Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hadrian at the Israel Museum

EXHIBITION: Three surviving bronzes of Hadrian united in stunning Israel Museum exhibit. Unique collaboration with Louvre, British Museum also sees monumental Jerusalem inscription in emperor’s honor rejoined after 2,000 years (Ilan Ben Zion, Times of Israel).
For the first time since his reign over 1,800 years ago, three bronze sculptures of the Roman emperor Hadrian — a man both revered and reviled — will go on display at the Israel Museum on Tuesday, in the final exhibit marking the institution’s 50th anniversary.

The three bronze heads — one from the Israel Museum’s collection found in northern Israel, one from the British Museum found at the bottom of the River Thames, and the third from the Louvre in Paris — differ slightly in their depiction of the emperor, and shed light on a character whose legacy is so multifaceted.


Besides Hadrian’s visages are the two halves of a monumental inscription erected in Jerusalem by soldiers of the 10th legion Fretensis in Hadrian’s honor two years before the outbreak of the Bar Kochba revolt in 132 CE — rejoined for the first time since antiquity.

The first half was discovered in the late 19th century by French archaeologist Clermont Ganneau (also known for finding the Temple Mount Warning inscription), and is housed at the Franciscan Flagellation Monastery in Jerusalem’s Old City. The second half, found last year by Israeli archaeologists, was used as the top of a Byzantine cistern during salvage excavations in East Jerusalem.

A long article, but worth reading in full.

The discovery of the fragment of that Hadrian inscription was noted last year here. Another Hadrian exhibition, this one in the British Museum, took place in 2008. Start here and follow the many links. For Hadrian's Wall, see here and here.