Roman Sword Unearthed

Holy Land Revealed

Excavation directors Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Professor Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa made two important discoveries during excavations of a drainage channel in the ancient City of David including a Roman gladius from the time of the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple in 70 CE and an engraving of a Menorah on a piece of stone dating from 66 CE.



What Made the Gladius Such an Efficient Sword?

The finds were announced by the Israel Antiquities Authority. They show that the drainage channel which begins in the Siloam Pool and runs from the City of David to the archaeological garden; served as a hiding refuge for the residents of Jerusalem; during the Roman siege of the Second Temple built by King Herod

The gladius’ fine state of preservation is surprising; The preservation of the leather scabbard (a material that generally disintegrates quickly over time) and some of its decoration. The sword is the third Roman one found in Jerusalem.

The sword was about one meter long and could be used either as a dagger. In other words, it is easy to maneuver and stab your opponent. Or on the other hand, the sword could be used as a longsword. So the Roman Legionnaire could keep his enemy at a long distance. And to use the sword with a slashing movement; which can even sever limbs. First, soldiers used to throw javelins to disable the enemy’s shields; and disrupt enemy formations; before engaging in close combat. For which they drew the gladius. A soldier generally led with the shield and thrust with the sword. All gladius types appear to have been suitable for cutting; chopping, as well as thrusting.



Stabbing was a very efficient technique. Since stabbing wounds, especially in the abdominal area were almost always deadly. Though the primary infantry attack was thrusting at stomach height; they were trained to take any advantage; such as slashing at kneecaps beneath the shield wall. The sword found its way to the Colosseums of Rome very quickly. And used in the Arena to satisfy the bloodthirsty crowds. Hence the word Gladiators used the efficient Roman Gladius. Among the gladiators were even Jews. The Few Jews that the Romans spared, were sent to Rome to amuse the Roman people. 

apt-stamp-white@2x
arik-about

Hi! My name is Arik Haglili, an Israeli native who decided to dedicate his life to share my knowledge about the Holy Land to those that are interested to know more about this amazing piece of land. My career as a private tour guide started at the International School For the Studying of the Holocaust and the rest is history. 

Did you know the Hoopoe is Israel's national bird?! For more cool info about Israel, join our ever growing community and get exclusive travel tips, and giveaways!

Simon Peter

RELATED POSTS

Roman Wall Paintings Styles

Roman wall painting styles are seen all over the Holy Land. This is especially true when you visit King Herod’s Palaces and Jewish homes dated ...

King Herod’s Palaces

King Herod's Palaces are part of his colossal building projects throughout Judea, including the fortress at Masada, and Herodium.

Yigal Shiloh Excavations

Yigal Shiloh excavations In the 1970s found early Israelite houses dating to the 8th-7th century B.C.E sitting on top of the lower part of a ...

Ehud Netzer

Ehud Netzer is one of the greatest archaeologists of the Land of Israel. His work made a huge leap forward regarding the Herodian period.

Temple of Hathor In Timna Park

The Temple of Hathor in Timna Park is one of the most interesting archaeological finds found in the Arava. But before talking about the shrine ...

What Is Continuity of Cult?

What Is Continuity of Cult? Well, this is a very important idea in Archaeology that when touring the Holy Land you should know more in-depth!

The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser

The Black Obelisk Of Shalmaneser III is the earliest ancient description of a biblical figure, Jehu, the Son of King Omri.

The Broad Wall

The Broad Wall is an ancient defensive wall in the Old City of Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter. Dated to the reign of King Hezekiah.

William Matthew Flinders Petrie

William Matthew Flinders Petrie is the First ‘‘Real’’ Biblical Archaeologist. Petrie was born in England in 1853 and raised in a Christian household, and was ...

The Hippo Stadium at Caesarea

The Hippo Stadium at Caesarea National Park is well preserved and super impressive. If you're planning to tour the park don't skip it!

Need help?

Skip to content