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Good oil with a good name

Seventh chapter in the series on the economic situation in the Land of Israel from the second century AD onwards. This time - about the oil industry

Reconstruction of a textile house. Source: Chai, Wikimedia Commons.
Reconstruction of a textile house. source: Chai, Wikimedia Commons.

See previous episodes in the series:

The oil industry was singled out during the period of our research due to the same reasons that we brought up in the above chapters. However, several points will be noted to strengthen the phenomenon:

A. With the arrival of another Roman legion in Israel, i.e. the Sixth Iron Legion since the revolt of Ben Kusaba (135-132 AD) and their location in the Galilee, in Kfar Legio (today Lejon), the demand for oil increased on the one hand, and on the other hand the taxation of the olive product, as the midrash informs us: For a sign and for an example and in your seed forever, under which you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and kindness out of all, and you served your enemies whom the Lord will send in you with hunger and thirst and nakedness and lack of everything. starving how? While a person is hungry to eat barley and cannot find it, the nations of the world (referring to Rome) ask him for a clean mouth and meat and oil..." (Avot Derbi Natan 71 Shechter Edition, p. XNUMX). And by the way, this midrash includes a sharp criticism, hidden of course, against the phenomenon of rebellion against Rome. Urbanization and the expansion of public construction contributed to the increase in the demand for oil and its consumption, such as the consumption of lighting, heating, the use of baths and gymnasiums for body lubrication, and of course the use of oil increased with an increase in the number of synagogues and especially after the end of the Ben Kusva rebellion. We will add to this the increased demand for the needs of Greek-Hellenistic and Roman worship.

B. The emergence of farm houses from the Roman version of villa rustica (rural, agricultural) which appears in Sage sources in the name of the "city" (about which I published an article some time ago in "Hidan") such as: "The seller of the city sold ... (also) Beit Habedin ..." (Mishnat Baba Batra XNUMX:XNUMX). And on the other hand - the appearance of the central city and its rural territory as a cohesive and designed unit. Both of these phenomena were intended to encourage oil production on a large scale.

third. The production of oil increased naturally when more and more Jews became legal owners of their lands, which was linked to the "Sicrikon" phenomenon, i.e. the recognition of the acts of confiscation and expropriation by the authorities and the consequent permits of the Sages to purchase those lands. And let's mention here the special leasing method with its Greek name "amphitosis", following which farmers became a sort of owner of the land, which served as a faithful introduction to the Roman production policy.

d. The production of the oil increased in those imperial estates that were leased to Rabbi Yehuda the President from the Roman Empire, and one can even find here a certain influence of the government and its representatives, what's more, it can be assumed that this president who was forced to supply the imperial court with olive oil and zucchini saw no other way out than to increase production.

God. We can connect the above phenomena with the affair of the "Troublers" - these are the soldiers and members of the aristocracy who purchased land in absolute ownership in the former imperial lands and over time these disappeared from the Talmudic sources, which is explained in the background of the purchase of the plots of land by Jews and it is clear that the appearance of Jewish farmers as landowners contributed Definitely to increase agricultural production and to the extent of its scope.

and. Including Roman influences regarding the production technique, evidence was found of almost full cooperation, and with the encouragement of the members of the Sanhedrin, between Jews and non-Jews when it comes to the production of oil, and this within the same voices that called for modus and vivendi with the foreigners who began to populate agricultural settlements during the period of our discussion.

G. Whole villages specialize and specialize in the production of oil as a giant industrial plant, and here lies an interesting picture involving the situation that prevailed during our discussion, when large production centers were created that provided oil for the multiple needs of the Temple. However, from the destruction this was damaged to the point of a very poor output and the period of fertility returned towards the half of the second century AD, and then the image of their activity again emerged, alongside new centers, to teach us about the increased consumption of oil, when distinguished customers and consumers encouraged this by the great demand for the product The oil and the re-utilization of the aforementioned centers and this according to the basic economic principle of supply and demand, and these have become a kind of cooperatives for squeezing the oil, storing it and marketing it.

