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Title: The city of Jerusalem

Author: C. R. Conder

Release date: April 13, 2023 [eBook #70537]

Language: English

Original publication: United Kingdom: John Murray, 1909

Credits: Peter Becker, Charlie Howard, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)


Transcriber’s Note

Larger versions of most illustrations may be seen by right-clicking them and selecting an option to view them separately, or by double-tapping and/or stretching them.

Cover image created by Transcriber, using an illustration and the title page from the original book. Result remains in the Public Domain.





From the model by Miss M. A. Duthoit.



LL.D., M.R.A.S., R.E.




The object of this volume is to present in a convenient form the results of research and exploration concerning the history and buildings of the city of Jerusalem—results which have accumulated during the last half-century, but which are scattered in many expensive works not easily accessible for the general reader. The story of forty centuries is carried down to the present year, and reliance is chiefly placed on monumental information.

January 5th, 1909.






JERUSALEM IN 530 A. D. 226
JERUSALEM IN 1187 A. D. 284



I first set eyes on Jerusalem one summer morning in 1872. The view—a mile away—of the long grey wall, the cypress trees of the Armenian garden, and the single minaret at the west gate, was not then obstructed by the row of Jewish cottages since built. The population was only about a third of what it now is. The railway station was not thought of, and only a few villas outside the gate existed, while the suburbs to north and south had not grown up, and Olivet was not covered with modern buildings. I passed two winters (1873–5) in the city, the second in a house in the Jews’ quarter, and later on (1881–2) a third winter at the hotel; and during these visits my time was mainly occupied in wandering among the less-known corners of the town. It was a period very favourable for exploration. The survey by Sir Charles Wilson, the researches of de Vogüé, and the wonderful excavations of Sir Charles Warren, were then recent. The German Emperor, William I., had just ordered the clearing out of the eastern half of the great square of St. John’s Hospital, having been given by the Sultan the site of Charlemagne’s hospice2 beside the Church of St. Mary Latin. In 1874 Mr. Henry Maudeslay was exploring the ancient scarps at the south-west corner of the Hebrew city; and, by the Sultan’s order, the Dome of the Rock—deconsecrated for a time—was being repaired, while other excavations were in progress outside the city on the north.


I was thus able to walk in my socks all over the surface of the sacred Ṣakhrah “rock,” and to ascend the scaffolding to the dome above, in order to examine the ancient mosaics of our seventh century, as well as those on the outside, where the old arcaded battlement of the ninth century was just laid bare. I penetrated, by the old rock-cut aqueduct at the north-west corner of the Ḥaram, to the Herodian wall, and discovered the buttresses of the Temple rampart still standing, and just like those at Hebron. In the Jews’ quarter I found the old hospice of the Teutonic Order, and the chapel of the Holy Ghost. In 1881 I crawled through the Siloam tunnel with two comrades, in danger of our lives, to find the point where the two parties of Hezekiah’s workmen heard each other calling, and joined their work by a cross cut east and west. These were but a few additions to the work of my predecessors, and since 1882 many other valuable discoveries have been made by Mr. Bliss, Mr. Stewart Macalister, and other explorers, which will be described in due course. We no longer depend on the writings of Josephus and Tacitus, or on the confused accounts of mediæval pilgrims. Our ideas are founded on existing remains. We have Hezekiah’s own inscription at Siloam; the text (found by M. Clermont-Ganneau) which forbade Gentiles to enter the court of Herod’s Temple; the red paint instructions which his master-masons scrawled on the foundations of the mighty ramparts; the votive text to Serapis set up later by Roman soldiers; the Greek inscriptions of3 Byzantine monks in tombs on the south side of the Hinnom Valley, and, yet earlier, those on the ossuaries, which pious Jews and Jewish Christians used in gathering the bones of their fathers for burial in the old tombs east and north of the Holy City. We have Armenian and Georgian mosaic texts, and Gothic tombstones of Crusaders. Finally, we have the great Kufic, Karmathian, and Arabic texts of the Khalîfahs and Sulṭâns of Islâm, who founded or repaired the beautiful buildings in the Ḥaram.

But all this information is still scattered in expensive memoirs, or separate reports of exploring societies; and it is remarkable that, in spite of the great accumulation of true information during the last half-century, no general account of the history of Jerusalem—as a city—exists, though large volumes of controversial literature continue to appear. It is hoped that the present volume will give a clear idea of what is now actually known, and of the natural deductions from the facts.

Recent visitors have felt themselves perplexed by conflicting statements as to the Bible sites—“Two Zions, two Temple areas, two Bethanys, two Gethsemanes, two or more Calvarys, three Holy Sepulchres, several Bethesdas.”1 The statement is perhaps an exaggeration, and the discrepancies as a whole are by no means recent, being due to ancient misunderstandings or conjectures. Tradition is overlaid by tradition in the long period of at least 3,400 years since Jerusalem first became a royal city of the Amorite. Jewish traditions were followed by those of Christians and Moslems, who were alike ill informed as to ancient history. The Crusaders brought in new ideas, and often rejected those of the Eastern Churches. The Franciscans, after 1300 A. D., were deprived of some churches, and the Pope sanctioned the transference4 of old sites to other places. It is true that some literary critics have recently tried to prove that the “city of David” was not a royal city on the mountain top, but a mere hamlet on the tail of the Temple ridge. They have unfortunately—as unconscious heirs of the prejudices of Voltaire—been misled (as in so many other cases) by fixing on a single allusion, while ignoring other accounts, and dismissing the statements of Josephus as merely “traditional”; but they have not given due consideration to the results of exploration, and they have shown but slight acquaintance with the scientific study of ancient architecture.2 As a rule, however, it is not the modern theorist but the ancient pilgrim who is responsible for the confusion; and the agreement reached already, on the more important questions of topography, has been the outcome of actual research and of monumental studies. No one seems now to doubt that the Temple stood on the top of the eastern ridge. The positions of Olivet and Siloam have never been questioned. Herod’s palace is placed by all in the north-west corner of the upper city, near the so-called “Tower of David,” and Antonia on the rock of the present barracks at the north-west corner of the Temple courts. There was a time when the differences of opinion were much greater. One theorist even went so far as to assert that Hebron was the true site of ancient Jerusalem. But the topography has hardly been changed since Nehemiah’s age. The two great citadels are still held as Turkish strongholds, the Temple is still a sacred enclosure, the upper and lower markets are still where they always were, and even the dung-hills5 outside the wall are close to the “Dung Gate” of Hebrew times. We may sweep aside the misconceptions due to vague literary statements, and found ourselves not on paper, but on rock and stone, on contemporary inscriptions and architectural remains.


Ancient cities, as we now know—whether at Troy, Lachish, and Gezer, or at Rome and in London—were constantly rebuilt on the ruins of towns previously laid waste or burned. They present successive strata, with buildings that are themselves not all of one date, and which were sometimes carried down to rock, sometimes merely founded on the old walls and roofs. The street pavements and the lintels of city gates were renewed even within the period of one city, and more frequently than the walls and other buildings. The earth was disturbed, so that old objects were brought up to the surface, and recent objects fell into the foundation trenches, presenting many puzzles for the explorer; but, broadly speaking, the strata are as a rule clearly traceable, giving an historic sequence for the successive cities. In parts of Jerusalem the valleys within the walls have gradually been filled with earth and ruined masonry to a depth of 40 or 50 feet, and it is only where the bare rock is on the surface that we can feel we are standing on the very ground trodden by the feet of our Lord. There are at least six successive cities to be studied at Jerusalem, lying one above another where the depth of the debris is greatest. Within quite recent times the level of some streets has been raised when they were repaved. In the twelfth century “Christian Street,” as it is now called, rose gradually northward, being about 15 feet higher up hill at the point where it passed the west door of the Cathedral of the Holy Sepulchre than at the corner where it joined David Street, and where was the Chapel of St. John Baptist belonging to the Knights of St. John. But to-day6 Christian Street runs level, and the floor of the chapel is 25 feet below the street, being on the same level as that of the floor of the cathedral. Yet even this chapel floor is 10 feet above the original level of the rock, as it descends into the great Tyropœon Valley. When I first visited Jerusalem, the buildings of the Hospital were covered with earth for some depth above the vaulted roofs of the twelfth-century buildings. Soon after, this earth was removed on donkeys, which passed in a long procession daily out at the west gate, where they made a mound on which Jewish shops now stand. Thus the central valley was filled in, to a depth of 20 feet, before the Crusaders began to build, and has been again filled in another 20 feet or more since the thirteenth century; while on the outside of the Temple, as we stand on the pavement at the Jews’ Wailing-place and gaze on the mighty rampart towering above, we must remember that we only see less than half its present height, and that it goes down beneath us nearly 40 feet, to the older pavement of Herod’s age, which was itself 20 feet above the foundation rocks. The causeway to the north of this is 90 feet above the rock, but in the sixth century the street was at least 40 feet lower, and in the time of Herod some 30 feet lower still, yet already 20 feet here also above rock. Such measurements, accurately ascertained by Sir Charles Warren, whose mine on the north-east side of the Temple was sunk through the shingle to a depth of 125 feet, will serve to show the gradual growth of the rubbish and the effacement of the ancient natural outline in the valleys which ran within the city.


Many scenes in modern Jerusalem rise before me in recalling the times when I lived within the walls, and passed so many days in the Temple enclosure, or7 in that grim church, defiled with blood, which some among us are glad to think of as not marking the new sepulchre without the city where the Prince of Peace was laid. But two scenes especially come back to mind. The first is that of the sleeping town before the gates were opened to admit the peasant women and their donkey-loads of cakes and vegetables. In the purple gloom the domes are beginning to shine, wet with the heavy dew, as the light spreads behind Olivet “as far as Hebron”—to quote the Mishnah. The silence is broken suddenly by the musical cry of the Muedhdhin on the minaret of a mosque—a long, rolling, and tremulous note, echoing all over Jerusalem, as he “testifies there is no God but God,” and calls to the faithful that “prayer is better than sleep.” The simple dignity of Islâm contrasts with the superstition, the hurried services, the tawdry magnificence of degraded Eastern churches, and we understand how it was that the reformed faith of Muḥammad conquered Asia. The second scene is that of the summer noon, which presents to us an epitome of the long history of the Holy City. The great Herodian tower of the upper city glares with tawny stone against the blue sky. The rough cobbles of the slippery market-place are crowded with chattering peasants. A few pious Moslems, unconscious of the world, are praying with their faces towards Mekkah on the steps of the Protestant bishop’s palace, where the town dogs also lie in summer, but go down to the covered bazaar when the winter rains and snow begin. The Armenian patriarch is being escorted, from St. James on Sion to the Holy Sepulchre, by a modest procession. A Moslem bier passes by, and men crowd round it to lend their shoulders for a few steps as a pious act. The little Pharisee, with his lovelocks and dirty gaberdine—or resplendent in his fur cap on the sabbath, just as Rembrandt drew8 his fathers—is jostled in the narrow street of David, yet holds his fingers on the pulses of the city life. Above the cries of the water-seller and the chinking of the brass sherbet-cups, the screams of women and the jangling of the metal plates that serve for bells in churches, rises one recurrent note from the blind beggar who wanders through the streets, forever calling aloud to the “everlasting God.” We might almost expect to see a Templar ride by, with his white gown and blood-red cross over the mail coat, or the page of some Frankish noble in stripes of yellow and crimson. But instead we witness the long procession of half-naked Dervish fanatics, with banners, on their way to the Ḥaram, and then to the “tomb of Moses” west of Jericho. They bear spears and swords, and are preceded by jesters with fox-tails or by a convict who has been tarred and covered with cotton wool—ancient survivals of pagan Saturnalia. The Jew, the Greek, the Copt, the Georgian, the Armenian, the Arab, and the Turk mingle with the modern European and with the Franciscan monk from Italy in the narrow lane; and black-veiled ladies with white cloaks, seated on crimson saddles high up on the white Damascene asses, are led to the shops, or to the lower fruit-market which glows with colour, its green and gold contrasting with the violet or rich brown robes of the merchants. The whole history of Jerusalem is represented by its crowd to-day.


In endeavouring to follow that history we must no doubt give due attention to tradition, for tradition records the sincere beliefs of mankind. In cases where the Jew, the Christian, and the Moslem all honour the same site, it generally appears that we have the actual spot described, or casually noticed, in the Bible. But there are not many such sites in Palestine, except the tombs of the Hebrew patriarchs at Hebron, the grave of Rachel near Bethlehem, Jacob’s9 Well east of Shechem, and—in Jerusalem itself—the sites of Siloam and Olivet, of the Temple itself, and of Herod’s palace and tower. As to others, there is not a single existing site in the Holy City that is mentioned in connection with Christian history before the year 326 A. D., when Constantine’s mother adored the two footprints of Christ on Olivet. We may not charge the priests of the Catholic Church with “pious fraud,” for they were no doubt as sincere as those who of late have created a new site for the Sepulchre by enthusiasm without knowledge. There is something very pathetic in the story of men who came on foot from Gaul and Britain in early times, to fortify their faith by seeing for themselves the very places seen by their Lord, to be buried near Him, or to kiss the footprints and finger prints which they were shown on the rocks of Olivet, or in the Aksa Mosque and Dome of the Rock, where they are now preserved and visited by Moslems only. The adoration of relics is not peculiar to Christianity. It is an outcome of that intense longing for certainty and finality which is natural to all mankind. The Moslem and the Buddhist had from the first their relics as well as the Christian—nay, we go back to the days of Herodotus, when the footprints of Herakles was shown in Scythia, or of Pausanias who saw “Leda’s egg” in a temple. But however sincere the beliefs of the past may have been, we cannot but confess, when studying in detail the traditional topography of Jerusalem, that it has grown and changed just as the city itself has done, because of the succession of various ruling races, and because to Jew, Christian, and Moslem alike there has always been a Holy City here which they coveted, and for which they shed their blood.

Some few of the principal sites have remained always the same; others have been often shifted; and the number of sites has been increased continually10 from century to century. Most of the pilgrims, whether Christian or Moslem, were illiterate; and those who were better educated, and whose accounts were copied and re-copied more or less accurately, were often strangely ignorant of the Bible and of the history of Palestine. To the ordinary pilgrim the relics and the pictures were “books of the ignorant,” and strange superstitions—such as that of the crypt where “Solomon tortured demons”3—are mingled with the statements of the Gospels. The first record of a pilgrim visit is that of a traveller from Bordeaux in 333 A. D. He makes the curious mistakes of supposing the Transfiguration to have occurred on Olivet and David’s victory over Goliath near Jezreel. St. Silvia of Aquitaine, half a century later, accepts as genuine the forged correspondence between Christ and King Abgarus; and after the fifth century the legends of the Apocryphal Gospels—especially those concerning the Virgin Mary—form the foundation of traditional topography in many cases. In the Middle Ages the pilgrims are also influenced by the comments on the Gospels of Tertullian, Origen, and other Christian fathers, though the works of those fathers who wrote before 325 A. D. show no acquaintance with any Jerusalem sites. For these reasons it is evident that the traditions must be received with caution; and, as the pilgrim texts are only valuable in showing contemporary facts and beliefs, their accounts may be here summed up as far as regards traditional sites.


When Helena, the mother of Constantine, visited Palestine in 326 A. D., she was shown nothing at Jerusalem except the two footprints of Christ on Olivet.4 The story of her discovery of the true Cross11 is not noticed till about a century later,5 though as early as 348 A. D. St. Cyril of Jerusalem6 speaks of fragments of the Cross as being distributed “piecemeal throughout the world.” The site of the Ascension is thus the first of all to be mentioned. A church was built by Constantine before 333 A. D. on the summit of Olivet, and the two footprints of the Saviour impressed in the rock continued to be shown down to the Middle Ages, though in 1342 A. D. only one was pointed out, just as at present.7 Two other footprints of Christ were shown after the fifth century: one in the Church of St. Mary (now in the Aḳṣa Mosque), which is still shown by Moslems8; the other on the Ṣakhrah rock, which is now called “the noble footstep” of Muḥammad9; while the marks now called finger-prints of the Angel Gabriel, on this rock, were supposed to have been those of our Lord, as were others in the Cave of the Agony.10 Yet later, in the sixteenth century, footmarks of Christ were also shown on the south-east side of the little bridge over the Kidron Valley.11

A fragment of the true Cross was adored by St. Paula and by St. Silvia, near Calvary, sixty years after the time of Helena’s visit; and St. Silvia was also shown the “title” once affixed to the same. About 530 A. D. the discovery of three crosses is12 mentioned as due to Helena. The fragment was taken by Chosroes II. to Persia, but recovered in 628 A. D., and removed to Constantinople with other relics in 634 A. D. As seen in St. Sophia by Arculphus, half a century later, there appear to have been three pieces, each less than 3 feet in length. In 1192 A. D. another fragment was believed to be in the keeping of the Syrian bishop of Lydda, besides that one which Saladin captured in 1187.12 St. Silvia gives an extraordinary account of the precautions taken when pilgrims were allowed to kiss the original relic, due to the fact that a wretch had once bitten off a piece, which he tried to carry away in his mouth, probably meaning to sell it in Europe.13

“Solomon’s seal” and the “horn of David” were apparently the only other relics shown in the fourth century at the Anastasis Church,14 but in the sixth we find described the onyx cup of the Last Supper, the lance and sponge used at the Crucifixion, and the crown of thorns. These also were removed by Heraclius to Constantinople with the Cross, and the crown of thorns was afterwards sent to St. Louis of France, who built for it the Sainte Chapelle. Yet in 867 A. D. Bernard the Wise was shown a crown of thorns hanging up in the Church of St. Sion,15 while a silver chalice takes the place of the onyx cup in 680 A. D., and appears to have been also regarded as the original relic. The stone which the angel rolled away from the sepulchre is noticed even by Cyril and St. Paula, and is spoken of about 680 A. D. as broken in two. In the eighth century it had disappeared,13 and a square pointed stone was shown instead; yet a hundred years later the substitute was accepted as being the original.16


Many marvels were reported to occur in the Church of the Resurrection. Theodorus (or Theodosius, as he is also called), in 530 A. D., was told that the holy lance, which had been made into a cross, “shone at night like the sun by day.” St. Silvia says that at the early morning service no lights were brought into the church, but that they were supplied from an ever-burning lamp within the Cave of the Sepulchre. This seems to be the germ of the later “holy fire,” which appeared at Easter, as first clearly described by Bernard the Wise,17 who tells us that, on the eve of Easter Day, the “Kyrie eleison” was sung until the angel came to light the lamps. In the twelfth century the fire appeared sometimes in the Hospital of St. John or in the Temple enclosure, sometimes in the cathedral, and was said to pass by an underground passage between the two latter. In 1192 Saladin is said to have attended the ceremony, but the Saracens “asserted that it was a fraudulent contrivance.”18

The position of the traditional sites of Calvary and the Holy Sepulchre, in the middle of the north quarter of Jerusalem, seems to have given rise to suspicions very early. Eusebius19 speaks of the “new Jerusalem rising opposite the old,” and appears to think that the latter included little more than the traditional Sion and the Temple hill. Later writers20 are careful to urge that Hadrian was the first to enclose the14 sacred sites within the city wall, though there is no foundation in contemporary accounts for this assertion. Even the pilgrims were not always satisfied to accept all the traditions. John of Würzburg, about 1160 A. D., knew that the Ṣakhrah rock could not be that of Jacob at Bethel, though Theodorich a dozen years later seems to have accepted what was then a recent tradition, confounding the “House of God”—or Temple—with the city Bethel. Some of the early writers were aware that different statements in the New Testament were “hard to reconcile,” and sites which were called “Galilee”—on Olivet and on Sion—arose from apologetic explanations of the different accounts in the Gospels as to what happened after the Resurrection.21


Next to the relics in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the sites on Mount Sion were venerated from an early age. A church (now the Mosque of Nebi Dâûd) already existed in the fourth century, and was said to mark the sites of the Last Supper and of the descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost. By 440 A. D. it had come to be regarded as the oldest church in the world, founded by Christ or by the Apostles. It was regarded by Jews and Christians in the twelfth century as being close to David’s tomb. The Franciscans held it from 1313 till the time of Pope Sixtus IV.22 (1471–84 A. D.), who sanctioned the transference of the traditions therewith connected to the so-called “House of Caiaphas”—now the small Armenian convent outside the south wall—when the Moslems seized the old church as being the sepulchre of “the prophet David.” About 1547 the Franciscans seem to have recovered this Church of the Cœnaculum,15 or Last Supper, but had again lost it by 1561. We do not know the reasons given for approving the translation of sites, but such transferences were common even in the end of the thirteenth century, as the Moslems gradually extended their boundaries in Palestine, acquiring many of the older traditional sites which pilgrims were then unable to visit. The “House of Caiaphas” was shown as early as the fourth century as being the place where Peter denied his Lord. It once belonged to the Georgians, whom the Franciscans succeeded, and it afterwards became the burial-place of the Armenian patriarchs. Many traditions clustered round it in the Middle Ages, and the scene of the Virgin’s death in the house of St. John was shown close by on the south. In the church porch was a pillar, noticed by the Bordeaux Pilgrim as that to which Christ was bound for scourging; but in the Middle Ages the site where this pillar stood is often changed, and no less than three positions are now indicated. The original Sion pillar was said, in the sixth century, to have been bidden by Christ to transfer itself from the House of Caiaphas to the Church of St. Sion,23 and the impress of the Saviour’s face was then to be seen upon it. In the sixteenth century it was supposed to be the pillar on which the cock stood and crowed when Peter denied Christ. Another flagellation pillar was taken to Rome; a third was in the Latin chapel north of the Holy Sepulchre in 1586, and is still shown by Latins; a fourth, close to Calvary, has been shown by the Greeks since 1341; and the Franciscans, since the sixteenth century, have shown the hole where the pillar of scourging once stood in the chapel just north of the Ḥaram.


There were also two prisons in which Christ was placed, according to later accounts; one of them was at the “House of Annas,” near the south wall and within the city. This is now the Syrian convent of the “Olive Tree,” to which tree our Lord was bound. Here also, in the twelfth century, was the prison in which St. Peter was confined by Herod; and the city gate to the south was then supposed to be the “Iron Gate” which opened of itself.24 The other prison was a chapel, north-east of the Holy Sepulchre, which is not noticed earlier than 1102 A. D., but must be included in the number of chapels found existing by the Crusaders.25 Finally, another site connected with St. Peter was shown in the twelfth century on the east slope of Sion—namely, the cave where he wept, covered by the chapel of “Gallicantus,” or “Cock-crowing,” which some confused with “Galilee.”


The sites in and round the Temple enclosure, and that of St. Stephen’s death, with some on Olivet, were equally liable to change in course of time. Thus the Pool of Bethesda has been traditionally pointed out in three separate places. From 333 A. D. down to 440 A. D. the “Sheep Pool,” or Bethesda, is placed at the “Twin Pools,” which still exist in the Antonia fosse,26 and which may have been cut out of the rock in the time of Herod or later. They are vaulted over with masonry, probably of the sixth century A. D., and gradually disappeared from sight as the level of the street was raised above them; thus already in the sixth century the “Sheep Pool” is placed at some distance from the “House of Pilate,” which17 immediately adjoined the “Twin Pools.”27 In the twelfth century Bethesda is always described as being at the “Piscina Interior,” or “inner pool,” a large rock tank west of the Church of St. Anne, which was rediscovered in 1888; but even in the thirteenth century the Templars were showing another site, namely, that which appears on the old map of Jerusalem (about 1308 A. D.), and which is the same now pointed out—the Birket Isrâîl, or “Pool of Israel.”28 There was considerable difference of opinion also as to where the Prætorium, or “House of Pilate,” should be placed. In the sixth century it was at the Antonia site, where Justinian built a chapel of St. Sophia—now the “Chapel of the Mocking”—inside the Turkish barracks. In the seventh and early in the twelfth centuries it was supposed to be on Mount Sion, but in the thirteenth it was replaced at the north-west corner of the Ḥaram.29

The adoration of the Virgin began to be increasingly important after the great schism of 431 A. D., when Nestorius was condemned at Ephesus for refusing to her the title “Mother of God.” In the middle of the sixth century Justinian built his great Basilica of St. Mary on the south side of the Temple enclosure, and the Tomb of the Virgin is not mentioned by pilgrims before this time, nor are any of the other churches of St. Mary which existed within the city. The legend of the “Virgin’s Well,” where she washed18 the clothes of the infant Jesus, is much later. The underground church supposed in 530 A. D. to be the site of Mary’s tomb was beneath a basilica which Queen Melisinda replaced by the present church in 1161 A. D. She was buried soon after half-way down the steps to the crypt, yet in 1385 her tomb is described as that of “Queen Mary,” while to-day it is known as that of St. Joseph.30 On Olivet the little cave-chapel of St. Lazarus in Bethany was built over in the fourth century,31 but the sites of the Pater Noster and Credo chapels, and the Cave of Pelagia, are not noticed before the sixth century. The old “Cave of the Agony” may have been shown as “Gethsemane” in the time of Jerome,32 but the Latin site on the south side of the road to Bethany was not enclosed by the Franciscans till 1847 A. D. Another site which is often changed is that of the place where Judas hanged himself, which is usually connected with an arch or bridge—no doubt on account of an apocryphal legend which I have been unable to trace.33 In the sixth century Antony of Piacenza was shown the fig tree of Judas apparently north of the East Gate of Jerusalem; but if Adamnan rightly understood the account of Arculphus, his Gaulish guest in Iona, the bridge was to the south-west of the city, and Judas hanged himself on the west side of the middle arch, where a great fig tree then grew. This bridge is not otherwise mentioned, and in the fourteenth century an elder tree was shown, near Absalom’s tomb, and the little bridge over the Kidron19 on the east side of which Judas hung, according to Zuallardo.34

From the fourth to the sixth century the ancient temple wall at the south-east angle of the enclosure stood up like a “pinnacle” above the ruins, and this was pointed out as the pinnacle on which Christ was placed by the Devil. Close by was the small vaulted chamber where Solomon “wrote Wisdom,” and where (in the “House of Simeon”) was the cradle of Christ. In the middle of the twelfth century a wooden cradle was shown, whereas this is now replaced by a Roman vaulted niche laid flat, which was once intended to hold a statue.35

In a Church of St. John on Olivet36 our Lord was believed, in the ninth century, to have met the woman charged with adultery, and the “writing on the ground” was here shown. Early in the twelfth century this site was transferred to the cave under the Ṣakhrah, where it was still believed to exist in the fourteenth, though the “writing” of Christ was then shown on a stone in the Pater Noster Chapel.


Among the earlier sites, that of the stoning of Stephen has also been variously placed at different times. The worship of saints developed in the fifth century, and the tomb of St. Stephen was supposed to have been found, in 415 A. D., at Caphar Gamala, a village which retains its old name still, about 20 Roman miles south-west of Jerusalem. The empress Eudocia, returning after her first visit to the Holy20 City, brought back to Constantinople the chains of St. Peter, and the right arm of St. Stephen, with the portrait of the Virgin said to have been painted by St. Luke. She retired later to Jerusalem, where she lived sixteen years and died about 460 A. D. She is said to have built a church of St. Stephen at the site of his martyrdom by stoning, outside the North or “Galilee” Gate; but in 530 A. D. a stone was shown on Sion with which he was said to have been slain, and by the twelfth century he was believed to have been there buried. The Crusaders found the church of Eudocia (where she was buried) in ruins, and the North Gate was still called St. Stephen’s down to about 1200 A. D., though about 1160 A. D. the site of the martyrdom is shifted to the west side of the town. It first appears in its present position, outside the East Gate, in the old map of about 1308 A. D. A Greek text has recently been found at this site, bearing the words “This is the gate of the Lord, the righteous shall (enter in). Holy Stephen pray for (us).” But this slab may have been transferred from the ancient site outside the North Gate.37


Many new Latin sites were created by the Crusaders in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The chapels then built have been carefully planned and described by Dr. Tobler, Comte M. de Vogüé, and Herr Schick, architect to the German Emperor and the Sultan, who for so many years was an untiring student of Jerusalem. In a few cases the churches mentioned—such of those as St. Agnes and St. Giles—are not yet identified. On Sion, St. Mark, St. Thomas, St. George, and St. James the Less, with the Chapel21 of the Three Maries, still exist. In the centre of the town, St. Mary Latin, St. Mary Magna, and—north of the Holy Sepulchre—St. Chariton, are now known. On the north-east were St. Anne, St. Mary Magdalene, and—at the Ecce Homo Arch—the church of the “Rest” of Mary. The “Stables of Solomon” are never noticed before the twelfth century, when the “Oak of Rogel” was pointed out where a sacred tree still stands at Siloam, being supposed to be the place where Isaiah was sawn asunder. The “Gate Dolorous” was then the name of that leading from Antonia, and the “School of the Virgin” was the title given to the “Dome of the Roll,” at the south-west corner of the platform of the Dome of the Rock. The “House of Uriah” was then supposed to have been near David’s palace and tower, and the old tank near the Jaffa Gate still bears the name of “Bathsheba’s Bath”; but in the sixteenth century this house was shown at the south-west corner of the Hebrew city, and the bath was transferred to the Birket es Sulṭân. The altar of the Temple is said to have been converted into a sundial by the Saracens,38 and a block of masonry, south of the Dome of the Rock, was still pointed out in 1874 as the place where a sundial had stood. Finally, the fig tree cursed by Christ was shown at the bend of the road near Bethany; and the place where He “descended from the ass” near Bethphage—a site said even by Bernard the Wise to be marked by a marble slab in 867 A. D.—was to be found in a small chapel, where a block of stone has been recovered, with mediæval Latin texts, and frescoes representing the raising of Lazarus, the fetching of the ass, and a third subject.39

After the massacre of the Christians in 1244 A. D.,22 the Franciscans were allowed by the Sulṭân of Egypt to return to Jerusalem, and they alone—for about five centuries—represented Latin Christianity in Palestine. The Latin churches were in ruins, and were either appropriated by Greeks and Armenians, or in other cases were turned into mosques. The Franciscan monastery of St. Saviour was in the north-west corner of the city, where the Latin Patriarchate now is. The friars were the guides of pilgrims after the fall of Acre in 1291 A. D., but they were only able to show sites outside the city, or in the streets, with exception of those in the Holy Sepulchre Cathedral, which, by treaty, was reserved to Christians. This seems to have been the reason why the sites in the Via Dolorosa—which are unnoticed before 1300 A. D.—came to be established. The capital of a pillar has been found, on which the legend of St. Veronica and the “holy handkerchief” is represented,40 which may be as old as the twelfth century. The Chapel of the “Spasm” of the Virgin, with its mosaic floor, has also been recovered at the point where the Via Dolorosa turns south,41 and this station is mentioned in the fourteenth century42; but only eight stations are noticed in the sixteenth century out of fourteen now shown by the Latins.43 The “Stone of Unction,” west of Calvary, is first noticed by Ludolph of Suchem, about 1330 A. D., as a Latin site, and “Herod’s House”—still extant, near the “red minaret” in the north-east of the town—is mentioned by Sir John Maundeville in 1342 A. D. Two footprints of Christ continued to be here shown down to the present century, and this place was still known in 1846, but has now ceased23 to be reckoned among the sacred sites.44 The place where Christ wept for Jerusalem on Olivet, and the ancient tomb in the Hinnom Valley (probably that of Ananus), which was converted into a chapel with a frescoed roof and called the “Retreat of the Apostles,”45 seem to be first noticed by Zuallardo in 1586 A. D., as are also the “House of Dives” and the “House of the Pharisee,” in the Via Dolorosa.


Detailed study of the traditional sites, fixed by the Oriental and Roman Churches, thus serves to show that none of them go back to the earlier years of the fourth century saving those of the Ascension, St. Sion, Calvary, and the Holy Sepulchre. The statements of the pilgrims prove to us that the remainder, as a whole, were vague and shifting identifications, on which no reliance can be placed. We learn from the Gospel (Luke xxiv. 50) that our Lord led His disciples out “as far as to Bethany,” and He is not said to have ascended from the summit of Olivet. The site of Calvary was considered to require defence even in the fourth century, because it was within the city. There is a gap of three hundred years, which is not bridged by any ancient allusion even, separating the first notice of these older sites from the time of the Crucifixion. Pious opinions, sanctioned by Popes and Patriarchs, became fixed traditions as time went on, and the number of the sites constantly increased, while Greeks and Latins showed rival “vestigia” in rival shrines. Relics were perhaps often meant only to be regarded as representations of objects connected with the Passion; but, in the dark age of Gothic ignorance, the belief in miracles wrought by bones of the saints infected Christianity with all the superstitions which24 the illiterate converts brought in from paganism. The first Christians were intent on the future rather than on the past, and the Gospels themselves say nothing definite as to the position of Calvary or of the new tomb in the garden. The pilgrims devoutly believed that they had kissed the true Cross and the actual footprints of Christ, and knew little of the earlier history of the sites where they gave alms and received indulgences. But it is necessary, in endeavouring to ascertain the truth, to distinguish between their beliefs and their accounts of existing buildings, and we must found our study of the history of Jerusalem on existing monuments and inscriptions, and as far as possible on contemporary statements—on science, not on legend—even if such examination of facts leads us to discard as improbable sites which have so long been sacred to Christians; while we must also admit that certainty and finality are still impossible, in cases where the actual evidence is meagre. The account here given of the traditions will serve to show that they have not been disregarded as an element in the study of various questions of historical importance.


