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Jerusalem and Its Conquerors: A History of Jerusalem
(63 BCE - present)

The Roman and Byzantine Periods

General Pompey captures Jerusalem in 63 BCE, and local Hasmonean rule continued over the city under the protection of Rome. The Reign of Herod, who was appointed by Romans and identified himself with the Jewish faith, lasted from 47 to 4 BCE. Herod’s rule is famous for the expansion of the Temple, which took place under his personal orders. The Second Temple’s completion is dated to 63 CE.

It is during the Roman period that the birth, life, and crucifixion of Jesus took place. The crucifixion of Jesus was ordered under Pontius Pilate in 33 CE.

The turn of the century marks the beginning of the Rule of the Roman Procurators, officials given authority over tax collections in the Roman provinces, including Judea. It was under this government that The Great Jewish Revolt occurred in 66 CE. The revolt of the Jewish people against the Romans led to a Roman siege of the city, as well as the eventual destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple amidst internal fighting between radical Jewish groups.

Those who fled to Masada in the Judea desert were eventually defeated by the Romans in 73 CE, and Jewish exile from Jerusalem into surrounding areas such as Egypt ensued. Emperor Hadrian rebuilt under the name Aelia Capitolina in 135 CE.

The Byzantine period was marked by the division of the Roman Empire into the Eastern and Western Empires. The Eastern Empire, which was primarily a Christian empire, controlled Jerusalem and replaced the old Roman temples with Christian churches, such as the Holy Sepulchre. This church was constructed in 335 CE under the orders of Queen Helena, the mother of Constantine, Emperor of Byzantine.

The Muslim Period and The Crusades

In 638 CE, six years after the death of the Prophet Mohammed, the Caliph Omar entered Jerusalem and allowed the return of the exiled Jews. Between 638 to 1099 CE, both the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque were constructed in Jerusalem under Caliph Abd al-Malik and Caliph al-Walid.

During this time, the remains of the Temple wall (the Wailing Wall) were discovered. The destruction of Jewish synagogues and Christian churches was ordered by Caliph al-Hakim in 1010 CE.

The destruction of the churches instigated a response from the Christian Crusaders. The first Crusade led to the capture of Jerusalem in 1099 and resulted in the mass slaughter of Muslims and Jews. Baldwin I was declared the King of Jerusalem in this year, becoming the first ruler of the Crusaders’ Kingdom.

The Kurdish General Saladin captured Jerusalem in 1187 and allowed the return of Muslim and Jews. Subsequently, Richard the Lion Heart attempted to recapture the city, but failed, leading to a treaty that allowed members of all three religions to worship in the Holy City. Turkish leaders captured the city in 1244, marking the end of Crusader rule.

The Mameluk Period and The Ottoman Empire

The Mameluk Period of 1260 to 1517 was marked by relative stability. The Mameluks were slave-soldiers who had converted to Islam and served under Caliphs. They were trained as cavalry soldiers and had established a strong military caste. The Mameluks captured Jerusalem during their reign over Egypt.

Under the Ottoman Turkish Empire (1517 to 1917), Jerusalem regained some of its old glory. The first British consulate in Jerusalem was established in the nineteenth century, and the first Jewish settlement outside the walls of the city was established during this time.

Toward the end of the Ottoman rule, the Empire grew increasingly corrupt, leading to its eventual conquest by the British in World War One.

The Twentieth Century: The British Mandate and Israel

The British Army, led by General Allenby, conquered the city of Jerusalem in 1917. As a result, the city was placed under the British Military Administration. Arab riots broke out in the city, leading to the Great Arab Uprising of 1936.

Between 1923 and 1948, Jerusalem was mandated as the capital of Palestine. In 1948, the United Nations resolved the internationalization of Jerusalem and the city was later partitioned between Israel and Jordan following the onset of war.

In 1948, the state of Israel was officially declared. After the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel took control of the Eastern City. The ownership and division over the city of Jerusalem remains under political dispute between the Palestinians and Israelis to this day.


Jesus of Nazareth Mary Magdalene: Mariamne Early Christianity
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