H. Along with the expansion of oil production, many artisans specialized in unique crafts in accordance with the phenomenon of differentiation and its penetration into the Jewish economy in the Land of Israel, and some of them joined professional unions.

ninth. Various crops for the needs of the industry in question, such as pumpkins and zucchini, testified to the increase in production during the period in question, to the scope of its marketing and to its transformation into a serious and respectable industry. That is why we should not be surprised at the following midrash which states that - "Take the song of the land, things that are sung (famous) in the world (such as) ... agar (a type of oil)..." (Yalkot Shimoni, Genesis, Parashat Maketz, MG) and this in terms of a play on words and letters.

production centers

The Galilee has always occupied a central place in the cultivation of the olive oil and the production of its oil, as testified, for example, by Joseph ben Matthew: "The Galilee - a land abounding in oil" (Lachmoth 176; S/M 24 Ma XNUMX), and in the sources of the Sages: "Judah praised herself for her wheat and Galilee for her olives" (Talmud Babili, Sanhedrin XNUMX p. XNUMX; Midrash Tanaim (Hoffman edition, p. XNUMX). The midrash for the blessing of the tribe of Asher - "and dipped his feet in the oil" (Deuteronomy XNUMX:XNUMX) states that "the land of Asher Pulls oil like a spring" (Seferi Devarim, Kamach, p. XNUMX). The expression "pulls" can be attributed to a double meaning. One - sloping like water and the other - the channel for the oil to flow from the initial squeeze into the basin.

The Galilee, which was heavily populated after the revolt of Ben Kuseva, while the center in Yavne and its neighboring settlements migrated north, and became the important economic pillar of the Land of Israel economy, gave special meaning to the sources of sages attesting to his name, such as the following Tosefta: "The Mosk has its olives in the Upper Galilee and the future will bring them down to the Lower Galilee" (Tosefta Taharot 4:XNUMX).

And here I would like to make an embryonic, somewhat primitive comment, which I will develop into a new article - the destruction of the Second Temple and with it the temple led to the growth of the center in Yavneh, one that lasted until the rebellion of Ben Kusaba (at which time an attempt was made, at least virtually, to renew the temple at the initiative of Shimon ben Kusaba and perhaps even the renewal of the monarchy under the leadership of Ben Kusva, as may be implied in one of his coins - a silver dinar with an olive tree branch and a jug/jug of oil to denote the anointing of kings as was customary in the biblical period. And in this context it is interesting to mention Ben Kusva's boasting as if he was the Messiah The mikvah, as well as the well-known quotation, from the Jerusalem Talmud: "Rabbi Akiva, my father-in-law (when he saw) Bar Khozava, he said: It is a law (this is) Malka Mashia..." (Teaniot chapter XNUMX, XNUMX p. XNUMX). In any case, From that time there was a settlement collapse in the south on the one hand and a settlement flourishing in the north on the other. No factor that could fill the place of the lack of the temple, one that was a very serious consumer of oil, when the presidential leadership, the Sanhedrin could not obviously fill this lack. The place of the temple was occupied to a certain extent The synagogues that were built in the Galilee, and these were not such a significant consumer of oil, unlike the Jerusalem Temple, so why and why was the Galilee blessed with its olives from this and its oils from that? There is no doubt that the local consumption increased due to the population in question on the one hand and due to the satisfaction of the oil needs of the post-Hellenistic population on the other hand, such as the multiple use of oil in sports-gymnasium activities in the cities of the polis in the Galilee.

A coin from the period of the Ben Khosva rebellion showing an oil jug and an olive branch. Source: CNG coins, Wikimedia Commons.
A coin from the period of the Ben Khosva rebellion showing an oil jug and an olive branch. source: CNG coins, Wikimedia Commons.

The villages that became famous for producing oil as a kind of cooperative and an industrial center for squeezing, storing, preserving and marketing were these: 1. Gush Halab, about which it was said that "an act of the people of Lodkia (Laodikia in Syria, today - Latakia) in Syria who needed oil and sent one appointed to buy it. He went to a dairy farm and found oil at a man's hospital, amounting to dinars" (Seferi Deuteronomy Siman Shana; flour). First - we have before us an important testimony about the Galilee as an economic support for Hellenistic/Roman Syria and even for the Roman population including the military and civil forces in the Galilee. It should be noted that many Roman forces were stationed in the Galilee during the conflicts with the Babylonians-Persians. Second - to Laodicea, which was a considerable distance from the Galilee on the one hand but was an important port city on the other hand, it is possible to assume in light of this the considerable distribution of the oil of the Galilee in general and of Gush Halab in particular. And lest this port city was used as a station for the export of Gush Halab's oil. Thirdly - although the price of the amount of oil is astronomical, and from that it is exaggerated by legend, however, it is possible to learn from it, in principle, about the enormous amount of oil that they produced in one of the villages of the Galilee, as well as about excellent conservation and storage methods in the Galilee, and that according to the above testimonies, this purchase was not planned between two The places, and this is from the wording: "an act... that we needed...", as well as about a huge factory that employed many workers, and was organized and headed by an administration.

