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ecce homo arch

The Ecce Homo arch is an impressive Roman-era triumphal arch between the 2nd and the 3rd Stations of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) in Jerusalem. By Christian tradition, the arch was part of the Praetorium, the Judgment Hall of Jerusalem’s first century. In 33 AD Pontius Pilatus sentenced Jesus to death at the city’s Praetorium (John 18:28; Mark 15:16; Mat 27:27) and then presented him to the public, stating – This is the Man (in Latin: Ecce Homo) (John 19:5).  According to Roman-Catholic traditions the public presentation of Jesus occurred under this arch, hence its name.

The Archaeology of Ecce Homo Arch

Research conducted on the foundations of the arch in the 19th century suggested the arch is part of a free-standing triumphal gate from the first century. However, the archaeological community now acknowledges that the Romans constructed the arch only around 130-135 AD. It was probably erected by emperor Hadrian to mark the oppression of the second Jewish revolt and restablishing Jerusalem as a pagan city. The Arch stood in the middle of a large paved plaza, possibly the new city’s Forum.

Visiting Ecce Homo Arch

The Ecce Homo arch towers above a section of the Stations of the Cross in the Muslim Quarter. Its northern part is now embedded in a church commemorating the trial of Jesus, while its southern edge is part of a mosque. The church can be accessed through an archaeologist site under the Convent of the Sister of Zion. It presents primarily large sections of Jerusalem’s Roman Forum, which by local tradition is the Lithostrotos (John 19:13). It is also possible to descend under the forum’s street level and view a Roman-era large water reservoir.

A visit to the Ecce Homo Arch can be integrated into a day tour of Jerusalem.

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