3.4031657356124 (2148)
Posted by r2d2 02/28/2009 @ 05:38

Tags : jerusalem, israel, middle east, world

News headlines
Citing Auschwitz, Pope Assails Hatred - New York Times
Pope Benedict XVI at the the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem on Friday. By RACHEL DONADIO and ALAN COWELL TEL AVIV — Recalling a visit to the Auschwitz death camp, Pope Benedict XVI wound up a sometimes fraught and often politically charged...
Jerusalem: The Pope in Search of Christians - Huffington Post
"This Pope does not respect Islam," Nabil Shehadeh, an East Jerusalem resident, told me. Many Palestinians had wanted the Pope to stand next to Israel's Separation Wall and condemn it. Several thousands of them, mostly living in Diaspora,...
A Growing Divergence between Jerusalem and Washington? - Right Side News
However, the policy directions adopted by Washington have significance for American national interests and the defense of the free world that go far beyond the Washington-Jerusalem bilateral relationship. While as a superpower the US has large margins...
ISRAEL: Atittudes toward Christians - Los Angeles Times
The results of the survey, carried out by the Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations (JCJCR) and the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies (JIIS), shed light on how Jewish Israelis perceive Christians and what they know about them,...
Reporter in Austria...Benedict in Jerusalem...Swine flu update ... - KXMC
JERUSALEM (AP) Pope Benedict is wrapping up his Mideast trip with a visit to the site of Jesus' tomb. The traditional escort of men in black robes and red fezzes accompanied the pontiff into Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher....
Mercury rising - Jerusalem Post
By ABE SELIG On a recent sunny morning on Rehov Hatenufa - a main artery through Jerusalem's Talpiot industrial area - six police officers stood outside a clothing store asking questions. Automatic weapons at the ready, the team of Jerusalem Police,...
Darwin comes to Jerusalem - Ynetnews
At Jerusalem's Science Museum the exhibit will be presented in English, Hebrew, and Arabic. Labeled 'Darwin Now', the show presents photos and documents from the life of the famed scientist, as well as sketches showing Darwin's ideas on the origin of...
Area Synagogue Builds Jerusalem Replica in Lego Blocks -
by KYW's Hadas Kuznits To mark Israeli Independence Day, Congregation Or Ami in Lafayette Hill, Pa. was holding a special program on Friday evening in which they replicate the Old City of Jerusalem in children's construction blocks....
Working in Jerusalem: She's got all the answers - Jerusalem Post
By RUTH BELOFF 'Every day I learn 5000 random facts I'll probably never get to use," says Nirel Matsil. But as one of several cas, or community assistants, at, a sister Web site of, Matsil loves every minute - and minutia...
Pope calls for free access for all to Jerusalem - Reuters
BEN-GURION AIRPORT, Israel, May 11 (Reuters) - Pope Benedict, beginning a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories on Monday, called for free access to Jerusalem for people from all the religions with holy sites in the city....

History of Jerusalem

Reverse, with lily (symbol of Jerusalem)

This article chronicles the history of Jerusalem.

The city now known as Jerusalem has known many wars and had various periods of occupation in its long history. Genesis 14:18, mentions a city called Salem, ruled by King Melchizedek, a "priest of God", whom most Jewish commentators believe refers to Jerusalem. According to one Jewish tradition reported by the midrash, it was founded by Abraham's forefathers Shem and Eber, and in the midrash Melchizedek is equated with Shem. The Amarna letters contain correspondence from Abdi-Heba, king of Urusalim (the name of Jerusalem in the Late Bronze Age). At this time his entire kingdom may have had a population of fifteen hundred people, and Urusalim would have been a 'small highlands stronghold' in the fourteenth century BCE with no fortifications or large buildings.

According to the Books of Samuel, the Jebusites managed to resist attempts by the Israelites to capture the city, and by the time of King David were mocking such attempts, claiming that even the blind and lame could defeat the Israelite army. Nevertheless, the masoretic text for the Books of Samuel states that David managed to capture the city by stealth, sending his forces through a "water shaft" and attacking the city from the inside. Archaeologists now view this as implausible as the Gihon spring &mdash the only known location from which water shafts lead into the city — is now known to have been heavily defended (and hence an attack via this route would have been obvious rather than secretive). The older Septuagint text, however, suggests that rather than by a water shaft, David's forces defeated the Jebusites by using daggers.

There was another king in Jerusalem, Araunah, during, and possibly before, David's control of the city, according to the Biblical narrative, who was probably the Jebusite king of Jerusalem. The city, which at that point was upon Ophel, was, according to the biblical account, expanded to the south, and declared by David to be the capital city of the united Kingdom of Israel. David also, according to the Books of Samuel, constructed an altar at the location of a threshing floor he had purchased from Araunah; a portion of biblical scholars view this as an attempt by the narrative's author to give an Israelite foundation to a pre-existing sanctuary.

Later, according to the biblical narrative, King Solomon built a more substantive temple, the Temple of Solomon, at a location which the Book of Chronicles equates with David's altar. The Temple became a major cultural centre in the region; eventually, particularly after religious reforms such as those of Hezekiah and of Josiah, the Jerusalem temple became the main place of worship, at the expense of other, formerly powerful, ritual centres, such as Shiloh and Bethel. Solomon is also described as having created several other important building works at Jerusalem, including the construction of his palace, and the construction of the Millo (the identity of which is somewhat controversial). However, archaeologists have found no major building works at Jerusalem dating from this era (except perhaps the Large Stone Structure, which is the subject of some controversy), and some have suggested that Solomon's building programme was somewhat mythical - being based on the building programme of the later Omrides.

When the Kingdom of Judah split from the larger Kingdom of Israel (which the Bible places near the end of the reign of Solomon, though Israel Finkelstein and others claim it occurred closer to the time of Hezekiah), Jerusalem became the capital of the Kingdom of Judah, while the truncated Kingdom of Israel located its capital at Samaria. Thomas L. Thompson argues that it only became a city and capable of acting as a state capital in the middle of the seventh century.

By the end of this First Temple Period, Jerusalem was the sole acting religious shrine in the kingdom and a centre of regular pilgrimage; a fact which archaeologists generally view as being corroborated by the evidence, though there remained a more personal cult involving Asherah figures, which are found spread throughout the land right up to the end of this era.

Jerusalem was the capital of the Kingdom of Judah for some 400 years. It had survived an Assyrian siege in 701 BCE by Sennacherib, unlike Samaria, the capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel, that had fallen some twenty years previously. This was a miraculous event according to the Bible in which an Angel killed 185,000 men in Sennacherib's army. According to Sennacherib's own account, recorded in an inscription contemporary with the event (known as the Taylor prism), the king of Judah, Hezekiah, was "shut up in the city like a caged bird" and eventually persuaded Sennacherib to leave by sending him "30 talents of gold and 800 talents of silver, and divers treasures, a rich and immense booty".

However, the siege of Jerusalem in 597 BCE led to the city being overcome by the Babylonians, who then took the young King Jehoiachin into Babylonian captivity, together with most of the aristocracy. Zedekiah, who had been placed on the throne by Nebuchadnezzar (the Babylonian Emperor), rebelled, and Nebuchadnezzar, who at the time (587/586 BCE) was ruler of the most powerful empire, recaptured the city, killed Zedekiah's descendants in front of him, and plucked out Zedekiah's eyes so that that would be the last thing he ever saw. The Babylonians then took Zedekiah into captivity, along with prominent members of Judah. The Babylonians then burnt the temple, destroyed the city's walls, and appointed Gedaliah the son of Achikam as governor of Judah. After 52 days of rule, Yishmael, son of Netaniah and a surviving descendant of Zedekiah, assassinated Gedaliah after encouragement by Baalis, the king of Ammon. The remaining population of Judah, fearing the vengeance of Nebuchadnezzar, fled to Egypt.

After several decades of captivity in Babylon and the Persian conquest of Babylonia, Cyrus II of Persia allowed the Jews to return to Judah and rebuild the Temple. The construction was finished in 516 BCE the sixth year of Darius the Great. Then, Artaxerxes I sent Ezra and then Nehemiah to rebuild the city's walls and to govern Judah, which was ruled as Yehud province under the Persians and minted Yehud coinage. The Temple was rebuilt and Jerusalem was once again the capital of Judah, and the center of Jewish worship.

When Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire, Jerusalem and Judea fell under Greek control and Hellenic influence. After the Wars of the Diadochi following Alexander's death, Jerusalem and Judea fell under Ptolemaic control under Ptolemy I and continued minting Yehud coinage. In 198 BCE as a result of the Battle of Panium, Ptolemy V lost Jerusalem and Judea to the Seleucids under Antiochus the Great.

Under the Seleucids many Jews began to become Hellenised and with their assistance tried to Hellinize Jerusalem eventually culminating in a rebellion by Matisyahu the High Priest and his five sons: Simon, Yochanan, Eleazar, Jonathan and Judah the Maccabee. As a result of the rebellion, Jerusalem became the capital of the independent Hasmonean Kingdom.

The Hasmonean Kingdom lasted for 103 years. It was ruled by Simon the son of Matisyahu; then by his son Yochanan who started minting coins; then by his son Yehuda Aristobolus; then by his wife Salome Alexandra; then by his brother Alexander Yannai; then by his sons Hyrcanus and Aristobulus. When the brothers Hyrcanus and Aristoblulus each asked for Rome to intervene on their behalf, Judea fell under the greater rule of Rome as an autonomous province but still with a significant amount of independence. The last Hashmonean king was Aristobulus's son Matisyahu Antigonus.

