Trajan the Patron
(0075) Text: דכיר מר מרן לברכה קסר
Translation: May the memory of Lord Trajan Caesar be blessed.
Commentary: Though it does not directly address the military, it was found in the immediate vicinity of a garrison. Zizzu and Ecker observe that the formula of inscription was typically used for “esteemed persons in general and synagogue donors in particular.” Khirbet ‘Arak Hala garrisoned both cohors I Thracum milliaria and ala Antiana Gallorum et Thracum; presumably some local Jews developed a positive relationship with the military (and consequently holding a positive disposition toward Rome) through these units. Such interactions may be evinced in a graffito from the site (§69). Note that, due to complications with Hebrew fonts, brackets regarding uncertain letters have been removed for this inscription.
Provenience: Khirbet ‘Arak Hala, Judaea 98-117 CE
Bibliography: Boaz Zissu and Avner Ecker, “A Roman Military Fort North of Bet Guvrin/Eleutheropolis,” ZPE 188 (2014): 301*; Boaz Zissu, Boaz Langford, Avner Ecker and Esther Eschel, “A Graffito Bearing the Name of Trajan in a Cave at Kh. ʾArâk Hâla North of Bet Guvrin,” New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and Its Region 6 (2012): 110-121; Boaz Zissu, Boaz Langford, Avner Ecker and Esther Eschel, “Aramaic and Latin Graffiti in an Underground Complex at Khirbet ‘Arâk Hâla – North of Bet Guvrin,” in “See, I Will Bring a Scroll Recount What Befell Me” (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eschel and Yigal Levin, JAJSup 12 (Tübingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2014), 132-136.