Torah scroll wrapped around his body to prolong his death.
Following the Fall of Betar, the Roman legions went on a rampage of systematic killing, eliminating all remaining Jewish villages in the region and seeking out the refugees. The historians argue for the exact period of Roman campaign, following the defeat in Betar. While some claim the resistance was broken shortly, others argue that pockets of Jewish rebels continued to hide with their families into the winter months of late 135 and possibly even spring 136. By early 136 however, it is clear that the revolt was defeated.…”