The Romans installed Herod as a Jewish client king around 19 BCE. As king of the Province of Judea, Herod rebuilt the Second Temple, upgraded the surrounding complex, and expanded the minting of coins to many denominations. This rebuilding effort is considered the most important of the many improvements Herod made to the city. After Herod's death in 4 BCE, Judea and the city of Jerusalem came under direct Roman rule in 6 CE through Roman prefects, procurators, and legates (see List of Kings of Judea) but Herod's descendants (in the order of Archelaus, Agrippa I, and Agrippa II) remained kings of Judea. In 66 CE the Jewish population rebelled against the Roman Empire in what is now known as the First Jewish–Roman War. Roman legions under future emperor Titus reconquered and subsequently destroyed much of Jerusalem and the Second Temple in 70 CE although the rebellion lasted a few more years. Titus' victory is commemorated by the Arch of Titus. Agrippa II died circa 94 CE, which brought the Herodian dynasty to an end almost thirty years after the destruction of the Second Temple.

Jerusalem became the birthplace of Christianity in the first century CE. According to the New Testament, it is the location of the Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ. It was in Jerusalem that, according to the New Testament, the Apostles of Christ received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and first began preaching the Gospel and proclaiming his resurrection.

Jerusalem eventually became home to one of the five Patriarchates of the Christian Church (after the Great Schism, it remained a part of the Eastern Orthodox Church).

After a brief period of Roman rule, the city was ruined when a civil war, accompanied by the Great Jewish Revolt against Rome in Judea, led to the city's sack yet again, at the hands of Titus in 70 CE. The Second Temple was burnt and all that remained was the great external (retaining) walls supporting the Esplanade on which the Temple had stood, a portion of which has become known as the Western Wall; also known as the Wailing Wall.

After the end of this first revolt, Jews continued to live in Jerusalem in significant numbers, and were allowed to practice their religion.

What is today known as "Old City" was laid out by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century, when he began to rebuild Jerusalem as a pagan city, Aelia Capitolina, in 135 CE. He placed restrictions on some Jewish practices, which caused a revolt by the Judeans, led by Simon Bar Kokhba. Hadrian responded with overwhelming force, putting down the rebellion, killing as many as a half million Jews, and resettling the city as a Roman colonia under the name Aelia Capitolina. Jews were forbidden to enter the city but for a single day of the year, Tisha B'Av, (the Ninth of Av, see Hebrew calendar), which is the fast day that Jews mourn the destruction of both Temples.

For the next 150 years, the city remained a relatively unimportant Roman town. The Byzantine Emperor Constantine, however, rebuilt Jerusalem as a Christian center of worship, building the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 335. Jews were still banned from the city, except during a brief period of Persian rule from 614-629 CE.

Although the Qur'an does not mention the name "Jerusalem", instead it mentions the name al-Quds which in Arabic is synonymous with Jerusalem, the hadith unequivocally asserts that it was from Jerusalem that Muhammad ascended to heaven in the Night Journey (also known as the Isra and Miraj). The city was one of the Arab Caliphate's first conquests in 638 CE; according to Arab historians of the time, the Rashidun Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab personally went to the city to receive its submission, cleaning out and praying at the Temple Mount in the process. Sixty years later the Dome of the Rock was built, a structure enshrining a stone from which Muhammad is said to have ascended to heaven during the Isra. (Note that the octagonal and gold-sheeted Dome is not the same thing as the Al-Aqsa Mosque beside it, the latest version of which was built more than three centuries later). Umar ibn al-Khattab also allowed the Jews back into the city and freedom to live and worship after four hundred years.

Under the early centuries of Muslim rule, especially during the Umayyad (650-750) and Abbasid (750-969) dynasties, the city prospered; the geographers Ibn Hawqal and al-Istakhri (10th century) describe it as "the most fertile province of Palestine", while its native son the geographer al-Muqaddasi (born 946) devoted many pages to its praises in his most famous work, The Best Divisions in the Knowledge of the Climes. Jerusalem under Muslim rule did not achieve the political or cultural status enjoyed by the capitals Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo etc. Interestingly, al-Muqaddasi derives his name from the Arabic name for Jerusalem, Bayt al-Muqaddas, which is linguistically equivalent to the Hebrew Beit Ha-Mikdash, the Holy House.

The early Arab period was also one of religious tolerance. However, in the early 11th century, the Egyptian Fatimid Caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah ordered the destruction of all churches. Jews were among the most vigorous defenders of Jerusalem against the Crusaders. When the city fell, the Crusaders placed all the Jews in Jerusalem inside the city's synagogue and then burned it down.

Jerusalem became the capital of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Godfrey of Bouillon, was elected Lord of Jerusalem on July 22, 1099, but did not assume the royal crown and died a year later. Barons offered the lordship of Jerusalem to Godfrey's brother Baldwin, Count of Edessa, who had himself crowned by the Patriarch Daimbert on Christmas day 1100 in the basilica of Bethlehem.

Christian settlers from the West set about rebuilding the principal shrines associated with the life of Christ. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was ambitiously rebuilt as a great Romanesque church, and Muslim shrines on the Temple Mount (the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque) were converted for Christian purposes. It is during this period of Frankish occupation that the Military Orders of the Knights Hospitaller and the Knights Templar have their beginnings. Both grew out of the need to protect and care for the great influx of pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem in the twelfth century. The Kingdom of Jerusalem lasted until 1291; however, Jerusalem itself was recaptured by Saladin in 1187, who permitted worship of all religions (see Siege of Jerusalem (1187)).

According to Rabbi Elijah of Chelm, German Jews lived in Jerusalem during the 11th century. The story is told that a German-speaking Palestinian Jew saved the life of a young German man surnamed Dolberger. So when the knights of the First Crusade came to siege Jerusalem, one of Dolberger's family members who was among them rescued Jews in Palestine and carried them back to Worms to repay the favor. Further evidence of German communities in the holy city comes in the form of halakic questions sent from Germany to Jerusalem during the second half of the eleventh century.

In 1173 Benjamin of Tudela visited Jerusalem. He described it as a small city full of Jacobites, Armenians, Greeks, and Georgians. Two hundred Jews dwelt in a corner of the city under the Tower of David.

In 1219 the walls of the city were razed by order of al-Mu'azzam, the Ayyubid sultan of Damascus. This rendered Jerusalem defenseless and dealt a heavy blow to the city's status.

In 1229, by treaty with Egypt's ruler al-Kamil, Jerusalem came into the hands of Frederick II of Germany. In 1239, after a ten-year truce expired, he began to rebuild the walls; but they were again demolished by an-Nasir Da'ud, the emir of Kerak, in the same year.

In 1243 Jerusalem came again into the power of the Christians, and the walls were repaired. The Khwarezmian Tatars took the city in 1244; and they in turn were driven out by the Egyptians in 1247. In 1260 the Tatars under Hulagu Khan engaged in raids into Palestine. It is unclear if the Mongols were ever in Jerusalem, as it was not seen as a settlement of strategic importance at the time. However, there are reports that some of the Jews that were in Jerusalem temporarily fled to neighboring villages.

In 1267 the Jewish Catalonian sage Nahmanides travelled to Jerusalem. In the Old City he established the Ramban Synagogue, the oldest active synagogue in Jerusalem.

In the middle of the 13th century, Jerusalem was captured by the Egyptian Mamluks. In 1517, it was taken over by the Ottoman Empire and enjoyed a period of renewal and peace under Suleiman the Magnificent - including the rebuilding of magnificent walls of what is now known as the Old City (however, some of the wall foundations are remains of genuine antique walls). The rule of Suleiman and the following Ottoman Sultans brought an age of "religious peace"; Jew, Christian and Muslim enjoyed the freedom of religion the Ottomans granted them and it was possible to find a synagogue, a church and a mosque in the same street. The city remained open to all religions, although the empire's faulty management after Suleiman meant slow economical stagnation.

In 1482, the visiting Dominican priest Felix Fabri described Jerusalem as "a dwelling place of diverse nations of the world, and is, as it were, a collection of all manner of abominations". As "abominations" he listed Saracens, Greeks, Syrians, Jacobites, Abyssinians, Nestorians, Armenians, Gregorians, Maronites, Turcomans, Bedouins, Assassins, a possibly Druze sect, Mamluks, and "the most accursed of all", Jews; Only the Latin Christians "long with all their hearts for Christian princes to come and subject all the country to the authority of the Church of Rome".

In 1700, Judah he-Hasid led the largest organized group of Jewish immigrants to the Land of Israel in centuries. His disciples built the Hurba Synagogue, which served was the main synagogue in Jerusalem from the 16th century until 1948 (when it was destroyed by the Arab Legion).

The modern history of Jerusalem began in the mid-nineteenth century, with the decline of the Ottoman Empire. At that time, the city was a backwater, with a population that did not exceed 8,000. Nevertheless, it was, even then, an extremely heterogeneous city because of its significance to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The population was divided into four major communities - Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Armenian - and the first three of these could be further divided into countless subgroups, based on precise religious affiliation or country of origin. An example of this would be the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which was meticulously partitioned between the Greek Orthodox, Catholic, Armenian, Coptic, and Ethiopian churches. Tensions between the groups ran so deep that the keys to the shrine were left with a 'neutral' Muslim family for safekeeping.

At that time, the communities were located mainly around their primary shrines. The Muslim community surrounded the Haram ash-Sharif or Temple Mount (northeast), the Christians lived mainly in the vicinity of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (northwest), the Jews lived mostly on the slope above the Western Wall (southeast), and the Armenians lived near the Zion Gate (southwest). In no way was this division exclusive, however, it did form the basis of the four quarters during the British Mandate period (1917-1948).

