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Procopius on the nea church, the cardo, and 'the finger of Og' in Jerusalem
The Nea ('New') Church was the largest, and probably the most magnificent, of Jerusalem's churches. It was built in the mid-sixth century during the reign of Emperor Justinian and consecrated in 543. Its remains were discovered in excavations conducted by Nahman Avigad in the 1970s. The major source of information about the construction of the Nea is Procopius' De Aedificiis. His description is accompanied by high praise for the emperor, his wisdom, and the heavenly guidance that was his lot. If we overlook such laudatory elements and Procopius' rhetoric, we are left with a most credible description of a construction project that has been confirmed by archaeological findings. After Procopius describes the difficulties posed by the landscape and the need to expand the building area (confirmed by arches discovered during the excavations), he relates that huge stones were quarried outside the city (most probably north of it) and then transported in oxen-driven wagons (forty in number, according to him) for which special rock-cut roads were prepared leading from the quarries to the city. The article maintains that quarrying was also carried out within the city itself, in the area of the 'southern cardo' that formerly - during the Roman period - ran uphill to the top of Jerusalem's south-western hill and then descended at a relatively steep gradient towards the site of the Nea Church. The author's view is that this section of the cardo, which in its present state dates from the si
Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi
ISSN : 0334-4657
Qatedrah le-tôldôt Eres Yísra'el el we-yîššûbah A. 2005, n° 115, [27 pages ; 5-30, b [27 p.]]
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