I recently stood on the newly-uncovered floor of what had once been the headquarters to commanders of the Roman VIth “Iron” Legion. A team of archaeologists had been digging and scraping away at the surface of a cow pasture in the Jezreel Valley for days, uncertain about what would reveal itself. Yotam Tepper, the Israeli archaeologist, had been leading up to this excavation for over a decade, and it turned out to be worth the wait.
In July, newspapers, archaeology blogs, and online magazines began to run stories of how this team had uncovered the regional seat of Roman power in the Galilee region some 2,000 years ago. It was remarkable, to say the least.
This Legion had apparently originated in the days of the great general Pompey, and its earliest commanders had been legendary men, most notably Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Other distinguished men held this command over a period of centuries. I stood imagining a commander giving orders to his men as his servants moved about – there’s nothing wrong with romanticizing a little bit when picking through Roman ruins!