Athens

The Acropolis of Athens had already been occupied in the Neolithic period. During the Late Bronze Age, the settlement in Athens centred on a heavily fortified citadel, but the importance of the acropolis should not be overemphasized. A palace might have been located there, even though there are no convincing traces. The surviving Bronze Age structure is a shaft leading from the Acropolis to a spring beneath it. By 750BC, the acropolis had become a sacred precinct for Athena. The Old Temple of Athena was built in the 6th century BC and it contained an olive-wood statue of Athena Polias in the east cella. The temple was destroyed during the Persian invasion in 480BC. After the Athenian victory, the old Parthenon was replaced by a new one under the leadership of Perikle. On the façade of the new temple stood the famous Elgin Marble, which is now in the British Museum. The Propylaia, the formal entrance of the sanctuary, was constructed from 437 to 432BC. During the Peloponnesian War, The temple of Athena Nike and the Erectheion were built. A sculptured frieze ran around the temple of Athena Nike, with its eastern side showing an assembly of gods and a series of battles of Athens. The Erectheion replaced the Old Temple of Athena nut was located in a new area. Female statues called Caryatids were used as columns. Both Alexander the Great and Attalos I or II of Pergamon made dedications in the Parthenon. But in 295BC the Athenian tyrant Lachares stripped the gold off the statue of Athena to his men. During the Roman period, the Temple of Roma and Augustus was constructed and the Parthenon was subsequently subjected to the Romans. Due to the Herulian attack in 267AD, the Beuel Gate was built in front of the Propylaia. A fire subsequently destroyed the statue, cella and the roof of the Parthenon. Although the temple was repaired, its replacement statue was destroyed by Christians in 485AD and the temple was converted to a church of Virgin Mary in the late 6th century AD. The hill west of the Acropolis stood the Areiopagos. The Pnyx there was an assembly of male Athenian citizens in the 5th and 4th century BC. Dated to 330BC with three times of rearrangement, the present Pynx had a semi-circular wall and a speaker’s platform. In front of the Pnyx, there were long foundations which might have been either stoas or spectators overlooking a race-cross. At the south of the Acropolis, the Theatre of Dionysos was built in the late 4th century BC to replace its 6th century BC predecessor. It was used for gladiatorial contests in the 1st century AD. The Odeion of Perikes at the east of the theatre was used for concerts and musical contests. Built in the 4th century BC, the temple and altar of Asklepios were introduced and funded by Telemachos from Epidauros. An Ionic stoa stood at the west of the sanctuary. At the west of the stoa, there was a spring chamber sacred to Pan and the Nymphs; and in front of the spring chamber, there were temples dedicated to Themis and Isis. The Odeion of Herodes Atticus was built by Herodes in memory of his wife. The Stoa of Eumenes was a donation from Eumenes II, the Hellenistic ruler of Pergamon in the 1st half of the second century BC, but it was destroyed in the 3rd century AD. The agora in Athens was the best preserved amongst its counterparts in Greece. As the civic heart of the city till the 1st century AD, its importance was further enhanced by the street of the Panathenaia, which was a processional way and a main road running across the agora. The vicinity of the agora was already settled during the Neolithic period. The area started being used for communal purposes in the early 6th century BC with the construction of its first public building. After the Persian War, the stoas and the temple of the Hepaiseion were built. The stoas in the agora included the South Stoa I, the Painted Stoa, the Royal Stoa and the Stoa of Zeus of Freedom. The Tholos, built at 470-460BC, was a dinning hall for the members of the Athenian council. From 300BC onwards, the agora was filled with statues and paintings. Temple structures in the agora included the Hephaisteion, the temple of Triptolemos, the Metroon and the Temple of Ares. During the Hellenistic period, new stoas including the Middle Stoa and the Stoa of Attalos were added to the agora. But since the Roman period, the agora only served as a museum and a cultural centre. The Romans also replaced the Hellenistic kings as the donors. The Odeion, which was also called the Agrippeion, was probably named after its Roman benefactor. The South-east Temple was built at the time of Augustus. The area was damaged by the Heruli in AD267. A new city wall subsequently incorporated ruined buildings and the east side of the agora. The Alaric caused more damages in AD396. The construction of the Palace of the Giants revived the centre of the agora. The large Omega House was also occupied from the 4th to 6th century AD, but it was abandoned after the Slavs’ arrival in AD582/3. The old agora was linked by the Roman agora. An inscription on the Roman agora gateway claimed that the gate was dedicated to ‘Athena the Originator’ and was funded from ‘the gifts given by Gaius Julius Caesar the god and Emperor Caesar Augustus, son of a god’. A 68 seater public latrine was built. The Tower of the Windshad, as a weather station, had a wind-driven clock inside. There were also sun-dials on each face and on top of a weather-vane in the form of a bronze Triton or sea-monster. At the south of the tower, there was a public building dedicated to Athena and the divine Roman emperors. A public fountain was located at a large square for shops and market halls. The Library of Pantainos was a privately funded institution. The Library of Hadrian was a huge complex with an ornamental pool in front of it. Another Hadrianic structure was built at the southeast of the library.