1 H. Rix, “Tent and Testament,” 1907, p. v.

2 The views of Thrupp were revived in 1880 by Dr. Robertson Smith, who has been followed by Dr. Sayce and Dr. G. A. Smith. The untenable character of this theory has, once more, been ably shown by the Rev. Selah Merrill quite recently.

3 Bordeaux Pilgrim, 333 A. D., “Crypta ubi Salomon dæmones torquebat.”

4 Eusebius, “Life of Constantine,” iii. 42.

5 Rufinus (died 410 A. D.), i. 7; Theodoret (c. 440 A. D.), i. 17; Sozomen (c. 450 A. D.), ii. 1, quoted by Robinson, “Bib. Res.” i. p. 374.

6 Cyril, “Catech. Lect.” iv. 10, x. 19, xiii. 4, 9. These lectures were given in the Basilica of the Anastasis to the neophytes preparing for baptism at Easter, 347–8 A. D.

7 Maundeville, 1342 A. D., “And yet there appears the imprint of His left foot in the stone.”

8 Antony of Piacenza (c. 570 A. D.); now Ḳadam’Aisa, or “footprint of Jesus.”

9 Ḳadam esh Sherif. John of Würzburg (c. 1160 A. D.), “Pede domini calcatus et insignatus.”

10 John of Würzburg.

11 Zuallardo, “Dev. Viag.” (1586), p. 152.

12 “Paula et Eustochium”; Silvia, “Perigrinatio”; Theodorus; Adamnanus (c. 680 A. D.); Geoffrey de Vinsauf, v. 53, cf. i. 5.

13 St. Silvia, “Dicitur quidam fixisse morsum ut furasset sancto ligno.”

14 St. Silvia (385 A. D.), Theodorus (c. 530 A. D.).

15 Theodorus (c. 530 A. D.), Antoninus (c. 570 A. D.), Arculphus (c. 680 A. D.), Bernard (c. 867 A. D.).

16 Pilgrimage of St. Paula (384 A. D.); St. Willibald (c. 750 A. D.), “In similitudine prioris lapidis”; Bernard (867 A. D.), “Lapidem ... quem angelus revolvit.”

17 Bernard (867 A. D.), “Veniente angelo in lampadibus accenditur.”

18 Theodoricus (c. 1172 A. D.); Geof. de Vinsauf, v. 16.

19 Eusebius, “Life of Constantine,” iii. 33.

20 Sæwulf (c. 1102 A. D.), John of Würzburg (c. 1160 A. D.), and others.

21 Matt. xxviii. 16; Luke xxiv. 52; John xxi. 1; Acts i. 11, 12.

22 Eucherius (c. 440 A. D.), Theodorus (530 A. D.), Theodoricus (c. 1172 A. D.), Pierre Belon (1553 A. D.), Zuallardo (1586 A. D.). The last named mentions this remarkable transference of sites (p. 129).

23 Pilgr. of Paula; Bordeaux Pilgrim; St. Silvia; Zuallardo, “Dev. Viag.”; Theodorus (c. 530 A. D.), “Columna quæ fuit in domo Caiaphæ, ad quam Dominus Christus flagellatus est, modo in sanctam Sion jussu Domini ipsa columna secuta est.”

24 Acts xii. 3, 10.

25 Sæwulf (c. 1102 A. D.); John of Würzburg (c. 1160), “Carcer Domini ... in sinistra apsida ecclesiæ.”

26 Bordeaux Pilgrim, “Piscinæ gemellares ... quæ appelluntur Bethsaida”; Eucherius, “Bethesda gemino ... lacu.”

27 Theodorus, 530 A. D.

28 The Templar rival site is noticed in an anonymous thirteenth-century tract. The map of 1308 shows the Piscina (interior) west of St. Anne, but the Piscina Probatica south of that church. The pilgrims usually call the pool Bethsaida, as in the Vat. MS. (Sinaitic Bethzatha), and note its “five cloisters” (John v. 2). Bethesda probably means “house of the stream,” but Beth-ṣiddei would be “the house of sides,” or “cloisters.”

29 Theodorus, Armenian account, Antoninus Martyr, Abbot Daniel (c. 1106 A. D.), John of Würzburg.

30 R. Röhricht, “Die Jerusalemfahrt des Peter Sparnau,” 1385.

31 Onomasticon, s.v. Bethania.

32 Ibid., s.v. Gethsemane; St. Silvia (385 A. D.).

33 Acts i. 20. It may be suspected that the idea of the bridge originated in a confusion between the Greek epaulis, “abode,” and ep-aulou, “over a pipe” (or “aqueduct”—aulōn), the bridge of Adamnanus being that of the low-level aqueduct south-west of the city, as Robinson supposed.

34 Ant. Martyr (c. 570 A. D.); Adamnanus (c. 680 A. D.), “Pons lapideus occurrit eminus per vallem ad austrum recto tramite directus arcubus sussaltus”; Sir John Maundeville (1342 A. D.); Zuallardo (1586 A. D.), “Dev. Viag.,” p. 152. The “Arch of Judas” was inside the city about 1187 A. D.

35 Bordeaux Pilgrim, Eucherius (c. 440 A. D.), Theodorus (c. 530 A. D.), Sæwulf (c. 1102 A. D.), John of Würzburg (c. 1160 A. D.).

36 John viii. 3, 6. Bernardus (867 A. D.), Sæwulf, John of Würzburg, Maundeville.

37 “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” iii. p. 24; Reland, Pal. p. 688; Theodorus (530 A. D.); Sæwulf (1102 A. D.); Abbot Daniel (c. 1106 A. D.); John of Würzburg (c. 1160 A. D.); Phocas (c. 1185 A. D.); “Citez de Jhérusalem” (after 1187 A. D.); Marino Sanudo (c. 1320 A. D.); Regesta Reg. Hierosol. No. 329 (1157 A. D.). C. K. Spyridonidis, in Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly (April 1907, p. 137), gives the inscription.

38 John of Würzburg, “Quod a Sarracenis postea mutatum est in horologium.” He follows Fetellus (c. 1151–7 A. D.).

39 “Mem. Survey West Pal.,” Jerusalem vol., 1883, pp. 331–40.

40 Canon Dalton and M. Clermont-Ganneau, Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, 1900, pp. 166 seq.

41 Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, 1902, p. 122.

42 Marino Sanudo (c. 1320 A. D.).

43 Zuallardo, “Dev. Viag.” (1586 A. D.), gives a drawing of the whole course of the Via Dolorosa.

44 Schick, Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, April 1896, p. 122, July 1896; T. Tobler, “Topogr.,” i. p. 445.

45 “Mem. Survey West Pal.,” Jerusalem vol., 1883, p. 419; Josephus, “Wars,” V. xii. 2.


The mysterious figure of Melchizedek King of Salem haunted the memory of Hebrew writers in later times.46 The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews says, “Now consider how great this man was unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.” Salem appears to have been Jerusalem, according to the Psalm47 in which we read, “In Salem is His dwelling, and His abode in Zion”; and the “King’s Dale” is placed by Josephus near the city, where perhaps it is again noticed later.48 The Samaritans, who grouped so many sacred sites round Gerizim, seem to have believed that Salem was the Shalem afterwards visited by Jacob, east of Shechem—the Salim of the Fourth Gospel, now the village of Sâlim, which is mentioned in the Paschal Chronicle; while in the fourth century, according to Jerome, “The palace of Melchisedec was there shown, its magnificence witnessed by the size of ruins of ancient workmanship.”49 We may, however, accept the26 Hebrew belief that Salem (“safety”) is the same as Uru-salimu (“the city of safety”), which we now know to have been the Amorite name for their royal city.

Melchizedek appears and disappears suddenly, without any explanation as to his race or lineage. Josephus believed him to have been a Canaanite, and fixes his date as founder of Jerusalem about 2058 B. C. The chronology of the Hebrew text of Genesis would, however, make it about a century earlier, in the “days of Amraphel king of Shinar,” whom Sir Henry Rawlinson identified with ’Ammurabi, the famous sixth King of Babylon, who has been shown to have acceded in 2139 B. C.,50 and who was thus the contemporary of Abraham. It would seem that this priest-king of Jerusalem was the suzerain of the petty kings of the cities in the Jordan Valley; but Abraham’s tithes are said to have been offered to Jehovah as the “most high God,” and not to Melchizedek as his over-lord. Jerusalem thus appears, even in the earliest notice, to have been a sacred city,51 and we are no longer surprised—in reading the account in Genesis—at the civilisation of Abraham’s age, since we know that Canaan then shared, in some measure at least, the culture of the two ancient empires of Babylon and of Egypt, which disputed its possession.

The original population of the city is said to have been both Amorite and Hittite,52 nor is there any reason to doubt that an outlying tribe of the latter27 race, coming south from Syria, may have then occupied the mountains of Salem and Hebron, though early in the sixteenth century B. C. they were driven out of Palestine by Thothmes III. It is now very generally agreed that the Amorites were a Semitic race, and the existing tablets written in and after the fifteenth century by Amorites are in a Semitic language like that of the Babylonians. Hittite letters, on the other hand, show quite as clearly that this race of pigtailed warriors was Mongoloid, and closely akin to the Akkadians of Babylonia, whose speech was very similar to pure Turkish.53


The antiquity of Jerusalem seems to be indicated by the fact that certain names connected with the city cannot be explained as ordinary Hebrew words. Jebus, Zion, Hinnom, and Topheth are terms not traced to any Hebrew roots, and they have always puzzled scholars as much as the name Jerusalem itself did until it was shown to be of Amorite origin. Even the meaning of Moriah—the name of the Temple hill—is doubtfully explained as “vision of Jehovah,” for the Greek translators understood it to mean “the high.”54 It is, however, connected55 both with Abraham’s vision of Jehovah, and also perhaps with that of David when the “Angel of the Presence” sheathed his sword on the Temple hill. Jebus (Yebûs) is perhaps Hittite for “strong abode,” equivalent to the Amorite Uru-Salimu, or “safe city.”56 Zion has been28 supposed to mean a “fortress,” but the derivation is forced; as a Hittite word it would rather seem to signify a “palace” or “temple.”57 For Hinnom and Topheth no Hebrew explanations have been found possible, yet both may perhaps be rendered as of Canaanite origin: the former would signify “prince” (En-num), and the latter “flat” or “low” (tuptu), applying to the lowest part of the valley junction on the south-east side of the city.58 The “King’s Vale” may have been the “deep valley of Molech,” or it may have been equivalent to the older Hinnom (or Ben-Hinnom), “the valley of the prince” or of the “prince’s son.” It is remarkable that its modern name (Wâdy Rabâbeh) appears to mean the “valley of lordship.”

Whatever be thought as to the meaning of these ancient and obscure words, we know that a Hittite still lived in Jerusalem in David’s time, and his name Uriah has no probable meaning in Hebrew. In Hittite it was no doubt Ur-ia, “the worshipper of Ya,” while the Jebusite King Araunah—whose name is so variously spelt—was probably known as Ur-ena, “the worshipper of Baal.”59 Thus the geographical and personal names alike seem to indicate the early presence of both Amorites and Hittites in Jerusalem.

Between the time of Abraham and that of Joshua’s conquest we hear nothing about the city for six hundred years. After this we have remarkable evidence of its existence as a royal city in the extant tablets of the Tell Amarna collection, written to the Pharaoh by the Amorite king of Uru-salimu.29 Amenophis III. of Egypt was the contemporary of Rimmon-nirari of Assyria, who reigned about 1500 B. C., and Amenophis IV. was the contemporary of Burnaburias of Babylon, who acceded about 1440 B. C.60 Palestine, having been conquered by Thothmes III. about 1580 B. C., was peacefully ruled by Egypt when Amenophis III. acceded to the throne. The population appears at this time to have been entirely Semitic, no letters in any but the Babylonian language occurring among those of its rulers, while the names of all the cities mentioned, even in the sixteenth century B. C., are also Semitic. The Philistines, like the rest of the Canaanites, used the Babylonian language and script, and they worshipped the Babylonian sea-god Dagon, whom ’Ammurabi had adored. Their names are also Semitic, not only in the Bible but in the Tell Amarna tablets, and in the later inscriptions of Sennacherib.61 If any Hittites still remained in the south, they were no longer a ruling tribe, though in North Syria and Cappadocia they were then powerful and independent. The Philistines were loyal to Egypt, but they do not appear to have had any power in the mountains till four centuries later, and the loyalty of the Amorite kings of Jerusalem and Gezer was much suspected by the Pharaohs.


About the middle of the reign of Amenophis III. a rebellion broke out in Syria.62 Hittites and Amorites30 invaded Phœnicia, attacked Damascus, and spread in Bashan, shortly before the time when Israel appeared in Moab according to the Bible chronology. Amenophis was, however, allied with the Kassite ruler of Babylon, and with the Armenian and Cappadocian monarchs of the same Mongoloid race. He sent soldiers to Gebal, and the Cappadocians subdued the Amorites. Some twenty years later, Amenophis IV. (son of Amenophis III.) having begun his unfortunate reign, another more formidable revolt occurred. The friendly Armenian king Dusratta had died, and Aziru the Amorite had deserted his obedience, allying himself with the Hittite suzerain of Cappadocia. The Amorites conquered Phœnicia, and Egypt was powerless to aid its Syrian subjects. The hatred of the memory of Amenophis IV., shown in later times, was perhaps due to his loss of the empire rather than to his worship of Asiatic gods, who had been adored in Egypt in the time of his father also; for,63 like his father, he is addressed by the Asiatic kings as a worshipper of the Egyptian god Amen, and texts from the Egyptian ritual occur on his coffin.


The six letters written to Egypt by the King of Jerusalem do not mention the name of the Pharaoh addressed, but, judging from those of other personages concerned, they seem to belong to an early period in this story of rebellion, though Canaan remained in a disturbed condition even as late as 1440 A. D., when Burnaburias of Babylon and Assur-uballid of Assyria—writing to Amenophis IV.—speak of interrupted communications and the robbery of caravans. The name of Jerusalem (Uru-sa-limu or U-ru-sa-limu) has been read with certainty by Dr. Winckler, but the name of the Amorite king is variously rendered. It seems, however, to have probably belonged to the same class with that of Melchizedek, and of Adonizedek,31 the king killed by Joshua.64 Jerusalem was being attacked by a people called ’Abiri or Ḥabiri, who destroyed all the Canaanite rulers at Ai, Ajalon, Lachish, and other places; and, since the period is that of the Hebrew Conquest under Joshua, according to the Bible, it is natural to identify these ’Abiri with the Hebrews, as proposed by Dr. Zimmern in Germany. It is true that scholars who follow the views of Lepsius65 and of Brugsch, formed before any notice of Israel had been discovered in Egyptian monumental texts, have denied this identification. Lepsius argued that the city of Rameses, built by the Hebrews, could not have been so named before the time of Rameses II.; but as it is noticed even as early as the time of Jacob,66 he was obliged to regard this allusion as an anachronism, which might equally apply to the passage on which he relied. Clearly, however, the allusion can only serve to date the age in which the story of Joseph, as we now have it, was written down together with the narrative of the Exodus. The conclusions of Lepsius—who preferred the libels of Tacitus, and those with which Josephus charges Manetho, to the chronological statements of the Bible—are quite destructive to Old Testament dates. Rameses, however, was the later name of Zoan, the city where the Hebrews dwelt in Egypt, while the site of Pithom—the other “store city” which they built for the Pharaoh—is still doubtful, though supposed by Dr. Naville to be the same as that of Succoth. Lepsius called Rameses II. the Pharaoh of the Oppression, and Mineptah, his son,32 the Pharaoh of the Exodus, though he ruled two centuries later than the time of Joshua. As, however, we now have a text by Mineptah, in which he notices Israel as being already in Palestine in the fifth year of his reign, it is impossible that the Exodus and the forty years in the desert could have coincided with this period of incipient Egyptian decay. We are left free to accept the new monumental evidence, which illustrates in so remarkable a manner the historic statements of the Book of Joshua.

Jerusalem was not taken by Joshua, though its Amorite king Adonizedek was slain at Makkedah, with Japhia, king of Lachish, and three others.67 It is remarkable that the Amarna correspondence gives us the name Japhia (yap’aa) as that of the contemporary king of Gezer, for Gezer came to the aid of Lachish, according to the Bible account. Joshua is not named in these tablets, which refer only to a certain Elimelech (a Hebrew name68) as one of the invaders, but the letters speak of incidents identical with those narrated in the story of the Hebrew Conquest. The more important passages bearing on the history of Jerusalem may be thus rendered:


“To the King my Lord thus says ’Abd-ṣadaḳ thy servant, at the feet of my Lord the King seven times and seven times I bow. What have I done to the King my Lord? They urge on thee that an enemy, a sinner, should be seized, that ’Abd-ṣadaḳ has rebelled before the King his Lord. Lo! as for me, no man is my father and none is my friend supporting me. They rebel in this place, great King, striving with me for my father’s house. Why should I sin against the King of Kings? Behold the complaint, O King my Lord. I say to the governor of the King my Lord, ‘Why are ye afraid of the33 Hebrews?’ and they are afraid to go out, so they send to the presence of the King my Lord.69 Lo! I say there is ruin of the lands of the King my Lord, as they have sent to the King my Lord; and let the King my Lord know.... The lands of the suzerain70 have revolted, all that Elimelech has wasted, all the King’s land; and let the King beware as to his land, which I say pleading, and let the King my Lord behold the tears, and the warfare that is mighty against me; and I receive nothing from the King my Lord, and no order ordered in the presence of the King ... as to whether he will order men for a garrison. And let the King my Lord learn, and regard the tears; and now arise, O King my Lord. Now they have expelled the [Egyptian] governor. I say there is ruin of the lands of the King. Will you not hear me?... They have destroyed all the rulers: there is not a ruler [left] for the suzerain.70 Let the King give countenance to the people: let him order soldiers71 of the King my Lord. There is not one in the lands of the King. The Hebrew has wasted all the King’s lands, since the King’s soldiers71 were sent away this year: they were sent away from the lands of the suzerain.70 Since there was not a soldier [left], there was ruin to the lands of the King my Lord. O Scribe of the King my Lord, this is ’Abd-ṣadaḳ’s plea for soldiers. The lands of the King my Lord are ruined.”

This appeal was repeated more than once, but seems to have met with no reply, except perhaps a demand for hostages to be sent to Egypt (as in the case of the king of Gezer also), though this may refer to a34 previous period. Meanwhile, the petty kings allied to Jerusalem gathered forces in aid of the city.72 The Hebrews, it may be noted, are not mentioned in any of the Amarna letters except those from Jerusalem.

“[Behold] what Milkilu [of Gezer] and Suardatu [of Keilah] have done for me as to the land of the King my Lord. They have hired soldiers of Gezer, soldiers of Gimzo: they have taken Rabbah. The King’s land has rebelled to the Hebrews; and now as regards the city Jerusalem, the city called Beth Baalah73 has revolted [sending?] to the city of Keilah. Let the King listen to ’Abd-ṣadaḳ thy servant, and order soldiers, and recover the King’s land for the King: as there were no soldiers the King’s land has revolted to the Hebrews, who have confounded me and Suardatu and Milkilu.”

In this connection it should be noted that Baalah, or (as also called) Kirjath-jearim, was one of the Hivite cities which did not join the Amorite league, but submitted with Gibeon to Joshua. The passage74 which seems to refer to hostages is as follows:

“Behold the King my Lord has established his law from the rising of the sun to the setting of the sun. It is false what they have falsely said against me. Behold, as for me, am not I a ruler, a man of the house of the King my Lord? Behold I myself am a servant of the King, and I have sent tribute to the King. As for me, no one helps me, no one is my friend, rising for the King. I have remained in this Chiefs city.75... I have given eight slaves to Suta, the King’s governor, in charge against me: twenty-one women ... twenty men our prisoners, to remain in the hands of Suta, obeying the King my Lord.35 There is ruin to all the lands of the King that they have taken fighting me. From the lands of Seir to the city Hareth Carmel they gathered to the rulers, and fought me. Now they despise the Commander, and the King my Lord does not regard tears as they fight against me. Lo! I remain a ship amid the waves. Make ready, great King; you will march to the land of Nahrima and the land of Chezib—and lo! these are fortresses of the King—you will march on the Hebrew. There is not a ruler [left] for the King my Lord, all are destroyed. Lo! they have cut off Turbazu in the city Beth-zilu, with Zimrida, lo! of the city of Lachish—slaves wore him out, they did him to death. The region of Rimmon bewails slaughter ... in the city Zilu there is destruction.”


A later letter,76 referring to four previous messages, gives further details of the war:

“Lo! the land of Gezer, the land of Ashkelon, and the land of Lachish have given them corn, wine, and all else that they have taken away.” “Behold this land of the city Jerusalem—no man aids me, no tribe supports me, nor has risen to support me. Lo! it is done to me as was done to Milkilu, and to the sons of Labaya, who have given the King’s land to the Hebrews. Behold the King my Lord will be just to me, for the men are sorcerers [or malicious]. Let him ask the governors. Lo! strong and many and committing sin, very proud, they demanded property and [threatened] death.... You will purge the lands in the hands of the city of Ashkelon. Let the King ask about them—much corn, much oil, much ... to the command of Pauru the King’s Governor, as far as Jerusalem.” “The men taking messages for the King they bound—four messages sent out by men of the fortress. They marched to block the roads. Like a bird in a snare36 [I remain]: they [spy?] the city Ajalon. Let me tell the King my Lord, I do not speak rashly sending about the road for the King my Lord, for it is not easy. Lo! the King has established his law in the city Jerusalem for ever, and will not rashly speak of the desertion of the lands of Jerusalem. To the scribe of the King my Lord thus says thy servant Abd-ṣadaḳ. I bow at thy feet, I am thy servant. Render the news well to the King my Lord. O scribe of the King, I am afflicted, great is my affliction, and you do a deed not faithful, against the land of Cush. Hear us. Is there not slaughter, and you ... him, that men of the land of Cush are ... in my city? Let it ... the King to ... salute the King my Lord seven times and seven times for me.”

Another letter, on a different kind of clay, possibly refers to a final retreat from Jerusalem,77 but it is a fragment only.

“And now the city Jerusalem. Since he went away this land is faithful to the King. Lo! Gaza has remained to the King. Behold, the city Hareth Carmel is Tagi’s, and the people in the city ’Aiath78 have bowed down. He went far away from the fortress; and have we done this? Lo! Labaya gave gifts to the Hebrews, as Milkilu sent for tribute and the young men said, ‘Is not this fortress annexed by us?’ The men of Keilah gave all they asked; and have we left the city of Jerusalem? The garrisons you ordered are blockaded by the ravages of this fellow whom I fear. Addasi has remained in his fortress at Gaza, [sending] the women ... to Egypt.... To be given to the King.”

The parallelism between the details of this monumental account and those of the Bible narrative in the Book of Joshua, which—in its present form—appears37 to have been composed in the time of David or of Solomon, is very remarkable, and it is certain that Jerusalem was a royal city and a strong fortress, which at the time when the letters were written had not fallen to the ’Abiri or Hebrews, though there were signs already that its further defence was becoming impossible.


From the Book of Judges we learn that after the death of Joshua the children of Judah smote Jerusalem, and set it on fire. The border between Judah and Benjamin ran on the south side of the city, along the Valley of Hinnom, and to the head of the Valley of Rephaim. The town thus lay in the lot of Benjamin, but the conquest was not complete; for the “children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem, but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day”—that is, till the time of David at least. Josephus thought that the lower city only—perhaps not yet protected by a wall—was taken, and that the upper city was the Jebusite stronghold; nor is this an improbable explanation, since the lower city seems—as will appear later—to have already existed in David’s time. In the time of Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, Jebus was regarded as “the city of a stranger that is not of the children of Israel,” and it even possessed a Canaanite king in David’s time.79

We may endeavour therefore to form some idea of the position and extent of Jebusite Jerusalem. It was a royal city, a sacred place, and a fortress of great strength, the taking of which was one of David’s greatest exploits. The site indeed seems to have been chosen for its strength, which has again and again been proved by many long and desperate sieges. The city has always been taken from the north, and the upper38 city on the south-west hill has always been the last quarter to fall. This flat hill, rising 2,500 feet above the level of the sea, measures about 600 yards east and west by 800 yards north and south, thus containing an area of about 100 acres. Since the fourth century A. D. the name Zion has been applied to this hill, which is surrounded on all sides by deep valleys having steep slopes or precipices—that called Hinnom forming a natural fosse which sinks some 400 feet below the hill plateau, and defends the hill on the west and south, while the Tyropœon Valley—about 500 feet wide—sinks on the north to about 150 feet below the plateau, and turns south, defending it on the east. The hill of Zion is only joined to the watershed by a narrow neck, or isthmus, of high ground at the north-west corner of the upper city, and it required to be defended by a fortress wall at this point, which has always been the place attacked by besiegers. The lower city lay to the north, in the broad Tyropœon, and was defended by a smaller summit, now occupied by the Cathedral of the Holy Sepulchre, which rises 2,497 feet above sea-level, and bulges out eastwards from the plateau of the Judean watershed which runs north, west of Jerusalem. Thus, as Josephus says, the city as a whole lay “over against the temple in the manner of a theatre”80; for the horseshoe shape was caused by the head of the Tyropœon on the north side of the upper city, the original form of which has been somewhat obliterated by the accumulation of from 40 to 90 feet of rubbish under David Street, which leads east to the Temple ridge. Yet even now there is a sharp descent eastwards along this street, and steep side streets lead up southwards thence to Zion.81



Such, then, was the natural fortress which made the capture of Jerusalem so difficult, and which appears to have been occupied from the earliest times. The temple ridge on the east was 60 feet lower than Zion even at its highest point; and, as this ridge became narrower and tailed off towards the south, it sank—on the Ophel spur—to about 200 feet below the level of the upper city. The Ophel spur was unfit for a fortress, and the part south of the temple contained an area of only about 15 acres. It is impossible, therefore, to regard it as having at any time been by itself a “city,” for the more important cities of Palestine were much larger than such a small hamlet would have been. Tyre covered 100 acres, Cæsarea and Samaria about 300 acres each, while even Gezer—a town of less importance—included 40 acres within the walls. Ophel is not mentioned in history till three hundred years after David’s time. Nor are the remains of caves or cellars on this narrow tongue of land apparently of any remote antiquity, though some writers have supposed them to be of Jebusite origin, and have even called them “neolithic”—a term which has no meaning in Palestine, because (as in Egypt and in Babylonia) instruments of stone and of flint are found at all levels in the excavations, and are contemporary with others of bronze and of iron. The remains found in connection with these caves are of Roman origin, and one of the largest of them was a dyeing establishment, in which Byzantine objects were discovered. There are similar caves or cellars on the hill of the upper city, and these may be equally late.82

The rock strata at Jerusalem fall with an inclination of about ten degrees south-east from the watershed,40 so that the rain-water is carried naturally in this direction towards the junction (below Siloam) of the Kidron, the Tyropœon and the Hinnom valleys. The town indeed has the appearance of sliding downhill towards the south-east, the Ophel spur being the lowest of those covered by the city at its time of greatest magnitude, when Jerusalem—including the 30 acres of the Temple enclosure—covered about 300 acres in all, being half as large again as the present city within the Turkish walls. The lowest rock stratum, which appears in the low cliffs on the east side of the Kidron, is a hard dolomitic limestone, impervious and forming the bed for streams which sink through the more porous upper limestone. It appears again on the watershed to the north-west, and is known as the Santa Croce marble, being mottled with red, which—on the hillock of the traditional Calvary—was regarded as being due to the blood of Christ. This formation is of the Greensand period geologically, and the stone is known as mezzeh, or “superior,” in Arabic. Above it lie beds of fine but rather soft building stone, belonging to the Lower Chalk age, and called in Arabic meleki, or “royal” stone.83 In this white limestone the Temple cisterns are cut. Another stratum of hard limestone, or mezzeh, lies over the meleki, and above this on Olivet is the white Upper Chalk, full of ammonites, hippurites, and other characteristic shells, with beds of the Eocene age, including a capping of nummulitic limestone. These porous strata are known as k’akûli, or “conglomerate,” and nâri, or “fire stone.”

This description may be sufficient to account for the natural water-supply, which was always most abundant on the south-east, where the dolomite bed is nearest to the surface in the valleys. The41 principal spring is in the Kidron, below the steep eastern slope of the Ophel spur south of the Temple. It rises under the floor of a cave, where there must be an underground reservoir in the rock, resembling many in the Lebanon and in other limestone regions. Towards the end of winter, when the heavy rains have fallen, this reservoir overflows frequently through a fissure which acts as a natural syphon, sucking out all the water as soon as the reservoir is full. The sudden gush—like that of the Sabbatic River in Syria—occurs every few hours in early spring, but at the interval of several days in autumn. The stream originally flowed down the rocky bed of the Kidron, which is now filled in to a depth of 30 feet. But from early times it would seem that attempts were made to carry the water to the foot of the east slope of the upper city hill, in order to bring it nearer to the fortress. By the time of Hezekiah at least—as will be detailed later—a rock tunnel carried the waters of the spring to Siloam, or “westwards to the city of David.”84 This statement—in consequence of the English mistranslation—has become the foundation of a literary theory according to which the city of David was a mere hamlet of 15 acres on Ophel, whereas in reality it appears to show that the stronghold of Jebus lay towards the west. It is not impossible that a yet earlier rock-cut channel existed, with the same object of conveying the waters of this intermittent spring towards the western citadel; and, as the point has some importance in connection with the history of the city, the reasons may be given more fully.


Excavations were made in front of the cave in42 which the Kidron spring bursts forth, in the year 1902, and it was then discovered that a rock tunnel leads away towards the south outside the entrance to the cave.85 The level of its floor is only 5 feet above the water-level at Siloam, and this aqueduct unfortunately has not been explored along its whole length, nor has it furnished any indications of the age in which it was made. It has been thought to be part of an old rock channel traced for 600 feet northwards from the old pool below the Siloam reservoir. This, however, is doubtful, as the channel in question rises rapidly, and the levels in consequence would oblige us to suppose that pipes must have been used, as water does not run uphill in an open channel.86 This Siloam channel was still connected, in 1874, with a series of surface channels on the slopes of Ophel, which have been quarried away since, but which once carried the surface rain-water to the old pool.

The excavations at the spring showed that a large tank or pool probably once existed before the cave. The overflow from the cave was also carried away by the aqueduct, and perhaps brought round to tanks still existing below Siloam south-west of the pool. If this work was really ancient, representing the “brook that flowed through the midst of the earth”87 even before Hezekiah’s tunnel was made, it is an argument in favour of the view that the upper city of Jerusalem was the original Jebusite stronghold.


The earliest reference to any feature of Jerusalem topography is the notice of the spring called En-rogel, on the boundary between Judah and Benjamin east43 of the Valley of Hinnom. The meaning of the name has been differently conjectured,88 but if the true rendering be “spring of the water channel,” it would seem that an aqueduct must have existed at En-rogel when the Book of Joshua was written; and the topographical evidence in that book indicates a date earlier than the time of Isaiah and Hezekiah, thus favouring the conclusion that the aqueduct in front of the cave is ancient.

