9,1 Thamaro

No emendation is required for the Jerusalem—Thamaro—Rababatora road, but the reader will profit from some elucidation being given. Finkelstein 30-31 notes: "‘Thamaro’ undoubtedly is the Thamara of the Roman-Byzantine sources, and is generally identified with Ain al-Hosb in the Araba."

On DARE, one sees how Thamara is located in the Araba valley, an arid plain south of the Dead Sea located below the Negev plateau. Ain al-Hosb, the name of a British police base there, has been replaced with an Israeli name. More history of the location is given in the Wikipedia article on Ir Ovot. It was reached by proceeding southwards from Jerusalem over a long highway via Hebron, a place which is not marked on the TP. Finkelstein 33 notes:
Obviously enough the place where the Thamara—Transjordan road diverged from the Jerusalem—Elusa road was in or near Hebron. It would seem therefore, that the name and placing of Hebron were omitted from the junction of these two roads.
Thamara is also a crossroads. This junction must have been the end-point of an itinerary used to make up this part of the TP, since the itinerary's only obvious continuation, southwards from Thamara towards the Gulf of Aqaba, is not present on the TP, although this does not prevent Finkelstein 31 from speculating about its likeliest course:
Most probably, the road from Thamara to Aila crossed the Araba to et-Tlah (Toloha of the Roman—Byzantine sources) [DARE] in the east. From there the road went up Naqb (the pass of) Dahal to the vicinity of Bostra (present-day Buseira), where it merged with the Via Nova Traiana. This is the easiest and the shortest way. It is reasonable to assume that the connexion with the Transjordan road should have occurred between the stations Negla and Thornia, and not near Rababatora as indicated in the map.
No such road is indicated in DARE.

Editing the TP I had the option of diverting the Thamara-Rababatora line in the light of Finkelstein's speculation, or even running it straight to Petra, or letting the connection stand where it is drawn, but as a thin black line. I chose the third option, since Finkelstein gathers ample evidence to make its interpretation as a minor road swerving away northward from the junction the most palatable:
Aharoni showed that the distance given on the map from ‘Thamaro’ to the Transjordan road — 68 miles — exactly fits the distance between Ain al-Hosb and er-Rabba in Transjordan north of Karak. Alt, and after him Aharoni, saw in ‘Rababatora’ a combination of two names: Raba (er-Rabba) and Batora = Bettoro, el-Lajjun, some thirteen miles south-east of er-Rabba....
The references are to: Aharoni, Y. 1958. 'Tamar and the Roads to Elath', EI, 5, 129-34 (in Hebrew) and Alt, A. 1935. 'Aus der "Araba" II', Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins 58, 33.

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