National Geographic has recently shown how the tomb of Christ in Jerusalem dates back to the first century. They also provide an excellent illustration of how the site of Golgotha and the Tomb changed over the years and became what we now know as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Many are shocked to discover that a Temple to the Aphrodite (goddess of sexual lust) was built by Hadrian in around AD 135 over the location of Golgotha and the Tomb of Christ, as depicted below by National Geographic. In fact, a status of goddess was located directly over the site of the crucifixion of Chirst:
As in our own era, sexual exploitation may seek to bury the cross of Jesus, but the power of the cross will topple all idols dedicated to lust.
The reality of this blasphemy is depicted in my historical-fiction novel: Tenth Region of the Night, when Sabra (the young girl rescued in the Saint George legend) visits Aelia Capitolina (Jerusalem) to see the Tomb of Christ only to find it sadly “buried beneath a Temple to Aphrodite.”
Asoldier nearby, noticing her beauty, wrongly concludes that she desires to visit the Temple of Aphrodite:
“I have no interest in the cultus,” she said quietly, heart pounding. “My interest is more…historical. Something happened outside the city’s old walls that interests me greatly, and I wish to see the site for myself. I…I did not know about the Temple of Aphrodite, in all truth.”
The soldier’s eyes widened. “This site you wish to see…do you mean to say, the site of mankind’s darkest hour?” he asked, his voice just as low as hers. “Am I wrong to think that is your interest?”
“Our darkest hour, and the brightest,” she said. “Victory disguised as defeat.”
“Something men of my calling can rarely understand,” he said, touching the mark of the Legion on his upper arm. “But that site has been buried for centuries, domina. Did no one tell you that?”
“Buried?” Sabra echoed. Her heart felt strangely numb. “Forgotten…”
“Not by all of us,” Orentius said softly. “I came early to the Legion, and late to the sea. I should rather have been a fisherman.”
Tenth Region of the Night is the sequel to my best-selling novel about the Roman legend of Saint George and the Dragon: Sword and Serpent. If you’d like to explore Roman history in the years just before the conversion of Constantine the Great, check out the best-selling Sword and Serpent Trilogy.
The third book in the Sword and Serpent Trilogy, Storm of Fire and Blood, will be released next week – probably on December 6 – Feast of Saint Nicholas (a major character in all 3 books):