En-rogel has, it is true, been placed in quite another position. Brocardus, in the thirteenth century, supposed it to be the well at the junction of the Kidron and Hinnom valleys which Christians called “Nehemiah’s Fountain,” in connection with the apocryphal legend of a fire fountain which was in Persia and not at Jerusalem at all.89 The Moslems called it the “Well of Job,” from a legend of the fountain which sprang up when Job stamped on the ground90—perhaps confounding Job with Joab, since En-rogel was near the “Stone Zoheleth” where Joab proclaimed Adonijah king. But a well is not a spring, and Zoheleth is supposed by M. Clermont-Ganneau to be the rock still called Zahweileh (“the slippery”), close to the village of Silwân, and opposite the cave spring already described, which is the only spring on this side of Jerusalem. Neither Josephus nor any ancient pilgrim speaks of the well in question before 1184 A. D., when it was cleared out. There is no doubt that this well is ancient, but how old it is not easy to say.44 It is now 125 feet deep, and at 113 feet below the surface the old well-shaft rises from a rock-cut cave below. After the rains, in March, when the Kidron is full of water beneath the surface, a stream here rises to the surface, and flows down the valley for some distance. West of the well is a remarkable aqueduct, with another rock reservoir fed by two channels. This aqueduct is 90 feet below the rock surface, and runs south for 600 yards. It was discovered by Sir Charles Warren in 1869, and he suggests that this may be the “brook that flowed through the midst of the earth” which has been noticed above. These works were evidently intended for the storage of the winter rain waters; but, on the other hand, the description of the tunnel, with its flights of steps leading to the water, recalls the aqueduct of Cæsarea,91 which is certainly not older than the time of Herod, and may be considerably later. Whatever be the age of these remarkable waterworks, they have no connection with a “spring,” such as we must suppose En-rogel to have been.


The fortress of the upper city was not, however, dependent entirely on the natural supply of water in the Kidron Valley, or—afterwards—at Siloam. Even in the time of Nehemiah another spring existed on the west side of Jerusalem, in the upper part of the Valley of Hinnom.92 It was called the “Spring of the Monster,” or, according to the Greek translators (who regarded the word as Aramaic), the “Spring of the Figs.” It appears to have been unknown to Josephus, though he speaks of the “Serpent’s Pool”—apparently the present Mâmilla reservoir, which was called the “Upper Pool” in the time of Hezekiah. The “Spring of the Monster” seems to have been buried under the rubbish which has partly45 filled the Hinnom Valley, but in the Jebusite age it no doubt formed a supply on the west side of the upper city. It is also possible that the rock-cut tank within the city, immediately north of Zion (now called the “Patriarch’s Bath,” or “Hezekiah’s Pool”), was already ancient in Hezekiah’s time, when it was known as the “Lower Pool,”93 and that it also supplied the original Jebus. There is, in addition to these supplies, another probably of great antiquity west of the Temple, outside the north-east corner of the upper city. This is now known as the Ḥammâm esh Shefa,94 or “healing bath,” and it is connected with an ancient rock aqueduct which has been partly cut across by the Herodian wall of the Temple enclosure. This channel is now 60 feet under ground and 20 feet under a pavement which is older than the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A. D.; it is apparently even older than the time of Pompey’s siege in 63 B. C., since a voussoir of the bridge then existing has fallen into the aqueduct. The shaft to the “healing bath” itself is now 86 feet deep, and—at the bottom—a vaulted passage of the Roman or Byzantine age leads to the original cave, which has a conduit opening out on the south side. The shaft is comparatively modern throughout, and the cave must have been on the surface in the Jebusite age. It receives the drainage of the valley (now filled in by some 40 to 80 feet of rubbish), which has its head outside the Damascus Gate north of the city. This supply was carried down the Tyropœon valley, on the east side of the upper city, apparently to Siloam.

The water-supply has been thus described in detail, because it is often assumed that the Jebusite city must have depended entirely on the En-rogel spring in the46 Kidron ravine, which was clearly not the case; but, even if it were so, it would not follow that the Jebusite town must have stood on Ophel, for cities in Palestine were built on the highest and strongest sites available, even if these were not very near the springs. Thus at Samaria the springs are a mile away from the nearest point of the city wall on the east, and other instances might be cited where cities, like Tyre and Cæsarea, depended on water brought by an aqueduct from a distance of some miles. Jerusalem, before the time of Pilate, depended entirely for water on the rainfall of a comparatively small area east of the Judæan watershed; but, as we have seen, the storage of this natural supply in caves and tanks gave a sufficient amount of water on each side of the upper city, and the various rock channels served to bring this supply close under, and within, the city walls. There is therefore no difficulty in supposing that Josephus is right in describing the upper city of his own times as having been the “mountain top of Zion” captured by David.


The name Zion was older than David’s time. Since the fourth century A. D. it has always been applied to the hill of the upper city, and it may have been so placed in the earliest ages. But in the Bible it is not restricted to this position, but appears as a poetical name for Jerusalem at large. Josephus never uses this name, but speaks of “Jerusalem” instead. Zion is mentioned 154 times in the Old Testament, but only four passages95—all referring to early times—are47 in the historical narratives, the large majority of the other notices being in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the Psalms. Zion was a city with gates, and a “holy hill.” It is constantly used as a name equivalent to Jerusalem. It had walls and towers and “dwelling-places”; it is “the city of Jehovah, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel,” a high mountain, and a “city of solemnities.” It has been thought that, in the Greek age, the name applies specially to the Temple hill, but the passages cited do not really necessitate this conclusion. Ancient names are commonly preserved in the poetry of a nation, and Zion was a very ancient word, which—as we have seen—may possibly have meant a “chief’s abode,” or a “god’s abode,” even when the Hittites and Amorites still held Jerusalem, and when it was the sacred city of Melchizedek, long before the Temple of Jehovah was built on the ridge outside, at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. Hence it is in the poetry of the prophets and psalmists of Israel that the name Zion occurs; and, though there is nothing really wrong in the Christian application of the word to the south-western hill, yet the term is only vaguely equivalent to the city generally. But there is one quarter to which it should not be solely applied—namely, the small spur which is called Ophel in the Bible.



46 Ps. cx. 4; Heb. v. 6, 10, vii. 1–4.

47 Ps. lxxvi. 2.

48 Gen. xiv. 17, 18; 2 Sam. xviii. 18; Josephus, “Ant.,” I. x. 2; “Ant.,” VII. x. 3.

49 Gen. xxxiii. 18 (A.V. marg.), called Sâlim el Kebîra (“Great Salem”) in Samaritan Chronicle (Neubauer, Journal Asiatique, Dec. 1869, p. 433). See “Mem. West Pal.,” ii. p. 230; Tal. Jer., Abodah Zara, v. 4; John iii. 23; Onomasticon, s.v. Jerusalem and Salem; Chron. Paschale, quoted by Reland, “Pal. Illustr.,” ii. p. 977. Jerome (“Ep. ad Evang.”), “Salem oppidum est juxta Scythopolim quod usque hodie appellatur Salem et ostenditur ibi palatium Melchisedec,” etc.

50 Gen. xiv. 1; Josephus, “Wars,” VI. x. 1. See my article in “Murray’s Bible Dictionary,” 1908, “Chronology.” The date is now ascertained from the Babylonian Chronicle’s through-reckoning, and from a text of Nabu-nahid, while the same result was reached by Dr. Felix Peiser (Zeitschrift für Assyr. vi. pp. 264–71) in 1891 from the statements of Berosus.

51 Ariel (Isa. xxix. 1, 2, 7) may stand for Babylonian eri-ilu, “city of God,” as a name of Jerusalem.

52 Ezek. xvi. 3, 45.

53 See my volume “The Hittites and Their Language,” 1898. Dr. Sayce (“The Hittites,” 1888) also (p. 14) calls them “Mongoloid.”

54 Gen. xxii. 2 (LXX. hupsēlē); in 2 Chr. iii. 2 it is not translated in the Greek. In Babylonian mur-iahu would mean “seat of Yahu.”

55 Gen. xxii. 14 (see R.V.); possibly to be rendered “in the mount Jehovah appears.” The LXX.: “In the mount the Lord was seen” (see 2 Sam. xxiv. 16).

56 Akkadian ab (or ub), “abode,” us, “strong”; Turkish eb and üs. Isaiah refers to the meaning of the Semitic name as “a quiet habitation” (xxxiii. 20).

57 In Akkadian Ṣi-an is “palace” (in the Behistān dialect), and Zi-una, “chief’s building” or “God’s place.” Gesenius compares the Arabic ṣahweh, “fortress,” and ṣahyûn.

58 See Isa. xxx. 33, “deep and large.”

59 Araunah (2 Sam. xxiv. 16, 20); Heb. Aranieh in ver. 18; Ornan (1 Chr. xxi. 15–28); no doubt originally written with the signs UR-AN-EN, which would read either Ur-ena or Ur-nun; in LXX. always Orna.

60 These synchronisms show that the approximate dates given by Brugsch for Amenophis III. and IV. are correct. The recent discoveries of Dr. H. Winckler in Cappadocia also prove that Rameses II. was ruling about 1330 B. C., as Brugsch supposed. The later dates given by some Egyptologists are based on a fallacious astronomical calculation, and do not agree with the known Assyrian and Babylonian dates.

61 Taylor cylinder text. See also my “Tell Amarna Tablets,” 2nd edit. 1898, pp. 117–20, 193.

62 “Tell Amarna Tablets,” pp. 8, 14, 187, 193, 200, 202, 210; Deutschen Orient Gesellschaft, No. 35, 1908, discoveries of Dr. H. Winckler, pp. 33–6.

63 “Amarna Tablets,” pp. 170, 188.

64 The signs used are those for “man,” “good,” and “do,” variously rendered Arad-Khi-ba and ’Abd-Ṭobba, but perhaps better ’Abd-ṣadaḳ, “servant of the just.” Cf. Melchi-ṣedeḳ (“my king is just”), Adoni-ṣedeḳ, “my lord is just.” See “Tell Amarna Tablets,” pp. 139–51.

65 Lepsius, “Letters from Egypt,” 1844, English trans. 1853, pp. 484 seq.

66 Gen. xlvii. 11; Exod. i. 11.

67 Josh. x. 3. See “Tell Amarna Tablets,” p. 137, and Josh. x. 33.

68 Ruth i. 2.

69 Amarna Tablets, No. 102, Berlin Collection: “tarayamu ... amili ’Abiri.”

70 Sarru b’elu.

71 Pitati, an Egyptian word, either from pet, “bow,” or pet, “foot”—bowmen, or otherwise infantry, and not a chariot force such as is often mentioned in the plains, in the Amarna letters.

72 No. 106, Berlin Collection.

73 Baalah = Kirjath-jearim (Josh. xv. 10), near which was Rabbah (ver. 60). See Josh ix. 17.

74 No. 104, Berlin Collection.

75 ina Bit-amilla-ma.

76 No. 103, Berlin Collection, line 54 on back of the tablet.

77 No. 199, Berlin Collection.

78 ’Ati, see Isa. x. 28, = Ai.

79 Josh. xv. 8, xviii. 16; Judg. i. 8, 21, xix. 11, 12, xx. 28; 2 Sam. xxiv. 23 (“Araunah a king”); Josephus, “Ant.,” V. ii. 2, 5, 8.

80 Josephus, “Ant.,” XV. xi. 5.

81 The dome of the rotunda of the Holy Sepulchre Cathedral is fixed in N. lat. 31° 46´ 45´´, E. long. 35° 13´ 25´´.

82 Bliss, “Excavations at Jerusalem,” 1898, pp. 231–3; Warren, “Recovery of Jerusalem,” 1871, pp. 306–8; G. A. Smith, “Jerusalem,” 1907, vol. i. p. 284.

83 This is the usual explanation, but I have some doubts whether the word is not really malaḳeh, meaning “smooth stone.”

84 In 1878 I consulted the late Prof. A. B. Davidson as to this translation of the sentence in 2 Chron. xxxii. 30, and I retain still his letter of December 30, 1878, pronouncing that this is “the natural translation of the words.”

85 Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, Jan. 1902, p. 32.

86 The channel starts at the level 2,087 feet above the sea. Bottom of Pool of Siloam, 2,081 feet. The channel north of the old pool at Siloam is about 2,120 feet.

87 2 Chron. xxxii. 4.

88 “Fountain of the fuller,” or “of the spy,” with reference to David’s spies. See Josh. xviii. 16, 2 Sam. xvii. 17. I suggested many years ago a comparison with the Arabic rujeileh, “water-channel.” Dr. G. A. Smith (“Jerusalem,” 1908, i. p. 109) takes the same view, and compares the Syriac rogûlo, a “water-channel.”

89 2 Macc. i. 18–36; Brocardus, 1283 A. D.; Zuallardo, “Dev. Viag.,” p. 142; Robinson, “Bib. Res.,” i. p. 332, note 5; Warren, “Recov. of Jer.,” pp. 256–64; Wilson, “Ord. Survey Notes,” p. 84; “Mem. Survey West Pal.,” Jerusalem vol., pp. 371–5.

90 Ḳorân xxxviii. 40, 41; see 1 Kings i. 9.

91 See my account, “Mem. Survey West Pal.,” ii. pp. 18–23.

92 Neh. ii. 13; Josephus, “Wars,” V. iii. 2, xii. 2.

93 Isa. xxii. 9. See 2 Kings xviii. 17; Isa. xxxvi. 2.

94 Sir C. Wilson, “Ord. Survey Notes,” p. 85, and Pl. xxii. Explored October 29, 1864.

95 2 Sam. v. 7; 1 Kings viii. 1; 1 Chron. xi. 5; 2 Chron. v. 2. The word “Zion” occurs also in poetic passages in 2 Kings xix. 21, 31. Outside the historic books it is found thirty-eight times in Psalms, forty-seven times in Isaiah, thirty-nine times in Jeremiah, and in twenty-four other poetic passages. See especially Ps. ii. 6, ix. 11, 14, xlviii. 12, lxxvi. 2, lxxxvii. 1, 5; Isa. iv. 5, x. 24, 32, xii. 6, xxx. 19, xxxiii. 14, 20, lx. 14; Jer. xxvi. 18, xxxi. 12; Lam. v. 11, 18; 1 Macc. iv. 37, v. 54, vi. 48, 62, vii. 33, x. 11. In 1 Macc. the word Zion means the Holy City, but is not specially restricted to the Temple hill. It is mentioned six times only in this book, as cited.

From the citadel of Zion the Jebusites looked down on David’s men arrayed beyond the dividing valley. Like many other defenders of a doomed city, they mocked their foes, and they set the lame and the blind on the wall, “saying, Thou wilt not enter here unless thou removest the blind and the lame: meaning, David cannot enter here. Nevertheless David took the hilltop of Zion: it is the city of David. And David said that day, Every slayer of the Jebusite will also reach by the ravine both the lame and the blind. They hate David’s self, wherefore they say, Blind and lame he will not come into the place. So David dwelt on the hilltop, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from the Millo and inwards.”96


The city of David is here identified with the hilltop of Zion; but as Jerusalem grew larger, the term seems to have been expanded to include all the Jerusalem of David’s time, and in later days it was applied to the lower city. This term is used forty times in the Old Testament, and in four passages it is equivalent to Zion.97 Josephus never uses it except in relating David’s capture of the citadel. He always, in other49 passages, substitutes the name “Jerusalem.” He says that David—like all later captors—first took the lower city, but that the citadel held out till Joab crossed “one of the underlying ravines” (which would probably be the Tyropœon), and “ascended” to the citadel itself. He continues that David afterwards made buildings in the lower city. He identifies the citadel with the upper city of his own time, and places the lower city to the north. He is only following the Bible account as he understood it, but there is no reason to doubt that he is right. He was not merely writing his own fancies, for “the Millo” had already been long identified, by the Greek translators of the Bible, with the Akra or “citadel” which defended the lower city.98 We can, of course, only conjecture what “the Millo” was, since its position and character are not explained in the Bible. It was a “filling” of some kind, whether a valley filled in with earth or a filling place—perhaps the old Jebusite pool cut in rock immediately outside the north wall of the citadel. Jewish writers always connect it with the lower city, and Solomon “built up the Millo, and shut up the breach of the city of David his father,” or, according to the Greek translators, “founded the Akra closing the fence of the city of David,” or otherwise “made the Akra to fence in the fence of the city.” Considering that the “city of the great king” (or overlord) is described as being on the “flanks of the north,”99 there seems to be no improbability in the view taken by Jewish writers of early date. There was in Jerusalem, somewhat later, a place called the Maktesh,100 or “hollow,” apparently a quarter of the city; this was probably the lower city in the wide Tyropœon Valley north of the citadel, and it is possible that the Millo was50 on that narrow isthmus of land to defend which the “broad wall,” or “wall of the broad place,” was built.101 The fact that the lower city was first fortified by David seems to show that it was only an open town, beyond the citadel, in Jebusite times.102

In the city of David’s time were his palace, and the place where the Ark was kept in a tent. Here also David and many of his successors were buried. The civilisation of Babylonia, as then extending to Phœnicia, was the model for the new Hebrew kingdom, as it had been for the Canaanite even in Abraham’s time. The “house” of David was built by Phœnician artisans, and seems to have been in the lower city, below the Temple ridge and Ophel, but the great palace of Solomon was outside the city of David. The Ark, apparently, was established at the original palace, until the Temple was built.103 The royal tombs were perhaps just inside the north wall of Jerusalem, as will be explained in speaking of the later Hebrew kings.


The story of David’s life is told in one of the most vivid and picturesque books of the Old Testament, and contains scattered allusions to places at Jerusalem. The scribe—perhaps the prophet Nathan104—does not spare his hero in his account of Bathsheba; but, in spite of his crime of passion, the generosity of David’s character accorded with that ideal which we find most admired among free Semitic races, from the days of Job to those of Muḥammad or of Saladin;51 and “whatsoever the king did pleased all the people.”105 His sin met its nemesis when Ahitophel—Bathsheba’s grandfather106—rose to be a court favourite, and then deserted to the rebellious Absalom. His schemes soon failed; but David, looking back to the day when Uriah was betrayed to death, must have recognised his punishment, and humbly submitted to the rod. To save the city, he marched out107 with his faithful guards—the old band that followed him to Gath in earlier days—and on crossing the Kidron he sent back the Ark into the town. By the Anathoth road he ascended Olivet, praying on its northern summit, and so took the way to the wilderness and to Gilead. His faithful spies were hidden in the cave of En-rogel; and after the defeat and death of Absalom we are told that this rebel son had erected a “hand,” or monument, in the “King’s Dale,” which still remained when the chronicle was written, being—as already mentioned—perhaps somewhere to the south in the Valley of Hinnom, though mediæval pilgrims thought that they had found it at the Greco-Jewish tomb east of the Kidron, where—ever since the fifteenth century A. D. at least—the Jews have raised heaps of stones, each pilgrim casting his pebble at the supposed monument of the wicked son.

David’s adventurous life drew towards its end. An old man at the age of seventy years, the king was nursed by the fair Abishag of Shunem. His fourth son, Adonijah—the two eldest having met violent deaths, and the third being perhaps also dead—was supported by his cousin Joab and by Abiathar the priest. On the rock Zoheleth,108 beside En-rogel—a precipice visible from the upper city—he slew sacrifices, and52 proclaimed himself king. The old lion was roused by the news to renew his oath to Bathsheba. Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the commander who had superseded Joab, were sent with the swordsmen and light troops—two regiments of guards distinguished like those of Assyrian and Egyptian armies—to escort Solomon, on the king’s mule, “down to Gihon.” There he was anointed by Zadok the priest, with oil brought from the tent in which the Ark still abode; and apparently the choice of the place was due to the position of Zoheleth, which was nearly opposite to it on the east side of the Kidron ravine, Gihon being thus in sight of Adonijah’s adherents. The piping of pipes, the shouts of the people, and the sound of the trumpet were heard by Joab and Adonijah as they feasted, and they fled to take sanctuary at the altar.109


It is here assumed that Gihon was another name of the spring En-rogel, though this is, of course, not absolutely certain. The word means “spouting forth,” and the title is not applicable to a tank, while it recalls the sudden gush of the Kidron spring as already described. Gihon lay in a ravine (naḥal), a term which is applied in many passages to the Kidron Valley, as contrasted with the gai or gorge of Hinnom. It is also described as a “source” (moṣa), which word is used of the Kidron spring in Hezekiah’s inscription at Siloam. The wall of Ophel, moreover, is said to have run “westwards to Gihon in the naḥal,” so that it is clear that this “source” was not on the west side of Jerusalem.110 In the fourteenth century, it is true,53 the old map of the city shows the “Upper Pool of Gihon” (at the Birket Mâmilla), and the “Lower Pool of Gihon” (at the Birket es Sulṭân), but such pools are never mentioned in the Bible, or by Josephus, though the misunderstanding survives even now. The lower of these pools was made by the Germans about 1172 A. D., and it is not mentioned by any writer before that age. Gihon was not a pool or tank, and the term seems most clearly to apply to a source which spouted out at intervals in the Kidron ravine, and which was otherwise named En-rogel because of a water channel down which the stream was led.

The building of the Temple was Solomon’s first great work. It stood on the ridge east of the city, where the threshing-floor of Araunah was consecrated by David’s altar. There is no doubt that it was placed on the “top of the mountain,”111 and that the site of the holy house itself remained unchanged in later times, when it was rebuilt by Zerubbabel, and again enlarged by the priests in the time of Herod the Great. The area of the enclosure was then increased, especially on the west, by the banking up of earth supported in places on vaults within the great Herodian walls; but the natural site was very restricted. The strata are tilted up towards the north-west, so that the ridge presents an almost precipitous slope on the west side, sinking nearly 200 feet from the level of the Ṣakhrah, or “rock,” to the valley in which the west Ḥaram wall was built. The eastern slope is less steep, but the ridge—which was naturally highest on the north-west—is narrow throughout, except in the neighbourhood of the Dome of the Rock, which now covers the54 Ṣakhrah. In this part there is a small plateau measuring about 200 yards across, and sinking on the east and south about 20 feet below the crest of the Ṣakhrah itself. As to this rock site, which forms the natural position for a building surrounded by courts which were at lower levels, there is no doubt at all. The visitor can see the rock for himself on the surface to east, south, and north-west of the platform on which the Dome of the Rock stands, and the levels of this bare rock have been accurately ascertained. The Ṣakhrah rises on its west side about 4 feet above the level of the pavement, and slopes gently eastwards. On the north-west part of the platform the rock is flat, and is found just under the pavement. It is just under the floor east of the Ṣakhrah, within the walls of the Dome of the Rock. Its level north of the building has been ascertained in the well mouths of the two rock tunnels now used as tanks, and also in that of a similar excavation to the south-east of the Dome. Rock scarps are visible on the north and north-east sides of the platform, while on the south-east and south-west sides there are vaults in which no rock is found at all. These facts I verified by descending into the tanks and examining the small vaulted chambers under the platform. If the platform itself could be removed, there is little doubt that we should find beneath it two rocky terraces at two levels, that to the east being some 10 feet lower than that to the west.


The Ṣakhrah itself is the controlling feature, because it rises at its crest 8 feet above the average level of the surrounding rock terrace. If the Holy House was built over the Ṣakhrah, then the levels of the descending courts naturally agree with those of the rock site. But if the Temple itself is placed to the south or to the west of the Ṣakhrah, it is no longer on the top of the mountain; and any55 student who draws a section, in accordance with the ascertained levels of the rock, will find that he has, in these cases, to suppose foundations of masonry of at least 30 feet necessary to support the heavy walls of the building. On the west the rock is found in a cistern mouth, only 100 feet from the Ṣakhrah, but already more than 20 feet lower; and it descends steeply to the foot of the west Ḥaram wall, where it is found to be nearly 200 feet lower than the Ṣakhrah crest, which—on these suppositions—would be the level of the outer court, since it cannot have been left protruding above that level. Thus, although to the student who merely considers the plan of the building it seems allowable to propose any position he prefers, near the Ṣakhrah, as the exact site of the Holy House, we are in reality very strictly confined to the conclusion that this sacred “rock” was the foundation on which it rose. For the later Temple was more than 100 feet long, and it is unnatural to suppose that it would have been built on the west slope, or on the lower part of the small plateau, to the south, and raised up by foundations of such height as would be needed, when there was just room for the Temple and its inner court on the higher part of the small plateau. Josephus appears to be quite right in saying, not only that the Temple was on the “top of the mountain,” but yet more definitely that “at first the highest flat part barely sufficed for the Holy House and the altar: for the ground about it was very uneven and precipitous.” He says that Solomon “built a wall on its eastern side,” but that “on other parts the Holy House stood naked.” The west enclosure wall was apparently not erected till much later; and although when Pompey besieged Jerusalem there was already a bridge from the upper city to the Temple ridge, the west side of the hill was even then56 “abrupt,”112 and not filled up with earth, within the rampart, to bring it to a level with the Temple courts. “New banks”—according to Josephus—were added in later times, and thus “the hill became a larger plateau.”

Such practical considerations and historic statements fully agree with Jewish tradition. No Jerusalem Jew doubts that the Temple stood over the Ṣakhrah “rock,” which they identify with that “Stone [or, Rock] of Foundation” which, even in Herod’s time, was visible in the Holy of Holies. The Mishnah was composed in our second century, and records the statements of rabbis who had witnessed the great destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A. D., and who had seen the ruins of the Temple as the Romans left them. In the Mishnah we read113 the description of the awful Day of Atonement, when—once a year—the high-priest, in fear and trembling, entered the Holy of Holies, where there was no longer any Ark. “When the Ark was removed, a stone was there, since the days of the first prophets” (that is, of David), “and it was called the ‘foundation’: it was three fingers above the ground, and on it he put the censer.”


The Ṣakhrah is a very remarkable rock cut in steps on the west, as though to form the base of a wall, and having a cave beneath on the east, with a shaft through its roof to the surface. It is also said to have another excavation below the floor of the cave,114 and this cave was very probably a granary originally connected with the threshing-floor, and resembling an ancient example near Nazareth.115 To57 identify the rock with the Altar of the Temple is to upset the whole section of the building, and the altar was of stones, and not of rock. In the fourth century we find the Jews wailing at this “Pierced Stone,” as the site of their Holy House.116 The Moslems have adopted their tradition, and speak of the Ṣakhrah as the foundation of the world, a rock of Paradise suspended over the abyss where souls dwell till the judgment. The Christians of the Middle Ages equally regarded the Dome of the Rock as the “Temple of the Lord.” The site is one of the very few as to which there is a general agreement and an unchanging tradition.

Of the Temple courts we have no full description in the Old Testament. The Holy House itself is said to have been double the size of the Tabernacle, not counting the three tiers of small chambers built against the walls. In the details of its architecture it recalls the art of Babylonia or of Phœnicia, rather than of Egypt, and its masons and artificers came from Tyre. The combination of large, well-hewn masonry with cedar roofs, and adornment of bronze and of gold, carved figures on the wall, and sacred Ark within, reminds us not only of the temples in Babylon which Nebuchadnezzar describes in his inscriptions, but of that famous account, in the Akkadian language, which Prince Gudea of Zirgul in Chaldea has left us, on his cylinders and statues, describing the temple which—perhaps as early as 2800 B. C.—he adorned with precious metals and with cedar wood from Lebanon. We think of the Cherubim as many-winged angels, such as Italian artists have painted; but the word Kirubu is written in Assyria over a representation of one of those winged bulls58 which, as “guardians,” stood in temples, or are represented flanking the mystic tree of life, just as Solomon’s cherubs flanked the palm trees. They were not painted, like the figures in the dark interior of Egyptian shrines, but carved on the walls in low relief, and overlaid with gold. They were seen by none save priests, and even to them they were only dimly visible in the darkness of a shrine unlighted from without, by the glimmer of the seven-branched golden lamp. Yet Solomon—like many later kings even down to the seventh century B. C.—disregarded the command written on the ancient “token tablets” still stored in the Ark, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image”; for besides these carvings and the huge olive-wood cherubs which overshadowed the older golden guardians of the Ark itself, he also placed his bronze laver on the necks of bronze bulls, and adorned the steps of his ivory throne with lions, after the fashion of Babylonian and Phœnician kings. In his old age the princesses from Sidon and Moab, and the daughters of the Hittites, Ammonites, and Edomites, whom he wedded, “turned away his heart after other gods.” But even in his youth he followed the ways of the Canaanites, while seeking to honour Jehovah by a splendid shrine. The making of images, in his day as in all times, was the sure sign of superstition creeping in, to guard against which the commandment of Moses was written.


The description of the Temple need not be further detailed,117 as it is clearly understandable in the Bible narrative. The buildings included an “inner court,”118 and probably, therefore, an outer one as well, but we are not told what space these covered, though it has been conjectured that the former was double the size of that of the Tabernacle, which would mean roughly59 about 300 feet east and west by 150 feet north and south.119 In late accounts we read of a Court of the Priests and of a great court, and there are passing allusions to gates, on each side of the enclosure at different levels, and to a “higher court” by the “new gate.” It would seem that there was a west gate called that of “Departure” or “Casting Out,” in various passages, a north gate called “the High Gate of Benjamin,” a “Foundation Gate,” perhaps in the lower court, and—in the outer wall, which was that of the city itself—a gate where the “guard” or garrison of the Temple mustered, by the “Court of the Guard” (or “Prison,” as rendered in the English). The gate of “Runners” (light troops), on the way to the palace south of the Temple, was perhaps not the same. The king held his court of justice at the High Gate, which was “towards the north”; but another “King’s Gate” seems to have been on the east side of the outer court. All these were swept away when the Temple was enlarged and its courts rebuilt by Herod; but the general impression is that the Temple courts were at first confined to the immediate neighbourhood of the plateau surrounding the holy house, and that outside them there was only the city wall on the east; while on the west the natural slope of the hill remained visible, and no wall divided the Sanctuary from the city. On the south also the ridge sloped down to Ophel, where the great court of the palace extended towards the Horse Gate and the Court of the Guard.120


After the Temple the new palace of Solomon was built. It was not in the city of David, for “the daughter of Pharaoh” remained there “until he had made an end of building his own house,” and then “came up out of the city of David unto her house which he had built for her.”121 Thus Josephus is apparently right in saying that the queen’s house “adjoined” that of the king, being in fact the ḥarîm of the palace. This palace resembled those of Assyrian or of Egyptian kings, as well as that of later times at Persepolis. It included a main building measuring 100 cubits by 50 cubits, with cedar pillars and a cedar roof. There were also separate halls, each 50 by 30 cubits, and two residences, for the king and queen, as well as a hall of justice, or throne-room, in which was the ivory throne. Round and within these buildings there were open courts, besides the “Great Court,” which apparently included the stables for the king’s horses, which came in by the “Horse Gate” in the city wall, at which gate Queen Athaliah, fleeing back from the Temple to her palace, was slain: this gate was to the south of the Temple courts, as described by Nehemiah. In the latter book also we find that the “King’s High House” lay on Ophel, near the “Water Gate,” which was above the Gihon spring, and which had a rock shaft leading down to the water. In Nehemiah’s time this palace was called “the house of David,” meaning, apparently, that of David’s family, just as certain royal tombs are called—in the same account—“sepulchres of David,” because certain kings of Judah were there buried; for David would himself evidently not need more than one sepulchre.



The description is not sufficiently detailed to allow of any plan of these buildings being drawn,122 but—including the courts—it is clear from the dimensions that the palace covered the greater part of the little Ophel spur, which became the royal quarter, where also—in later times at least—the high-priest had his house, and where the Nethinim lived. Moreover, the “king’s garden” was in the Tyropœon Valley, near Siloam, and in or near it were the “king’s wine-presses,” which are noticed as marking the south limit of the later city. The city of David was no doubt densely crowded, and there was no room in it for a new palace. This was, moreover, placed close to the Temple for convenience in attending the daily services. In later times Ezekiel denounces the proximity of the dwelling of idolatrous kings to the Temple of Jehovah, and the building of a wall of separation, as well as the burial of the kings inside the city.123

The latest buildings of Solomon were shrines in honour of foreign gods, including Ashtoreth, Milcom, Chemosh, and Molech.124 The three former were on “the hill facing Jerusalem”; the last named was no doubt at Topheth, in the valley which was devoted to the worship of this savage deity. They are again noticed in the time of Josiah, nearly four centuries later, and (except Molech) stood on “the Mount of Corruption” (or, more correctly, of “anointing”), which was apparently the Mount of Olives. A much-defaced Phœnician text, found by M. Clermont-Ganneau at the village of Silwân, contains the words “Beth-Baal,”62 and has been supposed to be possibly connected with one of these shrines.