Several changes occurred in the mid-nineteenth century, with long-lasting effects on the city: their implications can be felt today and lie at the root of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict over Jerusalem. The first of these was a trickle of Jewish immigrants from the Middle East and Eastern Europe. The first such immigrants were Orthodox Jews: some were elderly individuals, who came to die in Jerusalem and be buried on the Mount of Olives; others were students, who came with their families to await the coming of the Messiah, and adding new life to the local population. At the same time, European colonial powers also began seeking toeholds in the city, hoping to expand their influence pending the imminent collapse of the Ottoman Empire. This was also an age of Christian religious revival, and many churches sent missionaries to proselytize among the Muslim and especially the Jewish populations, believing that this would speed the Second Coming of Christ. Finally, the combination of European colonialism and religious zeal was expressed in a new scientific interest in the biblical lands in general and Jerusalem in particular. Archeological and other expeditions made some spectacular finds, which increased interest in Jerusalem even more.

By the 1860s, the city, with an area of only 1 square kilometer, was already overcrowded. Thus began the construction of the New City, the part of Jerusalem outside of the city walls. Seeking new areas to stake their claims, the Russian Orthodox Church began constructing a complex, now known as the Russian Compound, a few hundred meters from Jaffa Gate. The first attempt at residential settlement outside the walls of Jerusalem was begun by Jews, who built a small complex on the hill overlooking Zion Gate, across the Valley of Hinnom. This settlement, known as Mishkenot Sha’ananim, eventually flourished and set the precedent for other new communities to spring up to the west and north of the Old City. In time, as the communities grew and connected geographically, this became known as the New City.

The British were victorious over the Turks in the Middle East during World War I and with victory in Palestine, General Sir Edmund Allenby, commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force entered Jerusalem on foot, out of respect for the Holy City, on December 11th, 1917.

By the time General Allenby took Jerusalem from the Ottomans in 1917, the new city was a patchwork of neighborhoods and communities, each with a distinct ethnic character. This continued under British rule, as the New City of Jerusalem grew outside the old city walls and the Old City of Jerusalem gradually emerged as little more than an impoverished older neighborhood. One of the British bequests to the city was a town planning order requiring new buildings in the city to be faced with sandstone and thus preserving some of the overall look of the city, even as it grew. During the 1930s, two important new institutions, the Hadassah Medical Center and Hebrew University were founded in Jerusalem's Mount Scopus.

British rule marked a period of growing unrest. Arab resentment at British rule and the influx of Jewish immigrants (by 1948 one in six Jews in Palestine lived in Jerusalem) boiled over in anti-Jewish riots in Jerusalem in 1920, 1929, and the 1930s that caused significant damage and several deaths. The Jewish community organized self-defense forces in response to the Jerusalem pogrom of April, 1920 and later disturbances; while other Jewish groups carried out bombings and attacks against the British, especially in response to suspected complicity with the Arabs and restrictions on immigration during World War II imposed by the White Paper of 1939. The level of violence continued to escalate throughout the 1930s and 1940s. In July 1946 members of the underground zionist group Irgun blew up a part of the King David Hotel, where the British forces were temporarily located, an act which led to the death of many civilians.

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly approved a plan which partitioned the British Mandate of Palestine into two states: one Jewish and one Arab. Each state would be composed of three major sections, linked by extraterritorial crossroads, plus an Arab enclave at Jaffa. The Greater Jerusalem area would fall under international control.

After partition, the fight for Jerusalem escalated, with heavy casualties among both fighters and civilians on the British, Jewish, and Arab sides. By the end of March, 1948, just before the British withdrawal, and with the British increasingly reluctant to intervene, the roads to Jerusalem were cut off by Arab irregulars, placing the Jewish population of the city under siege. The siege was eventually broken, though massacres of civilians occurred on both sides, before the 1948 Arab-Israeli War began with the end of the British Mandate in May 1948.

The 1948 Arab-Israeli War led to massive displacement of Arab and Jewish populations. According to Benny Morris, due to mob and militia violence on both sides, 1,500 of the 3,500 (mostly ultra-Orthodox) Jews in the Old City evacuated to west Jerusalem as a unit. See also Jewish Quarter. The comparatively populous Arab village of Lifta (today within the bounds of Jerusalem) was captured by Israeli troops in 1948, and its residents were loaded on trucks and taken to East Jerusalem. The villages of Deir Yassin, Ein Karem and Malcha, as well as neighborhoods to the west of Jerusalem's Old City such as Talbiya, Katamon, Baka, Mamilla and Abu Tor, also came under Israeli control, and its residents were forcibly displaced; in some cases, as documented by Zionist historian Benny Morris and Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi, among others, expulsions and massacres occurred.

The United Nations proposed, in its 1947 plan for the partition of Palestine, for Jerusalem to be a city under international administration. The city was to be surrounded completely by the "Arab State", only a highway connected international Jerusalem to the "Jewish State".

On January 23, 1950 the Knesset passed a resolution that stated Jerusalem was the capital of Israel. It is also the largest city in the country.

East Jerusalem was captured by Israel Defense Force following the Six Day War in 1967. The Moroccan Quarter containing several hundred homes was demolished and their inhabitants were expelled; thereafter a public plaza was built in its place adjoining the Western Wall. However, the Waqf (Islamic trust) was granted administration of the Temple Mount and thereafter Jewish prayer on the site was prohibited by both Israeli and Waqf authorities.

Most Jews celebrated the event as a liberation of the city; a new Israeli holiday was created, Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim), and the most popular secular Hebrew song, "Jerusalem of Gold" (Yerushalayim shel zahav), became popular in celebration. Many large state gatherings of the State of Israel take place at the Western Wall today, including the official swearing-in of different Israel army officers units, national ceremonies such as memorial services for fallen Israeli soldiers on Yom Hazikaron, huge celebrations on Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel Independence Day), huge gatherings of tens of thousands on Jewish religious holidays, and ongoing daily prayers by regular attendees. The Western Wall has become a major tourist destination spot.

Under Israeli control, members of all religions are largely granted access to their holy sites. The major exceptions being security limitations placed on some Arabs from the West Bank and Gaza Strip from accessing holy sites due to their inadmissibility to Jerusalem, as well as limitations on Jews from visiting the Temple Mount due to both politically motivated restrictions (where they are allowed to walk on the Mount in small groups, but are forbidden to pray or study while there) and religious edicts that forbid Jews from trespassing on what may be the site of the Holy of the Holies. Concerns have been raised about possible attacks on the al-Aqsa Mosque after a serious fire broke in the mosque in 1969 (started by Michael Dennis Rohan, an Australian fundamentalist Christian). Riots broke out following the opening of an exit in the Arab Quarter for the Western Wall Tunnel on the instructions of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which prior Prime Minister Shimon Peres had instructed to be put on hold for the sake of peace (stating it has waited for over 1000 years, it could wait a few more).

Conversely, Israeli and other Jews have showed concerns over excavations being done by the Waqf on the Temple Mount that could harm Temple Relics, particularly excavations to the north of Solomon's Stables that were designed to create an emergency exit for them (having been pressured to do so by Israeli authorities). Some Jewish sources allege that the Waqf's excavations in Solomon's Stables also seriously harmed the Southern Wall; however an earthquake in 2004 that damaged the eastern wall could also be to blame.

The status of East Jerusalem remains a highly controversial issue. The international community does not recognize the annexation of the eastern part of the city, and most countries, including the US, maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv. The United States Congress has pledged to move its embassy to Jerusalem, subject to Presidential approval, which has not been forthcoming as the peace process continues. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 478 declared that the Knesset's 1980 "Jerusalem Law" declaring Jerusalem as Israel's "eternal and indivisible" capital was "null and void and must be rescinded forthwith". This resolution advised member states to withdraw their diplomatic representation from the city as a punitive measure. The council has also condemned Israeli settlement in territories captured in 1967, including East Jerusalem (see UNSCR 452, 465 and 741).

Since Israel gained control over East Jerusalem in 1967, Jewish settler organizations have sought to establish a Jewish presence in neighborhoods such as Silwan. In the 1980s, Haaretz reports, the Housing Ministry "then under Ariel Sharon, worked hard to seize control of property in the Old City and in the adjacent neighborhood of Silwan by declaring them absentee property. The suspicion arose that some of the transactions were not legal; an examination committee...found numerous flaws." In particular, affidavits claiming that Arab homes in the area were absentee properties, filed by Jewish organizations, were accepted by the Custodian without any site visits or other follow-up on the claims. ElAd, a settlement organization which Haaretz says promotes the "Judaization" of East Jerusalem, and the Ateret Cohanim organization, are working to increase Jewish settlement in Silwan in cooperation with the Committee for the Renewal of the Yemenite Village in Shiloah.

The Israel Antiquities Authority has given over responsibility for the City of David digs, featuring excavation of the ancient Silwan aqueduct tunneling around and under the Old City, to ElAd. According to Israeli archaeologist Yoni Mizrachi, among others, 'Ir David' is "one of the few sites operated by private organisations and it is the only one run by a right-wing organisation." Islamic-era skeletons discovered in the course of excavations were removed from the site without informing the Muslim authorities and have since disappeared; furthermore ElAd has been accused of conducting archaeological digs on Arab properties. According to the London Times, "Jewish settler groups are digging an extensive tunnel network under Muslim areas of Jerusalem's Old City while building a ring of settlements around it to bolster their claim to the disputed city in any future peace deal." Elad began the City of David tunnels without applying for a permit from the Jerusalem municipality. As of April 2008, the Israeli High Court had issued a temporary order staying further construction.

In 2005, the Israeli government stated that it would demolish 88 Arab homes in Al-Bustan neighborhood to make way for expansion of the archaeological park and a nearby Jewish settlement housing 50 people. No municipal court has ever ruled that any of the Arab homes slated for demolition were built illegally or without permits. Building on ongoing housing construction in conjunction with archaeological excavation, in 2008 the Jerusalem municipality began "the process of approving a plan for a new housing complex, including a synagogue, in the heart of the Arab neighborhood of Silwan".

To the top

Kingdom of Jerusalem

The Tower of David in Jerusalem as it appears today

The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Christian kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. It lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks.