  1. The Galilee is stuck and not the one in Judea, about which it is said: "Alpha (we were the first) for oil" (Tosefta Minhot 5, XNUMX), when the very use of the Greek word "Alpha" indicates the marketing of the product to the Greek-Hellenistic population in the cities of the Galilean polis. In this regard, Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi told us, "When I was studying Torah with Rabbi Shimon in Teku, we would carry oil and an alonite (which means a towel, a piece of cloth for absorption. Even here the use of Greek is significant) from the courtyard to the roof, and from the roof to the courtyard, and from the courtyard..." (Talmud Babylonian Shabbat Kamez p. XNUMX). This text testifies to the abundance of oil that was created, and Rabbi Yehuda the President, as if he canceled his study of the Torah in order to express his great admiration for the amount of oily produce in the Toku.
  2. Miron was located in the area of ​​the imperial lands, therefore it is possible to find Hellenistic-Roman influences in the field of production as well as evidence of a demand for taxes in Ein
    ", (produced) from the Haris, which corresponds to the fact of the presence of the units of the sixth Roman legion, the "iron" nearby, which encouraged local production. The importance of miron in the field of oil production is evidenced by the Yerushalmi as follows: "We will eat on the olives until they are full of miron and a lump of milk" (Yerushalmi VII Chapter XNUMX p. XNUMX). In other words, the two places served as a clear indication for the other places, whose output is less than the aforementioned pair.
  3. Beit Shaarim, which was also situated on imperial lands. 5. Biri, has the same category. 6. Beit Netufa, which excelled in the quality of its fine olives. 7. Zipori, when in the ancient synagogue in Tiberias an Aramaic inscription survived on a pottery jar, and it was about a gift of oil from Zipori. 8. Peat. 9. Beit Meaka, about whose area the Midrash testifies: "And he will give the delicacies of a king... and anafkinon (olive oil for the anointing of the body and its massage)" (Beresheet Rabbah 10:11), to teach us about the supply of oil mainly to the cities of Polis and the imperial court. 12. Beit Shan. 13. Mortgage. In view of the presence of textile mills in the area. XNUMX. Shafram, when from the mouth of Rabbi Yossi HaGalil we are taught about "a spill (or perhaps "Shaproni") dripping with oil" (Yerushalmi Pah, Chapter XNUMX, XNUMX, p. XNUMX). XNUMX. Chorizine. Even here on the basis of the presence of textile mills in the area.

Outside of the Galilee, oil production centers were found in Samaria, Apollonia, the Jaffa area and in the Regev, which is in the eastern Jordan, and according to Abba Shaw: "Alfa is stuck for oil. Abba Shaul says: "She is second to Regev in Abba" (Tosefta Minachot 5:XNUMX). A large center for oil production was in "King's Mountain", the exact identification of which there is a dispute among researchers, and all agree that it is an area from the center of the lowlands to the east that was an integral part of the imperial lands.

As we have shown above, oil production centers were found in various villas and villages on the basis of a relative abundance of textile houses, and here it is appropriate to cite the testimony of the president of the Sanhedrin, Rabbi Shimon ben Gamaliel (165-135 AD) as follows: To sell at the door of his house, he gives it to his wife and sells it" (Yerushalmi Avoda Zerah chapter XNUMX ma p. XNUMX). To teach us in this case about domestic oil production, which is confirmed by the many textile mills in different regions of the country.