The prosperity of Jerusalem declined on the death of Solomon, when the kingdom was divided; and five years later the city was sacked by Shishak—the first king of the twenty-second Egyptian dynasty—about 960 B. C. Topographical details are, however, very scanty, though Jehoash of Israel (about 820 B. C.), attacking Amaziah of Judah, is said to have broken down the wall from the Gate of Ephraim (which would be on the north) to the Corner Gate (which was pretty clearly at the north-west corner of the upper city), a distance of 400 cubits. He thus made his assault, as usual, on the weakest point in the fortifications.125 He again carried off the treasures of the Temple and of the palace. The next king of Judah, Azariah (otherwise Uzziah), strengthened this point by building towers at the Gate of the Corner and at the Gate of the Gai—a term used exclusively of the Hinnom Valley. Both these gates—as will appear later—were near the isthmus which exists inside the present Jaffa Gate; and the towers were the predecessors of Herod’s “royal towers,” which defended the upper city at this neck of high ground. Uzziah is also said to have placed engines—no doubt like those of the Assyrian bas-reliefs—on the walls.126


Jotham (about 745 B. C.) is the first Hebrew king who is said to have built a wall on Ophel,127 though he may merely have made it stronger, as it possibly formed part of Solomon’s wall round Jerusalem, including the Temple and the palace. He was no doubt alarmed at the progress which was then being made by the Assyrians in the conquest of Syria. His successor, Ahaz, was attacked by Pekah of Israel and63 Rezin of Damascus some ten years later, though they failed to take the city.128 We have some details of interest as to the water-supply of Jerusalem at this time, before the great works of Hezekiah were carried out129; for, in connection with this attack, Isaiah notices the “conduit of the upper pool,” and the “waters of Shiloah that go secretly”; he speaks also rather later of the “collection of the waters of the lower pool,” and of the “place where the waters of the old pool flowed together between the two walls.” Whether we are to understand that the Siloam tunnel was begun as early as the time of Ahaz, or that the older conduit—already described—was then made, there is apparently no connection between the secret water-supply of Shiloah and the other pools noticed by Isaiah. It is certain that the Upper Pool must have been on the west side of the city, since it was there that the Assyrians appeared in 703 B. C., and the site of the Assyrian camp was still pointed out as late as 70 A. D. in this direction.130 The conduit from this pool to the “lower pool” was no doubt that which also existed in the time of Herod, and which still carries water to the so-called “Pool of the Bath” or “of Hezekiah.” The last named may very well be regarded as the “Old Pool,” being “between the two walls”—that is to say, inside the wall of the lower city and outside that of the upper city. This important reservoir, which was “old” even in the time of Isaiah, thus seems to have been possibly of the Jebusite age. The work of Ahaz consisted in forming an upper reservoir (now called Birket Mâmilla) to supply the old pool by a conduit leading into the city.

The fall of Damascus to Tiglath-pileser, in 732 B. C., caused general consternation in Palestine. Ahaz had64 already asked aid of the Assyrian against Israel and the Syrians, and he now hasted to offer tribute to the conqueror, whose troops were overrunning Gilead and Galilee, and raided even to Philistia. On the occasion of his visit to Damascus, Ahaz is said to have seen an altar on which he sacrificed, and a copy of which he introduced into the Temple at Jerusalem, displacing Solomon’s bronze altar which he reserved “to inquire by.”131 There appears to have been a “covered place” in the Temple adorned with gold or silver, as was also the “king’s entry,” and these were now stripped to pay Tiglath-pileser.132 Ten years later Samaria was captured by Sargon, and it was then perhaps—or in 711 B. C., when Sargon captured Ashdod—that the Assyrian outposts appeared at Nob near Mizpeh, where the most distant glimpse of Jerusalem is caught from the north.133


Ahaz had been succeeded by Hezekiah six years before the fall—in 722 B. C.—of Samaria. Preparations for a siege, such as might now be expected, continued to be made at Jerusalem. The older account merely tells us that Hezekiah “made a pool and a conduit, and brought water into the city”; the later independent statement says that besides adding a new outer wall, and repairing “the Millo in the city of David,” he stopped all the fountains and “the brook that flowed through the midst of the ground,” and moreover “dammed the source of the waters of the Upper Gihon, and made it straight below, westwards to [or, for] the city of David.”134 Whether this was a completion and improvement of the Siloam tunnel begun by Ahaz, or a new tunnel to supersede the older one which may perhaps have already led from the Kidron spring, is not clear; but the characters in which the Siloam65 inscription—recording the making of the tunnel—are written seem to be nearest to those found on Phœnician weights, in Assyria, which are rather later than the time of Ahaz. This inscription is the oldest of Jerusalem monuments as yet found, and is indeed the oldest purely Hebrew text known. It is of great importance as showing the civilisation of Hezekiah’s age, which, however, is equally attested by the historic cylinder of Sennacherib.

The present Pool of Siloam has been found (by Dr. Guthe in 1881) to be much narrower than that which was probably first cut by Hezekiah in connection with his tunnel, which perhaps required the reservoir to be deeper than the older pool there existing. The pool thus became 30 feet deep and 60 feet square,135 having a flat walk on each side about 7 feet wide. The tunnel from the Gihon spring is a third of a mile long, and it was begun from both ends. The spring and the pool lie in a south-west direction respectively, but the tunnel winds, and the lower part runs west, either because some soft stratum of rock was followed, or more probably because, working in the dark, the direction was lost till a shaft, 30 feet high, was driven down from the surface, and the correct direction recovered. At the spring a short passage was driven in west, from the back of the cave, and from this the main tunnel (1,707 feet long) began. Here also it is first cut in the wrong direction, westwards, and then bends round south; and here also a great shaft (discovered by Sir Charles Warren), with a rocky stairway, was carried down from the surface of Ophel. This no doubt marks the site of the “Water Gate”; and access to the spring from within the city wall was so attainable, which may be what is intended by “brought water into66 the city.” Finally, when the two parties of miners heard each other calling, a short cross-cut was made east and west. This point I examined in 1881, and found that each of the tunnels had been abruptly stopped where this cross-cut (about 4 feet long) occurs. It seems also to have been then found that the tunnel was not at a sufficiently low level in its southern part, and that the water would not flow freely, which would account for the Siloam end of the tunnel being much more lofty than the part nearer the spring, the floor level having been cut down.136


The famous inscription was carved on the east side of the tunnel near its mouth, in ancient characters of the alphabet of Hezekiah’s age, presenting some minor peculiarities which became distinctive of the script of Israel. It was discovered in 1880 by a Jewish boy, and was reported by Herr Schick, and visited by Dr. Sayce. The first correct copy published was taken from my squeeze, and an excellent copy was almost simultaneously published by Dr. Guthe, through whose courtesy I had been enabled to work with ease in the tunnel. A cast was also fortunately made, for the text was afterwards cut out of the rock by a Greek villain, who was duly punished. Unfortunately, though now preserved in the Museum of Constantinople, this valuable inscription has been broken and damaged. When first found, the letters were full of lime deposit, which Dr. Guthe removed with hydrochloric acid without injuring the stone, and a true copy could not be made till this was done. The text may be thus translated, the ends of the lines being injured, when first found, by the scaling off of the rock.


From the Author’s squeeze.

(1) “The tunnel, and this is the method of the tunnel: while (the miners) raised


(2) the pick each towards his fellow, and while yet three cubits were ... the voice of one calling

(3) to his fellow, for there was an excess in the rock to the right ... they struck to the right

(4) in the tunnel: they hewed this cutting each towards his fellow, pick to pick, and flowed

(5) the waters from the source to the pool for two hundred and one thousand cubits,

(6) and ... a cubit was the height of the rock at the top of this cutting.”

The hewing to the right hand in both the excavations was what actually occurred. The measurement—in round numbers—of 1,200 cubits gives us roughly a cubit of 17 inches, but the “three cubits” gives us more exactly a cubit of 16 inches, which appears to have been that used by Hebrew masons.137

This remarkable engineering work had perhaps not long been finished when, in the third year of his reign, Sennacherib invaded Philistia in 703 B. C., and sent his Tartan or “general,” his Rabsaris or “chief eunuch,” and his Rabshakeh or “chief headman” from Lachish “with a great host against Jerusalem.” The curled and oiled Assyrian mockers stood beneath the wall, beside the “conduit” at the west gate, and parleyed in Hebrew with the men above. The Hebrew politicians were much divided in opinion, whether to submit to Assyria or to seek aid from Egypt. Isaiah alone seems to have relied on the help of Jehovah in that hour of danger, which passed away when misfortune overtook Sennacherib on the borders of Egypt. In his own boastful inscription138 the invader gives us no reason why the68 city escaped, though it appears from his account, as well as from the Bible, that Hezekiah had already offered tribute. “As for this Hezekiah,” says Sennacherib, “he shut himself up, like a bird in a snare, in Jerusalem, his royal city. He raised forts for himself. He was forced to close the gates of his city.”139 But no siege or capture is recorded, and it is only claimed that the priests and warriors of the city subsequently sent tribute, and Hezekiah large presents, including gems, slaves, and an ivory throne. Never again, apparently, did Sennacherib attempt the conquest of Jerusalem: he “went and returned and dwelt at Nineveh,” and was busy fighting in Babylonia and Elam till his murder about 681 B. C.

Manasseh succeeded his father Hezekiah in 699 B. C., and was also a tributary of Assyrian kings; of him it is recorded140 that he “built a wall outside the city of David, westwards to Gihon in the valley, and to the entrance of the Fish Gate, and surrounded Ophel and raised it very high.” This apparently refers to the line of the Ophel wall, which, in later times at least, ran south-west from the corner by the Horse Gate, for about 250 yards, to the Water Gate above the Kidron spring. The Fish Gate, as will appear later, was on the north side of the city.


Manasseh was not buried with his fathers, but in the palace garden near Siloam, where also, in the “field of burial,” the leper Uzziah had probably been buried, and perhaps Ahaz also. This cemetery is afterwards noticed as the “sepulchres of David,” but we may now inquire where the seven kings who were buried, “in” or “at” the city of David, with David himself and Solomon, were most probably entombed;69 for the site was clearly not the same,141 and was either within or close to the old city of David’s time. The seven later kings buried “with their fathers” were Rehoboam, Abijah, Jehoshaphat, Amaziah, Jotham, Hezekiah, and Josiah, and of these Hezekiah is said to have been laid in the “upper chamber” (m’aalah) of the tomb, which was still known in the time of Herod, and yet later in that of the apostles.142 Josephus gives a remarkable account of this tomb, which was opened by John Hyrcanus in 134 B. C., and “another room” by Herod yet later, in search of treasure. He says that the latter “did not come to the coffins of the kings themselves, for their bodies were buried underground so artfully that they did not appear even to those that entered into their monument.” The sepulchre was evidently one of the kind used by the Hebrews, and by the Phœnicians, with kokîm, or “tunnels”—one for each body—running in lengthwise from the sides of the chamber. But it had the peculiarity that some at least of these were under the floor, as in the earlier Phœnician examples—an arrangement which is not usual in Hebrew tombs; while the mention of an “upper chamber,” in which Hezekiah was buried, shows that a second tier, on the ground level, was excavated for later kings thought worthy to rest with David and Solomon who lay below. There is only one known ancient sepulchre at Jerusalem, in the city of David, to which this account applies—namely, the tomb in the west apse of the Church of the Holy70 Sepulchre,143 traditionally containing the graves of Joseph of Arimathæa and of Nicodemus. A wall has been built across it, but it appears to have had originally nine kokîm graves, of which six are on the ground level, while three (on the south) are under the floor, together with a pit144 probably used for the purpose of funereal deposits, such as Josephus says were taken out by Herod, including “vessels of gold and precious things.” The mouths of the kokîm were originally closed by slabs, and, if these were like others which I have myself removed, it would be possible to enter the chamber without knowing—till very closely examined—that there were any kokîm behind them, while those under the floor would be even less suspected. The remarkable correspondence between the statements above noticed—in the Bible and in the accounts by Josephus—seems to make it highly probable that we have here, still existing, the tombs of the more famous kings. Whether they were just inside or just outside the north wall of the city of David is perhaps uncertain, but that they were visible in a low scarp, facing east, even later than Herod’s time, seems to be clear. This tomb of David was distinct from the cemetery in the garden of the palace near Siloam, which has not as yet been found, but to which the term “field of burial belonging to the kings” seems to be first applied in speaking of Uzziah, “for they said, He is a leper.”145 The above suggestion has met with acceptance by several writers since I first made it thirty years ago, but it unfortunately leaves us without hope of recovering either the treasures which were abstracted by Hyrcanus and Herod, or the bodies of the kings, which, if they had not crumbled away, appear to have been71 removed by later desecrators of this very ancient sepulchre.


Passing on to the history of the capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, it may be noted that the empire of Assyria collapsed suddenly on the death of Assur-bani-pal in 626 B. C. He was a very remarkable ruler who imitated ’Ammurabi by concentrating in his own hands even the most minute details of government. We possess his political letters, which give us a high opinion of his justice and courtesy. On his death, Nabopolassar, governor of Babylon, became independent, and about 610 B. C. he took Nineveh in alliance with the Medes. He died apparently in 608 B. C., when his son Nebuchadnezzar became king of Babylonia in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, king of Judah. This new race of Babylonian monarchs was apparently native to the city, for Nabopolassar says in a recently discovered text: “I and the chief rulers of the great city have purified Babylon where we dwell—our land which the oppressor seized—to establish in its midst the throne of righteousness.”146 He refers to Nebuchadnezzar as his eldest son, the “delight of his heart,” “upholding the dominion faithfully and gloriously with my hosts.” The first attack on Palestine was made by Nebuchadnezzar as prince, after the defeat of Necho the Pharaoh at Carchemish. The latter had aided the attack on Nineveh, but the allies soon quarrelled. Josiah had been slain by Necho in 612 B. C., and Nebuchadnezzar was obliged to hurry back from Palestine on his father’s death four years later; but the respite was short, and Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians about 590 B. C.

We do not as yet possess any monumental account of Nebuchadnezzar’s campaigns in Palestine, though he has left rock texts in Lebanon and near Beirût. These record his piety in erecting temples, but one72 recently found attests his widespread conquests,147 for, speaking of contributions to a temple, he says: “I gathered revenues from all peoples of mankind, from the upper sea to the lower sea, from distant lands of widespread peoples of mankind, kings ruling the mountains and the sea coast.... Princes of the land of the Hittites, near the Euphrates on the west—for by command of Merodach my lord I had swallowed up their power—were made to bring strong beams from Mount Lebanon to my city Babylon.”


There are many passing allusions in the Book of Jeremiah to the Jerusalem of this age.148 When the city fell, in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the men of war fled towards Jericho by night, “by the way of the gate between two walls which is by the king’s garden.” This gate, as we shall see later, was at the recess above Siloam where the wall crossed the Tyropœon Valley at a re-entering angle. The whole city was then burned, and its treasures carried away, with its chiefs, priests, and all but the “poor of the land, vine-dressers and husbandmen.” Jerusalem had become a pagan city, full of ugly little statues of Ashtoreth, and of Baal shrines at each street corner; for “according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have ye set up altars to Bosheth, altars to burn incense to Baal.”149 The ancient human73 sacrifices, offered to Molech, continued to be celebrated in the Valley of Topheth as in Isaiah’s time. The city in extent was the same which Nehemiah found in ruins, and its ancient walls were then merely rebuilt, but a more detailed account of this topography will be conveniently deferred till the next chapter, in which the work of Nehemiah’s time is to be considered.



96 2 Sam. v. 6–9; see LXX. The Greek reads “and his house” for “and inwards.”

97 2 Sam. v. 7; 1 Kings viii. 1; 1 Chron. xi. 5; 2 Chron v. 2. Josephus, “Ant.,” VII. iii. 1; “Wars,” V. iv. 1.

98 Septuagint of 2 Sam. v. 9; 1 Kings xi. 27 (1 Chron. xi. 5–8 differs in the Greek).

99 Ps. xlviii. 2.

100 Zeph. i. 11.

101 Neh. iii. 8. See LXX., tou plateos.

102 Some references seem to make the city of David include the lower town—see 1 Kings viii. 1, ix. 24; 2 Chron. v. 2, viii. 11; 1 Macc. i. 33, ii. 31, vii. 32—but these are of late date. Stairs ascended from near Siloam to the city of David (Neh. iii. 15, xii. 37).

103 2 Sam. v. 11; 1 Kings viii. 1, ix. 24; 1 Chron. xv. 29; 2 Chron. v. 2, viii. 11.

104 Wellhausen’s views as to a double narrative have nothing convincing to support them.

105 2 Sam. iii. 36.

106 2 Sam. xv. 12, xxiii. 34; cf. xi. 3.

107 2 Sam. xv. 13–30, xvii. 17, xviii. 18.

108 1 Kings i. 5–53. The Hebrew eben means “a rock” as well as “a stone” (Gesenius, “Lex.”). Gen. xlix. 24; Job xxviii. 3.

109 The learned fancy which makes the Cherethites (“hewers”) and Pelethites (“swift ones”)—who are otherwise called Kāri (“stabbers”) and “runners”—to have been mercenary Philistines and Carians, has no solid foundation in any ancient statement. A “Gittite” was a dweller in Gath—like David himself—but not of necessity a Philistine.

110 1 Kings i. 33, 38, 45; 2 Chron. xxxiii. 14. The naḥal is noticed in the latter passage; and, in 2 Sam. xv. 23, the term applies to the Kidron, as also in 1 Kings ii. 37, xv. 13; 2 Kings xxiii. 6, 12; 2 Chron. xv. 16, xxix. 16, xxx. 14; Neh. ii. 15; Jer. xxxi. 40; and probably 2 Chron. xxxii. 4. Josephus (“Wars,” V. iv. 2) calls the Kidron spring “Solomon’s Pool.”

111 Ezek. xliii. 12; Micah iv. i. Josephus, “Ant.,” VIII. iii. 9, XI. iv. 1; “Wars,” V. v. 1, tô anôtatô khthamalon autou.

112 “Ant.,” XIV. iv. 2; “Wars” V. v. i.

113 Yoma, v. 2.

114 The Bîr el Arwâḥ, or “Well of Souls.”

115 See my account of the rock granary at Yâfa, near Nazareth (“Mem. West Pal. Survey,” i. pp. 353, 354). It is a cave with inner chambers, and two tiers of grain wells under the floor.

116 Bordeaux Pilgrim, 333 A. D., “Sunt ibi et statuæ duæ Hadriani, et non est longe a statuis lapis pertusus, ad quem veniunt Judæi singulis annis et unguent eum et lamentant se cum gemitu,” etc.

117 1 Kings vi. 1–35.

118 1 Kings vi. 36.

119 See Exod. xxvii. 9, 12.

120 2 Chron. iv. 9; see 2 Kings xxi. 5. The “Higher Gate” (2 Kings xv. 35) is perhaps the “High Gate of Benjamin” (Jer. xx. 2; see Ezek. ix. 2); the Gate Sur (“of departure”), 2 Kings xi. 6, may be Shallecheth (“casting out”), 1 Chron. xxvi. 16, on west; the “Foundation” or “Middle” Gate (2 Chron. xxiii. 5; Jer. xxxix. 3), the Gate of the “Muster” (Miphkad, Neh. iii. 31) or “Guard” (Neh. xii. 39; 2 Kings xi. 19, “of Runners”), and the “New Gate of the Higher Court” (Jer. xxvi. 10, xxxvi. 10) are doubtfully placed. The “King’s Gate” (1 Chron. ix. 18) was on the east.

121 1 Kings iii. 1, ix. 24 (see vii. 8); 2 Chron. viii. 11; Josephus, “Ant.,” VIII. v. 2 (see 1 Kings vii. 1–12); Isa. xxii. 8; “Middle Court,” 2 Kings xx. 4; the “throne,” 1 Kings x. 18; “Great Court,” 1 Kings vii. 9; “Horse Gate,” 2 Kings xi. 16; 2 Chron. xxiii. 15; Neh. iii. 25, 28; “High House,” Neh. iii. 25; “House of David,” Neh. xii. 37.

122 Stade’s plan, given by Dr. G. A. Smith (“Jerusalem,” vol. ii. p. 59), is purely conjectural, and the Temple is wrongly placed on the west slope of the hill.

123 2 Kings xxv. 4; Neh. iii. 15; Jer. xxxix. 4; see 2 Kings xxi. 18, 26; Zech. xiv. 10; Ezek. xliii. 8: see LXX., “in the midst,” for “in high places.”

124 1 Kings xi. 5, 7; 2 Kings xxiii. 10, 13; Isa. xxx. 33.

125 2 Kings xiv. 13; 2 Chron. xxv. 23.

126 2 Chron. xxvi. 15, 20.

127 2 Chron. xxvii. 3.

128 Isa. vii. 1.

129 Isa. vii. 3, viii. 6, xxii. 9, 11, xxxvi. 2.

130 Josephus, “Wars,” V. xii. 2.

131 2 Kings xvi. 10–16.

132 2 Kings xvi. 18.

133 Now Tell en Naṣbeh; see Isa. x. 32, xx. 1.

134 2 Kings xx. 20; 2 Chron. xxxii. 4, 5, 30.

135 The level of the bottom is 2,080 feet above sea-level, or 7 feet lower than that of the commencement of the tunnel.

136 See my report, “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., 1883, pp. 345–65. The inscription was copied by me on July 15, 1881.

137 See my article “Weights and Measures” in “Murray’s Bible Dictionary,” 1908, p. 944, for details.

138 Taylor cylinder; 2 Kings xviii. 17.

139 2 Kings, xviii. 14. The Assyrian reads: Sasu kima iṣṣuri kuuppi kirib ali Urusalimmu alu sarrutisu esir-su: khalsi ilisu urakisma, aṣie abulli ali-su utirra ikkibus, etc.

140 2 Chron. xxxiii. 14.

141 2 Chron. xvi. 14, xxvi. 23, xxviii. 27, xxxiii. 20; Neh. iii. 16. See for the suggested tomb of David my “Handbook to the Bible,” 1879 (3rd edit. 1882, p. 341). Rev. Selah Merrill has recently adopted this suggestion: “Anct. Jer.,” 1908, p. 258.

142 2 Chron. xxxii. 33; Tosiphta, Baba Bathra, ch. i.; Josephus, “Ant.,” VII. xv. 3, XIII. viii. 4, XVI. vii. 1. The kings elsewhere buried were Asa, Jehoram, Uzziah, Ahaziah, Joash, Ahaz, and Manasseh. See Acts ii. 29. The Mishnah (Baba Bathra, ii. 9) says that tombs should be 50 cubits outside the city, but the Tosiphta says that those of the family of David were inside it.

143 “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., 1883, pp. 319–31.

144 This pit is too short to have been a grave.

145 2 Chron. xxvi. 23. This tomb is again noticed in chap. x.

146 Hilprecht, “Nippur Memoir,” I. i. plate 32.

147 Hilprecht, “Nippur Memoir,” I. i. plate 34. This translation of these two texts is from the original.

148 2 Kings xxv. 2, 12; Jer. xxxii. 1.

149 Jer. xi. 13. It is very doubtful whether Bosheth means “shame.” Jeremiah refers to Topheth (vii. 32, xix. 6), to the tower Hananeel and the Corner Gate (xxxi. 38), to Gareb (“the plantation”) and Goath (ver. 39), to the valley of dead bodies and ashes, and the “enclosures” of Kidron, with the “corner of the Horse Gate” (ver. 40), to the “East Gate” or “Pottery Gate” (xix. 2), and to “the graves of the common people” (xxvi. 23), as well as the “Higher Court” and “New Gate” of the Temple (xxxvi. 10), and the “Gate of Benjamin” (xxxvii. 13) already noticed. See also Ezek. viii. 3; Joel iii. 2; Zech. xiv. 10. There was also a baker’s bazaar in Jerusalem (Jer. xxxvii. 21).


The seventy years of Babylonian oppression reckon from the accession of Nebuchadnezzar to the first year of Cyrus in 538 B. C., when the cruel policy of transplanting the population of the empire was abandoned, and the Jews were permitted to return to Jerusalem. We do not as yet know what the religious beliefs of Cyrus may have been. A Babylonian text represents him to have been a worshipper of Babylonian gods. The first known monumental notice of Ahuramazda, the Persian “All-wise Being,” occurs in the famous texts of Darius I. This deity was regarded by him as the maker of heaven and earth, and the Hebrews—speaking to Persian kings—made use of the title “god of heaven,” which would be understood by Persians as referring to the deity they themselves adored.150 The first Persian kings were famed for their justice and tolerance, and Darius I. not only permitted the building of the Jerusalem Temple, but equally permitted the restoration of the temple of the goddess Neith, which Cambyses had respected, but which had fallen into ruin. He sent an Egyptian priest from Persia to75 carry out this work, just as his descendant sent Ezra and Nehemiah to Jerusalem. It has also quite recently been discovered that Darius II. was memorialised, by Jewish priests in Egypt, to permit the restoration of a house of Jehovah at Elephantine, which was built before Cambyses conquered Egypt in 529 B. C. In this Aramaic petition the title “god of heaven” is used as meaning Jehovah, just as in the Bible, and the ancient spelling of the divine name as Iahu is preserved just as it occurs in the text of Sennacherib, and on early Hebrew signet-rings. The letter, moreover, mentions Delaya and Shelemya, the sons of Sanballat, “governor of Samaria,” side by side with the Persian officials Bagohi and Arshama, thus serving to show that Ezra and Nehemiah lived in the time of Artaxerxes I.151 We see from such records that the restoration of the Jews was part of the settled policy of the Persian kings in dealing with their foreign subjects.

Zerubbabel began the rebuilding of the Temple in 536 B. C. The old men “that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes wept with a loud voice, and many shouted for joy.” Haggai the prophet, who urged on this work, says, “Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory, and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison to it as nothing?”152 We may conclude that it was but an humble edifice, without any of the adornment with precious metals and carvings that had existed in Solomon’s Temple. But it stood on the old site, and probably followed the old dimensions. The building was suspended in the time of Cambyses, and resumed in 520 B. C., after76 the accession of Darius I., being completed four years later. Ezra arrived in 459 B. C.—the seventh year of Artaxerxes I.—and brought with him vessels and treasures granted by the king. But it appears that the city walls still remained in ruins, till Nehemiah was made governor of Jerusalem fifteen years later. On his departure, in 433 B. C., the enemies of the Jews renewed their activity.153 They had already obstructed the building of the Temple in the time of Xerxes, and had given much trouble to the patriotic Nehemiah. Rehum the “master of edicts” and Shimshai the scribe complain to Artaxerxes I. that the Jews have come to Jerusalem, “building the rebellious and bad city, and have set up the walls and joined the foundations.” They obtained a decree “that this city be not builded,” which remained in force for nine years. All work on the Temple was also suspended for the same period, or to the second year of Darius II., which was 423 B. C. This monarch was apparently a degenerate descendant of his great ancestors, and his reign was troubled by many intrigues, assassinations, and rebellions. But the Persians had by this time intermarried with the Babylonians and other Semitic races,154 and he appears to have been regarded as a friend by the Jews in Palestine and in Egypt alike. The great satraps of the western provinces were, however, almost independent rulers, and the letter of Yedonya—the Jewish priest in Egypt above noticed—was addressed to “my Lord Bagohi of Judah,” the Persian governor of Judea a generation later than Sanballat, the Babylonian “governor of Samaria.” Darius II. may have desired to control the power of such Persian satraps by his protection of Semitic77 subjects, and the power of the Semitic race in his age is witnessed by the coins of the satraps in Asia Minor inscribed in Aramaic.155


The book of Nehemiah contains the fullest account of Jerusalem topography to be found in the Bible, and casts light on the condition of the city in earlier times, since his work consisted in rebuilding the walls which appear to have stood in ruins, for nearly a century and a half, since their destruction by Nebuchadnezzar. On arrival, in 444 B. C., Nehemiah’s abode was established in the “seat of the governor on this side the river” (Euphrates),156 which seems to have been a house on the west side of the lower city. Thence he went out by night to view the walls157; and, leaving the city by the “Gate of the Gai,” somewhere near the present Jaffa Gate, he found the walls of the upper city broken down as far as the Dung Gate at the south-west corner, and the gates burned with fire. Thence he crossed over the hill eastwards,158 and reached the “Gate of the Spring” near the “King’s Pool.” There is no doubt that the latter is the Pool of Siloam, which—though only a tank—is called a “spring” by Josephus also, because it was fed by spring water through the aqueduct. The “Gate of the Spring” appears to have been at the point where the wall of the upper city formed a re-entering angle, crossing the Tyropœon Valley above the Siloam Pool. Here Nehemiah found masses of ruins, among which “the beast that was under” him could not find footing. He viewed the east wall by going up the naḥal or Kidron Valley, and then returned by the same way to the Gate of the Gai and to his house.



The whole account of the walls is twice repeated in describing their building and their consecration.159 For the right understanding of these passages it is necessary to keep in mind certain practical considerations. In the first place, the lines of streets in a city are usually preserved from age to age by the fact that the ground on each side of the way is private property which can only be acquired at great cost, or by seizure in cases when a foreign power attempts the rebuilding of a town. Thus the modern streets are the same which we find described in the twelfth century; the same shown on the old mosaic map of the fifth century; the same which existed in Hadrian’s city; and very probably the same as in the days of Nehemiah. The west road approached Jerusalem at the point where the narrow neck of high ground was on the same level with that of this road outside the town. A street went straight down the Tyropœon, from the west gate to the Temple. The north road divided just outside the town of Nehemiah’s time into two lines. One of these, towards the east, led down the valley west of the Temple, and descended by steps to Siloam. These steps seem even to be shown on the fifth-century map, and the old pavements on this line—40 feet underground—have already been noticed. A gate must have existed in the south wall on this line. The western branch of the north road formed a street running due south through the middle of the city; and, ascending the steep slope of the upper city on the present line, it led probably to the gate near the south-west angle above the Hinnom Valley. Another line of street led east from a gate near the north-west side of the northern quarter, and passed north of the Temple to a gate in the east wall of the city. These are still the main streets of Jerusalem, and they lead us to suppose that the city had79 at least six gates, not counting those on Ophel and on the east wall of the Temple enclosure.



In the second place, we must remember that the walls must have run on the highest available ground, in order to give advantage to the defenders over their enemies outside. This is invariably the arrangement of a fortified town in any age, and it is impossible to suppose that ancient engineers—any more than those of our own time—would build walls in valleys, leaving high ground immediately outside, where the towers and engines of the besiegers could be placed in positions commanding the town within. At Jerusalem the wall had to be carried across the head of a narrow valley on the north side, down which valley ran the street west of the Temple leading to Siloam. At Siloam also the wall had to be carried across a wider valley—the south part of the Tyropœon; but, unless it was desired to enclose that pool, it would here be kept as high as possible on the ground above the pool to the north. It is certain—at all events in the time of Josephus—that the Pool of Siloam was outside the wall; but, since it was flanked by scarps within easy bowshot, it would be sufficiently defended if the wall was built on these scarps. The same consideration makes it certain that the wall defending Jerusalem on the north-west and west must have stood on the higher ground which defends the lower city on two sides. It would therefore join the wall of the upper city near the north-west corner of the latter, and would run on the narrow saddle, or neck of high land, which separates the heads of the Tyropœon and Hinnom Valleys. No other position can be conceived, since if it began east of this saddle, it would have stretched through the Tyropœon, leaving the saddle outside with a command of at least 50 feet above the base of the wall. Farther to the north-west the wall must also have enclosed, or run over, the high80 knoll of rock which was shown later as the site of Calvary—a rock which is nearly as high as the level ground of the upper city, and which formed the natural defence of the lower city which lay in the Tyropœon Valley. The wall might have run farther to the west and north, where the rock is close to the present surface, but it could not run farther east or south without leaving high ground immediately outside the fortress; for the north slope of the broad Tyropœon hollow sinks very rapidly south of the knoll now shown as Calvary, while not far to the east of this knoll it also fell about 50 feet to the confluent valley coming from the present Damascus Gate.


The natural lines of defence, and the position of the streets and gates, have thus been considered without any reference to literary statements. As to the upper city there is a general consensus of opinion, and the scarps on which the ancient walls stood have been examined, both here and on the Ophel spur farther east. It is on the north that differences of opinion arise, according as the writer accepts the traditional site of Calvary, and endeavours to show that it might have been outside the city, or, on the other hand, disregards this hampering condition, and relies on the ascertained levels of the hills and valleys. The present writer feels no hesitation in concluding that rocks on which he has so often set his feet, whether on the surface or deep down in the great tanks of the Hospice of St. John, cannot be removed, nor valleys which—though much shallower than of old—are still traceable inside the city be exalted, on account of the mistake which Bishop Macarius made as to Calvary in the fourth century. If there were any indication that Christians preserved the traditional site in earlier times, due respect should be paid to such indication. But we do not even81 know for certain that there were any Christians at Jerusalem till the third century, or about 170 years after the great destruction by Titus, and none of the Christian Fathers before about 330 A. D. show any acquaintance with Jerusalem topography, or mention any tradition as to the situation of Calvary. Fortresses are built on hills, not under them, unless when a citadel is occupied, with outer walls on the slopes. Ancient walls do not run in deep ravines, leaving a commanding ridge just outside. It is on these principles that we may most safely rest in considering the walls of Jerusalem.

