Israel, Persian Archaeology


From- How Jewish Was Sepphoris in Jesus’ Time?

By Mark Chancey and Eric M. Meyers

Sepphoris is a bare 4 miles from Jesus’ hometown, Nazareth—————

Two of the earliest artifacts found at Sepphoris date, not from the time
of Joshua, but from the fifth to fourth century B.C.E., after the Jews were
permitted by the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great to return from the Babylonian
Exile. The first item is a black-ware drinking goblet, or rhyton, the lower portion, or protome, of which
resembles the face of a lion, the body of a horse and the outspread wings of a bird.5
The second artifact is a fragment from a marble or calcite vase originally
inscribed in four languages. The text included the name Artaxerxes in the
cuneiform signs of the Persian, Elamite and Old Babylonian languages; there was
also a version of the text in Egyptian hieroglyphics.6

Since the Persians are known to have established garrisons at various
points along the road system in Syria-Palestine, these fine objects suggest the
presence of one such garrison near Sepphoris.—————-

539 B.C.E.

Persian ruler Cyrus the Great conquers Babylon and allows the exiled
Jews to return from their

Babylonian captivity. Sepphoris may have been the site of a Persian
garrison during the fifth and

fourth centuries

5. Michal
Dayagi-Mendels, “Rhyton,” in Sepphoris in Galilee, p. 163.

6. Matthew Stolper, “Vase Fragment,” in Sepphoris in Galilee,
pp. 166–167.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here