the oil industry

From time immemorial, oil has been used as one of the most important products in the country's industry, and it is said that "on it stands the Temple (the Temple and as a symbol for the individual and for society)" (Mishnet Tamim 3:10) and it is not for nothing that the sages forbade the use of the olive tree for the needs of military systems, and not to mention the explicit prohibitions of the Sanhedrin to cut An olive tree "even if he gave only a quarter of a bushel of oil" (from Sheviyat XNUMX:XNUMX), when President Rabbi Shimon ben Gamaliel qualifies this and says "everything according to the olive" (ibid.). In connection with this, they took care of the "groups" in order to allow the renewal of the trees even after they were cut down for some reason. The importance of the olive tree is also evident in the extensive and dedicated care invested in its planting: there were polluters (fertilizers), pruning, building houses, watering and assembly, "scrutinizing them with sikra" (dying them red) and not to mention the harvest and the process of extracting the oil. From the abundance of the above operations and from the professionals who engaged in it, it is possible to learn about the importance attached to the olive branch in society at that time. In this context it is worth noting the statement of the Sanhedrin and with great regret in relation to the Roman military activity to suppress the rebellions in Israel such as Rabbi Yossi HaGalili who said that "There is no forgetfulness for olives (there are not enough olive trees to fulfill the mitzvah "forgetting"). Rabbi Shimon bar Yakim said: Rabbi Yossi did not say except at the beginning (until the rebellion of Ben Kusaba) that there were no olives, when the evil Hadrian came and destroyed the land (for the use of olive trees to build Ilia Kaphatulina and for the use of establishing army camps and more)" (Jerusalem Talmud Fa, chapter XNUMX, XNUMX, page XNUMX).

There is no doubt that the Roman Empire had an extremely vital interest in the normal course of agricultural affairs in the provinces which constituted a considerable source of supply for the apparatus of the Empire and its army and even for the population of Rome, such as for example grain from Egypt, which was considered the largest grain basin in the Eastern Mediterranean region. This motivated the Roman Empire in one way or another to intervene, either directly or indirectly, in matters of imperial agricultural policy and all this with a clear trend to encourage agricultural and industrial production throughout the empire.

Actions of this kind were found mainly from the time of Emperor Hadrian (138-117 AD) and onwards. Evidence of this involvement was found in Roman Egypt during the reign of Antoninus Pius (161-138 CE), when one can notice a growing demand for planting a vineyard to pay advance fees and legal registration with the village notary. That is, the planting of the olive groves led to a kind of ownership of the land from which they would set aside the agricultural levies (partes agrariae), thereby becoming users of the land and enjoying its fruits (usus proprium habeant). And since the planting of olives required an investment of labor and money, it can be assumed that the Roman Empire tended to grant guarantees to the planters or at least concessions and perhaps even exemption from various taxes and duties. Lest we cross this information with the comment of Rabbi Elazar ben Shimon, a contemporary of Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi: "It is convenient for a man to raise a legion of olives in the Galilee and not to raise a single baby in the Land of Israel" (Beresheet Rabba 6:XNUMX).

The olive harvester stood in line with the harvest, and special laborers were hired ad hoc for its execution. The olives were picked by hand or the tree was shaken so that they would fall, and these were called "picked olives", from which the finest oil was produced, and this because they were not "wounded" unlike olives that were taken from the tree and were called "picked olives". These olives constituted the majority of the produce for the production of the oil.

The Israelite scholar of the third century CE, Rabbi Shimon ben Yakim, referred to the above-mentioned Rabbi Yossi's statement - "The olives are not forgotten (after the rebellion of Ben Kusaba). Rabbi Shimon ben Yakim said: Rabbi Yossi did not say except in the beginning, that the olives were not found (after) he came (to suppress the rebellion) and destroyed the whole land (he used the trees for combat purposes such as building catapults and catapults). Rabbi Shimon ben Yakim said. But now (with the restoration of the land) the olives are found (it is possible to fulfill the mitzva of "forgetfulness")" (Yerushalmi Pah chapter XNUMX XNUMX, p. XNUMX). Here an important question arises: is this about the Galilee at all or somewhere else, since the revolt of Ben Khosva took place in Judea and not north of it. That is, the outcry refers to Judah, and in the Galilee as a whole, Mahmid praised his olives and the production of Galilee oil increases greatly after the rebellion was put down, partly due to the transfer of political, social and certainly economic weight to the Galilee. And this, by the way, clarifies the agrarian nature of the rebellion. Since the suppression of the rebellion, the Galilee has become the mainstay and economic base of the Land of Israel.

The olive oil was produced in a special facility called Beit Bad after the "bed", the wooden beam that played a central role in the crushing and squeezing operation. Textile houses were found in archaeological excavations, some of them large, somewhat industrial, and some of them small, family.