A fortress (birah) defending the temple is said to have existed even in the time of Solomon, and it is incidentally noticed by Nehemiah. It seems to be the same as the later Baris, which Herod renamed Antonia.160 To this fortress the tower of Hananeel and the tower of Meah (perhaps “the place of observation”) seem to have belonged.161 The former is noticed as marking the north-east corner of the city, which did not extend north of the Birah in Nehemiah’s time. The “Sheep Gate”162 thus seems to have been a gate, in the north wall of the Temple enclosure, by which no doubt the sacrifices were brought in. The description of the walls begins from this point, and runs west and south, returning to the same gate by the east and northwards. This description is easily understood, and agrees with what has been said above as to the natural sites for the fortifications. The first gate west of the Temple fortress was the “Fish Gate,” which we may place on the east branch of the north road; the fish were no doubt brought to Jerusalem by82 the old Beth-horon road from the seaside plain, and we learn that the fishermen were Tyrians.163 The “Old Gate,” or more correctly the “Gate of the Old” (quarter), may be placed at the point where the wall crossed the line of the west branch of the north road. This term seems to show that part at least of the north quarter belonged to the oldest city, whereas a “second” district—which the English version calls “the college”—is noticed with the Fish Gate.164 The next gate is called “the Gate of Ephraim,” and it may be placed on the north-west, at the end of the street that ran east to the north side of the Temple. This gate was some 400 cubits from the Corner Gate.165 The measurement brings us to about the requisite position if the corner was that near which the wall of the north quarter joined that of the upper city. Near the Gate of Ephraim, a little farther south perhaps, was the “Seat of the Governor.” We thus reach the “Wall of the Broad Place”166 and the “Tower of the Furnaces”—or perhaps of the “Cressets.” The “broad place” was no doubt a square on the flat ground near to where the rock isthmus, already often noticed, leads to the hill of the upper city.


We thus arrive at the west road, where was the “Gate of the Gai” at the head of the Hinnom Valley. Whether this was identical with the “Corner Gate,” or merely near it, depends on whether we should read (in 2 Chron. xxvi. 9) “the Corner Gate even the Valley Gate”; but Jeremiah describes the breadth of Jerusalem, east and west, by the expression, “from the Tower of Hananeel to the Gate of the Corner.” The description next follows the west wall of the83 upper city to the Dung Gate, which was 1,000 cubits from the Valley Gate, or more if the whole of the wall was not in ruins. To the present day the dung-hills outside the city are found in this direction. It is generally agreed that the wall extended south to the great rock scarp by the English school, which was explored by Mr. Henry Maudeslay in 1874, and which formed the south-west angle of ancient Jerusalem, where a square tower projected at the corner.167 From this angle the scarp runs south-east for about 350 feet, to where a broad entrance between two lower scarps cuts the line. There was probably a gate at this point, which may have been the Dung Gate, though it is more than 1,000 cubits from the west road, and thus from the Gate of the Valley. No other ancient gate is noticed on the south side of the upper city, nor was one required, as no road led across the deep Hinnom gorge. The wall ran east—perhaps on the line of the later Byzantine wall—and the next points mentioned are “the Gate of the Spring,” “the wall of the Pool of Siloah by the king’s garden,” and “the stairs that go down from the city of David,”168 which were at “the going up of the wall.” An artificial rock scarp runs northwards on the west side of the Pool of Siloam, about 20 feet above the level of the flat walk which existed on each side of the pool; and between this and the pool is a broad flight of rock-cut steps. These steps have been traced for 700 feet northwards, ascending the Tyropœon Valley in the direction of the south-west angle of the Ḥaram enclosure. They seem to be indicated also, near this latter point, on the old fifth-century mosaic map, and are noticed again in 570 A. D., as will appear later. We can hardly doubt84 that they represent the “stairs that go down from the city of David”—that is, from the quarter immediately west of the Temple. The “Gate of the Spring” is noticed before the “wall of Siloah,” which would stand on the scarp to the west of the pool, and it may best be placed at the angle where the south wall of the upper city now turned north, and where a path still exists. The term “going up of the wall” obliges us to suppose that it crossed the Tyropœon Valley north of the Siloam Pool, where the level was about 100 feet higher than at the corner; and here, passing the stairs, it ran east to a scarp visible above the surface, and about 120 feet higher than the ground round the pool. The wall passed the “King’s Garden” and the “sepulchres of David,” already noticed,169 and reached a tower called “the House of Heroes,” turning again north along the east side of the Ophel spur, at the “going up of the Armoury,” or otherwise of the “junction.” For the wall ran up-hill all the way to the Temple from this point. The line thus traced is the same that Josephus describes in later times, excluding, but yet defending, the Pool of Siloam. As regards the stairs, it is possible that we have another allusion to them where the “going down to Silla” (or “the stairway”) is connected with the “house of Millo,” probably a building in the lower city. We also read of a “causeway of going up” (more correctly an “ascent of steps”) in connection with the west gate of the Temple, but this may have been a distinct flight.170


On the Ophel spur the east wall, south of the Temple, had another “turning” close to the palace or “king’s high house,” and a projecting tower near the “Water Gate” which—as explained already—must have been above the Kidron spring.171 It ran north-east,85 on the line already noticed as fortified by Manasseh, to the “Horse Gate” which was at a corner. This part was called especially “the wall of the Ophel,” a term which does not signify a “tower” but a “mound,” such as ancient cities were built on, and a “place,” as Josephus calls it later, where were the houses of the Nethinim.172 The rest of the course, on the east side of the Temple, is briefly described from the “Gate of the Muster” (Miphkad), or “of the Guard” (the “Prison” Gate), to the “going up of the corner” at the north-east angle of Jerusalem, and thus to the “Sheep Gate” where the description begins.173

Jerusalem thus described was a city of about 200 acres—that is, of the same size as the modern town within the walls, but extending farther south and less far to the north. The account above given places each of the main gates on a main road still existing. The gate on the line of the stairs from the city of David is not named in the book of Nehemiah, but it is clearly the “gate between the two walls by the king’s garden,” which we have already seen to be the one by which Zedekiah fled down the Kidron Valley to Jericho. The “two walls” were the two flanks of the city wall, which defended the Pool of Siloah (lying outside the city) on the west and on the north-east.

Such was the Jerusalem not only of Nehemiah but of Nebuchadnezzar’s time, and with this description we close the account of the Hebrew city: for after the departure of Nehemiah, in 433 B. C., we have no further notice of Jerusalem during about two centuries and a half of Jewish history.


150 This term elah (or elohi) hash-shemim is distinctive of the age after the return from the captivity (Ezra v. 11, vi. 9, 10, vii. 12, 21, 23; Neh. i. 4, 5, ii. 4, 20; Dan. ii. 18, 19, 28, 37, 44); it never occurs in any of those passages in the Pentateuch which some critical writers assign to this later age.

151 Brugsch, “Hist. Egt.,” ii. pp. 294–96; Prof. H. Gunkel, Deutsche Rundschau, January 1908. Sanballaṭ (“Sinu has given life”), Delaya (“set free by Ya”), and Shelemya (“friend of Ya”), are Semitic and apparently Babylonian names.

152 Ezra iii. 12; Hag. ii. 3.

153 Ezra iv. 6, 8, 12, 21, 24.

154 Hilprecht, in his “Nippur Memoirs” (vol. ix. pp. 27, 28), gives instances of Persians with Babylonian wives as early as the reign of Artaxerxes I., together with many names of Hebrews who were residing in Babylonia.

155 Taylor, “Alphabet,” vol. i. p. 258.

156 Neh. iii. 7.

157 Neh. ii. 13–15.

158 The Hebrew ’abar does not of necessity mean “crossing” any valley. The word is constantly used in the Old Testament with the more general meaning to “go on,” as in the English of this passage.

159 Neh. iii. and xii.

160 1 Chron. xxix. 19; Neh. ii. 8. Mishnah, Zebakhim, xii. 3; Tamid, i. 1; Middoth, i. 9.

161 Neh. iii. 1, xii. 39; Jer. xxxi. 38; Zech. xiv. 10.

162 Neh. iii. 1–32.

163 Neh. iii. 3, xii. 39, xiii. 16.

164 Neh. iii. 6; 2 Kings xxii. 14; Zeph. i. 10.

165 Neh. xii. 39; 2 Chron. xxv. 23, xxvi. 9; Jer. xxxi. 38. Josephus describes the streets in this part as oblique to the wall (“Wars,” V. viii. 1).

166 Neh. iii. 8, xii. 38.

167 “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., pp. 393–7; Bliss, “Excavations at Jerusalem,” pp. 2–10.

168 Neh. iii. 16, xii. 37; see 2 Kings xii. 20; 1 Chron. xxvi. 16. Bliss, “Excavations at Jerusalem,” p. 151.

169 See back, p. 69.

170 Neh. iii. 15, xii. 37; 2 Kings xii. 20; 1 Chron xxvi. 16.

171 Neh. iii. 23–6, xii. 37. See p. 65.

172 2 Chron. xxvii. 3, xxxiii. 14; Neh. iii. 26, xi. 21.

173 Neh. iii. 31–2, xii. 39.



The influence of Greece, which afterwards became so important a feature of Hebrew history, began to be felt in Palestine after the rough he-goat of Macedon had smitten the ram with two horns—the Medes and Persians—“in the fury of his power,” and when the four “notable” horns had sprung up after Alexander died. Hitherto we have seen Israel under the power of Semitic Assyrians and Babylonians, and of Egyptians. The first Aryan race with which the Hebrews came in contact was that of the Persians, but Persian civilisation also was founded on that of Babylon, and for long ages the Greeks in the West had been the pupils of Hittites and Semitic Lydians, in Asia Minor, before they developed an art and culture of their own superior to that of Asia. It is true that the enthusiasm of classical scholars has led them to over-estimate the antiquity and importance of Hellenic influence,174 but the first appearance of Greeks near87 the shores of Syria is in the time of Sargon (about 710 B. C.), when the names of Greek and of Phœnician kings in Cyprus are noticed. It is of course possible that Cypriote pottery reached Palestine in this age, and it is known that wild Aryans attacked North Syria in the fourteenth century B. C., and even invaded Egypt about 1265 B. C. These fair-haired and blue-eyed peoples are represented on an Egyptian picture about 1200 B. C., but they were defeated on each occasion by the Pharaohs, and were driven back to Asia Minor. Thus they never formed an element of population in Palestine, nor is Greek influence discernible in the monumental remains before about 300 B. C. at earliest.

Alexander won the empire of Western Asia in three great battles, at Issos, at Arbela, and on the Indus; battles which are well worth study, on account of the tactical skill of his arrangements, which—at Issos especially—nullified the numerical superiority of the Persians. After he had entrapped them in the valley east of Tarsus, and after the fall of Tyre and the capture of Damascus, his march on Egypt met with resistance only at Gaza. The statesmanship of Aristotle’s pupil and the generous tolerance of his character rendered him acceptable to Semitic races which had long groaned under the tyranny of the later degenerate Persian monarchs. It is doubtful, perhaps, whether his visit to Jerusalem can be regarded as historical,175 though there is nothing very inconsistent with Alexander’s method in the accounts;88 but it is clear that the Hebrews submitted to him without any struggle, and that he favoured the Jews in Egypt, who had a quarter in his new city Alexandria.


Alexander died at Babylon in 324 or 323 B. C., and Laomedon became ruler of Syria and Phœnicia; but Palestine became part of the dominions of Ptolemy I. of Egypt, who took Jerusalem on the sabbath day—the year, however, not being stated.176 Seleucus, another of these generals, conquered Babylon in 312 B. C., and the “era of the Seleucidæ” dates from October 1 of that year. After the battle of Ipsos in 301 B. C., when the number of independent rulers in West Asia and Greece and Egypt was reduced to four, Seleucus built Antioch as the new trading capital of Syria. Ptolemy II.177 was a very cultivated ruler, who caused the Law of Moses to be translated into Greek at Alexandria, and sent splendid gifts to the Temple at Jerusalem. The city remained under the Egyptians during the wars between Seleucidæ and Ptolemies, till after the great victory of Antiochus III. (at Baniâs in 198 B. C.) over Scopas, the general of Ptolemy V.178 Antiochus marched into Gilead, and occupied Samaria. He brought elephants with him even to Jerusalem, where he besieged the citadel and expelled the Egyptian garrison, being apparently received with favour by the Jews. He presented costly gifts to the Temple, including salt (for the sacrifices), which was probably a royal monopoly, and caused the cloisters to be rebuilt, permitting the inhabitants to live according to their own law. He afterwards made a league with Ptolemy V., and Palestine was surrendered as the dower of Cleopatra—daughter of this Ptolemy—whom Antiochus married.17989 During this period the influence of Greek art begins to be notable in extant buildings in Palestine, and not much later a gymnasium was built even at Jerusalem, introducing ideas which were very repugnant to the Jews, but natural to the Greeks.180 Onias, the high-priest, was the son of Simon the Just, and held office under Ptolemy III. (247–22 B. C.), whom he angered in the matter of taxes. A Levite named Joseph successfully settled the dispute—which was no doubt due to religious scruples. After his death, apparently in 187 B. C., Hyrcanus, a son of this Levite, retired to Gilead—driven out by his elder brothers—and there established himself at Tyrus, making war on the Arabs. His fortress with rocky caves and stables, and his palace of huge masonry, still exist at the place called ’Araḳ el Emîr, or “the Prince’s Cavern”; and the ruins are of great importance as showing that Greek ideas and Greek architectural style dominated the work even of Hebrew priests before 175 B. C. For in that year Hyrcanus, fearing punishment by the new tyrant, Antiochus IV., committed suicide at his palace,181 which remained apparently unfinished, and is thus the earliest absolutely dated monument of Jewish art under Greek influence.182

Josephus mentions the lions that adorned this palace, in defiance of the law, which Hyrcanus broke as Solomon had done, and as even the rabbis of our second century did later, by the representation of living beasts. But the ruins furnish yet more remarkable evidence of Greek influence. The cliff has a gallery excavated more than half-way up its height, and various chambers run in from it, while below are the rock stables with their mangers, and the guard-house90 with its Aramaic text carved beside the door, proving that we are not dealing with a Greek site. These were planned by Lieut. Mantell, R.E., in 1881, when he also photographed the inscription, which I studied at the same time. It is in Aramaic characters, similar to those of other texts, and to those of the Jewish coins about half a century later. The comparison with these shows very clearly that the earlier copyists mistranslated the text, which reads ’Aûryah, from a root meaning “to be watchful.” It is thus either a direction to the “watch-house,” or an exhortation to the guard to be alert. The palace itself, on the flat ground above the stream, is surrounded on three sides by a broad court having boundary walls 10 feet high. The building itself measures 70 yards north and south, by 50 yards east and west, with a pillared entrance on the north. The unfinished capitals of huge pillars lie amid the ruins inside. On the east wall the top course at each angle is carved with lions, two facing north and two facing south respectively towards the corners. These also were unfinished. The total height of the building is 21 feet, and the lowest course is 8 feet high. The corner-stone is over 17 feet in length, and this fine masonry thus rivals that of Herod at Jerusalem and of the Romans at Ba’albek.


The reason for thus detailing the characteristics of this building is that it furnishes us with a dated example of Hebrew architecture in the Greek age, in a style which continued in fashion till the last days of ancient Jerusalem. We here find the gigantic ashlar finished with a sunk draft round each block, in imitation of the Greek masonry which characterises the Acropolis at Athens. Earlier explorers, who had a very imperfect acquaintance with Palestine architecture, have spoken of this finish as a “Phœnician bevel,” which is doubly incorrect, since there is no bevel, but a sunken border or draft, while there is91 no evidence that in Palestine—or in Phœnicia either—such masonry was in use before the Greek age. It never occurs in the older ruins as yet excavated in Judæa, though some writers have attributed to Hebrews and Phœnicians the masonry of later ages, including that of Herod and of the Romans, which they have failed to distinguish from inferior Byzantine imitations found in the walls of churches and monasteries, and even from the drafted masonry of the Franks in the twelfth century, which is distinguishable by the rude projecting bosses, the peculiar tooling of the smooth drafts, and the mason’s marks on stones used in interiors. That Solomon or Hiram ever used drafted masonry there is no evidence at all to prove.

Not only is this masonry Greek in style, but other details are equally classic, such as those of the Corinthian capitals at the north gate, the frieze with triglyphs, and the details of ornament with conventional honeysuckles and ovulæ of a cornice. We have just that combination of Greek and Asiatic ideals which we find in the Herodian architecture, and in the rock tombs of the Herodian age at Jerusalem, as will be noticed later. The palace of Hyrcanus is evidence of the rapid Hellenising of the Jews, which might have gone on without a check had not the intolerance of Antiochus IV. roused the patriotism of the Hasmonæans, and the puritanism of the Ḥasidim, or “pious,” whom they led in the great struggle for civil and religious liberty.

The Romans, who had defeated Antiochus III. at Magnesia in 190 B. C., forbade Antiochus IV. to make war on their protégé Ptolemy VII. in Egypt. Whether in wrath and disappointment he revenged himself on his Jewish subjects, or whether he regarded the consolidation of power as best effected by Hellenising them—as Russian Tsars have regarded the Russianising92 of Germans, Finns, and Jews in our own times—may be doubtful. But whatever the object with which Antiochus IV. deserted the tolerant policy of his predecessors, it is recorded that, on his return from Egypt in 170 B. C., he entered Jerusalem and plundered the city183; and two years later, on Cisleu 25, 168 B. C., he placed a Greek altar on that of Jehovah, and offered swine upon it, as also on other altars in every city and village of the country. Swine were offered to Aphrodite among Greeks in connection with the legend of Adonis, and to Osiris in Egypt.184 Their bones have been found—as sacrifices to Demeter—in the ruins of the temple at Cnidus; but the pig was an unclean animal to Semitic peoples, and we can hardly doubt that the desecration was wilful, especially as the Semitic custom of circumcision was then also forbidden.


At the same time Antiochus IV., having—according to Josephus—burned the principal buildings and thrown down the city walls, “built a citadel in the lower part of the city; for the place was high and overlooked the Temple, on which account he fortified it with high walls and towers, and put into it a garrison of Macedonians.” This was the famous Akra (or “citadel”) which played so important a part in the history of the struggle between Judas Maccabæus and his brothers on the one part, and the Greek kings of Syria on the other, and concerning which so many mistaken views survive from pre-scientific days.185 The statements in the First Book of Maccabees are not very definite, though it is clear that this Akra was in the city of David, and that it was “alongside” the “hill of the Temple.” The Greek translators of the Old93 Testament, as already noticed, identified this Akra with the Millo of Solomon’s time. Josephus is more definite, and his evidence should not be lightly set aside because it contradicts the theories of modern literary critics, who have no hesitation in saying that the Jewish historian is wrong when his words cannot be reconciled with their understanding of the topography. Some writers186 have placed the Akra south of the Temple, supposing the existence of an intervening valley (which, it may be said with certainty, never existed, since the levels of the rock forbid the supposition) and the existence of a summit on Ophel which was afterwards cleared away, and which would have had to be 150 feet high. They crowd all the nomenclature—city of David, Zion, Akra, Millo, Ophel, lower city, and the m’ṣudah or “hill-top”—into the narrow area of 15 acres (including also the supposed valley), leaving the city generally without any names for its quarters; and they reject the measurements and statements of the Bible and Josephus, except when these are misunderstood as confirming an unpractical theory. Others, on the contrary, would have us believe that the Akra destroyed by Simon the Hasmonæan was the same as the citadel Baris, which he or one of his family built soon after. They have been misled by Whiston’s translation “adjoined the Temple,” where the Greek really reads “lay over against the Temple.” If the Akra was levelled that it might not overlook the Holy House, it could not afterwards have been that rock which defended the Temple in later times, and which still rises with a high scarp above the inner courts. Both views are impracticable, and American scholars187 seem always to94 have understood the topography better than some scholars in England, perhaps because they are not unconsciously influenced by the desire to save the traditional site of Calvary, which was the original cause of these attempts to twist the literary evidence from its natural explanation. The first school are involved in the dilemma that the city of David was first lower than the Temple, then—about 800 years later—was higher, and then lower again; while the supposed peak, 150 feet high, is geologically a very improbable feature, and the supposed valley never existed. The second school would make the Hasmonæans first cut down a hill as being a danger to the Temple, and then—later—build on the same hill a fortress overlooking and defending the Temple. Disregarding these dilemmas, we may inquire into the actual statements of ancient writers concerning the position of the Akra or “citadel,” though these have again and again been explained, without any answer having been given to the argument by those who are otherwise convinced.


The word akra is Greek, and means “a citadel.” Josephus never applies the term to the fortress north of the Temple, which he calls the phrourion. In the First Book of Maccabees we read that the Greeks “built up the city of David with a great and strong wall and mighty towers, and it became a citadel (akra) for them.”188 In another passage189 we learn that this “city of David” was Jerusalem; and again190 that this citadel was “in Jerusalem.” Jonathan, the brother of Judas Maccabæus, “piled up a great mound between the Akra and the city, to separate it from the city”191; and, as already noted, the “hill of the temple” lay “alongside the Akra,” which was finally taken by Simon, the elder brother of Judas.192 The statements of Josephus are very clear on this subject. He says that this95 citadel was in the “lower part of the city,”193 yet was “high and overlooked the Temple.” It moreover “lay over against the Temple,” and commanded the approach to it. Jonathan, he says, “built another wall to exclude the market from the Akra,” and this wall was “in the midst of the city.”194 Simon took the “Akra of Jerusalem” and destroyed it, and the Jews then “levelled the mountain, and in that work spent both day and night without intermission, which cost them three whole years before it was removed, and brought quite to a level with the plain of the rest of the city. After which the Temple was the highest of all the buildings, now that the Akra, as well as the mountain on which it stood, was demolished.” Again he says that Simon “demolished the Akra,” and that the “hill which was called Akra and defended the lower city was gibbous” in shape; “and over against this was a third ridge, naturally lower than the Akra, and at first divided from the other by a flat valley. But in the times when the Hasmonæans ruled, they filled up the valley, deciding to join the Temple to the city; and, having levelled the mound of the Akra, they made it flatter, so that the Temple might be above the same.”195

There does not seem to be any difficulty in understanding these notices when taken together, nor do they contradict one another. The city lay over against the Temple “like a theatre,”196 the upper city being on the south, and the lower city in the broad Tyropœon to the north; the horseshoe head of the valley gave the theatre form, and the hill defending the lower city was that “gibbous” spur—resembling the moon in the third quarter—which bulges out eastwards96 near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. At its highest point—the rock of the traditional Calvary—it is 2,497 feet above sea-level, or more than 60 feet higher naturally than the rock site of the Temple. Originally the high ground stretched farther east, not far from the Temple, but separated from it by a flat valley 40 feet deep, which is the confluent of the Tyropœon, having its head near the present Damascus Gate on the north side of the city. By digging down this ridge, and filling the valley east of it, the surface in this part of Jerusalem became much what it now is; for the rock in the confluent valley—usually known as the Hasmonæan Valley—is now 40 feet under the street, and the visitor who follows the Via Dolorosa from the cathedral to Antonia (the Turkish barracks) is unaware of the original depth of this valley, though the street is not quite level throughout. East of this valley the present street rises towards Antonia, running over the fosse north of that citadel, which was filled in in 70 A. D., and over the Byzantine roof vaults of the Twin Pools, which were cut in that fosse. It is thus 40 feet higher than it was in the Hasmonæan age when the fosse was visible, and the road nearly level. There was plenty of room on the Akra spur for a citadel with towers, and the keep of the fortress was probably at the rock of the orthodox Calvary. The valley has been filled in at some period of history, and there is no reason to doubt that this was done by Simon the Hasmonæan. Josephus does not say that the rock was cut away, but merely that the “mound” on which the Akra stood was “worked down.”


Considering the site to be thus settled, we may briefly sum up the history of the fortress. It was built as the Macedonian citadel in 170 B. C., the rest of the city being more or less destroyed; and—after the persecution of 168 B. C. and the setting up of “the abomination that maketh desolate” on the altar—the97 Temple itself was deserted. The revolt of the Hasmonæans (commonly known as “Maccabees”197) began at Modin, a little village in the low hills, 6 miles east of Lydda and 17 miles from Jerusalem, overlooking the plains, with a view of the sea. Here Mattathias the Hasmonæan and his five sons were successively buried, and their monument perhaps still awaits excavation under the tell south of the village of Medyeh. Mattathias died in 166 B. C., and the heroic Judas about five years later. The energy and ability of the brothers brought about final independence, in spite of occasional checks and misfortunes. The relief of the Akra garrison was the objective of the various Greek generals, and the Macedonian resistance in this citadel continued for thirty years, until the weakness of the Seleucidæ, due to internecine disputes in Antioch, rendered Antiochus VII. willing to accept Simon, the surviving brother of Judas, as ethnarch of Palestine, under a suzerainty which soon became nominal.

The first great victory of Judas Maccabæus was won over the Greeks near Emmaus Nicopolis, not far from Modin, in 165 B. C.; he subsequently defeated Lysias at Bethzur, south of Jerusalem, in an attempt to reach the city by the southern pass. After this second victory Judas and his men went up to Mount Sion—that is, to Jerusalem—to cleanse the Temple198: “And when they saw the sanctuary desolate and the altar profaned, and the gates burned up, and shrubs growing in the courts as in a forest or in one of the mountains, and the chambers pulled down, they rent their clothes, and made great lamentation, and cast ashes on their heads.” The defiled stones were98 carried out to an unclean place, but those of the Altar of Jehovah were laid up in the “Mountain of the Temple,” “until there should come a prophet to show what should be done with them.” They appear to have remained in the north-east chamber of the great gate-house called Moḳed (on the north side of the priests’ court), until the final destruction of the city.199 The Temple was rebuilt, with a new altar of white stones, and was reconsecrated on Cisleu 25, 164 B. C. The Feast of Dedication has been commemorated ever since on that day. But hardly had this work been accomplished when Jerusalem was retaken by Lysias, and the Macedonian garrison relieved. The year 163 B. C. was a sabbatic year, and no resistance appears to have been made by the majority of the nation. Judas was defeated at Beth-zachariah, south of Jerusalem, and his brother Eleazar perished under one of the elephants of the enemy. The Hasmonæans shut themselves up in the Temple courts, but fortunately—at the moment of their greatest need—bad news from the north reached Lysias, and he hastily made peace, and conceded the main demand that the Jews should be at liberty to follow the law. The young king Antiochus V. appears to have been with the army, and when he entered Sion and saw the strength of the place, he commanded the destruction of the walls.200


Judas took occasion of the troubles that arose in Syria next year to expel the Hellenisers from the city. Alcimus (the high-priest recognised by this party) came back with a force sent by Demetrius Soter201 under the command of Bacchides, and the Ḥasidim admitted the Greeks because they were99 accompanied by “a priest of the seed of Aaron.”202 Bacchides removed his camp to a place called Bezeth, which has been supposed to be the later Bezetha north of the Temple, not yet within the city. His successor, Nicanor, was attacked by Judas at Caphar-salama—perhaps the modern Selmeh near Jaffa—and forced to flee back to the “city of David”—that is, to Jerusalem. The priests came out of the temple to “Mount Sion,” but were wrathfully received by the defeated general, and in the cold winter month of Adar he went forth to meet the advance of Judas, and was slain at Adasa, north of the city. The new usurper, Demetrius Soter, had fled from Rome to Antioch, and to the Romans Judas turned for help, little foreseeing the future results of this policy, to which his successors also adhered. But Roman armies were still far away, and in the year 161 B. C. Demetrius sent Bacchides once more by the north road through Samaria, and Judas was outflanked and slain at Beth-zetho—apparently the present Bîr ez Zeit, commanding a pass four miles north-west of Bethel.203 The Akra garrison was thus once more relieved.204

After this disaster the Hasmonæan party under Jonathan were hunted to the Jordan marshes, and the Greeks maintained order for two years, and then made peace with Jonathan, who took up his residence at Michmash. In the year 152 B. C. another revolution in Syria placed Alexander Balas on the throne of Antioch.205 The new ursurper made Jonathan high-priest, and the only garrisons maintained by the100 Greeks were those of Bethzur, and of the Akra in Jerusalem. Yet another revolution occurred in 147 B. C., when Demetrius Nicator became king of Syria.206 Jonathan then struck for freedom once more, capturing Joppa and Ascalon, and returning to Jerusalem, where he besieged the Akra. Demetrius granted to him an extension of Judæa at the expense of Samaria, and the next usurper, Trypho, confirmed his position as ruler. In 144 B. C. Jonathan and Simon built the wall, or mound, in the midst of Jerusalem, to separate the Akra from the market-place. They also repaired the city walls, especially at a place called Caphenatha, on the east near the brook Kidron. The word “Caphenatha” is Aramaic for a “heap,” and is thus probably equivalent to the Hebrew ’Ophel, or “mound.” As regards the wall or mound in the middle of the city, it should be observed that the only market-place in Jerusalem mentioned by Josephus is that in the upper city. It is possible, therefore, that the wall to which he refers was that which defended the upper city on the north side, running through the middle of the town to the Temple. But in the history which he follows it was called a “mound,” and not a wall. It may therefore have been raised as a covered way on the narrow neck of land near the Jaffa Gate. This would serve to protect those who came in to the upper market from any attack by the Akra garrison. No wall on the Ophel spur nor any north of the Temple could be described, in this age, as being in the “midst of the city,” and this allusion serves therefore to confirm the supposition that the Akra lay north of the upper city.207



The aim of Jonathan, who combined the offices of high-priest and civil governor, was to restore Hebrew freedom not only in Judæa, but throughout Palestine, and even to restore the empire of Solomon, to the Eleutherus River or “entering in to Hamath.” But the usurping general Trypho enticed him into the city of Accho, and led him prisoner to Gilead, where he was put to death, in 143 B. C. Thus Simon alone survived of the five famous brethren. He fortified Jerusalem, against which Trypho intended to advance, but the city was saved by a heavy fall of snow, which blocked the roads.208 The year 142 B. C. was called—in the commercial contracts of Israel—the “first year of Simon the high-priest, general and governor of the Jews.”209 A bronze tablet recording his treaty with Rome was set up, two years later, on Mount Sion, in which he was called “high-priest to the army of God [Ṣaramel],” the great congregation of the priests, the people, and the chiefs ratifying his action.210 This term, taken from the Aramaic original of the First Book of Maccabees, is left untranslated in our Greek version. Antiochus VII., in 139 B. C., bestowed on Simon the right to strike a silver coinage,211 and these coins appear to have borne the name “Simon” on one side, and the legend “Deliverance of Jerusalem” on the other, in letters of the old alphabet of Israel, the forms of which were but slightly modified from those of the Siloam text, though manifestly later.212 Simon was thus the most successful of the Hasmonæan brothers, and his greatest triumph was the final conquest of the Akra102 citadel. The garrison was at length withdrawn from the “city of David in Jerusalem,”213 and the fortress was at first occupied by Jews, and—as we have already seen—finally demolished, about 140 B. C.

When Simon was murdered near Jericho in 135 B. C., his son John Hyrcanus succeeded him, and manifested the same courage and ability which distinguished his father. He was unfortunate, however, at first, for Antiochus VII. attacked Jerusalem in 134 B. C. Josephus relates that the Greeks established seven camps round the city, and raised an hundred siege-towers (probably an exaggeration) “about the north part of the wall, where it happened that it was upon a level with the outer ground.”214 This agrees with the supposition that the wall ran on the spur north of the Tyropœon. It was the time of the Feast of Tabernacles—in autumn—and the granting of a truce for seven days, that the festival might be held, produced so favourable an impression on the Jews that peace was soon made on fair terms. It was on this occasion that Hyrcanus opened David’s sepulchre, whence—as rumour said—he took 3,000 talents. Some ten years later he became more powerful, and destroyed the Samaritan temple on Gerizim. He died in 106 B. C., and the decadence of the race began in the next generation.


