Escaping the Romans

The time between the decline of Indus Valley Civilization and the birth of Buddha in India was a period of turmoil for the Hebrews. During this time, the wandering Hebrews returned to Canaan (a region approximating to present-day Israel and the West Bank and Gaza, plus adjoining coastal lands and parts of Lebanon and Syria) and joined other tribes that had not moved to Egypt.

The twelve tribes united under Saul. Saul’s successor was David (of David and Goliath fame) and it was David’s son, Solomon, who built the temple in Jerusalem honoring God. About 300 years later, by 586 BCE which is about 23 years before the birth of Buddha, Chaldeans or Neo-Babylonians conquered Judah and destroyed Solomon’s temple.

Some of the Jews who survived fled to Egypt and the others were exiled to Babylon. When Cyrus conquered Babylon in 539 BCE, he freed the Jews and encouraged them to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. This freedom did not last long and by the time of the decline of the Mauryan empire in India, the Romans were in control of Jerusalem.

In 70 CE, the Roman general Titus Flavius placed a siege around Jerusalem by digging a trench and building additional walls. Anyone caught fleeing was crucified. During this siege many Jews hid in a drainage canal and escaped through the city’s southern gate. This drainage canal has been discovered underneath the rubble of the Second Temple, under what was the main road during the time.

The channel was buried beneath the rubble of the sacking, and the parts that have been exposed since it was discovered two weeks ago have been preserved intact.

The walls — ashlar stones one meter (3 feet) deep — reach a height of 3 meters (10 feet) in some places and are covered by heavy stone slabs that were the main road’s paving stones, Shukron said. Several manholes are visible, and portions of the original plastering remain, he said.

Pottery sherds, vessel fragments and coins from the end of the Second Temple period were discovered inside the channel, attesting to its age, Reich said.[Archeologists find ancient tunnel used by Jews to escape Roman conquest of Jerusalem]

On August 4, 70 CE, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and along with it, the Second Temple which was built by Cyrus.

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