I recently went to Italy with my family, and we saw the arc of titus in Rome. I saw the famous engraving of the romans taking the Menorah from the Beis Hamikdash. But I noticed these weird objects being taken by the romans along the Menorah. Are they artifacts from the Beis Hamikdash? If that's so, what are they? enter image description here


2 Answers 2


They're Tabula Ansatas.

After doing some research I found out they're actually Roman Tabula Ansatas, a favorite form of votive tablets in Imperial Rome. They were ornamental tablets used in sacred and religious places by the Romans.

This claim is given by Wikipedia's entry on Tabula Ansata, in the gallery. This is backed by the book "Lord Burlington: Art, Architecture and Life".

  • You might be interested - the new May/June issue of Biblical Archaeology Review(found @ biblicalarchaeology.org/magazine) has an article on this scene from the arch. They found minute bits of color on the Menorah and using them and other color evidence they've found on other ancient marbles, made a tentative full color restoration of the whole scene. For their restoration, they followed Josephus' description of the parade order and wrote on the tabulae the Latin for "Judean Sacred Objects" "Judean Candelabra", and "Judean Law".
    – Gary
    Apr 18, 2017 at 23:02

Wikipedia claims to be able to identify them as

Other sacred objects being carried in the triumphal procession are the Gold Trumpets and the Table of Shew bread.[7]

Art and Architecture of the Roman Empire. Bellona Books. 2006. pp. 45–48. ISBN 978-0-9582693-1-5

@Fred found

According to Hebrew Wikipedia, they are the fire-pans for removing ashes from the altar (see Vayikra 16:12).

@Gabe12 found

While doing some research I found out the Table of Showbread is actually the big square-shaped object at the right of the image

  • 1
    Are the circled rectangles not Roman military banners?
    – Jakub
    Dec 2, 2015 at 17:53

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