Israeli archaeologists recently found a lead projectile from the Hellenistic era in the ancient palace at Yavne, a site in central Israel.
The projectile, which measures 4.4 centimeters (1.7 inches) in length, was made to be fired from a sling.
According to estimates, it dates back 2,200 years, which places it within the wars between the Hasmoneans and the Seleucid Empire.
Hanukkah, observed this year from December 18 to 26, honors the retaking of Jerusalem from the Seleucids in the second century B.C.E.
As managers of the Yavne archaeological site for the Israel Antiquities Authority, Pablo Bezer and Daniel Varga, stated, “It appears that we will not be able to know for sure if the projectile belonged to a Greek soldier.”
But it’s not out of the question that it has something to do with the war between the Greeks and the Hasmoneans.
They said, “Yavne was pagan in the second century B.C.E., an ally of the Seleucids [the Greeks who ruled Israel], and was prone to attacks by the Hasmonean army.
“Victory for Heracles and Hauron,” reads a Greek inscription on the projectile.
The gods Hauron and Heracles were regarded as divine patrons of Yavne throughout the Hellenistic period, according to Yulia Ustinova of Ben-Gurion University, who decoded the inscription.
The first artifact related to the two Yavne protectors found inside Yavne is an inscription on a projectile.
A single inscription on the Greek island of Delos only previously identified the pair.
The inscription was a warning to the enemies rather than a prayer to the gods.
The writings served as a call to rally the troops, frighten the adversary, or even magically provoke the bullet.
She continued, “These were elements of psychological warfare.
It’s a rare find, she continued.
“Lead bullets have been used since the fifth century B.C.E., but only a small number of individual bullets with inscriptions have been discovered in Israel.”