Iotapata

The town was located on an isolated spoon-shaped hill surrounded by steep dry riverbeds and accessible only from the north. The size of the site is about 50 dunams (5 hectares; 13 acres), which could contain about 1500-2000 people. The town was first built in the Hellenistic period mainly on the upper level of the hill. Under the Hasmonean dynasty the hilltop was surrounded with thick walls and towers. Before the Revolt broke out in the Galilee, the rest of the spoon-shaped town was surrounded with wall and towers. After its destruction the original site was never built over, though a small Byzantine village was later built (in part using materials from the original town) to the north on the nearby hillside.<br>Excavations took place at Yodefat from 1992 to 1999 and uncovered the remains of the town wall, residential areas including a large mansion with fresco walls in the Second Pompeian style. Clear evidence of a heavy battle as described by Josephus was found all over the site: some nails from the Roman army sandals (caliga), more than a hundred arrowheads and catapult bolts, and many ballista stones. On the northern slope of the hill, a deep layer of soil and stones, mixed with pottery dated not later than first century CE and covered by a layer of white mortar mixed with crushed pottery, was uncovered. Inside and under this layer of mortar, some arrowheads were found, suggesting that these layers of soil, stones and mortar were built during a heavy battle. These layers were identified as the remains of the Roman army assault ramp. The town was found destroyed with patches of ashes in some houses. On the houses’ floors, arrowheads and ballista stones were found. In the “fresco house” human bones and arrowheads were found on the painted plastered floor, covered with heavy debris of the house. In some of the cisterns, collected human bones and skulls were found, sometimes enclosed with stones or simple walls. No remains of later periods were identified in the houses or the cisterns, and the latest coin found on the floors is from the time of Emperor Nero (Adan-Bayewitz and Aviam 1997).<br>Though the evidence on the original hilltop has been largely obscured by later erosion, the evidence of residential neighborhoods in other parts of the hilltop, the side hills, and the lower plateau has given a clear sense of Yodefat as a small, largely residential, Galilean town. Houses were of rough masonry, probably mud-plastered, with roofs of small wooden beams and branches, covered with repeated layers of mud. On the steeper eastern slopes, the houses were terraced, with party walls supporting floors and roofs at various levels. Houses had individual cisterns, in one case with intact collecting basin and channels to the cistern and to the adjacent street (for overflow). Two houses side by side on the southern plateau each had mikvaoth, one an installation in the floor, the other a rock-cut cave type mikveh. The walls of the southern portion of the town showed clear evidence of being built hurriedly in the early stages of the Revolt, though the southeastern wall had several towers. Just below the wall on the western side of the lower plateau was a complex and very carefully contrived tunnel, with gabled roof made of large ashlars, leading to underground chambers, probably used as shelters during the War. Just outside the eastern wall, near the houses with the mikvaoth, were two large adjoining natural caves, the southern one of which had an almost completely intact large oil press with crushing pit, and two pressing installations. <br> Small finds. Several column drums were found, both on the southern plateau and in the later Byzantine village, where a couple of capitals were also in secondary usage. One piece of architrave with simple moldings was found on the surface on the northwest, and a large piece of doorjamb (over 2 m. High) was found in secondary usage to frame the corner of a house in the southeast. These finds are all suggestive of monumental building, of which no in situ evidence has been found. Numerous loom weights and spindle wheels suggest that one of the town’s main occupations, in addition of olive oil, was wool production. Pieces from various sizes and shapes of stoneware vessels were founds in all areas of the excavation, suggesting, along with the mikvaoth, at a ritually observant population.