Aristobulus, his eldest son, ruled for one year only. His coins are still inscribed in Hebrew, but on those of his brother, Alexander Jannæus, the Greek language for the first time appears on Jewish money. The more peaceful relations with the later Seleucidæ apparently led to a revival of Greek influence, and the grandchildren of Simon followed Greek fashions, Aristobulus being the first of these rulers to set a diadem on his head,215 though he retained the old103 title “High-priest and Uniter of the Jews,” as is known from his bronze coins. Alexander Jannæus went further and called himself in Hebrew “Jehonathan the King,” while the reverse of the coin bears in Greek the words “of Alexander the King.”216 His reign (105 to 78 B. C.) was one of very chequered fortune, and he appears to have been a very ordinary tyrant. The events immediately connected with Jerusalem include the building of a wooden partition wall round the Temple and Altar; the riot in which—at the Feast of Tabernacles—he was pelted with the lemons which were already carried as sacred emblems by the worshippers; and the crucifixion of eight hundred Jewish rebels at Jerusalem, which shows us that he adopted a punishment then in use among Greeks and Romans, as it had been yet earlier among Carthaginians.217

In a later passage218 Josephus speaks of the defenders of the Temple, in 70 A. D., as fighting the Romans “from the tower Antonia, and from the north cloister of the Temple, and ... before the monument of King Alexander”—an allusion which raises a very interesting question as to existing antiquities: for the attack on the Temple walls thus met was evidently that of the tenth legion from Olivet, and the tomb or monument in question may have been that now called the “Tomb of Absalom,” belonging to a group of four conspicuous Greco-Jewish tombs on the east bank of the Kidron, opposite the south part of the eastern wall of the Ḥaram. The style of the palace of Hyrcanus in Gilead shows us that these tombs might well be as old as 78 B. C. They resemble the rock sepulchres of Petra, though the latter may be somewhat104 later. “Absalom’s Tomb”219 is a chamber with two loculi, or rock coffins, one in each side. The block of rock has been cut out from the cliff, and is 20 feet square. It is adorned with Ionic pillars, and a Greek frieze, over which is a bold corbelled cornice, and above the cornice a square masonry base, and a drum supporting a peculiar dome which has a finial 55 feet above the ground. The dome is a feature of Herodian architecture half a century later, and may well have been known in Palestine in the time of Alexander Jannæus, for domes are represented on Assyrian bas-reliefs even in the seventh century B. C.

South of this monument is the tomb of the Bene Hezir priests,220 which has kokîm graves in the Hebrew style, but a porch supported by two Doric pillars cut out of the rock. The inscription above them, recording the names of these priests, is in characters which are practically square Hebrew, but such characters are found in Aramaic papyri even as early as 200 B. C. It is evident that a monument to Jewish priests, of such importance, must have been made in the prosperous times either of the Hasmonæans or of the Herodians, and could not have been hewn after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A. D. The characters are not like those of the coinage of Alexander Jannæus, though the lettering on these is much less antique than that of Simon’s coinage. But in this age there were many variations of the old Aramean alphabet in use, and (according to the Talmud) the square characters were used for sacred writings in the Hebrew tongue, side by side with the older script, which was used for Aramaic texts and civil documents.221 It thus seems possible that the characters on a priests’ tomb might differ from those of the contemporary civil coinage. It may, on the other hand, be thought that this tomb is somewhat later than 78 B. C.


Tomb of Beni Ḥezir.



The third monument of this group is yet farther south, and is now called the “Tomb of Zechariah.” It is entirely rock cut, and similar to “Absalom’s Tomb” except in having a pyramidal roof. It has also the same bold corbelled cornice. The fourth tomb is north of the village of Silwân, and is rarely noticed in early accounts. It was called by de Vogüé the “Egyptian Tomb,” because it has a corbelled cornice—like the others—which he regarded as Egyptian. This kind of cornice is not only found with Greek pillars in the other instances, but it also occurs in the Ḥaram at Hebron, in connection with Herodian masonry. The tomb has no other adornment outside; on the inside it has a ridge ceiling.222 There is no reason to suppose that it is any older than the other three. To the left of the door there are two marks cut in the rock. M. Clermont-Ganneau regards them as letters, and thinks that the height of the door was increased, cutting off the rest of the text. The marks are much weathered, and it is doubtful if they are letters at all. Nor could I find (after careful examination) any sign of the door having been altered. They are certainly not Egyptian signs, and if accepted would still prove nothing towards the improbable theory of Egyptian origin.

A brief account of the Roman conquest of the holy city will close this narrative of the Greek age in Jerusalem. The power of Rome was constantly increasing in the north, as she successively defeated Mithridates of Pontus and Tigranes of Armenia; and Pompey in 65 B. C. deposed Antiochus Asiaticus, last of the Seleucidæ, and set up Antiochus of Commagene106 in north-eastern Syria—a ruler half Greek, half Persian, whose remarkable tomb, with its valuable Greek texts, has been found on the Taurus north of Samosata.


Judea had been wisely ruled for nearly ten years by Salome Alexandra, the widow of Alexander Jannæus, supported by the Pharisees, who are first noticed as a Jewish sect in the time of Jonathan, but who now became the leaders of the nation, adding many traditions—which often seem to be of Persian rather than of Hebrew origin—to the law of Moses. The quarrels of the degenerate sons of Alexander Jannæus, after the death of their mother in 69 B. C., gave a pretext to Pompey for interference in Jewish affairs. They at first agreed that Aristobulus the elder should be high-priest, and Hyrcanus the younger king. But the latter called to his aid the powerful Arab king Aretas (or Ḥârith) from Petra, and Aristobulus offered Pompey a bribe of 400 talents for his support. So Scaurus was sent by the great conqueror of Armenia to settle the affairs of the Jews.223

Hyrcanus had been persuaded by Antipater the Idumæan, whom his father had made commander in Edom,224 to flee to Petra, and he thence returned with his Arab allies to besiege his brother in Jerusalem. Scaurus commanded them to depart, and leaving Aristobulus in the city, he returned to Damascus. Pompey, having subdued Tigranes, soon followed and marched to Jericho.225 Aristobulus was ready to submit to Pompey’s demand that he should surrender his strongholds, but the Jerusalem Jews refused to admit the Roman envoy Gabinius within the walls of Jerusalem. The city at this time is described as having strong walls, and was only weak on the north,107 where there was no deep outer valley. The patriotic party and the unhappy Aristobulus held the Temple, defended on the north by the citadel afterwards called Antonia, which had a deep ditch dug beneath great towers, and was also protected by a natural valley. The ditch still exists, and will be noticed again. The valley is to the east, and is an affluent of the Kidron, the existence of which was unknown before the excavations of Sir Charles Warren on the north and north-east sides of the Ḥaram enclosure. The defenders also broke down the bridge leading from the upper city to the Temple hill, and—though the natural slopes of the ridge of Moriah were still visible on the west side—it is possible that there was already a wall between the city and the Temple. The voussoirs of this bridge lie jammed in the rock-cut aqueduct, 20 feet below the later Herodian pavement.

Pompey attacked on the north, and, having broken in, besieged the Antonia citadel, partly filling in the fosse. Banks were raised, and battering-rams and catapults from Tyre battered the wall. On the fatal day of the fast or 27th of the 3rd month of the year 63 B. C. the Temple fell. But Pompey—unlike the rapacious Crassus, who plundered its riches in 55 B. C., when on his way to meet his fate in Parthia—refrained from pillaging it, though he entered the Holy of Holies, and saw in the holy place, the golden table, golden altar, and seven-branched lamp, with many other treasures. Jerusalem was made tributary to Rome; Hyrcanus was set up in the stead of Aristobulus as high-priest; and five local councils were established in Palestine under Gabinius, one of these being in the Holy City.


174 The Keft people, represented in an Egyptian tomb, were Phœnicians, according to the bilingual “Decree of Canopus,” and not Cretans. Their art is identical with that of Phœnicians, clearly of Semitic race in another painting. They were connected with islanders who were probably the inhabitants of Cyprus. The Pûrstau of a picture of the time of Rameses III. (about 1200 B. C.) have no connection with the Philistines, who came from Cappadocia, according to the LXX. The frescoes and tablets of the palace of Knossos in Crete are probably not older than about 500 (not 1500) B. C., and the “geometrical” pottery appears to be Phœnician. The evidence of the Amarna tablets, and of the Bible alike, shows that the Philistines were a Semitic race akin to the Babylonians. It is to be preferred to the fancies of Tacitus, who thought that the Jews must have come from Crete (“Hist.,” v. ii.), because the words Idæi (people of Mount Ida) and Ioudaioi (Jews) were similar. The Ionians are not noticed in any of the Amarna tablets.

175 See Josephus (“Ant.,” XI. viii. 5). The high-priest’s name in 332 B. C. was Jaddua (Neh. xii. 22; “Ant.,” XI. vii. 2). The later rabbis incorrectly suppose him to have been Simon the Just (Tal. Bab., Yoma, 69, a; Megillah Taanith, ch. ix.).

176 Josephus, “Ant.,” XII. i. 1. Ptolemy I. reigned from 323 to 285 B. C.

177 “Ant.,” XII. ii. 1–15. Ptolemy II., 285–47 B. C.

178 “Ant.,” XII. iii. 3, 4.

179 Ibid., XII. iv. 1.

180 1 Macc. i. 14.

181 “Ant.,” XII. iv. 6, 11. Seleucus IV., 187–75 B. C.

182 For full details and photographic views, with one of the Aramaic inscription, see my report in “Mem. East Pal. Survey,” 1889, pp. 65–87.

183 “Ant.,” XII. v. 3, 4.

184 Herodotus, ii. 47, 48.

185 See “Ant.,” XII. v. 4, ix. 3, xi. 1, 2, XIII. v. 11, vi. 7, XV. xi. 4; “Wars,” I. ii. 2, iii. 2; 1 Macc. i. 33, x. 9, xi. 41, 51, xii. 36, xiii. 52, xiv. 36, 37.

186 For instance, Dr. G. A. Smith, “Jerusalem,” 1908, i. p. 155, ii. p. 448, though he only follows earlier writers, with no more than an occasional passing allusion to the facts due to exploration.

187 Rev. Selah Merrill follows his distinguished countryman Dr. E. Robinson; see “Later Bib. Researches,” 1852, p. 216.

188 i. 33.

189 ii. 31.

190 vi. 26.

191 xii. 36.

192 xiii. 49.

193 See the passages already cited, p. 92.

194 “Ant.,” XIII. v. 11.

195 Ibid., XIII. vi. 7; “Wars,” I. ii. 2, V. iv. 1.

196 “Ant.,” XV. xi. 5.

197 The name Makkabi (“hammerer”), applied to the third brother Judas. His ancestor Ḥasmon (“Ant.,” XII. vi. 1) was of the priestly family of Johoiarib, the first of the twenty-four courses (1 Chron. xxiv. 7).

198 1 Macc. iv. 38.

199 Mishnah, Middoth, i. 6.

200 1 Macc. vi. 48, 49, 53, 62.

201 1 Macc. vii. 1–47.

202 Alcimus, however, is said (1 Macc. ix. 54) to have pulled down the inner wall of the sanctuary, and the “works of the prophets”—probably the walls of the courts erected by Zerubbabel in the days of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah.

203 1 Macc. ix. 15; “Ant.,” XII. x. 2, xi. 1.

204 1 Macc. ix. 52.

205 1 Macc. ix. 64, x. 1, 21; “Ant.,” XIII. i. 4–6, ii. 1.

206 1 Macc. x. 67; “Ant.,” XIII. iv. 9.

207 “Ant.,” XIII. v. 11.; 1 Macc. xii. 36–7. The Akra garrison had given hostages in 152 B. C. (1 Mace. x. 9), and made peace in 147 B. C. (xi. 51.)

208 1 Macc. xiii. 24; “Ant.,” XIII. vi. 4, 5, 6.

209 1 Macc. xiii. 42. Simon’s son, John Hyrcanus, is called “High-priest and Uniter [ḥabbar] of the Jews” on his coins.

210 1 Macc. xiv. 28.

211 1 Macc. xv. 6.

212 A copper coin reads “Simon, Prince of Israel,” with “First year of redemption of Israel.”

213 1 Macc. xiv. 36, 37.

214 “Ant.,” XIII. viii. 2–4.

215 Ibid., XIII. xi. 1.

216 See De Saulcy, “Numismatique Judaïque,” 1854, pp. 64–74; Madden, “Jewish Coinage,” 1864, pp. 61–70.

217 Josephus, “Ant.,” XIII. xiii. 5, xiv. 2. In Mishnah, Sukkah, iv. 9, the same story is told of a priest who was pelted to death.

218 “Wars,” V. vii 3.

219 “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., pp. 413–16.

220 See 1 Chron. xxiv. 15.

221 Tal. Bab., Sanhed., 21 b, 22 a.

222 Sir C. Wilson, “Ord. Survey Notes,” 1865, p. 64, plate xxiv. fig. 4.

223 Josephus, “Ant.,” XIII. v. 9, xvi. 1.

224 Ibid., XIV. i. 3, ii. 1, 2.

225 Ibid., XIV. iv. 1–2.


The headless corpse of Pompey was tossing in the waves, off the coast of Egypt, fifteen years after his bloody conquest of Jerusalem, “and there was none to bury him because he had scorned Him with dishonour: he remembered not that he was man, and considered not what was to come. He said, I will be lord of land and sea, and he knew not that God is great, mighty in His great power.”226 It is thus that a Jewish psalmist of Herod’s time draws the moral of vengeance on the desecrator of the Holy of Holies.

Antipater, the friend of Hyrcanus, helped Julius Cæsar in his advance on Egypt in the same year, 48 B. C., and was left in charge of Jewish affairs.227 His son Herod, who dared the Sanhedrin, and who distinguished himself by subduing brigands near Tiberias, was set to govern Galilee. The growing power of this Idumæan family was hateful to the Hasmonæan party, and when Cæsar was murdered in 44 B. C., Antipater was poisoned by the butler of Hyrcanus.228 But they had still to reckon with Herod, who revenged his father’s death on Malichus, the Jewish general who had incited the deed. The Idumæans—both father and son—were singularly astute in taking the right side during all the troubles that preceded and followed Cæsar’s death. Herod knew how greedy109 of money the Romans were, and he bribed in turn Cassius and Antony, yet succeeded later in holding power under Augustus. For peace, and strong government in Palestine, were needful to the Roman policy which made the Mediterranean an Italian lake, and the time was not yet ripe for direct rule.


The republicans sent Cassius to Syria and Labienus to Parthia before they met with disaster at Philippi in 42 B. C. The former became the patron of Antigonus—nephew of Hyrcanus—who thus took the losing side, while Herod found a friend in Mark Antony. Two years later Labienus stirred up the Parthians to attack the new triumvir, and they marched on Palestine under Pacorus, the son of the Parthian king Orodes I. Herod had expelled Antigonus from Judea, but the latter joined the invaders and the Idumæan cause seemed hopeless. Herod sent his family for safety to the great fortress of Masada on the shores of the Dead Sea, and escaped to Egypt and to Rome, seeking aid from Antony. The Parthians gave over Hyrcanus to Antigonus as a prisoner, and the nephew cut off his uncle’s ears, to prevent his ever again officiating as high-priest, for, when so mutilated, he could not fulfil priestly offices without breaking the law. Thus for three years Antigonus reigned in Jerusalem.229

Herod in Rome was recognised as king in 40 B. C. by Antony and Augustus; and Ventidius was sent to drive back the Parthians. These were the events which led, three years later, to the siege of Jerusalem by Sosius and Herod, when the hated Idumæan, who was “only a private man” and only “half a Jew,” was re-established by Roman power.230 It would seem clear that Josephus dates the thirty-seven years of Herod’s reign from the time of his capture of the city in the summer of 37 B. C., his death thus occurring in 1 A. D. For he says that the battle of Actium—which was110 fought on September 2, 31 B. C.—took place in Herod’s seventh year,231 and that he reigned thirty-four years after Antony had put Antigonus to death at Antioch.232 The siege began in a sabbatic year233—consequently in 37 B. C.—and from this year the reign of Herod should be reckoned. Whiston has been followed by most modern writers in dating the reign from 40 B. C.; yet, not only does this conflict with the date of the battle of Actium, but it also supposes that Antony was in Syria, and about to celebrate his triumph in Egypt, in 37 B. C., whereas he was then engaged in naval war off the Italian coast; and, on the other hand, he was in Syria in 34 B. C., and held a triumph at Alexandria immediately after. The point is of great importance because it affects the date of the Nativity, of which recent writers have treated without any regard to the Gospel statement that Jesus was about to enter His thirtieth year in the fifteenth year of Tiberius, or 29 A. D.234 Matthew and Luke both make the Nativity precede the death of Herod; and on the “fifteenth of Tiberius” the Christian era was based by the Roman abbot, Dionysius Exiguus, in 532 A. D. He seems to have considered the evidence more carefully than Whiston did. An eclipse of the moon happened during the last illness of Herod, which Whiston identified with a small partial eclipse of March 13, 4 B. C. More probably it was the total eclipse of January 9, 1 B. C., that occurred before Herod’s distemper became serious.235

The great army of Sosius and Herod attacked Jerusalem in 37 B. C., and as usual from the north. Three banks were erected, and engines were used by the besiegers and also by the besieged, who fought111 bravely in spite of famine and of the sabbatic year, mines and countermines being driven to meet. The north wall fell after forty days, and the wall of the upper city fifteen days later; but the Temple still held out till some of the cloisters were set on fire, and the lower city and outer courts of the sanctuary taken. Antigonus then came down from the citadel (Antonia), and the siege ended on the same day on which Pompey had stormed the Temple twenty-six years earlier—that is, on Sivan 27, which would be early in June.


Herod’s reign was stained by many cruel crimes, but it cannot be denied that he was a strong and successful ruler, during whose time Jerusalem enjoyed prosperity and peace, and was adorned by many new buildings of great magnificence. His principal works included the new Temple, and the royal palace in the upper city, defended by the three “royal towers,” Hippicus, Phasaelus, and Mariamne. Antonia also was rebuilt, and a theatre was erected in the city. In describing these buildings we are able to check the accounts given in the works of Josephus and in the Mishnah by actually existing remains, visible on the surface or unearthed by explorers. The account of Herod’s Temple in the Mishnah is so fully detailed as to allow of a plan being made. The statements were written down at Tiberias in our second century, and in this form are later than the “Wars of the Jews” composed about 75 A. D., and than the “Antiquities of the Jews,” written about 93 A. D., both at Rome; but the Mishnah quotes the words of rabbis who were youths when the Temple was destroyed in 70 A. D.236


As regards Josephus, it is best to found a critical estimate of his writings on actual facts. Not only have I compared his statements about Jerusalem with extant remains of the city, but I have measured and planned other cities and buildings which he describes—at Samaria and Cæsarea, at the fortress of Masada, and the round castle of Herodium, and at Jotapata, which he defended. I have carefully studied his Galilean topography, and his accounts of the palace of Tyrus in Gilead, and of the spring of Callirrhoe, both of which I visited in 1881. The impression made by such studies is that the Jewish historian was honest and well informed; that he had seen the places which he describes, and gives a generally reliable account. Our present text is often corrupt in numerals referring to dates and measurements, and Josephus (writing from memory in Rome, many years after the events described) is not always accurate in his estimate of dimensions, heights, and distances. The accounts of the Temple, by rabbis at Jamnia who were able to visit the ruins left by Titus, are to be preferred as more exact, but they do not conflict with the general account given by Josephus, and he could have had no object in misrepresenting the facts, though—like other historians—he sometimes exaggerates the size of buildings, the numbers of enemies, and the value of treasures. These are small and natural blemishes in narratives which must always remain our chief source for this history. That he wilfully misrepresented facts to please the Romans, or to excuse his own nation, there is no reason at all to suppose. His knowledge of Jerusalem topography was personal and contemporary, and he is more likely to have known the facts than any scholar writing in the west of Europe or in America to-day.


We may consider, therefore, by the light of exact113 surveys of the city and exact plans of its remains, and under the guidance of the rabbis and of Josephus, first the city in general, then the Temple and the fortress of Antonia, and finally the palaces and other buildings, and the alterations made in the water-supply in Herod’s time. Our task has already been lightened by detailed consideration of the earlier topography.

“The city stood on two opposite ridges, divided from each other by a central valley where the respective houses ended: of these ridges that which had the upper city on it was much the highest and widest. So it was called the citadel by King David, ... but we call it the Upper Market-place. But the other, called Akra, and defending the lower city, was gibbous; and opposite this was a third ridge, naturally lower than the Akra, and at first divided from it by a flat valley.... But the valley called Turopoiôn was that we have mentioned, separating the upper city and the lower ridge; it reached to Siloam.... Outside, the two ridges of the city were girt with deep valleys, and—on account of the precipices on both sides—access was impossible.”237

It is difficult to see how this description can be understood in any other way than that described in the preceding chapter. The upper city was David’s citadel, and that to the north was the citadel of the Macedonian garrison. The account goes on238 to tell us that: “The old wall was hard to be taken, both on account of the valleys, and of the hill above them on which it was built. But besides the great advantage of situation, it was also very strongly built, because David and Solomon and the succeeding kings were very zealous about this work. Now this wall began at the tower called Hippikos, and reached as far as a place called Xustos, and adjoining the Council-house ended at the west cloister of the Temple. But if we114 go the other way, on the west side, it extended through a place called Bethso to the Gate of the Essenes, and then on the south side, it bent above the fountain of Siloam, and there again bent, facing east over the Pool of Solomon, and reached as far as a certain place which they called Ophla, where it was joined to the east cloister of the Temple. But the second [wall] had its beginning from a gate which they called Gennath, being of the first wall, and encircling the north quarter only, it went on as far as Antonia.”


Very few words are necessary to explain this account, which agrees with that of the city walls as rebuilt by Nehemiah. Hippicus was the most western of the three “royal towers,” and stood at the north-west angle of the upper city. It defended the narrow neck which separated the broad Tyropœon from the head of the Gai, or Hinnom gorge. The Hasmonæan Valley joined the Tyropœon from the north, on the west of the Temple, and the two together descended rapidly to Siloam, separating the upper city from the Ophel. The north face of the old wall ran on a precipitous rock, and the Xystos lay north of the great Tyropœon bridge. The name of the place on the south-west side of the upper city “called Bethso” is generally supposed to mean “House of Dung,” being near the old Dung Gate, which seems here to be called the Gate of the Essenes. The wall ran “above” Siloam; and “Solomon’s Pool” was the Kidron spring—the Gihon where he was anointed. Ophla is the Aramaic form of the Hebrew Ophel, and the course of the wall here coincides with the line of fortification discovered by Sir Charles Warren. As to the second wall, the description is brief because the wall was short in extent. The junction with Antonia must have been at the north-west angle of that fortress, for the great115 counterscarp of the fosse which defended it on the north is known to continue some way west of the fortress, thus forming the counterscarp of the north wall as well. No bends or angles are noticed, but, on the contrary, it is said to “encircle” the north ridge. The name of the Gate Gennath is usually thought to mean “the Garden Gate,” but not impossibly it may stand for the “Gehenna Gate,” and it answers to the old “Valley Gate.” The second wall—as already urged—must have crossed the saddle near Hippicus, but the junction was not exactly at that tower, where was a smaller postern.239 As the Gennath Gate was in the first wall, there was evidently a re-entering angle, and in later times the third wall started from Hippicus, but was “not joined on” to the second wall.

It is very doubtful whether any remains of the masonry of the two walls have as yet been found. The precipices on which the north wall of the upper city stood are traceable, in places, as far as that from which the Tyropœon bridge started. The scarps on the south-west of the upper city, and on the south, and at Siloam, have already been described as they existed in the time of Nehemiah, and earlier. The Ophel wall discovered by Sir Charles Warren is, in his opinion, later than the (Herodian) wall of the east cloister of the Temple, near which it was also found to be based not on rock but on red earth. The stones, as he states, appear to have belonged to a former wall, and the first 20 feet from the foundation are of “rough rubble of moderate dimensions.” Similar rough rubble was found by Mr. Bliss at the base of the south wall of the upper city.240 This might represent early work, on116 which the later Byzantine wall was built; but the drafted masonry shown to me by Dr. Guthe, in 1881, on Ophel and at Siloam, was certainly not older than the fourth century A. D., yet appears to be similar in all respects to that found by Warren and Bliss. It seems to be certain that the old wall of Jerusalem has disappeared, and that very little can exist except the wall that Eudocia built about 450 A. D., which did not follow the line described in the Book of Nehemiah, and by Josephus, as crossing the Tyropœon “above” Siloam.

In the same way it is also doubtful if any remains of the “second wall” on the north side of the upper city still exist. The Rev. Selah Merrill241 gives a drawing of a wall found south of the Holy Sepulchre Church, and about 20 feet below the surface, which he thinks to have been that built by Jonathan (as already noticed) in the middle of the city. He also claims242 to have been the discoverer of another wall which runs northwards to the west of the “Pool of the Bath,” and which was uncovered in 1885 and reported by Herr Konrad Schick. Both these walls have drafted masonry, but neither has, unfortunately, been described in detail, or photographed, so that it is impossible to say what their age may be. The latter wall runs approximately where we might expect to find the second wall, but drafted masonry of much this kind was used both by Romans and by later Byzantines, and these remains may possibly belong to the city of Hadrian. There is no doubt that—as at Rome also—the old masonry was re-used later in other buildings; and when we consider how entirely the mighty Temple fane has disappeared, not one stone being left on another of the Holy House itself, we117 must conclude that the destruction of the city in 70 A. D. was singularly complete, and the effacement of its remains afterwards increased by local pillage of the masonry.


There are, however, two buildings in which Herodian masonry still stands in situ—namely, first in the great outer walls of the Ḥaram enclosure, and secondly at the great tower now called “David’s Tower,” which is probably the Phasaelus tower of Josephus. The Ḥaram walls claim our special attention.

This magnificent masonry, with stones 3 feet (and in one course 6 feet) high, and often 20 feet long,243 beautifully finished with the Greek draft, and a dressing to the stone244 which is nowhere else found except in the sister sanctuary at Hebron, is familiar to visitors. The joints are exact, and no mortar was used. The wall above the level of the inner area was adorned (just as at Hebron) by buttresses, at intervals of 10 cubits. Two of these I discovered in 1873, at the north-west angle, but elsewhere all the upper rampart was thrown down, though the lower part resisted all attempts at destruction, and the strong south-east corner remained—after 70 A. D.—standing up alone like a “pinnacle.”

There are minor differences in this masonry, according as it was intended to be visible above ground or hidden under the earth. The stones have rough bosses, on the east and west walls, where they were covered over; and spoilt stones were used up in the foundations of the east wall (near the south-east angle), also below the level of the red earth outside the wall. The stones were not only finished in the quarry, but were inspected before they were put in118 the wall, as Sir Charles Warren proved, by noticing that the trickle of the red paint used in the texts written on the stones runs upwards, and not down, on the stone as it now stands. This masonry is found in situ on three walls, but not on the north side of the Ḥaram, where a wall of rougher Roman work runs west to the rocky scarp of Antonia, which bounds the court on the north-west. Sir Charles Warren also discovered that the east wall does not stop at the present north-east angle, and that there was no corner there till the Roman north wall was built—a point of great importance as regards the study of the Temple area.


From Sir C. Warren’s copies.


Still more important are the red-paint texts which he found on the spoilt stones. The two longest of these are on the third stone of the second course, and on the tenth stone of the fifth course,245 respectively, in the east wall, counting from the foundation and from the south-east angle. They are clearly inscriptions in a Semitic script, yet they have never been read, partly because they were supposed to be Phœnician. They, however, present the characters of the Aramean alphabets used at Jerusalem and among Nabatheans. The first of these texts probably reads “carelessly chiselled,” and the stone has no draft at the top but one of double width at the bottom. The second text may be read, “for covering up, removal of it,” and this stone also is imperfect, the bottom draft being too narrow. Not only do these translations agree with the fact that the spoilt stones were covered over in the foundations, but the characters attest the fact that they were hewn in the later age of Herod, and not in the earlier time of Solomon—a conclusion which agrees with the character of the masonry. Had these texts been written in the clearer119 alphabet of the Siloam Inscription or of the Moabite Stone, they would no doubt have been read long ago; but they are rudely scrawled in the more slovenly script of the Aramean alphabet used in Herod’s time.246

The evidence of the masonry and of the inscriptions thus serves to confirm the conclusion of de Vogüé that these walls were built by Herod the Great. The south-west angle of the Ḥaram is identified with that of Herod’s enclosure by the existence of the Tyropœon bridge, which led to the south cloister of the Temple in his time. The south wall is fixed by the existence of the two Ḥuldah (or “Mole”) Gates, and the south-east corner by the recovery of the line of the Ophel wall, which joined the east cloister of the Herodian enclosure. The excavations showed that no ancient city wall existed farther west. The north-west angle is, in like manner, fixed by the recovery of the ancient west wall, with its buttresses built against the Antonia scarp. Only the north wall of the Temple thus remains to be fixed, and Sir Charles Warren discovered the ancient valley which defended Antonia on the east, and which runs to the Kidron across the north-east part of the Ḥaram enclosure. In his recent plan247 he excludes this part from the old enclosure, and there can be little doubt that some 5 acres were here added later to the original 30 acres of the outer courts. The present north wall is Roman or Byzantine, and the cisterns within it are of modern masonry. Antonia projected as a smaller oblong quadrangle on the north-west, and thus—as Josephus120 relates248—when the Antonia cloisters were destroyed the “temple became quadrangular,” being roughly about 1,000 feet either way. The line of its original north wall249 may be best drawn along the line of the north side of the platform surrounding the Dome of the Rock, where an ancient scarp with projecting buttresses was found by Sir Charles Warren in 1868; and the rock outside this scarp is at least 20 feet lower, which makes it about 40 feet below the level of the Ṣakhrah crest.


From de Vogüé.

Besides these remains of the walls we have those of the south-west gatehouse, which is now known as the “Double Gate,” and these are of peculiar interest as regards the architectural character of Herod’s Temple; for Fergusson, de Vogüé, and other authorities regard the interior hall at this gateway as being of the Herodian age. The original gate was double, with a central pier supporting two great lintel stones, to which an arched cornice was added above in the Byzantine age, on the outside. The hall floor is on the level of the rock outside, and the gate was underground, a passage leading up north from the back of the gatehouse to the surface of the courts within, under the royal cloister. The present “Triple Gate,” which was altered later, seems originally to have had the same plan, and these two gates were called Ḥuldah (“mole”), because of their subterranean character. The Double Gate hall has a monolithic pillar in its centre, of such girth as to agree with the description by Josephus of columns “such that three men might with their arms extended measure round”250—a fact which I verified by experiment. The hall measures 40 feet (30 cubits) east and west, by 54 feet (40 cubits)121 north and south. Flat arches spring from the central pillar on each side, and four flat domes are thus supported, forming the roof of the hall.251 The capital of the pillar is remarkable, with acanthus leaves and lotus leaves in low relief. One of the domes has also a very interesting ornamentation with geometrical designs connected by a vine: an outer circle of corn ears and rosettes, with other details, present just that style which we find in the Jerusalem tombs of the Herodian age—half Greek, half Jewish.


This interesting hall compares also in general style with another temple built in the time of Herod the Great. Jehovah was not to him the One God: at Samaria and Cæsarea he erected shrines to the genius of the “divine Augustus,” and at Si’a in the east of Bashan he was honoured in a temple to the Syrian deity Ba’al-shemîn, which still exists in ruins planned by de Vogüé, with Greek texts and fragments of others in Nabathean characters (like those just considered), which were copied by Waddington. This building is of such importance for comparison that a short description may be given.252 This temple was 40 cubits (54 feet) square, with steps on the east leading down to a court of the same size, having a single cloister on each side, except where the porch of the building opened to the court. The temple gate (24 cubits wide) was adorned by a vine sculptured above it and on the sides; a dove perches on the vine, and an eagle spreads its wings under the122 soffit of the cornice. The side pillars have semi-Corinthian capitals with human busts between the volutes, and the design of the bases is very like that of the capital at the “Double Gate.” The steps are guarded by small lions. The head of the heaven god (Ba’al-shemin), surrounded with rays, was over the gate, and flanking pilasters of Ionic order are surmounted by other busts. Gazelles and a saddled horse are elsewhere carved, and the whole is clearly a pagan structure, though in many respects it recalls Herod’s Jerusalem temple. The masonry is well squared and of good size, but not drafted.

