|Temple Warning Inscription|
The inscription in its current location
|Created||c. 23 BCE – 70 CE|
|Present location||Istanbul Archaeology Museums|
The Temple Warning inscription, also known as the Temple Balustrade inscription or the Soreg inscription, is an inscription that hung along the balustrade outside the Sanctuary of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Two of these tablets have been found. A complete tablet was discovered in 1871 by Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau and published by the Palestine Exploration Fund. Following the discovery of the inscription, it was taken by the Ottoman authorities, and it is currently in the Istanbul Archaeology Museums. A partial fragment of the inscription was found in 1936 by J. H. Iliffe in Jerusalem's Lions' Gate, and is held in the Israel Museum.
A baluster—also called spindle—is a moulded shaft, square or of lathe-turned form, cut from a rectangular or square plank, one of various forms of spindle in woodwork, made of stone or wood, and sometimes of metal or plastic, standing on a unifying footing, and supporting the coping of a parapet or the handrail of a staircase.
The Second Temple was the Jewish holy temple which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem during the Second Temple period, between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced Solomon's Temple, which was destroyed by the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 586 BCE, when Jerusalem was conquered and part of the population of the Kingdom of Judah was taken into exile to Babylon.
Jerusalem is a city in the Middle East, located on a plateau in the Judaean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, and is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim Jerusalem as their capital, as Israel maintains its primary governmental institutions there and the State of Palestine ultimately foresees it as its seat of power; however, neither claim is widely recognized internationally.
The inscription was a warning to pagan visitors to the temple not to proceed further. Both Greek and Latin inscriptions on the temple's balustrade served as warnings to pagan visitors not to proceed under penalty of death.Two authentic tablets have been found, one complete, and the other a partial fragment with missing sections, but with letters showing signs of the red paint that had originally highlighted the text. It was described by the Palestine Exploration Fund in 1872 as being "very nearly in the words of Josephus".
Paganism is a term first used in the fourth century by early Christians for people in the Roman Empire who practiced polytheism. This was either because they were increasingly rural and provincial relative to the Christian population, or because they were not milites Christi. Alternate terms in Christian texts for the same group were hellene, gentile, and heathen. Ritual sacrifice was an integral part of ancient Graeco-Roman religion and was regarded as an indication of whether a person was pagan or Christian.
Koine Greek, also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the common supra-regional form of Greek spoken and written during the Hellenistic period, the Roman Empire, and the early Byzantine Empire, or late antiquity. It evolved from the spread of Greek following the conquests of Alexander the Great in the fourth century BC, and served as the lingua franca of much of the Mediterranean region and the Middle East during the following centuries. It was based mainly on Attic and related Ionic speech forms, with various admixtures brought about through dialect levelling with other varieties.
Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.
The inscription uses three terms referring to temple architecture:
The tablet bears the following inscription in Koine Greek:
|Original Greek||In minuscles with diacritics||Transliteration||Translation|
|Μηθένα ἀλλογενῆ εἰσπο- |
ρεύεσθαι ἐντὸς τοῦ πε-
ρὶ τὸ ἱερὸν τρυφάκτου καὶ
περιβόλου. Ὃς δ᾽ ἂν λη-
φθῇ, ἑαυτῶι αἴτιος ἔσ-
ται διὰ τὸ ἐξακολου-
|Mēthéna allogenē eispo[-] |
reúesthai entòs tou pe[-]
rì tò hieròn trypháktou kaì
peribólou. Hòs d'àn lē[-]
phthē heautōi aítios és[-]
tai dià tò exakolou[-]
|No stranger is to enter |
within the balustrade round
the temple and
enclosure. Whoever is caught
will be himself responsible
for his ensuing
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It was so satisfactory that skilful natives promptly forged several duplicates