Tiberias

See also Hammath. Although the city was important to Josephus from the time he arrived in the Galilee, he had to fight several times against opponents in Tiberias. Stretched along the narrow beach on the western side of the Sea of Galilee, Tiberias was founded by Antipas as his new capital, as described by Josephus, probably about 18 CE. According to Josephus, the location was controversial because of an earlier cemetery on the site, and Antipas had to force new settlers to take up residence in the city by gifts of lands and houses; this account seems, however, exaggerated. Tiberias was the first Hellenistic city in the region designed for Jews: it had a typical Hellenistic city plan, an archon (“magistrate”), and a city council like other poleis (Richardson 1996: 306). Josephus provides literary evidence of a very large proseuchê (“synagogue”) in Tiberias (Life 277-93), but so far only remains of a later synagogue have been found (the “Northern Synagogue”). Josephus also refers to a large palace built by Antipas, decorated with animals and a roof partly of gold, which Josephus had been commissioned by Jerusalem to destroy (Life 64-67); the palace was burned and looted, according to Josephus, before he could destroy it. In 61 CE the city was annexed to Agrippa II’s territory.<br>Some areas of the ancient city have been unearthed, but as with Sepphoris, there are no final reports. On the southern edge of the ancient city, a monumental gate was found, dated to the first century CE (G. Foerster in NEAEHL 4:1470-73). The gate, composed of two large round towers with molded bases and a large threshold, was the southern entrance to the paved and colonnaded Cardo (first or second century), but there was no wall attached to the gate. Only during the Byzantine period was such a wall built. In the first century the gate stood alone, with some distance between it and the main parts of the city. An Early-Roman drainage system (along with Early-Roman pottery, marble fragments, and coins) was found in Area D1, 200 m. North of the gate. In the center of the ancient city, remains of a basilica (second-century in its early stage, Byzantine-period in its later stage) were found, a large columned hall with apse on the east wall. Under and around the basilica’s remains were the remains of a large luxurious mansion, dated to the first century CE. A Roman-period public building with ashlar walls and a stepped pool that may have functioned as a mikveh has been provisionally identified as a Beth ha-Midrash from, perhaps, the second century. In fill below its floor were found a number of stoneware fragments (Y. Hirschfeld in NEAEHL 4:1464-1470). A segment of a huge ashlar construction was found on the western side of the city, identified by Hirschfeld as the theater. A later bathhouse (first phase, fourth century CE) and large market (sixth century CE) have been partially excavated along the Cardo west of the basilica, along with a large exedra, south of the basilica, that fronted on a promenade along the sea. The estimated size of the city in the first century was 70 dunams (7 hectares; 17 acres).<br> Tombs. A two-storied Roman tomb (8 x 10 m.) Was excavated in 1976 on the lower slope of the mountain, surrounded by a basalt ashlar wall. The tomb was fronted by a paved courtyard, reached by masonry steps, and the entrance closed by a paneled basalt slab door with an iron hinge. There were two burial chambers, one at courtyard level (with 28 loculi in two rows) with a surrounding bench and the other below ground level, with plastered floor and walls and ceiling supported by three arches. One ossuary was found. Small finds dated the tomb to the late-first/early-second century (F. Vitto in NEAEHL 4:1473). Two mausolea excavated in the northern part of the city yielded both sarcophagi and stone ossuaries (Stephansky 1999).<br>Coins and small finds. Like Sepphoris, Tiberias under Herod Antipas minted coins without figurative symbols. After the Revolt the coins depicted the Emperors, gods and facades of pagan temples (e.g., a Hadrianeum). Below the Roman public building was found a bone figurine of a woman, along with fragments of stone vessels and a stepped pool paved with a mosaic. A number of other mosaics were found in the various structures, all relatively late (e.g., in the northern synagogue, there was a sixth century (?) Building inscription, “Proclus, son of Crispus, built it”).

Originally two separate communities with separate city walls, Hammath and Tiberias were probably united by the time of Josephus. The hot springs attracted a settlement as early as the first century BCE, though the spring itself must have been known earlier (Life 16, 85; Pliny Natural History 5.15). Following the Jewish War, the two were thought of as two parts of one city (Dothan 1983:3-5). Tiberias subsequently became a great center of rabbinic learning, and is frequently referred to in Mishnah and Talmud. The site is best known for its three successive synagogues, especially the intermediate one with the magnificent mosaic floor and associated inscriptions (first quarter of the fourth century CE); the earlier synagogue is first half of the third century CE)<br> Hot water conduits and reservoirs (possibly first century BCE) were found near the spring. The earliest period of occupation of the site, evidenced archaeologically below the synagogue, was Seleucid and Hasmonean, possibly sometime between Antiochus IV and Alexander Janneus. Clearly stratified wall remains (Stratum IV), pottery, coins, and a loom weight cohere in this conclusion, though the purpose of the building is not clear. There may have been a gap in occupation, after which in Stratum III a large public building occupied the same site (approximately 20-130 CE; the later synagogues prevented complete exposure of the building). Two Attic column bases and two column drums, perhaps from this public building were found in debris in Stratum II. What can be recovered of plan and details have suggested to the excavators that it may have been a palaestra (or gymnasium), associated with the hot springs, possibly from the Herodian period. The structure centered on a courtyard (surfaced with soft sand-like fill), around which a combination of small and large rooms was organized, with floors of beaten earth or basalt. There may have been a second floor.<br> The finds included some Eastern Sigillata A ware (late-first century BCE to mid-first century CE), a late-Hellenistic/early-Roman cooking pot, Herodian/early-Roman jugs and juglets, Herodian lamps, and a molded and decorated glass kantharos (rosettes with six petals and two leaves; see Dothan 1983: plate 5; plate 36.4). Coins from Herod to Trajan were associated with this stratum. Debris from the Stratum III building was used as fill for the later synagogue of Stratum IIB. When compared to the hot springs at Hammat Gader, which did not attract buildings until the second century CE (Hirschfeld 1997:4-13), the spring at Hammath Tiberias is noteworthy for having structures ancillary to the spring at an earlier period, and possibly having attracted a palaestra (Dothan 1983:10-19). The sequence of palaestra or gymnasium and synagogue is paralleled much later at Sardis.