After collecting the olives, they would crush them in this way: the fruit would be transferred to a special device consisting of two heavy stones placed on top of each other. The upper one was called "Yim" and it was fixed with a long wooden pole with a pivot on it and the pivot passed through the lower stone called "Memel". It was the millstone to which a strong animal like a donkey was harnessed. The donkey carried the axle in turns and in this way the olives that were between the two aforementioned stones were cut. The crushed material was loaded into baskets woven from rope or fibers, and these were called "eklim". A heavy wooden beam was placed on the baskets and heavy stone weights were tied to it.

an olive branch. Illustration: pixabay.
olive branch Illustration: pixabay.

This action resulted in crushing the olives and squeezing them, and as a result the oil dripped down and the rest - the skins and skins remained in baskets and were used for animal feed and heating.

Then separate the oil from the liquid remaining from crushing the olives.

The fine oil produced from olives collected and crushed in a mortar is called by Rabbi Yehuda the name "Katish", or "Kathit" considering the first oil, which was produced right in the field, in the orchard. In a different way, they would collect the olives on the roof ("stacking them" as the sources say) until the load placed on the mats began to "sweat". This is how they would preserve the olives and according to Rabbi Chaiya's term - "a priest of olives" (Babili Talmud, Baba Metzia Ed, p. XNUMX) - a term that continues like this is similar from the Roman - "cumera", which means a facility for preserving olives. Which indicates Roman influence and/or cooperation with foreigners in the production.

After the grinding operation in order to separate the "meat" of the olives from the pits, they would load the produce into the cloth house.

From these sections and from the previous comments regarding the cheapness of the price of oil, or the distinction between an artisan worker and a layman and the employment of special workers for the production processes, as we will see below, we will learn that alongside the large and developed centers of production as well as the specializations in production, the oil is created in small villages and farms, in villas. Indeed, except for the archaeological discoveries of family textile houses, this evidence intersects with the findings regarding the mention of textile houses among the various villa facilities.

Beside the cloth house, Rabbi Shimon mentions the "Budida" and the "Katev", which are small formations of the cloth house, probably attributed to the family cloth houses. Sages, by the way, allow olives to be stopped there even in the seventh year.

The fabric house, as mentioned, is in a field or orchard, and is locked with a key. And as for its parts - apart from the upper and lower nostrils - the sea and the meml, we witness the Roman type of nostrils, which is the trapetum, traces of which can be found in the "lens" mentioned in the literature of the Sages. as well as the beam, the virgins, the scorpion of the house of the cloth which is the bolt, the wheel, the acharin, the lolbin, the oleh, the hook of the house of the cloth, the dapin, the forbidden, the crusher or the kofah, the oven, the shooter and the yoke. Such a variety of parts and items to teach us about the complexity of the structure and thus about its intelligence.

Rabbi Yehuda testified to the development of production in our time by distinguishing three types of oils produced from three types of olives. In addition to this, two operations were known that yielded the lowest grade of oil, i.e. additional pressing of the remains of the olives (the "gafat") and soaking the remains of the gfat in hot water. The soaking operation was carried out by special workers called "olive peelers". These two operations testified to the development of production and its technical sophistication, including the use of oil for various needs of the population, such as oil for massage and healing, for lighting, for baths, for gymnasiums, for pagan worship, and more.

The oil was also used as a by-product for the benefit of weaving and dyeing and the very fact that you find many parables and legends about everything involved in the production of oil is evident that this reflects a large distribution of oil products and not to mention those sages who carry and give in the problem of oil who are all from the period after the rebellion of Ben Kusva, and even their involvement in everything involved in the economy The farmer in Israel is to be healed and praised, such as the tradition from the time of President Rabbi Shimon ben Gamaliel: "You do not take from the fields either little oil or little olives, but you take from them oil in measure and olives in measure" (Tosefta Baba Kama 7, XNUMX). There is nothing better than this testimony to reflect the tendency of the members of the Sanhedrin to base economic life in Israel on the principles of professional stability.

Keep the extracted oil in clay barrels so that it does not evaporate. These barrels were smeared with special oil so that their sides would not absorb the oil, and in the language of the Sages - "old jugs", meaning that they have absorbed a lot of oil and again do not "swallow".

In accordance with the intensive nature of the agricultural economy, special laborers, artisans, were hired for the work of producing the oil in the house of the cloth, called by the name "Baddin" and the quality of their work can be judged according to the testimony of the Sages: "Olives, as long as they make three logins for a sea" (Safra Nd p. ' B). That is, from a dozen liters of olives, an amount of one and a half liters of oil was produced.