At first the kingdom was little more than a loose collection of towns and cities captured during the crusade. At its height, the kingdom roughly encompassed the territory of modern-day Israel and the Palestinian territories. It extended from modern Lebanon in the north to the Sinai Desert in the south, and into modern Jordan and Syria in the east. There were also attempts to expand the kingdom into Fatimid Egypt. Its kings also held a certain amount of authority over the other crusader states, Tripoli, Antioch, and Edessa.

Many customs and institutions were imported from the territories of Western Europe from which the crusaders came, and there were close familial and political connections with the West throughout the kingdom's existence. It was, however, a relatively minor kingdom in comparison and often lacked financial and military support from Europe. The kingdom had closer ties to the neighbouring Kingdom of Armenia and the Byzantine Empire, from which it inherited "oriental" qualities, and the kingdom was also influenced by pre-existing Muslim institutions. Socially, however, the "Latin" inhabitants from Western Europe had almost no contact with the Muslims and native Christians whom they ruled.

At first the Muslim world had little concern for the fledgling kingdom, but as the 12th century progressed, the kingdom's increasingly-united Muslim neighbours vigorously began to recapture lost territory. Jerusalem itself was lost to Saladin in 1187, and by the 13th century the Kingdom was reduced to a small strip of land along the Mediterranean coast, dominated by a few cities. In this period, the kingdom, sometimes referred to as the "Kingdom of Acre", was dominated by the Lusignan dynasty of the crusader Kingdom of Cyprus, and ties were also strengthened with Tripoli, Antioch, and Armenia. The kingdom was also increasingly dominated by the Italian city-states of Venice and Genoa, as well as the imperial ambitions of the Holy Roman Emperors. Meanwhile the surrounding Muslim territories were united under the Ayyubid and later the Mamluk dynasties in Egypt, and the kingdom became little more than a pawn in the politics and warfare in the region, which saw invasions by the Khwarezmians and Mongols in the mid-13th century. The Mamluk sultans Baibars and al-Ashraf Khalil eventually reconquered all the remaining crusader strongholds, culminating in the destruction of Acre in 1291.

The First Crusade was preached at the Council of Clermont in 1095 by Pope Urban II, with the goal of assisting the Byzantine Empire against the invasions of the Seljuk Turks. Very soon, however, the participants saw the main objective as the capturing or recapturing of the Holy Land. The kingdom came into being with the arrival of the crusaders in June 1099; a few of the neighbouring towns (Ramla, Lydda, Bethlehem, and others) were taken first, and Jerusalem itself was captured on July 15. There was immediately a dispute among the various leaders as to who would rule the newly-conquered territory, the two most worthy candidates being Godfrey of Bouillon, Duke of Lower Lorraine, and Raymond of St. Gilles, Count of Toulouse. Neither wished to be crowned king in the city where Christ had worn his crown of thorns; Raymond was perhaps attempting to show his piety and hoped that the other nobles would insist upon his election anyway, but Godfrey, the more popular of the two, did no damage to his own piety by accepting a position as secular leader with an unknown or ill-defined title. With the election of Godfrey on July 22, Raymond, incensed, took his army to forage away from the city. The foundation of the kingdom, as well as Godfrey's reputation, was secured with the defeat of the Fatimid Egyptian army under al-Afdal Shahanshah at the Battle of Ascalon one month after the conquest, on August 12. However, Raymond and Godfrey's continued antagonism prevented the crusaders from taking control of Ascalon itself.

There was still some uncertainty as to the nature of the new kingdom. The papal legate Daimbert of Pisa convinced Godfrey to hand over Jerusalem to him as Latin Patriarch, forming the basis for a theocratic state. According to William of Tyre, Godfrey may have supported Daimbert's efforts, and he agreed to take possession of "one or two other cities and thus enlarge the kingdom" if Daimbert were permitted to rule Jerusalem. During his short reign, Godfrey indeed increased the boundaries of the kingdom, by capturing Jaffa, Haifa, Tiberias, and other cities, and reducing many others to tributary status; he also set the foundations for the system of vassalage in the kingdom, including the Principality of Galilee and the County of Jaffa.

The path for a secular state was therefore set during Godfrey's rule, and when Godfrey died of an illness in 1100, his brother Baldwin of Boulogne successfully outmanoeuvered Daimbert and claimed Jerusalem for himself as a secular "king of the Latins of Jerusalem." Daimbert compromised by crowning Baldwin in Bethlehem rather than Jerusalem, but the path for a secular state had been laid. Within this secular framework, a Catholic church hierarchy was established, overtop of the local Eastern Orthodox and Syrian Orthodox authorities, who retained their own hierarchies. Under the Latin Patriarch there were four suffragan archdioceses and numerous dioceses.

During Baldwin's reign the kingdom expanded even further. The numbers of Latin inhabitants increased, as the minor crusade of 1101 brought reinforcements to the kingdom. He also repopulated Jerusalem with Franks and native Christians, after his expedition across the Jordan in 1115.With help from the Italian city-states and other adventurers, notably King Sigurd I of Norway, Baldwin captured the port cities of Acre (1104), Beirut (1110), and Sidon (1111), while also exerting his suzerainty over the other Crusader states to the north – the County of Edessa (which he had founded), the Principality of Antioch, and, after Tripoli was captured in 1109, the County of Tripoli. He successfully defended against Muslim invasions, from the Fatimids at the numerous battles at Ramla and elsewhere in the southwest of the kingdom, and from Damascus and Mosul in the northeast in 1113. As Thomas Madden says, Baldwin was "the true founder of the kingdom of Jerusalem", who "had transformed a tenuous arrangement into a solid feudal state. With brilliance and diligence, he established a strong monarchy, conquered the Palestinian coast, reconciled the crusader barons, and built strong frontiers against the kingdom's Muslim neighbours." However, the kingdom would never overcome its geographic isolation from Europe. For almost its entire history it was confined to the narrow strip of land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River; land beyond this was subject to constant raiding and warfare. The kingdom's population centres could also easily be isolated from each other in the event of a major invasion, which eventually led to the kingdom's downfall in the 1180s.

Baldwin, who was probably homosexual, brought with him an Armenian wife, traditionally named Arda (although never named such by contemporaries), whom he had married to gain political support from the Armenian population in Edessa, and whom he quickly set aside when he found that he had no need of Armenian support in Jerusalem. He bigamously married Adelaide del Vasto, regent of Sicily, in 1113, but was convinced to divorce her as well in 1117; Adelaide's son from her first marriage, Roger II of Sicily, never forgave Jerusalem, and for decades withheld much-needed Sicilian naval support.

Baldwin died without heirs in 1118, during a campaign against Egypt, and the kingdom was offered to his brother Eustace III of Boulogne, who had accompanied Baldwin and Godfrey on the crusade, but he was uninterested. Instead the crown passed to Baldwin's relative, probably a cousin, Baldwin of Le Bourg, who had previously succeeded him as Count of Edessa. Baldwin II was also an able ruler, and he too successfully defended against Fatimid and Seljuk invasions. Although Antioch was severely weakened after the Battle of Ager Sanguinis in 1119, and Baldwin himself was held captive by the emir of Aleppo from 1122-1124, Baldwin led the crusader states to victory at the Battle of Azaz in 1125. His reign also saw the establishment of the first military orders, the Knights Hospitaller and the Knights Templar. The earliest surviving written laws of the kingdom were compiled at the Council of Nablus in 1120, and the first commercial treaty with Venice, the Pactum Warmundi, was written in 1124; the increase of naval and military support from Venice led to capture of Tyre that year. The influence of Jerusalem was also further extended over Edessa and Antioch, where Baldwin II acted as regent when their own leaders were killed in battle, although there were regency governments in Jerusalem as well during Baldwin's captivity. Baldwin was married to the Armenian princess Morphia of Melitene, and had four daughters: Hodierna and Alice, who married into the families of the Count of Tripoli and Prince of Antioch; Ioveta, who became an influential abbess; and the eldest, Melisende, who was his heir and succeeded him upon his death in 1131, with her husband Fulk V of Anjou as king-consort. Their son, the future Baldwin III, was also named co-heir by his grandfather.

Fulk, a renowned military commander, was then faced with a new and more dangerous enemy: the Atabeg Zengi of Mosul, who had taken control of Aleppo and had set his sights on Damascus as well; the union of these three states would have been a serious blow to the growing power of Jerusalem. A brief intervention in 1137-1138 by the Byzantine emperor John II Comnenus, who wished to assert imperial suzerainty over all the crusader states, did nothing to stop the threat of Zengi; in 1139 Damascus and Jerusalem recognized the severity of the threat to both states, and an alliance was concluded which temporarily halted Zengi's advance. Fulk used this time to construct numerous castles, including Ibelin and Kerak. However, after the death of both Fulk and Emperor John in separate hunting accidents in 1143, Zengi successfully invaded and conquered Edessa in 1144. Queen Melisende, now regent for her elder son Baldwin III, appointed a new constable, Manasses of Hierges, to head the army after Fulk's death, but Edessa could not be recaptured, despite Zengi's own assassination in 1146. The fall of Edessa shocked Europe, and a Second Crusade arrived in 1148.

After meeting in Acre in June, the crusading kings Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany agreed with Melisende, Baldwin III and the major nobles of the kingdom to attack Damascus. Zengi's territory had been divided amongst his sons after his death, and Damascus no longer felt threatened, so an alliance had been made with Zengi's son Nur ad-Din, the emir of Aleppo. Perhaps remembering attacks launched on Jerusalem from Damascus in previous decades, Damascus seemed to be the best target for the crusade, rather than Aleppo or another city to the north which would have allowed for the recapture of Edessa. The subsequent Siege of Damascus was a complete failure; when the city seemed to be on the verge of collapse, the crusader army suddenly moved against another section of the walls, and were driven back. The crusaders retreated within three days. There were rumours of treachery and bribery, and Conrad III felt betrayed by the nobility of Jerusalem. Whatever the reason for the failure, the French and German armies returned home, and a few years later Damascus was firmly under Nur ad-Din's control. With Syria in the east now united, the kingdom's attention was turned towards the much weaker Fatimid Egypt in the west.

