Ancient Greek Inscription Found in Old City of Jerusalem

An ancient Greek inscription from the Byzantine era was found on a 1,500-year-old mosaic floor near the Damascus Gate, in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The building that the floor belongs to is believed to have been a hostel for pilgrims. It was founded by a priest called Constantine and Byzantine Emperor Justinian is mentioned in the inscription, according to Dr. Leah Di Segni of the Israel Antiquities Authority. The mosaic has been dated to 550 or 551 A.D.

The inscription reads: “In the time of our most pious Roman emperor Flavius Justinian, this entire building by Constantine, the most God-loving priest and abbot, was established and raised in the 14th indiction.” Indiction was an ancient method of counting years for taxation purposes.

Justinian was one of the most important emperors of the Byzantine era. In 543 A.D. he founded the Church of New Jerusalem – one of the largest Christian churches in the Eastern Roman Empire, and the largest in Jerusalem at that time.