The topic of oil and its consequences found a considerable echo in the issues of the Sages, and thus during the time of the son of Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi, also known as Rabbi Yehuda Nashiya, who is also the president of the Sanhedrin, the following passages are found: "Rabbi and his court permitted oil" (Mishnah, Avoda Zerah, 6 1) , or more precisely: "Rabbi Yehuda and his house allowed the oil of gentiles in the minyan" (Tosefta Avoda Zerah XNUMX (XNUMX) XNUMX). This is an annulment, the meaning of which discusses the displacement of an ancient tradition that prohibits the use of gentiles' oil for pagan reasons, and the Jerusalem Talmud knows how to praise the innovative and courageous ruling of Rabbi Yehuda Nashiya, and to bring its flavor that originates from the minority of oil of Jews in a certain environment and at a certain time. This ruling, beyond its hidden condition in time and place, opens an important opening for the normalization of relations between Jews and foreigners in the Land of Israel.

Rabbi Yehuda Nashira directed the permit also towards the participation of foreigners together with Jews in the production of oil and vice versa as well as the dedicated production of oil for the Roman army and the Roman city officials. Indeed, we are witnessing a situation where, along with the vegetables and beef that Rabbi Yehuda the Hanasi supplied to the court of the Roman Empire, he transported considerable amounts of oil to the same destination. This is oil extracted from the lands of his estates, which were leased to him from the hands of the Roman Empire.

Also, and in connection with the above permit, it is known that the Diaspora Jews did not tend to use the oil of foreigners, when this situation indirectly led to the flourishing of the export of Israel's oil, and this led to the concern that its supply would be stable and solid. Rabbi Yehuda testifies to this explicitly regarding the price of oil, when in one Isar, which is 1/64 of the value of one dinar, it was possible to purchase a saucer full of oil, and thus also lies an important confirmation of the wide circulation of the oil, while indirectly implying here the domestic, family production.

However, the Romans occasionally burdened the amount of indirect taxation and sometimes the unusual title, and from this the farmers were forced to produce larger quantities of oil and without increasing its price. For this reason, President Rabbi Yehuda Nashiya came into the picture and asked to take care of the local market so that it would not be harmed as a result of excessive production on the one hand and on the other hand from greater absorption of those taxes. Therefore, among other things, he came out with a significant announcement of allowing the oil of strangers. In doing so, he regulated the demand of the Diaspora Jews and diverted the produce to the local market, by the way keeping a considerable quota for sudden demands to increase quantities of oil as a tax for the Romans. This is an interesting assumption about the involvement of the Presidency in the supervision and audit of production and marketing.

And here we witness again and again the connection between capital and government, and this with the clear knowledge that the presidency had extensive areas in the Galilee and around Acre (Patolamais), which yielded a large production of oil and wine and were subject to close contact with foreigners. The regulation of the Presidency came to regulate in a normal and logical way the structure of relations between the two peoples and in particular with the Roman government, as the one who granted the Presidency many areas of land.

To summarize and emphasize. The issue of oil and its consequences also occupied a prominent place in the interest of the presidents of the Sanhedrin and, as a result, in their rulings, and it is mainly about the presidency of Rabbi Yehuda the Hanasi and his descendants. The halachic rulings were therefore integrated with the process of enrichment of the presidency and its ties with the Roman government. After all, we have "capital and rule" even in oil production. Indeed, the title of the article discussing these conclusions is correct - good name good with good oil.

One response

  1. Hello to Dr. Yehiam Sorek.
    I read the above article on the matter, but it seems that the location of the arduous stones was mistaken there. The "mamel" is how the rolling stone was called in the past, moving on top of the "sea", this is how the crushing basin was called in the past and not the other way around. For many years the hemel and the sea have been attributed to other parts of the fabric house. but not arduously.
    The arduous, which uses crushing stones cut into a lens and adapted to the corresponding socket, does not originate in the Roman period as indicated, but in the Hellenistic material culture that was widespread in Crete, according to the experts of the oil museum in Sparta where they are displayed. There are places where they were used even in the Roman period. In Israel they can be found only or mainly in the lowlands around Marsha.
    I would be very happy to receive information about the place of this type of arduous "lens" in ancient literature.
    Fini Tzur

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