There are here seven Greek texts, the first of which was on a statue of Herod which has been entirely destroyed by some one who hated the tyrant. Only a foot remains, whereas other busts at the site have not been injured. The inscription is complete: “I, Malikath, son of Mo’aîru, put up this statue at my own costs to the Lord Herod the King.” No other Herod save the son of Antipater reigned in this part of Bashan, and the text must (from the word Kurios) have been written during his reign. The second inscription is later, but hardly less interesting, referring to Agrippa II. (48–100 A. D.). “To the great king Agrippa, friend of Cæsar, the pious, the friend of Rome, born of the great king Agrippa, the friend of Cæsar, the pious, the friend of Rome, Aphareus a freedman and Agrippa a son placed this.” The third text runs: “The people of the Obaisenes [dwellers in the dry region] in honour of Malikath, son of Mo’aîru, on account of justice and piety, placed this on the temple.” The fourth says: “The people of Si’a in common put this up to Malikath, son of Ausu, son of Mo’aîru, because he made the temple and what surrounds it.” The name of the founder occurs in two other short texts, on a cornice and above the temple gate.


From the Palestine Exploration Fund Photograph.



The extent, the masonry, the inscriptions, and the architecture of Herod’s Temple at Jerusalem have thus been considered without reference to literary statements, on the evidence of existing remains, and by comparison with the style, the arrangement, and the Aramaic and Greek texts, of a contemporary building. That Greek texts also existed in the Jerusalem Temple is proved by M. Clermont-Ganneau’s discovery of one of the very stones mentioned by Josephus.253 It reads, in fine Greek lettering and in the Greek language:

“No foreigner is to approach within the balustrade [truphaktos] round the temple and the peribolos. Whosoever is caught will be guilty of his own death which will follow.”

The Jewish historian says that “when you went through these cloisters to the second temple there was a balustrade [druphaktos], made of stone, all round, the height of which was 3 cubits. Upon it stood stelai at equal distances from one another declaring the law of purity, some in Greek and some in Roman letters, that ‘no foreigner may go within the sanctuary.’”253 This comparison serves to increase our confidence in Josephus. He is also evidently correct in saying that the pillars of the Royal Cloister were of the Corinthian order, and the great shafts (3 feet in diameter) re-used—as will appear later—in the Aḳṣa Mosque, by the Byzantines, may once have belonged to this cloister.

Josephus appears to have supposed that the courts of Solomon’s Temple extended 400 cubits in length. He says that “Herod took away the old foundations and laid others,” and that “the cloisters were rebuilt by Herod from the foundations.” He “encompassed124 a piece of land about [the Temple] with a wall, which land was twice as large as that before enclosed.” This increase, however, may refer to the flat ground, which was largely increased by banking up earth over vaults within the ramparts; for in these later times “the people added new banks, and the hill became a larger plain.” The compass of Herod’s enclosure Josephus estimates at 4 furlongs (or 600 feet each side), and again, including Antonia, at 6 furlongs. The increase on the north side, where was taken in an area apparently as large as that of the inner courts of the Temple, must have occurred when Baris or Antonia was first built.254 If Josephus means by the “four furlongs” the space inside the dividing balustrade he is not far out, though the measurement of 500 cubits square, given in the Mishnah,255 and representing about 666 feet, may be more exact. The Temple itself did not stand—according to the rabbis—exactly in the middle of this space. There was most distance on the south, secondly on the east, thirdly on the north, and least naturally on the west, where the Priests’ Court was narrow behind the Holy House, and where the rock slope was most abrupt. A mediæval Talmudic commentary even gives us the exact measurements, which are quite possibly correct, but the authority is not stated.256 It is, however, in accordance with the position of the Ṣakhrah that the surrounding balustrade should have been nearest to the Holy House on the west and north, as it is described in the Mishnah to have been.


The dimensions of the outer enclosure, corresponding125 to the present Haram, are nowhere given by ancient writers. The part outside the balustrade was the Court of the Gentiles, and the walls enclosed a quadrangle about 1,000 feet side,257 roughly speaking. Including the inner courts of Antonia, the total area was about 30 acres. The position of the Holy House—already explained—with the Ṣakhrah as the “foundation stone” of the Holy of Holies, agrees exactly with the levels of the Temple courts as represented by those of the rock; for the number of steps to various gates is given in the Mishnah, and these steps were all half a cubit high,258 or about 8 inches each. In addition to this, the subterranean passage from the House Moḳed (on the north) comes exactly in the right place, as does the tank on the south of the Priests’ Court. These details require special notice, as confirming the view here advocated as to the exact site of the Temple.

The measurements given in the tract Middoth (“measures”) are systematic, and leave no doubt as to the relative size, position, or levels of the Holy House and its courts. A cubit of 16 inches not only accords with rabbinical statements, but seems also (from the dimensions of the stones, and the space between buttresses, the size of the “Double Gate” hall, and the levels of the rock) to have been very clearly the unit used in the Temple, as well as in the Siloam aqueduct. The Holy House stood in the Priests’ Court, with the Altar before it on the east. Its floor was 8 feet above that of this court, and the level of the latter was thus 2,432 feet above sea-level,126 or 8 feet below that of the crest of the Ṣakhrah. This is the actual level of the rock east of the Ṣakhrah where known, and is just under the platform pavement. The Priests’ Court measured 187 cubits east and west, and 135 north and south; ten steps led up to the southern gates, which shows that the surface outside was here nearly 7 feet lower than the court. The rock is known to have this level in the mouth of the tank just outside the court on the south side. East of the Priests’ Court was a narrow walk at a lower level which was called the Court of Israel, but which was only intended for the representative men of Israel, whose duty it was to attend the daily services. Beyond this was the Court of the Women (135 cubits square), where the Jews with their wives assembled, especially at festivals. It had cloisters on the north, south, and east, and a gallery for women over that on the east. The great Gate Nicanor led to this court from the level of the Priests’ Court. It had 15 steps, so that the Court of the Women was 10 feet lower than that of the Priests. The level of the rock is known—east of the modern platform—to be about 2,420 feet above the sea, or 12 feet below the Priests’ Court. Thus not more than 2 feet of foundation and pavement are needed. Beyond this court the rock is somewhat lower, and the natural surface was no doubt allowed to remain outside the court for some distance, and was banked up near the outer walls, to the present levels of the enclosure outside the platform.

It appears, however, that on the north-west side of the Priests’ Court the rock had been cut down to form the inner court of Antonia. It is everywhere visible on the surface in this direction, at the level 2,432 feet above the sea, which we have seen to have been that of the Priests’ Court. The House Moḳed, therefore, required no outer steps. Josephus seems127 to allude to this when he speaks of there being no steps towards the west, and in his account of the final siege of the Temple259; for the Romans battered the wall of the inner court at this point. Moḳed (“hearth”) was the great north-west gatehouse, projecting from the wall of the Priests’ Court. From its north-west chamber a winding staircase (perhaps wooden) led down to a gallery, which extended to the Gate Ṭadi (or Ṭari) in the outer wall of the Temple enclosure, and which communicated with the “bath-house.” It is described as being under the bîrah, or “fortress,” and under the ḥíl, or “rampart,” outside the Priests’ Court.260 If the Temple stood over the Ṣakhrah, this gallery exactly coincides with an existing rock passage 24 feet wide (18 cubits), and now 130 feet long, the bottom being 30 feet beneath the surface of the present platform. Descending into this gallery—now converted into a tank—I found that the south wall, as well as those at the sides, was of rock, but that the north end was blocked by a rough masonry wall, so that the passage does not extend farther south, but may run north to the line of the old north wall of the outer rampart. To the west of this gallery is another curious excavation which probably was the “bath-house.” Producing the directions of these two galleries, they meet just where the old north wall ran, and this must be the position of the Gate Ṭadi.


The Priests’ Court had three gates on the north and three on the south,261 and near the “Water Gate,” on the128 south, was the “Chamber of the Draw-well,” where apparently a wheel and rope were used to draw water. There is a great rock-cut tank still in use just outside the line of the south wall of the Priests’ Court. Taking these two indications of position with the levels, it appears to me evident that the exact position of the Temple is fixed by the existing remains of its subterranean excavations, as I first suggested in 1878.

The general appearance of the Temple and its courts is best understood by means of the excellent model made by Miss M. A. Duthoit.262 The most striking feature is the manner in which the courts are dwarfed by the huge square pylon of the Holy House, the flat roof being 150 feet above the level of the Priests’ Court. The roof was finished by a simple cornice, but the effect of the great mass was unbroken by any other adornment, save the golden vine running above and at the sides of the high eastern portal with its heavy veil.


Block plan with rock levels.

All the gates were gilded except that of Nicanor, which stood above the round flight of fifteen steps on which the “songs of degrees” are said to have been chanted. This gate was plated with electrum—a mixture of gold and silver. It was presented by Nicanor, a Jew, and the ossuary containing the bones of his family was found, a few years since, by Miss Gladys Dixon in a tomb on the Mount of Olives.263 It bears a text in Greek: “Bones of those of the Nicanor Alexandreôs who made the gates,” with the words “Niḳanor Aleksa” beneath, in Hebrew. This great gate-house faced the Women’s Court on the west. The court had four roofless enclosures 40 cubits square, divided off by pillars, one at each corner. In that to the south-east the Nazirites129 assembled, and wood for the altar was stacked in that opposite on the north-east. In the south-west enclosure the oil for the Temple lamps was stored, and into that to the north-west lepers were brought from outside, in order that they might show themselves to the priests at the Gate Nicanor.


The “Mountain of the House,” as the outer rampart is called in the Mishnah, had five gates—or eight, according to Josephus. On the south were the two Ḥuldah Gates already described. On the east was the Gate Shushan opposite the Temple; it is said to have been adorned by a representation of “Shushan the palace.” On the west was Ḳîpunos, which bore a Greek name signifying “adornment.” This may have been the “Beautiful Gate,”264 and was the main entrance—probably at the end of the bridge leading to the Royal Cloister. Josephus says that besides this gate two others led to the “suburbs,” and a fourth to the “other city” (near the Akra) “where the road descended down the valley by a great number of steps.”265 These gates are still to be seen, one near the Tyropœon bridge, now called the “Prophet’s Gate,” with a subterranean passage like those of the Ḥuldah Gates; the next to the north at the present “Gate of the Chain,” where an ancient causeway on arches was discovered by Sir Charles Warren. The fourth gate—farthest north—has been converted into a tank, but the opening through the Herodian wall still exists. It was immediately west of the Holy House, for it lies between the Ṣakhrah and the “Pool of the Bath,” where there is now an accumulation of 90 feet of rubbish over the rock. The street must have here descended rapidly southwards, to pass130 under the arches of the causeway and of the Tyropœon bridge—which accounts for the notice of steps in the roadway.

The gate on the north is called Ṭadi in some texts of the Mishnah, and Tari in others. The first word means “secret,” and the other “new.” The secret passage from Antonia to the East Gate of the Temple266 no doubt started at this gate, and was identical with that already described as leading to Ṭadi, and to the bath-house, from Moḳed. The passage between that gate-house and Nicanor, which would enable Herod to reach the Court of the Women, is unknown, and perhaps only led along the north cloister of the Priests’ Court, or outside it. There was also a secret passage from Herod’s palace in the upper city which has been traced. This led to the gate at the causeway on the west.267

The dread of divine displeasure rendered the service of the Temple one of fear and trembling.268 In the darkness, before dawn, the “man of the mountain of the house” went his rounds to visit the priests and Levites who guarded the sanctuary by night. At cock-crow the huge altar was first cleansed, by the priest to whom the lot fell. From the Gate-house Moḳed he went in the dim light of the three great fires of fig-tree wood, nut, and pine, which glowed under the ashes. His brethren listened to hear the creaking of the wheel of the draw-well, as he sanctified his hands and feet. Then they came running to aid him, taking away the unburnt fragments of sacrifices, heaping up the ashes, and feeding the undying flame. As the red light spread behind the dark mountains of Moab, southwards “towards Hebron,” they brought131 out and slew the lamb of the “perpetual” sacrifice each morning, and prepared the incense and the shew-bread.


On the dread Day of Atonement269 the high-priest was supported to the Holy House by two priests, while a third laid hold of one of the jewels on his shoulder. The sound of the golden bells was heard as he went alone within the inner veil, but priests and people waited in awe-stricken silence, till he came out to bless them by the very name of Iahu, and to send forth the goat bearing the sins of the nation to the grim precipice of Ṣûḳ—a mountain visible from Olivet—which rises over the Desert of Judah. Yet more rarely—perhaps only seven times in the period between Ezra and Herod—he left the Temple by the Shushan Gate, and passing over a high wooden causeway, ascended Olivet to burn the red heifer. Its ashes were mingled with water from Siloam, brought to the Temple, it is said, by innocent boys mounted on oxen, with much fear lest these should tread on some “grave of the depth,” or hidden tomb, and so defile the children who rode them, and who had been born in the outer court of the sanctuary. Without these ashes there was no purification for Israel from defilement by the dead. They were stored partly on Olivet and partly in the Temple.

The Feast of Booths was a time of rejoicing rather than of fear. It was then that the king, once a year, read the law to the people from a pulpit in the Court of the Women, and it is said that Agrippa I. wept at the words “Thou mayest not set a stranger over thee which is not of thy brethren,” touching the hearts of the people, who shouted, “Thou art our brother—thou art our brother.”270 For did he not yearly bear the basket of first fruits, when the bull with gilded horns132 was brought to the Temple, and “the pipe played before them till they came to the mountain of the house”? At “Tabernacles” also the pipes played at the feast of the “water-drawing,” when four golden lamps lighted up the Court of the Women, and Levites stood on the fifteen steps of Nicanor chanting the fifteen “songs of degrees,” while “pious and prudent men danced with torches in their hands, singing psalms and hymns before the people.” Two priests blew the rams’ horns in the court, and when they reached the Nicanor Gate they sang:

“Our fathers who were in this place
Turned their backs on the House,
And their faces were towards the east,
And they worshipped the rising sun.271
But we turn to Adonai,
On Adonai are our eyes.”

The paganism of Rome penetrated, however, even into the temple of Jehovah. The golden eagle—emblem of the empire—“erected over the great gate of the Temple,” was not cut down till rumour arose that Herod was dying.272 It perhaps spread its wings on the soffit of the lintel, as at Ba’albek and Si’a. The money-changers who—for a small charge—changed old half-shekels for the new ones, which alone could be given for the Temple tax,273 and the sellers of doves, were established in “shops” in the outer cloisters, and made the Holy House a “den of thieves.” The great fortress, built to defend the Temple on the north, and to guard the sacred robes of the high-priest, was held under Idumæans and Romans by a foreign garrison overawing the people. This fortress of Antonia requires a special description.


The former citadel, Baris, was rebuilt by Herod, and renamed Antonia after Mark Antony. The ridge133 rose naturally about 30 feet higher than the level of the Priests’ Court, stretching on the north to the hill of Bezetha, or the new north-east quarter of the city, not as yet walled in. The citadel was divided off from this hill by a trench with vertical scarps cut in the rock: it was 60 feet deep and 165 feet wide. A great block of rock was left standing within this fosse; it measures 140 feet north and south, and 352 feet east and west, thus covering more than a third of the width of the outer Temple court, and rising at its highest 30 feet above the Priests’ Court. The block was scarped on all sides, and thus a flat rock surface exists south of it, extending on the level of the court as far as the north wall and cloister of the outer Temple. Steps led up—as they still do—from this flat courtyard to the block above it.

This castle is very clearly described by Josephus.274 He applies to it the terms “Acropolis,” “stronghold” (phrourion), and “fortress” (purgos); but he never calls it Akra. There were four towers on the rocky block, one at each corner, that to the south-east being the highest. The flat space below on the south was paved, and in it were rooms, courts, bathing-places, and “broad spaces for parades.” Passages led below the Temple court—as already described in speaking of the Gate Ṭadi—but this area was on the level of the inner Temple court, as we learn from the exploit of the rash centurion Julian, during the siege by Titus; for, leaping down from the scarp, he charged the defenders of the Temple up to the gates, where his nailed shoes slipped on the Temple pavement, and he fell with a great clang of armour. Thus, the whole area of Antonia formed an oblong quadrangle, projecting on the north, and adjoining the north and west cloisters of the outer Temple enclosure. It was a134 citadel overlooking the whole of the sanctuary, and to the present day it is a barrack for Turkish troops.

The other Herodian citadel, which is also still a barrack, was at the north-west side of the upper city, by the upper market.275 It defended the neck of land where the upper city was always attacked from the north, and it adjoined Herod’s palace. The three “royal towers” here strengthened the old wall.276 Hippicus was farthest west and was only 25 cubits square. The present north-west tower of the citadel may be built on its site. Phasaelus was 40 cubits square, according to Josephus, with a solid base and a stoa round the tower itself. There can be little doubt that this refers to the present “Tower of David,” called the “Castle of the Pisans” in the Middle Ages. Its masonry is still untouched, being Herodian in style, with stones about 4 feet high and often 8 or 9 feet long.277 It measures 56 feet (about 41 cubits) north and south, but is 70 feet long east and west. It has a narrow walk or “berm” outside, on the solid base. A sloping revetment was added later by the Crusaders, and the upper part of the tower is modern. The site of the third tower, Mariamne, is as yet unknown, but its solid base, 20 cubits high, may exist under the pavement of the present market-place. It was the smallest of the three, being 20 cubits square. The bases of these towers are probably of rock, now covered with masonry. The reason why the original masonry of Phasaelus remains standing is that Titus left these towers, and a bit of the west wall, standing to show the strength of the fortress he had taken, and to form a citadel for the135 legion he left at Jerusalem. The palace, adjoining the towers inwardly, appears to have been large and magnificent, but its extent is not described. It had walls which made it a citadel, large bed-chambers, and wooden roofs. It was adorned with cloisters and carvings, and had gardens full of trees, canals, cisterns, and fountains where the water ran from bronze statues, while the doves fluttered round its pools as they now flutter in the Ḥaram courts. The pagan character of its adornment must have been sorely repugnant to Israel in the holy city. Two of its chambers were named after Cæsar and Marcus Agrippa, the pagan patrons of Herod.278


Other palaces were built later in Jerusalem, and Agrippa II. rebuilt the palace of the Hasmonæans,279 which was in the north-east part of the upper city, near the great Tyropœon bridge and the Xystos. The latter Greek word signifies a covered gymnasium, and there is no reason to doubt that this building was the same as the gymnasium built by the high-priest Jason before 170 B. C., which is described as being “under the Acropolis” or upper city. It lay north of the bridge,280 but its remains, and those of the neighbouring council-house, have not been identified with certainty. There were gates in the west wall of the Temple above it; and as these seem clearly to be the two central gates on that side, it must have been south of the ancient causeway, and down in the Tyropœon Valley. An “ancient hall” discovered by Sir Charles Warren, which he considers to be “one of the oldest buildings in Jerusalem,” may have some connection with either the Xystos or the council-house. It lies136 partly under the street leading to the Gate of the Chain, and measured about 23 feet by 20 feet; its floor is about on the level of the Herodian street pavement; its roof is less ancient than its walls; at each corner inside there are rude pilaster capitals of semi-Ionic character. The outer masonry is drafted and resembles that of Herod’s age. Herod assembled wrestlers and other athletes at his games every five years, but it is doubtful if his “theatre” was the same as the gymnasium; a “hippodrome” which lay towards the south of the Temple may, however, have been connected with the Xystos. It has been sought farther south by Mr. Bliss, but no remains of such a building were there found.281

Some alterations seem to have occurred in the water-supply in consequence of the building of the west outer wall of Herod’s Temple, and these indicate that the wall is later than two rock-cut aqueducts which it cuts across. The southern one of these ran from the Pool of the Bath to Siloam, and has been traced in parts by Sir Charles Warren and Mr. Bliss. The second led from north-west to the Antonia fosse, where possibly the “Pool Strouthios”282 was made by Herod when he rebuilt Antonia. This aqueduct merely served to collect the rain-water north of the city, and carried it originally to a rock tank which is included within Herod’s west sanctuary wall. The supply being thus cut off, the water of the aqueduct would serve to fill the Antonia fosse, or the Pool Strouthios in that fosse—known later as the “Twin Pools”—supposing that these were cut as early as Herod’s time. The great tunnel of this aqueduct under the Antonia rock stops dead at the Temple wall, and the only use that could afterwards be made137 of it would be as a secret exit, through the window which I discovered in this wall just south of the Antonia scarp.


The description of Herod’s Jerusalem may be concluded by notice of the Tyropœon bridge. The spring of the arch from the west wall of the outer Temple is still visible. The voussoirs are dressed with the peculiar criss-cross dressing already described as distinguishing Herodian masonry. The position and the breadth of the bridge closely agree with the dimensions given by Josephus (in Greek feet) for the three walks of the “Royal Cloister,” which ran east and west inside the south wall of the Temple enclosure283: since the south wall is about 9 feet thick, and the side aisles of the cloister were 30 feet wide, the central one 45 feet wide, and the pillars about 6 feet in diameter. This bridge replaced the older one, which was broken down at the time of Pompey’s siege in 63 B. C. The older voussoirs are under the Herodian pavement. The fallen voussoirs of Herod’s bridge lie on that pavement. The bridge, as explored by Sir Charles Warren, consisted of two great arches (about 42-feet span), with a pier 12 feet thick rising from a rock foundation in the Tyropœon Valley. The roadway was 95 feet above the valley bed, or 75 feet above the pavement. This is now buried to a depth of no less than 40 feet. The cloister within was the finest of those surrounding the Temple, and its pillars were of the Corinthian order. All other cloisters of the outer Temple were double, but this was triple. Those of the inner Temple were single.

Such generally was Jerusalem as Herod built its Temple and palaces, shortly before the birth of our138 Lord. The Temple was probably begun in 22 B. C. and finished eight years later. The fifteenth of Herod is preferable to the eighteenth,284 because Herod’s meeting with Marcus Agrippa appears to have occurred after the completion of the Holy House, and Agrippa died at Rome in 12 B. C. But additions continued to be made to the Temple down to 64 A. D.285 Thus, as we read in the fourth Gospel, the building had been continued for “forty-and-six years” before the time when the Jews were speaking to our Lord.



226 Lucan, “Pharsalia,” viii. 698–9, x. 380–1; “Psalms of Solomon,” ii. 30–3; see Drummond, “Jewish Messiah,” 1877, pp. 140–1.

227 “Ant.,” XIV. viii. 1.

228 Ibid., XIV. xi. 4.

229 “Ant.,” XIV. xiii. 3–10.

230 Ibid., XIV. xiv. 5, xv. 2, xvi. 1–4.

231 “Ant.,” XV. v. 2.

232 Ibid., XV. i. 1.

233 Ibid., XIV. xvi. 2. That is eighteen sabbatic cycles after 163 B. C., which was a sabbatic year.

234 Matt. ii. 1; Luke i. 5, iii. 1, 23. The date of the Crucifixion depends on whether the Ministry covered one or four years.

235 “Ant.,” XVII. vi. 4.

236 Eleazar, son of Jacob, died about 130 A. D., and is quoted in Middoth, i. 9; Rabbi Meier was about the same age (quoted Midd., ii. 2); Rabbi Eleazar, son of Zadok (Midd., iii. 8) died about 120 A. D. See Chiarini, “Talmud de Babylone,” 1831, pp. 105–7. Nothing is said above of the pretended description by Aristeas, as the work is well known to be a forgery.

237 “Wars,” V. iv. 1, translated from the Greek.

238 Ibid., iv. 2.

239 “Wars,” V. vi. 5, vii. 3. This postern may have been the Corner Gate; see back, chap. iv. p. 82. Distinguishing this from the Valley Gate, the city had twelve gates in all.

240 “Recovery of Jer.,” 1871, pp. 149, 299, 300; Bliss, “Excav. at Jer.,” 1898, p. 29, and plate iv.

241 “Ancient Jerusalem,” 1908, p. 297.

242 Ibid., p. 23. The remains of an old wall outside the Damascus Gate date only from the twelfth century, and will be noticed later.

243 One at south-west angle is 38 feet 9 inches; another at north-east angle 23 feet 8 inches long.

244 The drafts, and a border 3 inches wide on the block, are worked with a comb of eight teeth to the inch in two directions, making a criss-cross pattern. The remainder is finely finished with a point.

245 See Sir C. Warren’s plates accompanying the “Memoir” (Jerusalem vol.).

246 Text No. 1, K’a ḳ’aḳ’at, “carelessness of brand” (Lev. xix. 28). Text No. 2, Le-’aṭṭ ṣ’an le-u, “for covering, removal to it.” The other markings seem to be initials of words—e.g. K twice for K’a (“carelessness”); twice for Ṣ’an (“removal”); and twice incised, perhaps for ḥaṭa (“error”), or for ḥaba (“hide”). Altogether ten out of twenty-two letters of the alphabet occur in these texts.

247 “Murray’s Bible Dict,” 1908, s.v. “Temple,” p. 876.

248 “Wars,” VI. v. 4.

249 “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., 1883, p. 223; “Recov. Jer.,” p. 219.

250 “Ant.,” XV. xi. 5, referring to the royal cloister.

251 “Ord. Survey Notes,” plate xvi. figs. 1, 2.

252 For plan, elevation, and details, see plates ii. and iii., de Vogüé, “Syrie Centrale.” For Greek texts, Waddington, “Inscrip. de la Syrie,” 1870, pp. 540, 541, Nos. 2364–2369. No. 2366 is specially valuable as having a bilingual in Aramaic on the base. This gives ’Abisheth (“dry region ”) as the local name—Greek Obeisa—and M’aîru (“God-fearing”) for the Greek Moairos, with Malikoth (“royal”) for Maleichathos. Waddington supposes that the temple may have been raised by Idumæans (“Ant.,” XVI. ix. 2, 3). We have already seen that a Malichus lived in the time of Herod.

253 “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jersualem vol., p. 423; Josephus, “Wars,” V. v. 2. He means that some of the warnings were in Latin, some in Greek. The expression in the inscription mêthena allogenê is the same practically as the médena allophulon (“no foreigner”) of Josephus.

254 “Ant.,” VIII. iii. 9; “Wars,” V. v. 1, 2; “Ant.,” XV. xi. 3; “Wars,” I. xxi. 1. Josephus exaggerates the height of the walls, unless he means the command above the Kidron Valley.

255 Mishnah, Middoth, ii. 1. Abarbanel on this passage says, “The mountain was indeed much larger than 500 cubits would contain either way, but the sanctity did not extend outside this.”

256 See my “Handbook to Bible,” p. 371. Tosephoth Yom Tob.

257 The exact measures are: south wall of Ḥaram, 922 feet outside; east wall, 1,530 to the Roman north-east corner; west wall to Antonia, 1,601 feet; north wall, 1,042 feet. The north-east and south-west angles are right angles; the south-east angle measures 92½°. The old scarp on north side of the platform is about 1,180 feet north of the south wall.

258 Mishnah, Middoth, ii. 3: “All steps were half a cubit high.”

259 Josephus, “Wars,” V. ii. 5, VI. i. 8, ii. 7, iv. 1. The south-east part of the platform of the Dome of the Rock is supported probably by vaults. The entrance to these, on the east, was visible in 1881, though built up.

260 Mishnah, Middoth, i. 6–9.

261 Ibid., i. 4. On north the gates Niṣúṣ (“projecting”), Ḳorban (“gift”), and Môḳed (“hearth”), enumerated from east to west; on the south Dalaḳ (“burning”), Ḳorban (“gift”), and Mim (“waters”). The chamber of the draw-well (gulah) was on south near the last (v. 4). See Tamid, i. 4.

262 For plan and details, see Constantine l’Empereur, Codex Middoth, 1630; and Conder’s “Handbook to the Bible” (3rd edit. 1882), pp. 359–86. For model (Religious Tract Society), see Frontispiece.

263 Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, April 1903, p. 126, Oct. 1903, p. 326.

264 Acts iii. 2.

265 Middoth, i. 3; “Ant.,” XV. xi. 5. The Bible mentions the Parbharîm or “suburbs” (2 Kings xxiii. 11), close to the Temple. Standard records of the greater and lesser cubit were kept at the Gate Shushan (Mishnah, Tohoroth, xvii. 9).

266 “Ant.,” XV. xi. 7.

267 Sir C. Wilson, “Ord. Survey Notes,” 1864, p. 60; “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., pp. 203–6, 270.

268 Mishnah, Middoth, i. 2; Yoma, i. 8, ii. 2; Tamid, i. 2-iii. 8, vii. 1.

269 Yoma, iv. 1, v. 2; Sukkah, v. 1–3; Parah, iii. 2–5, 11; Sotah, i. 5.

270 Mishnah, Sotah, vii. 8.

271 Ezek. viii. 16.

272 “Ant.,” XVII. vi. 2; “Wars,” I. xxxiii. 3.

273 Mishnah, Sheḳalîm, i. 3, 6, 7, iii. 2, vi. 4, 5.

274 “Ant.,” XV. viii. 5, xi. 3, 4, 7, XVIII. iv. 3; “Wars,” I. iii. 3, v. 4, xxi. 1, II. xvi. 5, V. iv. 2, v. 8, ix. 2, VI. i. 5, 8, ii. 5, 9.

275 “Ant.,” XIII. v. 11; “Wars,” V. iv. 1. The Rabbis (Tosiphta, Sanhed., chap. xiv.) mention an “upper” and a “lower” market.

276 “Ant.,” XVII. x. 2, 3; “Wars,” II. iii. 1, xvii. 6, 8, V. iv. 3, v. 8, VI. viii. 1, VII. i. 1; Tacitus, “Hist.,” v. 11.

277 Sir C. Wilson, “Ord. Survey Notes,” p. 46; “Mem. Survey West Pal.,” Jerusalem vol., pp. 267–70.

278 “Wars,” I. xxi. 1.

279 “Ant.,” XX. viii. 11; “Wars,” II. xvi. 3.

280 1 Macc. i. 14; 2 Macc. iv. 9, 12; “Wars,” II. xvi. 3, VI. iii. 2, vi. 2, viii. 1, V. iv. 2; “Mem. Survey West Pal.,” pp. 201, 202; “Wars,” VI. vi. 3.

281 “Ant.,” XV. viii. 1, 2, XVII. x. 2; “Wars,” II. iii. 1.

282 “Wars,” V. xi. 4; “Mem. Survey West Pal.,” Jerusalem vol., pp. 263, 264.

283 “Ant.,” XV. xi. 5. For the bridge see “Ant.,” XIV. iv. 2; “Wars,” I. vii. 2, VI. vi. 2, viii. 1. The bridge was 51 feet wide, and at 38 feet 9 inches from its south side was the outside of the south wall at south-west angle of the Ḥaram.

284 “Ant.,” XV. xi. 1; “Wars” I. xxi. 1.

285 “Ant.,” XX. ix. 7; John ii. 20. This date would be 24 or 27 A. D., reckoning from foundation.

Passover being finished, and the Galileans having set out in a pilgrim caravan for their homes in the north, the Temple courts were no longer crowded, and the rabbis sat in the spring sunshine on the steps of the great Gate Nicanor, teaching their pupils as usual.286 But with them sate that wondrous Child “in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions.” Across the broad “Court of the Women” came the anxious mother, to the gate where twelve years before she had offered “a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons,” and where the Babe was held in the arms of Simeon, son of the famous Hillel. The gentle reproach, “Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing,” received the gentle answer, “How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be among my father’s people?”

This scene in the Temple court is one of the very few as to which we can have no doubt, though the steps of Nicanor are hidden from us, under the platform, to-day. Speaking generally, it is notable140 that the Gospels do not define the exact position of places, in and near Jerusalem, to which they refer in passing. The first Christians turned their eyes up to heaven, not down to earth. They thought of the return of their Master, not of the Way of Sorrow, the Place of the Skull, or the empty tomb. They knew, and their first readers knew, where these were, but to us they have left no indication. We do not know where was the “upper chamber” in which our Lord ate His last supper of the Passover. We do not know where was the little “farm” Gethsemane—the “oil-press”—except that it was a “garden” beyond the valley of the Kidron. We can only conjecture the sites of the Prætorium, or of the palaces where Annas and Caiaphas lived, and where Herod Antipas lodged as a Galilean visitor at the time of the Passover. We are uncertain as to where the Pool of Bethesda may have been, and we dispute as to the Way of Sorrow, the Mount of Calvary, and the Sepulchre. It is well that we should not know; and that we should not localise at any footprint, or on any rock, that which was meant to be for all the world. Yet we cannot help guessing and searching, if by any means we may really find the places where the feet of Jesus must have trodden the hard, rough rocks, or the smooth pavement of Antonia. We experience the same doubts and difficulties which early pilgrims felt, and we must not forget that they had no more to guide them than we have when we study the Gospels. They had indeed less knowledge, because they did not see, as we do, that the valleys had been filled by the ruins of the ancient city long before their day. Some thought that the Prætorium was Antonia, others thought later that it was on Zion. They changed the site of Bethesda more than once. They always thought it necessary to suppose that the city must have been much increased in size by Hadrian,141 because their bishops showed them the holy tomb and Calvary within the Jerusalem of their own time.