The failure of the Second Crusade had dire long-term consequences for the kingdom. The West was hesitant to send large-scale expeditions; for the next few decades, only small armies came, headed by minor European nobles who desired to make a pilgrimage. The Muslim states of Syria were meanwhile gradually united by Nur ad-Din, who defeated the Principality of Antioch at the Battle of Inab in 1149 and gained control of Damascus in 1154. Nur ad-Din was extremely pious and during his rule the concept of jihad came to be interpreted as a kind of counter-crusade against the kingdom, which was an impediment to Muslim unity, both political and spiritual.

In Jerusalem, the crusaders were distracted by a conflict between Melisende and Baldwin III. Melisende continued to rule as regent long after Baldwin came of age. She was supported by, among others, Manasses of Hierges, who essentially governed for her as constable, her son Amalric, whom she set up as Count of Jaffa, Philip of Milly, and the Ibelin family. Baldwin asserted his independence by mediating disputes in Antioch and Tripoli, and gained the support of the Ibelin brothers when they began to oppose Manasses growing power, thanks to his marriage to their widowed mother Helvis of Ramla. In 1153 Baldwin had himself crowned as sole ruler, and a compromise was reached by which the kingdom was divided in two, with Baldwin taking Acre and Tyre in the north and Melisende remaining in control of Jerusalem and the cities of the south. Baldwin was also able to replace Manasses with one of his own supporters, Humphrey II of Toron. However, both Baldwin and Melisende knew that this situation was untenable. Baldwin soon invaded his mother's possessions, defeated Manasses, and besieged his mother in the Tower of David in Jerusalem. Melisende surrendered and retired to Nablus, but Baldwin appointed her his regent and chief advisor, and she retained some of her influence, especially in appointing ecclesiastical officials. In 1153, Baldwin launched an offensive against Ascalon, the fortress in the south from which Fatimid Egyptian armies had continually raided Jerusalem since the foundation of the kingdom. The fortress was captured and was added to the County of Jaffa, still in the possession of his brother Amalric.

With the capture of Ascalon the southern border of the kingdom was now secure, and Egypt, which had formerly been a major threat to the kingdom but was now destabilized under the reign of several underaged caliphs, was reduced to a tributary state. Nur ad-Din remained a threat in the east, and Baldwin also had to contend with the advances of Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus, who claimed suzerainty over the Principality of Antioch. In order to bolster the defences of the kingdom against the growing strength of the Muslims, Baldwin III made the first direct alliance with the Byzantine Empire, by marrying Theodora Comnena, a niece of emperor Manuel; Manuel also married Baldwin's cousin Maria. As crusade historian William of Tyre put it, it was hoped that Manuel would be able "to relieve from his own abundance the distress under which our realm was suffering and to change our poverty into superabundance".

When Baldwin died childless in 1162, a year after his mother Melisende, the kingdom passed to his brother Amalric I, who renewed the alliance negotiated by Baldwin. In 1163 the chaotic situation in Egypt led to a refusal to pay tribute to Jerusalem, and requests were sent to Nur ad-Din for assistance; in response, Amalric invaded, but was turned back when the Egyptians flooded the Nile at Bilbeis. The Egyptian vizier Shawar again requested help from Nur ad-Din, who sent his general Shirkuh, but Shawar quickly turned against him and allied with Amalric. Amalric and Shirkuh both besieged Bilbeis in 1164, but both withdrew due to Nur ad-Din's campaigns against Antioch, where Bohemond III of Antioch and Raymond III of Tripoli were defeated at the Battle of Harim. There seemed every chance that Antioch itself would fall to Nur ad-Din. Emperor Manuel immediately sent a large Byzantine force to the area, and Nur ad-Din retreated. Manuel also paid the ransom to release Bohemond from captivity. However, neither Amalric nor Nur ad-Din could ignore Egypt; Shirkuh was sent back to Egypt in 1166, and Shawar again allied with Amalric, who was defeated at the Battle of al-Babein. Despite the defeat, both sides withdrew once more, but Shawar remained in control with a crusader garrison in Cairo. Amalric cemented his alliance with Manuel by marrying Manuel's niece Maria Komnene in 1167, and an embassy led by William of Tyre was sent to Constantinople to negotiate a military expedition, but in 1168 Amarlic pillaged Bilbeis without waiting for the naval support promised by Manuel. Amalric accomplished nothing else, but his actions prompted Shawar to switch sides and seek help from Shirkuh. Shawar was promptly assassinated, and when Shirkuh died in 1169, he was succeeded by his nephew Yusuf, better known as Saladin. That year, Manuel sent a large Byzantine fleet of some 300 ships to assist Amalric, and the town of Damietta was placed under siege. However, due to the failure of the crusaders and the Byzantines to cooperate fully, the chance to capture Egypt was thrown away. The Byzantine fleet sailed only with provisions for three months: by the time the crusaders were ready, supplies were already running out, and eventually the fleet retired. Each side sought to blame the other for failure, but both also knew that they depended on each other: the alliance was maintained, and plans for another campaign in Egypt were made, which ultimately were to come to naught.

In the end, Nur ad-Din was victorious and Saladin established himself as Sultan of Egypt. Saladin soon began to assert his independence from Nur ad-Din, and with the death of both Amalric and Nur ad-Din in 1174, he was well-placed to begin exerting control over Nur ad-Din's Syrian possessions as well. With the death of the pro-western Emperor Manuel in 1180, the Kingdom of Jerusalem also lost its most powerful ally.

Amalric was succeeded by his young son, Baldwin IV, who was discovered at a very young age to be a leper. Baldwin nevertheless proved to be an effective and energetic king as well as being a brilliant military commander. His mother, Agnes of Courtenay, returned to the court, but her influence has been greatly exaggerated by earlier historians. Her role in appointing Eraclius, archbishop of Caesarea, as Patriarch of Jerusalem, followed the precedent of Queen Melisende: however, it sparked a grudge in Eraclius's rival, William of Tyre. His writings, and those of his continuators in the Chronicle of Ernoul, damaged her political and sexual reputation until the recent years.

Count Raymond III of Tripoli, his father's first cousin, was bailli or regent during Baldwin IV's minority. Baldwin reached his majority in 1176, and despite his illness he no longer had any legal need for a regent. Since Raymond was his nearest relative in the male line, with a strong claim to the throne, there was concern about the extent of his ambitions (although he had no direct heirs of his body). To balance this, the king turned from time to time to his uncle, Joscelin III of Edessa, after he was ransomed in 1176: as his maternal kin, the Courtenay family had no claim to the throne.

As a leper, Baldwin would never produce an heir, so the focus of his succession passed to his sister Sibylla and his younger half-sister Isabella. Baldwin and his advisors recognised that it was essential for Sibylla to be married to a Western nobleman in order to access support from Europe in a military crisis. In 1176, he married her to William of Montferrat, a cousin of Louis VII and of Frederick Barbarossa. Unfortunately, William died only a few months later in 1177, leaving Sibylla pregnant with the future Baldwin V. Meanwhile, Baldwin IV's stepmother Maria, mother of Isabella, married Balian of Ibelin.

Baldwin defeated Saladin at the Battle of Montgisard in 1177, giving Jerusalem a brief respite from Saladin's continual attacks. The succession, however, remained a difficult issue. In 1180 Baldwin blocked moves by Raymond of Tripoli to marry Sibylla off to Baldwin of Ibelin by arranging her marriage to Guy of Lusignan. Guy was the younger brother of Amalric of Lusignan, who had already established himself as a capable figure in the kingdom, supported by the Courtenays. More importantly, internationally, the Lusignans were useful as vassals of Baldwin and Sibylla's cousin Henry II of England. Baldwin also betrothed Isabella (aged 8) to Humphrey IV of Toron, stepson of the powerful Raynald of Chatillon - thereby removing her from the influence of the Ibelin family and her mother. Guy was appointed bailli during the king's bouts of illness.

In 1183 Isabella married Humphrey at Kerak, during a siege by Saladin. Baldwin, now blind and crippled, went to the castle's relief on a litter, tended by his mother. He became disillusioned with Guy's military performance there (he was less competent than his brother Amalric), and was reconciled with Raymond. To cut Sibylla and Guy out of the succession, he had Sibylla's son Baldwin of Montferrat crowned Baldwin V, as co-king, although the boy was only 5.

Baldwin IV died in spring 1185, and Baldwin V became king, with Raymond of Tripoli as regent and his great-uncle Joscelin of Edessa as his guardian. However, he was a sickly child and died in the summer of 1186. The kingdom passed to his mother Sibylla, on the condition that her marriage to Guy be annulled; she agreed, if only she could chose her own husband next time. The annulment did not take place: after being crowned, Sibylla immediately crowned Guy with her own hands. Raymond and the Ibelins attempted a coup, in order to place Baldwin IV and Sibylla's half-sister Isabella on the throne, with her husband Humphrey of Toron. Humphrey, however, defected to Guy. Disgusted, Raymond returned to Tripoli, and Baldwin of Ibelin also left the kingdom.

Guy proved a disastrous ruler. His close ally Raynald of Chatillon, the lord of Oultrejourdain and of Kerak, provoked Saladin into open war by attacking Muslim caravans and threatening to attack Mecca itself. To make matters worse, Raymond had allied with Saladin against Guy and had allowed a Muslim garrison to occupy his fief in Tiberias. Guy was on the verge of attacking Raymond before Balian of Ibelin effected a reconciliation in 1187, and the two joined together to attack Saladin at Tiberias. However, Guy and Raymond could not agree on a proper plan of attack, and on July 4, 1187, the army of the Kingdom was utterly destroyed at the Battle of Hattin. Raynald was executed and Guy was imprisoned in Damascus. Over the next few months Saladin easily overran the entire Kingdom, save for the port of Tyre, which was ably defended by Conrad of Montferrat, the paternal uncle of Baldwin V, lately arrived from Constantinople.

