This article has been adapted by BAR editor Hershel Shanks from a lengthy scholarly study by Professors Yoram Tsafrir and Leah di Segni of Hebrew University in Liber Annuus, published by the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum.1 This adaptation was made with the authors’ permission.
After the Romans destroyed the Temple and burned Jerusalem in 70 C.E., the city’s new inhabitants were soldiers of the Tenth Legion and their auxiliary units.a It may be assumed that at least half of the legion’s 5,000 soldiers lived either in the camp within the city or on its outskirts. Many veterans probably continued to live in the city after being discharged, especially since at the end of the second century soldiers were permitted to marry and raise families. We learn about these legionnaires and auxiliaries and their contribution to the social and religious life of the city from the Latin inscriptions they left behind. And of course there were the camp followers who supported themselves by supplying services to the legion.