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Tomb of Queen Helene of Adiabene, c. 50 CE

Tomb of the Kings

“Tomb of the Kings”

Tomb of Queen Helene of Adiabene

A decorated sarcophagi from Tomb of Queen Helene of Adiabene bearing the inscription “Queen Tseddah.”

The so-called “Tomb of the Kings” has been identified as the Tomb of Queen Helene of Adiabene (a kingdom of northern Mesopotamia), who with her family converted to Judaism during the reign of Claudius; they then settled in Jerusalem and built several palaces. Queen Helene and two of her sons were buried there in a magnificent tomb built ca. 50 CE. The tomb is mentioned already in antiquity by Josephus (Ant. 20.17-95), who states that the Queen and her son were buried “at the pyramids” (also Pausanias VIII, 16, 4-5). The tomb is the largest and most impressive tomb in Jerusalem (discovered in 1863 by de Saulcy, who attributed it by mistake to the Kings of Judah, and named it “Tomb of the Kings.” The tomb was robbed throughout the ages and some of the remains were stored in the Louvre Museum, Paris.

Rachel Hachlili. Jewish Funerary Customs, Practices and Rites in the Second Temple Period. Brill. Leiden- 2005. p.36.

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Posted in: Roman Period I

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