The subsequent fall of Jerusalem essentially ended the first Kingdom of Jerusalem. Much of the population, swollen with refugees fleeing Saladin's conquest of the surrounding territory, was allowed to flee to Tyre, Tripoli, or Egypt (whence they were sent back to Europe), but those who could not pay for their freedom were sold into slavery, and those who could were often robbed by Christians and Muslims alike on their way into exile. The capture of the city shocked Europe, resulting in the Third Crusade, which was launched in 1189, led by Richard the Lionheart, Philip Augustus and Frederick Barbarossa, though the last drowned en route.

Guy of Lusignan, who had been refused entry to Tyre by Conrad, began to besiege Acre in 1189. During the lengthy siege, which lasted until 1191, Patriarch Eraclius, Queen Sibylla and her daughters, and many others died of disease. With the death of Sibylla in 1190, Guy now had no legal claim to the kingship, and the succession passed to Isabella. Her mother Maria and the Ibelins (now closely allied to Conrad) argued that Isabella and Humphrey's marriage was illegal, as she had been underage at the time; underlying this was the fact that Humphrey had betrayed his wife's cause in 1186. The marriage was annulled amid some controversy. (The annulment followed the precedents of Amalric I and Agnes, and - though not carried out - Sibylla and Guy - of succession dependent on annulling a politically inconvenient match.) Conrad, who was nearest kinsman to Baldwin V in the male line, and had already proved himself a capable military leader, then married Isabella, but Guy refused to concede the crown.

When Richard arrived in 1191, he and Philip took different sides in the succession dispute. Richard backed Guy, his vassal from Poitou, while Philip supported Conrad, a cousin of his late father Louis VII. After much ill-feeling and ill-health, Philip returned home in 1191, soon after the fall of Acre. Richard defeated Saladin at the Battle of Arsuf in 1191 and the Battle of Jaffa in 1192, recovering most of the coast, but could not recover Jerusalem or any of the inland territory of the kingdom. Conrad was unanimously elected king in April 1192, but was murdered by the Hashshashin only days later. Eight days later, the pregnant Isabella was married to Count Henry II of Champagne, nephew of Richard and Philip, but politically allied to Richard. Guy was sold the Kingdom of Cyprus, after Richard had captured the island on the way to Acre, as compensation.

The crusade came to an end peacefully, with the Treaty of Ramla negotiated in 1192; Saladin allowed pilgrimages to be made to Jerusalem, allowing the crusaders to fulfill their vows, after which they all returned home. The native crusader barons set about rebuilding their kingdom from Acre and the other coastal cities. Shortly after Richard left, Saladin died and his realm fell into civil war, leaving the Crusader lords further embittered at what could have been accomplished had the European princes remained to help rebuild.

For the next hundred years, the Kingdom of Jerusalem clung to life as a tiny kingdom hugging the Syrian coastline. Its capital was moved to Acre and controlled most of the coastline of present day Israel and southern and central Lebanon, including the strongholds and towns of Jaffa, Arsuf, Caesarea, Tyre, Sidon, and Beirut. At best, it included only a few other significant cities, such as Ascalon and some interior fortresses, as well as suzerainty over Tripoli and Antioch. The new king, Henry of Champagne, died accidentally in 1197, and Isabella married for a fourth time, to Amalric of Lusignan, Guy's brother. A Fourth Crusade was planned after the failure of the Third, but it resulted in the sack of Constantinople in 1204 and the crusaders involved never arrived in the kingdom.

Both Isabella and Amalric died in 1205 and again an underage girl, Isabella and Conrad's daughter Maria of Montferrat, became queen of Jerusalem. In 1210 Maria was married to an experienced knight, John of Brienne, who succeeded in keeping the tiny kingdom safe. She died in childbirth in 1212, and John continued to rule as regent for their daughter Yolande. Schemes were hatched to reconquer Jerusalem through Egypt, resulting in the failed Fifth Crusade against Damietta in 1217; King John took part in this, but the crusade was a failure. John travelled throughout Europe seeking assistance, and found support only from Emperor Frederick II, who then married John and Maria's daughter, Queen Yolande. Frederick II led the Sixth Crusade in 1228, and claimed the kingship of Jerusalem by right of his wife, just as John had done. Indeed, the sheer size of Frederick II's army and his stature before the Islamic world was sufficient to regain Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and a number of surrounding castles without a fight: these were recovered by treaty with the Ayyubid Sultan Al-Kamil. However, the nobles of Outremer, led by the regent John of Ibelin, not only felt more could have been recovered militarily, but also resented his attempts to impose Imperial authority over their kingdom, resulting in a number of military confrontations both on the mainland and on Cyprus.

The recovery was short-lived - not enough territory had been ceded to make the city defensible, and in 1244 the Ayyubids invited the Khwarezmian clans displaced by the Mongols to reconquer the city. In the resulting siege and conquest the Khwarezmians completely razed Jerusalem, leaving it in ruins and useless to both Christians and Muslims. The Seventh Crusade under Louis IX of France was inspired by this massacre, but it accomplished little save to replace the Ayyubids and Khwarezmians with the more powerful Mamluks as the Crusaders' main enemy in 1250.

Because the monarchy was now directly tied to powerful sovereigns in Europe, for the period from 1229 to 1268, the monarch resided in Europe and usually had a larger realm to pursue or take care of, thereby leaving governance to the Haute Cour. Kings of Jerusalem were represented by their baillis and regents. The title of King of Jerusalem was inherited by Conrad IV of Germany, son of Frederick II and Yolande, and later by his own son Conradin. With the death of Conradin, the kingdom was inherited by King Hugh III of Cyprus. The territory descended into squabbling between the nobles of Cyprus and the mainland, between the remnant of the (now unified) County of Tripoli and Principality of Antioch, whose rulers also vied for influence in Acre, and especially between the Italian merchant communities, whose quarrels erupted in the so-called "War of Saint Sabas" in Acre in 1257. After the Seventh Crusade, no organized effort from Europe ever arrived in the Kingdom, although in 1277 Charles of Anjou bought the title of "King of Jerusalem" from a pretender to the throne. He never appeared in Acre but sent a representative, who, like Frederick II's representatives before him, was rejected by the nobles of Outremer.

After Acre fell, the Crusaders moved their headquarters north to cities such as Tortosa, but lost that too, and were forced to relocate their headquarters offshore to Cyprus. Some naval raids and attempts to retake territory were made over the next ten years, but with the loss of the island of Arwad in 1302/1303, the Kingdom of Jerusalem ceased to exist on the mainland. The kings of Cyprus for many decades hatched plans to regain the Holy Land, but without success. For the next seven centuries, up to today, a veritable multitude of European monarchs have used the title of King of Jerusalem. See Kings of Jerusalem.

The crusaders and their descendants often learned to speak Greek, Arabic, and other eastern languages, and intermarried with the native Christians (whether Greek, Syrian, or Armenian) and sometimes with converted Muslims. Nonetheless, the Frankish principalities remained a distinctive Occidental colony in the heart of Islam.

Fulcher, a participant in the First Crusade and chaplain of Baldwin I, continued his chronicle up to 1127. Fulcher's chronicle was very popular and was used as a source by other historians in the west, such as Orderic Vitalis and William of Malmesbury. Almost as soon as Jerusalem had been captured, and continuing throughout the 12th century, many pilgrims arrived and left accounts of the new kingdom; among them are the English Saewulf, the Russian Abbot Daniel, the Frank Fretellus, the Byzantine Johannes Phocas, and the Germans John of Wurzburg and Theoderich. Aside from these, thereafter there is no eyewitness to events in Jerusalem until William of Tyre, archbishop of Tyre and chancellor of Jerusalem, who began writing around 1167 and died around 1184, although he includes much information about the First Crusade and the intervening years from the death of Fulcher to his own time, drawn mainly from the writings of Albert of Aix and Fulcher himself. From the Muslim perspective, a chief source of information is Usamah ibn Munqidh, a soldier and frequent ambassador from Damascus to Jerusalem and Egypt, whose memoirs, Kitab al i'tibar, include lively accounts of crusader society in the east. Further information can be gathered from travellers such as Benjamin of Tudela and Ibn Jubayr.

The Kingdom at first was virtually bereft of a loyal subject population and had few knights to implement the laws and orders of the realm. However, with the arrival of Italian trading firms, the creation of the military orders, and immigration by European knights, artisans, and farmers, the affairs of the Kingdom improved and a feudal society developed, similar to but distinct from the society the crusaders knew in Europe. The nature of this society has long been a subject of debate among crusade historians.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, French scholars, such as E. G. Rey, Gaston Dodu, and Rene Grousset believed that the crusaders and the native Muslims and Christians lived in a totally integrated society. Ronnie Ellenblum however claims this view was influenced by French imperialism and colonialism; if medieval French crusaders could integrate themselves into local society, then certainly modern French colonies in the Levant could also thrive. In the mid-20th century, scholars such as Joshua Prawer, R. C. Smail, Meron Benvenisti, and Claude Cahen argued instead that the crusaders lived totally segregated from the native inhabitants, who were thoroughly Arabicized and/or Islamicized and were a constant threat to the foreign crusaders. Prawer argued further that the kingdom was an early attempt at colonization, in which the crusaders were a small ruling class, who were dependent on the native population for survival but made no attempt to integrate with them. For this reason, the rural European society to which the crusaders were accustomed was replaced by a more secure urban society in the pre-existing cities of the Levant.

