LEGIO


LEGIO (Tel Shalem), a Roman settlement which grew up around the camp of the Legio Sexta Ferrata (Ironsides), and established on the site of the Jewish village of Kefar Otnay after the Bar Kokhba War (132–35).

The legion received the imperial (formerly Herodian) estates in the Jezreel Valley as its territory, later passing them on to the settlement which superseded the camp; hence the plain is known in patristic literature as Campus maximus Legionis ("the great plain of Legio"; Eusebius, Onom. 14:21; Itinerarium Burdigalense, 19:19).

Toward the end of the third century C.E., Legio received the name Maximianopolis in honor of the Emperor Maxim-ian, Diocletian's co-ruler (Hierocles, Synecdemus, 720:10). In Byzantine times it was the seat of a bishop and belonged to Palaestina Secunda. In Arab times its area in the vicinity of Megiddo was occupied by the village of al-Lajjūn.

A kibbutz called Megiddo has been established there since 1949. Ancient remains include a Roman theater and cemetery.

However, the most important of the remains is a bronze statue of Hadrian. The statue is slightly bigger than a person. It is probable that it stood in the Praetorium of the military camp. The Roman emperor is depicted dressed in a cuirass decorated with relief depicting a battle scene from the Aeneid. However, according to scholars it is possible that the battle scene is in fact an allegoric depiction of Hadrian's victory over Bar Kokhba.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Muehlinen, in: ZDPV, 31 (1908), 125; Schumacher, in: MNDPV, 10 (1904), 38; 12 (1906), 68; Lifshitz, in: BIES, 23 (1959), 53ff. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Foerster, "A Cuirassed Bronze Statue of Hadrian from a Roman Fort near Beth Shean (Scythopolis)," in: The Israel Museum News, 16 (1980), 107–110.

[Michael Avi-Yonah /

Samuele Rocca (2nd ed.)]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.