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Jerash - North Gate

North Gate of Jerash Dedicatory inscription on the reconstructed North Gate of Jerash

photo by Jefferson Williams


The north gate of Jerash is located at the north end of the cardo at the northern terminus of the city.

Jerash - Introduction Webpage

Aerial Views, Plans, and Drawings
Aerial Views, Plans, and Drawings

Aerial Views

  • Jerash North Gate in Google Earth

Plans and Drawings

  • General Plan of Jerash from Wikipedia
  • Plate XIX - Drawing of a Restored North Gate from Kraeling (1938)
  • Plate XVII - Plan of the North Gate from Kraeling (1938)

Early 2nd century CE Earthquake

North Gate of Jerash Inscription Photo of reconstituted North Gate dedicatory inscription from the archaeological park of Jerash

photo by Jefferson Williams

Russell (1985) speculated that a civic dedication found from the north gate of Jerash may reflect imperial aid Roman Emperor Trajan supplied to aid reconstruction after a disastrous earthquake. Kraeling (1938:47) dated construction of the new north gate of Jerash to 115 CE based on the dedicatory inscription. Kraeling (1938:401) discovered the inscription in 6 fragments which once reassembled referred to Trajan as the savior and founder of the city. However, Kraeling (1938:47) attributed the dedication to the improvement of the roads out of Jerash; in particular the Road to Pella which enabled direct connections to the coastal cities of Caesarea and Ptolemais (aka Acre). This contention may be supported by the plan of the north gate whose northern face is angled towards Pella. If the Incense Road Earthquake was caused by a fault break on the Araba fault, seismic damage at Jerash would likely have been light.
Description of the Inscription

North Gate of Jerash Inscription Pieces Plate CIII a.

56/57 (115 A.D.)

Kraeling et al (1938)

5. The North Gate

56/57. Six fragments (one in two pieces) of the dedicatory inscription of the North Gate, which was inscribed on twin panels on the northern and southern faces of the gate above the arch. The panels were 2.92 m. x 0.72 m. in the recessed portion. As the inscriptions were identical, a composite text is given here. A and B came from the southern face, C, D, E, and F (the underlined parts of B) from the northern. Monumental alphabet, letters 0.075-0.09 m., interval 0.04 m. Ph., sq. (of A, B, C, D). PI. CIII, a.

A. D. 115.

Abel, RB, XXXVI, 1927, pp. 250-252, no. 1 (A, B) [AE, 1927, no. 147; SEG, VII, no. 844]
Stinespring, BASOR, 54, April 1934, pp. 21-24, fig. 15 (C, D, F).

North Gate of Jerash Inscription Greek Text of Inscription from North Gate

Kraeling et al (1938)

Trajan's 19th tribunicia potestas began December 10, 114, and his 9th acclamation as imperator belongs to the early part of the following year. If he was really called κτίστην here (the restoration of Abel), the reference must have been to a new constitution or other favors granted to Gerasa, of which nothing is otherwise known. The city cannot have become a colony until the third century (179, 191), for the inscriptions would not have been silent concerning this distinction. The term κτίστην could hardly have been used of Trajan as the founder of the province of Arabia (about A.D. 105), as Abel suggests. For C. Claudius Severus (also in 252-257) cf. PIR, II2, pp. 246 f., no. 1023.

Notes and Further Reading