According to Ellenblum's interpretation the inhabitants of the Kingdom (Latin Christians living alongside native Greek and Syrian Christians, Shia and Sunni Arabs, Sufis, Bedouin, Turks, Druze, Jews, and Samaritans) all had major differences between each other as well as with the crusaders. Relations between eastern Christians and the Latin crusaders were "complex and ambiguous", not simply friendly or hostile. The Turks were the common enemy for everyone, as they were only very recent arrivals in the Levant, and although they had imposed their rule prior to the arrival of the crusaders, it is unlikely that they were thoroughly Islamicized as Prawer and others believed. The eastern Christians, at least, probably felt closer ties to their fellow Christian crusaders than to either Turkic overlords or Muslim Arabs.

Although the crusaders came upon an ancient urban society, Ellenblum argues that they neither completely abandoned their rural European lifestyle, nor was European society completely rural to begin with. Crusader settlement in the Levant resembled the types of colonization and settlement that were already being practised in Europe, a mixture of urban and rural civilization centred around fortresses. The crusaders were neither totally integrated with the native population, nor did they segregate themselves in the cities away from the rural natives, but rather that they settled in both urban and rural areas; specifically, they settled in areas that had traditionally been inhabited by the eastern Christians. Areas that were traditionally Muslim had very little crusader settlement, just as they already had very few native Christian inhabitants.

Into this mixed society the crusaders adapted existing institutions and introduced their own familiar customs from Europe. As in Europe the nobles had their own vassals and were themselves vassals to the king. Agricultural production was regulated by the iqta, a Muslim system of land ownership and payments roughly (though far from exactly) equivalent to the feudal system of Europe, and this system was not heavily disrupted by the crusaders.

As Hans Mayer says, "the Muslim inhabitants of the Latin Kingdom hardly ever appear in the Latin chronicles," so information on their role in society is difficult to find. The crusaders "had a natural tendency to ignore these matters as simply without interest and certainly not worthy of record." Although Muslims, as well as Jews and Eastern Christians, had virtually no rights in the countryside, where they were essentially the property of the crusader lord who owned the land, tolerance for other faiths was in general higher than that found elsewhere in the Middle East. Greeks, Syrians, and Jews continued to live as they had before, subject to their own laws and courts, with their former Muslim overlords simply replaced by the crusaders; Muslims now joined them at the lowest level of society. The ra'is, the leader of a Muslim or Syrian community, was a kind of vassal to whatever noble owned his land, but as the crusader nobles were absentee landlords the ra'is and their communities had a high degree of autonomy.

In the cities, Muslims and Eastern Christians were free, although no Muslims were permitted to live in Jerusalem itself. They were second-class citizens and played no part in politics or law, and owed no military service to the crown, although in some cities they may have been the majority of the population. Likewise, citizens of the Italian city-states owed nothing as they lived in autonomous quarters in the port cities.

There were also an unknown number of Muslim slaves living in the Kingdom. There was a very large slave market in Acre which functioned throughout the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Although Christians, both Western and Eastern, were by law prohibited from being sold into slavery, the native Christians were often indistinguishable from the Muslim population and the Italian merchants were sometimes accused of selling them along with Muslim slaves. Slavery was less common than ransom, especially for prisoners of war; the large numbers of prisoners taken during raids and battles every year ensured that ransom money flowed freely between the Christian and Muslim states. Escape for prisoners and slaves was probably not difficult, as the inhabitants of the countryside were majority Muslim, and fugitive slaves were always a problem. The only legal means of manumission was conversion to (Catholic) Christianity. No Christian, whether Western or Eastern, was permitted by law to be sold into slavery.

The nomadic Bedouin tribes were legally considered to be personal property of the king and were under his protection. They could, however, be sold or alienated just like any other property, and later in the twelfth century they are often found under the protection of a lesser noble or one of the military orders.

It is impossible to give an accurate estimate of the population of the kingdom. Josiah Russell calculates that all of Syria had about 2.3 million people at the time of the crusades, with perhaps eleven thousand villages; most of these, of course, were outside of crusader rule even at the greatest extent of all four crusader states. It has been estimated by scholars such as Joshua Prawer and Meron Benvenisti that there were at most 120,000 Franks and 100,000 Muslims living in the cities, with another 250,000 Muslim and Eastern Christian peasants in the countryside. The crusaders accounted for 15-25% of the total population. Benjamin Z. Kedar estimates that there were between three hundred thousand and three hundred and sixty thousand non-Franks in the Kingdom, two hundred and fifty thousand of whom were villagers in the countryside, and “one may assume that Muslims were in the majority in some, possibly most parts of the kingdom of Jerusalem…” As Ronnie Ellenblum points out, however, there simply is not enough existing evidence to accurately count the population and any estimate is inherently unreliable. Contemporary chronicler William of Tyre recorded the census of 1183, which was intended to determine the number of men available to defend against an invasion, and also to determine the amount of tax money that could be obtained from the inhabitants, Muslim or Christian. If, however, the population was actually counted, William did not record the number. In the 13th century, John of Ibelin drew up a list of fiefs and the number of knights owed by each, but this gives no indication of the non-noble, non-Latin population.

The urban composition of the area, combined with the presence of the Italian merchants, led to the development of an economy that was much more commercial than it was agricultural. Palestine had always been a crossroads for trade; now, this trade extended to Europe as well. European goods, such as the woolen textiles of northern Europe, made their way to the Middle East and Asia, while Asian goods were transported back to Europe. Jerusalem was especially involved in the silk, cotton and spice trade; other items that first appeared in Europe through trade with crusader Jerusalem included oranges and sugar, the latter of which chronicler William of Tyre called "very necessary for the use and health of mankind." In the countryside, wheat, barley, legumes, olives, grapes, and dates were also grown. The Italian city-states made enormous profits from this trade, thanks to commercial treaties like the Pactum Warmundi, and it influenced their Renaissance in later centuries.

Jerusalem also collected money through tribute payments, first from the coastal cities which had not yet been captured, and later from other neighbouring states such as Damascus and Egypt, which the crusaders could not conquer directly. After Baldwin I extended his rule over Oultrejordain, Jerusalem also gained revenue from the taxation of Muslim caravans passing from Syria to Egypt or Arabia. The money economy of Jerusalem meant that their manpower problem could be partially solved by paying for mercenaries, an uncommon occurrence in medieval Europe. Mercenaries could be fellow European crusaders, or, perhaps more often, Muslim soldiers, including the famous Turcopoles.

Jerusalem was the center of education in the kingdom. There was a school in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where the basic skills of reading and writing Latin were taught; the relative wealth of the merchant class meant that their children could be educated there along with the children of nobles - it is likely that William of Tyre was a classmate of future king Baldwin III. Higher education had to be undertaken at one of the universities in Europe; the development of a university was impossible in the culture of crusader Jerusalem, where warfare was far more important than philosophy or theology. Nonetheless, the nobility and general Frankish population were noted for the high literacy: lawyers and clerks were in abundance, and the study of law, history, and other academic subjects was a beloved pastime of the royal family and the nobility. Jerusalem also had an extensive library not only of ancient and medieval Latin works but also of Arabic literature, much of which was apparently captured from Usamah ibn Munqidh and his entourage after a shipwreck in 1154. The Holy Sepulchre also contained the kingdom's scriptorium, where royal charters and other documents were produced. Aside from Latin, the standard written language of medieval Europe, the populace of crusader Jerusalem also communicated in vernacular forms of French and Italian; Greek, Armenian, and even Arabic were also not uncommonly mastered by Frankish settlers.

In Jerusalem itself the greatest architectural endeavour was the expansion of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in western Gothic style. This expansion consolidated all the separate shrines on the site into one building, and was completed by 1149. Outside of Jerusalem, castles and fortresses were the major focus of construction: Kerak and Montreal in Oultrejordain and Ibelin near Jaffa are among the numerous examples of crusader castles.

Crusader art was a mix of Western, Byzantine, and Islamic styles. The major cities featured baths, interior plumbing, and other advanced hygienic tools which were lacking in most other cities and towns throughout the world. The foremost example of crusader art are perhaps the Melisende Psalter, an illuminated manuscript commissioned between 1135 and 1143 and now located in the British Library, and the sculpted Nazareth Capitals. Paintings and mosaics were popular forms of art in the kingdom, but many of these were destroyed by the Mamluks in the 13th century; only the most durable fortresses survived the reconquest.

Immediately after the First Crusade, land was distributed to loyal vassals of Godfrey, forming numerous feudal lordships within the kingdom. This was continued by Godfrey's successors. The number and importance of the lordships varied throughout the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and many cities were part of the royal domain. The king was also assisted by a number of officers of state. The king and the royal court were normally located in Jerusalem, but due to the prohibition on Muslim inhabitants, the capital was small and underpopulated. The king just as often held court at Acre, Nablus, Tyre, or wherever else he happened to be. In Jerusalem, the royal family lived firstly on the Temple Mount, before the foundation of the Knights Templar, and later in the palace complex surrounding the Tower of David; there was another palace complex in Acre.

Because the nobles tended to live in Jerusalem rather than on estates in the countryside, they had a larger influence on the king than they would have had in Europe. The nobles, along with the bishops, formed the haute cour (high court), which was responsible for confirming the election of a new king (or a regent if necessary), collecting taxes, minting coins, allotting money to the king, and raising armies. The haute cour was the only judicial body for the nobles of the kingdom, hearing criminal cases such as murder, rape, and treason, and simpler feudal disputes such as recovery of slaves, sales and purchases of fiefs, and default of service. Punishments included forfeiture of land and exile, or in extreme cases death. The first laws of the kingdom were, according to tradition, established during Godfrey of Bouillon's short reign, but were more probably established by Baldwin II at the Council of Nablus in 1120. Benjamin Z. Kedar argued that the canons of the Council of Nablus were in force in the twelfth century but had fallen out of use by the thirteenth; Marwan Nader, however, questions this and suggests that the canons may not have applied to the whole kingdom at all times. The most extensive collection of laws, together known as Assizes of Jerusalem, were written in the mid-thirteenth century, although many of them are purported to be twelfth-century in origin.

