Roman Period

The Time of Jesus

When the Gospel writers portrayed the life of Jesus from his birth in Bethelehem to youth in Nazzareth, and preaching in Galilee, and finally death in Jerusalem, they provided a spiritual map for the Christian pilgrim, a saced geography which kept alive the memory of Jesus Christ.

The Jewish War

From the time of Herod the Great, Jews in Jerusalem, divided in class conflict between the more plebian Pharisees wanted to rid the land of Roman rule, the more aritocratic Saducees were happy with the status quo and served as administrators and capitulators to the Roman governors. These two groups constantly debated their subsurvience to Roman rule and what they perceived as an illegitimate dynasty under the Herdion kings. In 66 C.E., Pharisee elements in Jewish brigades in the Galilee engaged Roman centurions in battle sparking a conflict that lasted seven years, the destruction of Jerusalem and the second Temple, again on the 9th of Av in the 70 C.E., and wide enslavement and expulsion of the Jewish population. By the year 73 C.E., when the last vestiges of Jewish resistance had been vanquished, the Romans had fought their longest and most ruinous war to date.

The Bar Kochba Rebellion

Between 132 and 135 C.E. the Jews that remained in Roman Palestine revolted one last time against Roman rule. After three years of guerilla type warfare fought from an intracate cave system from southeast of Jerusalem, the Jews tormented the Romans. Finally in 135 Emperor Hadrian came and led his centurions to victory and personally oversaw the final expusions of all Jews from Palestine. In addition he renamed Jerusalem, Aelia Capitolina and built on the ruins of the second Temple a temple the Roman god Jupiter. Reconstruction of the city included that of the its fortifcations and a beautifying of its gates. In the picutre to the left, a small part of the Damascus gate remains below today's Ottoman period gate. Also, the city's infrasturcture redone and the streets remapped, dominated by a collonaded street/marketplace called the cardo which ran the length of the city from north to south. The picture at the top of the page shows some remaining pillars from this period.

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