There were other, lesser courts for non-nobles and non-Latins; the Cour des Bourgeois provided justice for non-noble Latins, dealing with minor criminal offences such as assault and theft, and provided rules for disputes between non-Latins, whose had fewer legal rights. Special courts such as the Cour de la Fond (for commercial disputes in the markets) and the Cour de la Mer (an admiralty court) existed in the coastal cities. The extent to which native Islamic and Eastern Christian courts continued to function is unknown, but the ra'is probably exercised some legal authority on a local level. The Cour des Syriens judged non-criminal matters among the native Christians (the "Syrians"), but for criminal offenses, however, non-Latins would be tried in the Cour des Bourgeois (or even the Haute Cour if the crime was sufficiently severe).

The Italian communes were granted almost complete autonomy from the very early days of the Kingdom, thanks to their military and naval support in the years following the First Crusade. This autonomy included the right to administer their own justice, although the kinds of cases that fell under their jurisdiction varied at different times.

The king was recognised as head of the Haute Cour, although he was legally only primus inter pares.

The coat of arms of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, which has gone through several different varieties of a cross Or (gold) on an argent (silver) field, is a famous violation of or exception to the rule of tincture in heraldry, which prohibits the placement of metal on metal or fur on fur. Allowed are metal on color or fur, fur on metal or color and color on metal, fur or color.

It is one of the earliest known coats of arms. The crosses are Greek crosses, one of the many Byzantine influences on the kingdom.

To the top

Siege of Jerusalem (70)

Map of Jerusalem in 70; the Temple is in yellow

The Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD was a decisive event in the First Jewish-Roman War. It was followed by the fall of Masada in 73 AD. The Roman army, led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberius Julius Alexander as his second-in-command, besieged and conquered the city of Jerusalem, which had been occupied by its Jewish defenders in 66 AD. The city and its famous Temple were destroyed.

The destruction of the Temple is still mourned annually as the Jewish fast Tisha B'Av, and the Arch of Titus, depicting and celebrating the sack of Jerusalem and the Temple, still stands in Rome.

Despite early successes in repelling the Roman sieges, the Zealots fought amongst themselves, lacking proper leadership. They lacked discipline, training, and preparation for the battles that were to follow.

Titus surrounded the city, with three legions (V Macedonica, XII Fulminata, XV Apollinaris) on the western side and a fourth (X Fretensis) on the Mount of Olives to the east. He put pressure on the food and water supplies of the inhabitants by allowing pilgrims to enter the city to celebrate Passover, and then refusing them egress. After Jewish sallies killed a number of Roman soldiers, Titus sent Josephus, a Jewish Historian, to negotiate with the defenders;. Titus was almost captured during this sudden attack, but escaped.

In mid-May Titus set to destroying the newly built Third Wall with a ram, breaching it as well as the Second Wall, and turning his attention to the Fortress of Antonia just north of the Temple Mount. The Romans were then drawn into street fighting with the Zealots, who were then ordered to retreat to the temple to avoid heavy losses. Josephus failed in another attempt at negotiations, and Jewish attacks prevented the construction of siege towers at the Fortress of Antonia. Food, water, and other provisions were dwindling inside the city, but small foraging parties managed to sneak supplies into the city, harrying Roman forces in the process. To put an end to the foragers, orders were issued to build a new wall, and siege tower construction was restarted as well.

After several failed attempts to breach or scale the walls of the Antonia Fortress, the Romans finally launched a secret attack, overwhelming sleeping Zealot guards and taking the Fortress. This was the second highest ground in the city, after the Temple Mount, and provided a perfect point from which to attack the Temple itself. Battering rams made little progress, but the fighting itself eventually set the walls on fire, when a Roman soldier threw a burning stick onto one of the Temple's walls. Destroying the Temple was not among Titus' goals, possibly due in large part to the massive expansions done by Herod the Great mere decades earlier. Most likely, Titus had wanted to seize it and transform it into a temple, dedicated to the Roman Emperor and to the Roman pantheon. But the flames spread quite quickly and were soon unquenchable. The Temple was destroyed on Tisha B'Av, at the end of August, and the flames spread into the residential sections of the city. The Roman legions quickly crushed the remaining Jewish resistance. Part of the remaining Jews escaped through hidden underground tunnels, while others made a final stand in the Upper City. This defense halted the Roman advance as they had to construct siege towers to assail the remaining Jews. The city was completely under Roman control by September 7 and the Romans continued to hunt down the Jews that had fled the city.

Sulpicius Severus (363–420), referring in his Chronica to an earlier writing by Tacitus (56–117), claimed that Titus favored destroying the Jerusalem Temple to help uproot and demolish both the Jewish and Christian sects. Some scholars argue that this was not completely effective, and that the destruction of Jerusalem liberated the Christian church to fulfill its destiny as a universal religion offered to the whole world. The account of Josephus, generally considered unreliable in this case, described Titus as moderate in his approach and, after conferring with others, ordering that the thousand-year-old (at that time) Temple be spared. (Solomon's Temple dated to the 10th century BC, though the physical structure was Herod's Temple, about 90 years old at the time.) According to Josephus, the Roman soldiers grew furious with Jewish attacks and tactics and, against Titus' orders, set fire to an apartment adjacent to the Temple, which soon spread all throughout.

Now as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury (for they would not have spared any, had there remained any other work to be done), Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and Temple, but should leave as many of the towers standing as they were of the greatest eminence; that is, Phasaelus, and Hippicus, and Mariamne; and so much of the wall enclosed the city on the west side. This wall was spared, in order to afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison , as were the towers also spared, in order to demonstrate to posterity what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman valor had subdued; but for all the rest of the wall , it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited. This was the end which Jerusalem came to by the madness of those that were for innovations; a city otherwise of great magnificence, and of mighty fame among all mankind. And truly, the very view itself was a melancholy thing; for those places which were adorned with trees and pleasant gardens, were now become desolate country every way, and its trees were all cut down. Nor could any foreigner that had formerly seen Judaea and the most beautiful suburbs of the city, and now saw it as a desert, but lament and mourn sadly at so great a change. For the war had laid all signs of beauty quite waste. Nor had anyone who had known the place before, had come on a sudden to it now, would he have known it again. But though he were at the city itself, yet would he have inquired for it.

Josephus claims that 1,100,000 people were killed during the siege, of which a majority were Jewish. 97,000 were captured and enslaved, including Simon Bar Giora and John of Gischala. Many fled to areas around the Mediterranean. Titus reportedly refused to accept a wreath of victory, as there is "no merit in vanquishing people forsaken by their own God".

The Jewish Amoraim attributed the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem as punishment from God for the "baseless hatred" that pervaded Jewish society at the time.

In Christian theology, depending upon an individual's theological perspective, this particular act in history is viewed as either a complete fulfillment of many prophecies spoken by Christ in the gospel record, known as Preterism, or it is viewed as fulfillment of one specific prophecy of Christ regarding the destruction of the Temple, but does not deal with the end of the age, known as Premillennialism. These two particular theological viewpoints, Preterism and Premillennialism, are diametrically opposed to one another, yet both take their meaning from the same set of passages found within the Bible.

Preterism (preter from the Latin meaning past) essentially takes the position that the biblical prophecies, specifically those found in the book of Revelation, were all fulfilled in the past. With minor variation, those who espouse this viewpoint generally agree that when Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70, it was an act of God's judgment and fulfilled the prophecies that Christ spoke of in His Olivet Discourse recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21.

The Preterist holds to the belief that not only did God judge Israel at this point in time for their rejection of the Messiah, but that He also completely and finally broke from them and their rebellious ways. As part and parcel of this view then, it is the Church which has come to replace Israel as the chosen people. This view is also referred to as Replacement Theology (The church replaces Israel and is now the benefactor of Israel's promises.) and has also given rise to Reconstructionism, which is the belief that a form of theology which claims that civilization must collapse in order for Christians to be able to take control of the world and its institutions.

Premillennialism on the other hand is the theological position which believes that while the destruction of Jerusalem was an act of God's judgment, God did not sever ties with Israel, but has simply stopped dealing with them directly for a time (cf. Romans chapters 9–11). For the Premillennialist, while it is true that a number of things occurred during the destruction of Jerusalem which fulfilled Christ's words—religious deception, Jewish people running to the hills, desecration of the Temple, and appearance of false messiahs—it is understood by their understanding that the apostles had asked a number of questions of Jesus to explain the timetable for two specific events: 1) the destruction of the Temple and 2) His return at the end of this age (Matthew 24:3). The destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple then in A.D. 70 is the fulfillment of only one of those questions responded to by Christ (although it also relates to other prophecies, e.g., Daniel 9:26).

Premillennialists believe that Christ spoke of the events that would occur soon, but also spoke of events that would usher in the end of the age. Since, as the Premillennialist espouses, the end of the age did not occur in A.D. 70, then the prophetic significance of the destruction of Jerusalem was limited to that time period.

The major difference in the way in which Preterists and Premillennialists arrive at their theological viewpoints is due to the particular hermeneutic (way of interpreting Scripture) utilized in the study of biblical passages; the former primarily using an allegorical or symbolic hermeneutic, with the latter using a literal or constructivist hermeneutic.

The war in Judaea, particularly the siege and destruction of Jerusalem, have inspired writers and artists through the centuries. The bas-relief in the Arch of Titus has been influential in establishing the Menorah as the most dramatic symbol of the looting of the Second Temple.

To the top

Source : Wikipedia