There are some places mentioned in the Gospels as to which we have roughly some idea of position. We know that the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of those that sold doves, were somewhere in the outer court of the Temple. The “treasury” was one of those boxes, placed in the Court of the Women, where offerings of money—even the two mites of the widow—might be made. “Solomon’s Porch” was apparently the cloister on the eastern wall, and is not to be confused with the “Beautiful Gate” (Kîpunos) on the west.287 We can also picture to ourselves the view of Jerusalem seen from Olivet when the disciples pointed to the mighty masonry of the Holy House, of which not one stone is left standing on another.288 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee.... Behold, your House is left unto you desolate.” But it is because of the history of that day of sin and sorrow, when the three crosses were raised in the cold morning after Passover night, that we now read and write so much about the Holy City; and our present inquiry is the most important of all.

The white chalky slopes of Olivet were terraced and dotted with grey olive trees then as now, with here and there a fig garden and a solitary palm. But looking west there was only hard rock under grey walls—hard and stubborn as the hearts of the people, and as unlike the purple copses and dove-haunted oak woods of Galilee as was the sacerdotalism of priests to the teaching of the Son of Man. Above142 the mighty ramparts the great “wing wall” (not a “pinnacle”) of the House itself towered 150 feet over the gate towers and cloisters of the inner court. The black smoke of the fig-tree logs rose high above the great Altar. The scarps of Antonia frowned down on the Temple from the north. Beyond these great buildings were the white-washed domes of the city, and farther yet the great square towers by Herod’s palace. Perhaps a glimpse might be caught of the trees in its gardens, and of the wicked bronze statues from which its fountains poured; of the great halls, and cloisters, and fluttering doves. And outside, to the north, was the precipice and rounded summit of the Place of a Skull. Below the feet of the disciples was the Kidron gorge, the sepulchre of King Alexander cut in its cliff, and perhaps hard by in the flatter ground to its north the olive-yard of Gethsemane, and the rocky slope of the Agony to come; while on the western side was the spring of Bethesda, with its great reservoir in front, and its five cloisters, near the “Sheep Place,” where the flocks were gathered to the watering.


As regards this last site there is, of course, much difference of opinion. Bethesda could not be at Siloam, for that pool is mentioned by its old name in the same Gospel.289 Bethesda in Hebrew means “the house of the stream,” and all we know about it is that it was near the “Sheep Place,” and that it had “five cloisters.” Here the blind, halt, and withered lay “waiting for the disturbance of the waters.” It is remarkable that the text of the three oldest manuscripts of the fourth Gospel—the Alexandrian, Vatican, and Sinaitic uncials—here differs in several respects from that of later copies; and the three differ from one another. The Alexandrian alone has the143 words, “for an angel of the Lord washed at a certain season in the pool,” instead of the verse as it stands in our English Bible. The Sinaitic text calls it “a sheep pool,” and names it Bethzatha. The Vatican reads Bethsaida; and, strangely enough, all three uncials omit the words “waiting for the disturbance of the water,” for it is very unlikely that this remarkable indication was not given in the original. It evidently existed in some text as early as 330 A. D. (that is, earlier than either of the uncials), for the first pilgrim, who places Bethsaida at the “Twin Pools,” says that “they have five porches where those who had been ill for many years were healed, and the water was perturbed as though boiling.” A fifth-century writer speaks of the water as being red, and probably follows Eusebius and Jerome, who say: “Twin pools are shown, one of which is usually filled by the winter rains, but the other in wondrous wise is red, as though the bloody water testified to the ancient use; for they say that the victims used to be washed therein by the priests, for which cause it was named”—that is, “the Sheep Pool.”290

It is beyond dispute that the Twin Pools in the Antonia fosse—perhaps the Strouthios, or “Bird’s Pool” of Josephus, already cut by Herod—were those to which the fourth-century tradition pointed, and their claims are thus superior to those of the twelfth-century site farther north, or of the Templars’ site—the modern Birket Isrâîl—to the east. The latter pretty certainly did not exist till the time of Hadrian at earliest. It is also clear that the eastern of the two pools might depend on the rains, and that the western, which was fed by the aqueduct that led from outside the city walls where, on the north-west, the rain-water of the northern fosse was collected, may144 have been red and muddy from the red surface soil washed down. But this hardly describes the sudden “disturbance” for which the sick waited. It has been supposed that the Twin Pools were adorned by pillars, on four sides and on the central rock wall which divides them; but no remains of such pillars exist now on the site, and the central wall is less than 6 feet wide, and would therefore only serve to support a single line of columns, which does not represent a stoa, or “cloister,” such as is mentioned in the Gospel. Thus even the oldest traditional site does not fully meet all requirements. There is only one place which seems to do so—namely, the Kidron spring, now called by Christians “the Virgin’s Well,” and by Arabs “the Mother of Steps.” Here, as already described, occurs an intermittent “disturbance of the waters,” and the Jews still bathe in the cavern when the water suddenly surges up to fill it. They say that it is a cure for rheumatism. Josephus calls this spring “Solomon’s Pool,” using the same word (Kolumbêthra) used in the Gospel, and he evidently regarded it as the Gihon where Solomon was anointed. Till of late it might have been objected that there was no reservoir here such as might have been surrounded by five cloisters above the steps which led to the “troubled” waters of Bethesda. But the excavations of 1902—already noticed—showed that a large pool formerly existed before the cave, under the present mound with its two modern flights of steps leading down to the water. The only real objection to this site thus disappears, and we may regard Bethesda as having been the later name of the older Gihon, and as one of the few well-fixed Gospel sites.


Careful study also serves to cast some light on the sites connected with our Lord’s Passion, including those of the palaces of Annas and Caiaphas, the Prætorium, the palace of Herod, and the Golgotha. It145 should be noted that the Sanhedrin291 assembled first in the “Chamber of Hewn Stone,” which was near the south-west corner of the Priests’ Court. But forty years before the fall of Jerusalem—according to rabbinical tradition—when the power of life and death had been taken from this assembly by the procurators, “the Sanhedrin transferred itself and established itself in vaulted buildings”292 (or “in a vaulted building”), by which we may well understand the “Council House” (boulê or bouleutêrion), which—as we have seen—was possibly the “ancient hall” found by Sir Charles Warren outside the West Gate of the Temple. Josephus also notices the house of a high-priest (Ananias) apparently as being near the Hasmonæan palace (rebuilt by Agrippa II. in the north-east corner of the upper city), or close to the “Council House.”293 These indications are valuable, because the time between the first appearance of Jesus before the procurator and the hour of crucifixion is limited. If the latter occurred at 9 a.m., and the first appearance before Pilate “in the morning”—that is to say, after 6 a.m.—we have only three hours, during which time the various events of the trial occurred. These included the first examination by Pilate, the transference to Herod’s palace, the mocking, the return to Pilate’s tribunal, the scourging and crowning with thorns, after a second examination, and Pilate’s interviews with priests and people; finally, the slow procession of the cross to Calvary, and the preparations for crucifixion. When the author of the fourth Gospel speaks of the “sixth hour” as that when the words146 “Behold your King” were uttered, we can only suppose that some clerical error has arisen, as this contradicts the older Gospel.294 The time is so short for the various events that the various places mentioned should be sought in close proximity to one another.

For this reason we are led to suppose that the Prætorium was the castle of Antonia.295 The Greek word (praitôrion) borrowed from Latin means “the house of a prætor,” or more generally the residence of a governor. We do not actually know where the procurators lived when they were in Jerusalem, but in 65 A. D. we find that the first object of Florus, on entering the city, was to establish himself in Antonia, and it was not till he failed to reach this citadel that he took refuge in the upper city. Peter’s prison seems also to have been in Antonia, since the gate opened thence into the city. Paul was certainly taken to this “castle” (parembolê), up the steps whence he spoke to the mob. The site of these steps is marked by a cutting in the middle of the south scarp of Antonia which is now walled up, and the mob had thus invaded the broad court of the citadel, extending from the scarp to the Temple cloisters. Antonia was the station of an “Italian band” which policed the excited Temple crowds, and we read that Jesus was led by the soldiers “to the Praitorian hall.” But the fourth Gospel gives a yet clearer indication, for it identifies the “pavement” with the Hebrew Gabbatha, or “height,” where was the bêma or tribune—the raised pulpit of the judge. It is not at first evident what a “pavement” has to do with a “height,” but the word (lithostrôton) does not mean a tessellated floor but only something “covered with stones,” and Josephus tells us that at Antonia “the rock itself147 was covered over with smooth pieces of stone from its foundation, both for ornament, and that any one who would try either to get up or go down it might not be able to hold his feet upon it.” Thus an apparent mistranslation of “Gabbatha” is perhaps in reality an indication that the Prætorium was in the citadel of Antonia.


The “upper palace”—that of Herod the Great, on the west side of the upper city—seems always to have been held by the procurators as a fortress, and when Herod Antipas came to Jerusalem he probably—like Agrippa II.—lived in the old Hasmonæan palace close to the bridge, as this enabled him to go to the Temple without passing through the city.

These various considerations may perhaps help us to trace the course of events. In the darkness before dawn the traitor came, with the servants of the high-priest, to the garden of Gethsemane somewhere on Olivet beyond the Kidron. Jesus was led thence perhaps across Ophel, and under the great bridge, to the “hall” of the high-priest, which may probably have adjoined the Council House. He was seen first by Annas, who ordered that He should be sent bound to Caiaphas. The latter had hastily summoned “all the Sanhedrin,”296 probably in the Council House. This expression no doubt means the full Sanhedrin of seventy-one members; for Caiaphas inquired of Jesus concerning “His doctrine,”297 and He was arraigned as a false prophet and false Messiah. Many false witnesses were examined, and the examination may have been long, since, according to the Mishnah, “every judge who extends examination is to be commended.” A false prophet, according to the same authority, could only be judged at Jerusalem and by the full Sanhedrin, and could be tried and executed148 on a holiday, which in other cases was not allowable.298 Jesus could not, according to law, be condemned as a blasphemer,299 for that crime was defined as being the utterance of the name Jehovah. Yet the fact that the Sanhedrin “rent their clothes” shows that He was condemned unjustly on this accusation also. Peter stood in the outer court of the building, where a brazier burned because of the cold. His denial of his Master probably occurred at the moment when He was being led from the council chamber to be taken before Pilate,300 this being at “cock crow,” though the procurator was not to be approached till the morning301—that is to say, after sunrise, which took place about 6 a.m.

The power of life and death had been taken from the Sanhedrin by the procurators, so that it was not lawful for them to put any man to death. They no longer held their meetings in the Temple court, and though their decisions were obeyed by Israel, their private assembly, in the precincts of the high-priest’s “hall,” had no force under Roman rule. It was necessary to induce the Procurator himself at least to consent to the punishment of Jesus by death, but the priests had scruples which forbade their entering Pilate’s Prætorium at Passover time. They passed through the Temple, where Judas met them and cast down the thirty pieces of silver, and they waited in the open court below the stairs and scarp of Antonia, with the gathering crowd of fanatical Jews, just where (more than twenty years later) another mob assembled and was addressed by Paul from the same stairs.

Pilate was the favourite of Sejanus, who was the favourite of Tiberius. The appointment did much to149 incense the Jews against Rome; for, judging from the various riots and massacres of Jews, Galileans, and Samaritans which occurred during his ten years’ rule, he was an incompetent governor; and from the Gospel narrative it appears that he was afraid of the mob, and anxious to shift all responsibility on others, while endeavouring to follow the advice of his wiser wife, who bade him have “nothing to do with that just man.” He took his seat on the bêma within the castle, where no doubt the angry roar of the multitude below the rock could be heard. His first attempt to evade his duties was made as soon as he learned that Jesus was a Galilean, and the trial was interrupted in order that the prisoner might be sent to Herod Antipas. We may suppose, therefore, that Jesus was taken by the soldiers of the governor down the great stairs, and along the west cloisters, where a guard was only needed on the left hand, and so across the great Tyropœon bridge to the neighbouring palace of the Hasmonæans.

But Antipas had no jurisdiction in Jerusalem, though he was curious to see the prophet of Nazareth, and “hoped to have seen some miracle done by Him.” He questioned our Lord with many words, and the priests and scribes “vehemently accused Him.” But he took no responsibility, though—with his men of war—he “set Him at nought, and mocked, and arrayed Him in a brilliant mantle, and sent Him again to Pilate”302 by the way whereby He came.


Again Pilate took his seat in the Prætorium, and questioned our Lord whether He was King of the Jews. For the priests brought no charge of blasphemy against Him before the procurator, but endeavoured to represent Him as a dangerous rebel against Rome, and as claiming to be “the King Messiah.” Another mode of escape suggested itself to the vacillating150 governor. He “went out” to the stairs, and offered to the mob the release of their King as a concession at Passover. Again he failed, for the people began to understand that he was afraid—afraid of the mob, afraid of what would be said in Rome, afraid of his wife’s face, afraid to do his duty. He saw that “he could prevail nothing but rather that a tumult was made.” No one listened to his question, “What evil hath He done?” They demanded that Jesus be crucified, and Barabbas released. Meanly Pilate yielded his authority, and vainly he washed his hands. Barabbas was no doubt in Antonia also, and was brought out to appease the people. Jesus was scourged, and the soldiers in the Prætorium clad Him again in the purple robe of Antipas, crowned Him with thorns, placed in His hand the reed, and mocked Him in the hall which afterwards became the Christian “Chapel of the Mocking,” still existing on the Antonia rock. He was brought out and shown to the multitude below, with the words, “Behold the man.”

Yet again Pilate hesitated, and went in to re-examine his prisoner, seeking some means of escape from crime. But the power of which he boasted was gone, and Jesus answered, “He that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin”—no doubt meaning Caiaphas, who worked on the fears of the procurator through the mob that cried, “Thou art not Cæsar’s friend.” For the last time he came forth to appease the people, saying, “Behold your King,” and “gave up” Jesus to the Jews, who “had no king but Cæsar,” conniving at the unlawful death doom (while seeking not to admit his consent) by providing a guard. The white-robed figure came down the broad flight of steps to where the cross was already prepared, and bearing this He passed through the courts of Antonia to the most northern of the Temple gates, and so151 down to the rough pavement of the street, which ran northwards west of the sanctuary to the city gate. This we may regard as the true Way of Sorrow, lying below the street to-day.


We come therefore to the final question, where we should look for Golgotha, and for the new tomb in the garden hard by. No one doubts that these sites lay outside the city. The first and fourth Gospels and the Epistle to the Hebrews alike make this conclusion quite certain.303 The first tells us that the guard of the sepulchre came “into the city” afterwards; the second that Calvary was “nigh to the city”; the third that “Jesus ... suffered without the gate.” It was near this gate apparently that Simon the Cyrenian was found “coming out of the field,” and forced to carry the cross. The only other indications of the position of Golgotha are, that it was apparently near a road and visible to those that “passed by,” and that it was probably on a height because it was to be seen “afar off.”304 There is no reason to doubt that it was the usual place of execution, which was familiar to the Gospel writers, and the same place outside the city where Stephen and James were afterwards stoned.305

We must remember that although the punishment of crucifixion was not one of the four death penalties of the Jews, yet it was not exclusively a Roman mode of torture. It was usual among the Greeks in Alexander’s age, and among Carthaginians a century later. It had been used by Alexander Jannæus—as already mentioned—who was a pure Hebrew, and who crucified eight hundred Jews. It was also customary, according to the Mishnah, to crucify those who had been stoned: “They sank a beam into the ground152 and a cross beam proceeded from it, and they bound his hands one over the other, and hung him up.”306 It was thus a Jewish practice; and Pilate, though he provided the “title” to be borne before the condemned—“The King of the Jews,” written in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin—did not order the Crucifixion, but “gave up” the Son of Man to His foes. There also seems to be no reason why a separate place of execution, other than that generally used, should have been peculiar to Roman executions at any time.


From the Author’s sketch, looking north-west.


The “House of Stoning” was the Jewish place of death. It is mentioned in the Mishnah,307 and it was not at the judgment hall, but some distance from it and out of sight; for a man was stationed at the door of the hall, with a cloth in his hand, “and another man rode a horse at a distance from him, but so that he might see him.” Thus if any one desired to bring further evidence at the last moment for the acquittal of the condemned, the cloth was waved, and the “horseman galloped” after the prisoner, and brought him back to be tried again. This description shows that a considerable distance separated the “House of Stoning” from the vicinity of the Temple. At the place of execution there was also apparently a precipice, for it was “the height of two men,” or nearly 12 feet, and the two witnesses who cast the first two stones seem to have stood above the victim on this cliff. It must also have been outside the city in accordance with the law,308 but unfortunately the Rabbis have not told us in which direction. It was close to a garden, in which was the private sepulchre of Joseph of Arimathæa, “wherein was never man yet laid,” and this serves rather to point to the north, which is the only direction in which we153 have any notice of gardens outside Jerusalem309—the hill of Gareb (or “plantations”) mentioned by Jeremiah being also on the north. The north was regarded by the Jews as the unlucky side, and even down to the sixteenth century the Ṣahrah, or “plateau” north of the city, is described by an Arab writer as a place of evil repute,310 while in the fifth century the place of Stephen’s death by stoning was thought to have been outside the north gate of Jerusalem. We have thus a consensus of Jewish, Christian, and Moslem tradition on this subject.

It is unnecessary to describe the knoll, north of the Damascus Gate, which is now a Moslem graveyard, or the cliff on its south side in which is the so-called “Grotto of Jeremiah”; for the place is familiar to all who have visited the Holy City, and from many well-known photographs and drawings. It is called the Heidhemîyeh (or “cutting”) by Syrians, and it was very clearly outside the city in the time of our Lord, and even later, as we shall see in describing the course of the third wall. It is a site suitable for a public execution, having round it a flat amphitheatre of sloping ground. It is visible “afar off” on either side, and it is immediately east of the great north road. It is regarded still by the Jews of Jerusalem as being the ancient “House of Stoning,” and though this tradition cannot be traced in the scanty notices of the city to be found in the pilgrim texts of Jewish travellers, yet it is by no means modern, and it exists among the Sephardim families from Spain who have lived for centuries in Jerusalem. The circumstances thus enumerated give good grounds for the conclusion that this remarkable hill is not only the true site of the “House of Stoning,” but the actual site of Calvary, and as such it has been154 long regarded by many who have felt it impossible to accept the traditional sites shown in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.311

This site I advocated in 1878; and it was afterwards pointed out312 that others, whose works I have never seen, had fixed on the same spot, including Otto Thenius in 1849, and Mr. Fisher Rowe in 1871; but neither of these writers has apparently mentioned the Jewish tradition. In 1881 Dr. T. Chaplin kindly arranged for me to go, with a respectable Spanish Jew, to see the reputed tomb of Simon the Just, and this guide pointed out the hill in question when we passed it as the ancient “House of Stoning.” After the publication of my suggestion in 1878, the idea was adopted, first by Mr. Laurence Oliphant, and afterwards in 1882 by General Gordon. The very general acceptance of the site was due no doubt to the great influence of the last named; but he added theories of his own, and thought that a tomb in the cliff—now known as the “Garden Tomb”—must be the true site of the Holy Sepulchre.


General Gordon had not then been long in Palestine, and he was not aware that this tomb had been described already, and had been attributed to a much later age than that of our Lord. He was not versed in Palestine archæology, and the arguments brought forward by the supporters of this opinion are not convincing. The fourth Gospel313 says that “in [or “at”] the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new sepulchre” which was “nigh at hand,” but not of necessity in the cliff of Calvary, which would indeed be a very unlikely position for a private tomb. Others have urged that since the “deacons of the Church of the Marturion,” named155 Nonus and Onesimus,314 were buried near this place, and one of their texts speaks of a deacon as “buried near his Lord,” there must have been an early Christian tradition pointing to this site. But the church so described was that built by Constantine, and the texts are not earlier at most than the fourth century, when the whole Christian world accepted the present traditional sites of Calvary and the Sepulchre. The “Garden Tomb” is not a Jewish tomb, and there is good reason to suppose that it is not older than the twelfth century A. D. It was first excavated in 1873, when I visited and described it.315 When opened, it was found to be filled to the roof with bones, and when these were cleared away by Herr K. Schick, two Latin patriarch’s crosses, in red paint, were found on the east wall of the inner chamber. These could not have been painted before the twelfth century, since the Greek cross is always found alone earlier in Palestine.

East of the tomb there are marks of vaults supported against the rock. It is well known that the Hospice of the Templars316 was here built, for pilgrims visiting Jerusalem, not earlier than the end of the twelfth century, and it was called the Asnerie, or “place for asses,” because the asses used by the travellers were here stabled. The remains of mangers were still visible in 1881, at the south-west corner of this building, in the flat ground below the cliff to the south. The hospice thus appears to have been about 200 feet square, and the tomb in all probability was connected with it, as a sepulchre for pilgrims or for Templars. The immense accumulation of corpses, here hurriedly buried, may have been due to the Kharezmian massacre in 1244 A. D. The inner chamber156 of this tomb, to the east, had three graves on the floor. It does not in any way answer to the tomb described in the Gospels, nor is it at all like the Greco-Jewish tombs of the first century A. D.


From the Author’s sketch.


For these reasons, while it is probable that the site is that of Calvary, we must still say of our Lord as was said of Moses, “No man knoweth of His sepulchre unto this day.” This indeed is the general conclusion of recent writers, and even as regards Calvary we have only probabilities to consider. It is not desirable to create new sacred places, by the same enthusiasm without knowledge which led to the creation of those of the fourth century. There is, however, a single tomb, on the west side of the north road, which passes close to the “House of Stoning” leaving it to the east; but I should be loath to describe this as being more than a possible site at most for the “new tomb.” This sepulchre I examined in 1881, and was led, by comparing it with the other tombs of about the first century A. D., to the conclusion that it was a Greco-Jewish tomb.317 It is cut in the east face of a rock, and has a chamber for six bodies. Outside, to the north of its outer court, there is another chamber with a single loculus, which might conceivably represent the “new tomb”; for though there are many old Christian tombs in the vicinity, there is no other known which is Greco-Jewish.318 A cylindrical rolling stone (like a cheese set up on its round edge) often closes the door of this class of tomb—as can still be 157seen at the tomb of Helena of Adiabene, north of Jerusalem, and elsewhere. The Garden Tomb can never have had such a stone, but at the Greco-Jewish tomb in question guard stones outside both chambers exist, which may have kept such stones in place before the doors.

In Palestine generally there are five kinds of rock tomb. In the north the Phœnician class has a chamber with kokîm, or tunnel graves, at the bottom of a deep shaft—as in Egypt. The usual Hebrew tomb has a chamber entered from the face of the rock, with kokîm dug endwise from the walls. The inner, and therefore later, chambers of such tombs have a different arrangement in examples which—from the Greek details of the porches—must belong to the Greek or the Herodian ages. In such chambers a rock sarcophagus under an arch is cut parallel to the wall on each side. The “new tomb” was clearly of this class, since we read that two angels sat, one at the head, the other at the foot of the grave, which would be impossible in a tomb with kokîm graves. The Greco-Jewish class of tomb was certainly in use in the first century A. D. The fourth class consists of rock-sunk graves, with a heavy lid fitted above: this seems to belong to Roman times. The fifth has two graves, one each side of a shaft, and this is known from inscriptions to have been in use in the twelfth century. Leaden coffins were sometimes used in these later tombs. The sepulchre west of the “House of Stoning” belongs to the third class—the Greco-Jewish—but, since similar arrangements are to be found in some later Greek tombs of the Byzantine age, it is not here intended to be understood that this tomb of necessity existed at the time of the Crucifixion.

The present chapter has been one of conjecture as to probabilities, rather than of the description of undoubted monuments. This is rendered inevitable158 by the circumstances. The results will not be admitted by those who are convinced that the traditional sites are to be accepted; but to those who are not so convinced, the arguments may appear more suggestive. The only known patristic allusion to Calvary before 326 A. D. is that of Origen in our third century,319 and he only refers to a “Hebrew” tradition that Adam was buried at Golgotha. He must mean Hebrew Christians, as the Jews never mention Golgotha by name at all, and held that Adam was buried at Hebron, as Jerome also supposed—a tradition repeated by the Jewish traveller Rabbi Jacob in 1258 A. D., and which was based on the old name of Hebron, Kirjath Arb’a, “the city of four,” who were supposed to be Adam, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.320 Even if some Hebrews supposed Adam to have died in Jerusalem, the tradition is very improbable, and also tells us nothing as to the position of Calvary.

The events of the Passion have been detailed at some length, with the object of showing that the accounts in the four Gospels do not disagree as a whole with one another, and that the close proximity of the sites fits with the limited time that elapsed between the first trial in the Prætorium and the Crucifixion of our Lord. Like the early Christians, we must be content with a very general idea of the localities; and as regards the “new sepulchre,” we must “let the dead bury their dead.”


286 Neubauer, “Géog. du Talmud,” 1868, p. 142, quotes Tal. Jer., Sanhed., ii. 2 (“et dans d’autres passages”), for the doctors seated on the steps to teach. Luke ii. 46–50.

287 The tables (Sheḳ., vi. 45); the seats (Sukkah, iv. 1); the boxes (Sheḳ., iii. 2); and the stalls (Tal. Bab., Aboda Zara, 8 b.; Rosh hash-Shanah, 31 a). Matt. xxi. 12; Mark xi. 16; Luke xix. 45, xxi. 1; John ii. 14, x. 23; Josephus, “Ant.” XX. ix. 7; “Wars,” V. v. 1; Acts iii. 2.

288 Matt. xxiii. 37, xxiv. 1–2; Mark xiii. 1–2; Luke xxi. 1–5.

289 John v. 2–4, ix. 7. The “tower of Siloam” (Luke xiii. 4) was probably one of those on the city wall near the pool.

290 Bordeaux Pilgrim (333 A. D.); Eucherius (c. 427–40 A. D.); Onomasticon, s.v. Bethesda.

291 See Derenbourg, “Palestine,” 1867, p. 465; Mishnah, Middoth, iv. 7, and Seder Olam, and Tal. Bab., Aboda Zara, 8 b, Rosh hash-Shanah, 31 a, are quoted by Derenbourg.

292 Ḥanuioth, see Gesenius, “Lex.,” Jer. xxxvii. 16; Ḥanuth in Tal. Bab., Rosh hash-Shanah, 31 a, in the singular; Josephus, “Wars,” V., iv. 2, vi. 3.

293 Josephus, “Wars,” II. xvii. 6.

294 Mark xv. 25; John xix. 14.

295 Mark xv. 16; John xviii. 28, xix. 9, 13; Josephus, “Wars,” II. xv. 5, V. v. 8; Acts xii. 10, xxi. 31, 37, 40.

296 Matt. xxvi. 59.

297 John xviii. 19.

298 Sanhed., i. 5, v. 2, x. 4.

299 Ibid., vii. 5.

300 Luke xxii. 61.

301 Matt. xxvi. 74, xxvii. 1; Mark xiv. 72, xv. 1; Luke xxii. 66, xxiii. 1; John xviii. 27, 28.

302 Luke xxiii. 6–12.

303 Matt. xxviii. 11; John xix. 20, 41; Heb. xiii. 12.

304 Matt. xxvii. 32, 39; Mark xv. 21, 29; Luke xxiii. 26, 49.

305 Acts vii. 58.

306 Mishnah, Sanhed., vi. 4.

307 Ibid., vi. 1–4.

308 Deut. xxii. 24; John xix. 41.

309 Josephus, “Wars,” V. ii. 2; Jer. xxxi. 39.

310 Mejîr ed Dîn (c. 1521 A. D.).

311 “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., 1883, pp. 428–35.

312 Prof. T. Hayter Lewis, “Holy Places of Jerusalem,” 1888, p. 113.

313 John xix. 41, 42.

314 See Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, April, 1890, p. 69.

315 “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., p. 385.

316 “Citez de Jhérusalem,” after 1187 A. D.

317 See “Ord. Survey Notes,” plate xxv., for the tomb of Helena of Adiabene; “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., p. 433, for plan of the tomb in question.

318 See Matt. xxvii, 60, 66; Mark xv. 46; Luke xxiv. 2; John xx. 1, 12. Herr K. Schick stated that when this tomb was excavated, a slab was found in it, on which was a Greek cross, with the words Thêkê Diapherous(a), or “a private sepulchre.” The tomb is very roughly cut, and may have been hewn as late as the fifth century A. D., unless it was re-used.

319 Origen, “Catena” (see Sir C. Wilson’s article, Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, January, 1902, p. 71): “As regards the Place of a Skull, Hebrew tradition has come down to us that Adam’s body was buried there.” Jerome, on Matt. xxvii., says that Adam was buried at Hebron (Reland, “Pal.,” ii. p. 709).

320 Tal. Bab., Erubin, 53 a.


Only forty years after the day of the Crucifixion the blood of the rejected Messiah came on the heads of those who had invoked it on themselves and on their children; and the soldiers of Titus nailed the Jewish deserters to crosses outside the city to the north, till “room was wanting for the crosses and crosses for the bodies.”321 We may briefly examine the course of events that led to the final catastrophe.

The death of Herod the Great was the signal for revolt against Rome.322 Archelaus and Antipas sailed at once for the imperial city, to urge their claims before Augustus. In their absence Sabinus acted as Cæsar’s procurator, under Varus the governor of Syria. He appears to have exacted money, and to have otherwise oppressed the Jews, and at the Feast of Pentecost—about the middle of May—the city was filled with pilgrims from Jericho, Galilee, and beyond Jordan, and with Idumæans from the south. Their indignation at injuries inflicted by Sabinus led to revolt, and while some held the west cloister of the Temple, and others the “Hippodrome” (perhaps the Xystos) towards the south, a third band besieged the Romans in Herod’s palace on the west side of the Upper City. Sabinus, from the top of the Phasaelus160 tower, directed a sally, and drove the rebels back to the Temple. The west cloister was set on fire, and the soldiers plundered the Temple treasure; but the siege closed in again, and the Jews attempted to undermine the palace walls. Varus hastened to march on Palestine, which was reduced to anarchy, and he advanced on Samaria, set fire to Emmaus Nicopolis, and finally reached Jerusalem, reinforced by Arab auxiliaries sent by Ḥârith, king of Petra. The Jerusalem Jews excused themselves before him, and the strangers abandoned the siege and dispersed. Sabinus, fearing to meet his superior, stole away to the seaside, probably to Cæsarea; the revolt was quelled, and two thousand of the rebels were seized and crucified. Varus returned to Antioch, leaving a legion at Jerusalem, and pacified the Jews by allowing them to send an embassy to Rome, petitioning that they might be permitted to live according to their own law. Archelaus was given the government of Judæa and Samaria by Augustus, but only held it for ten years. Antipas received Galilee, and Peræa (beyond Jordan), which he held till 39 A. D., and Herod Philip had Bashan and Abilene.

The time was, however, now come for direct Roman rule; and when Archelaus was banished to Vienne, Coponius became the first procurator,323 and Pontius Pilatus was the fifth (25 to 35 A. D.). The character of these governors depended on that of the emperor under whom they served, and Pilate was a placeman under Tiberius in the later years of that hated emperor. But, as Tacitus says, the Jews, as a whole,161 “had rest” under Tiberius, and the prosperity of the country increased. Agrippa was a popular ruler, though in his last year he persecuted the Christians at Jerusalem; and in his time the city was fortified by a new wall on the north. Tacitus again says that “the Jews had patience till Gessius Florus was made procurator” (by Nero); “under him it was that the war began.”


Even when Pilate attempted to benefit the city by making an aqueduct, he roused bitter wrath by appropriating the “sacred money” for the purpose. He also introduced statues of Cæsar secretly into the Temple, and was soon forced by Jewish opposition to remove them. He put down a Samaritan outbreak with cruelty, and Vitellius, governor of Syria, ordered him to Rome, where he arrived in 37 A. D. to find that Tiberius was dead. Marcellus was appointed procurator in his stead, and Vitellius pacified the Jews by granting to them the custody of the high-priest’s vestments, which were kept till then under Roman custody in Antonia.324

There is no mention of any aqueducts at Jerusalem before the time of Pilate, except the Siloam one, and the “Conduit of the Upper Pool,” dating from the reign of Ahaz. Nor do the remains of the great reservoirs at Etam (near Urṭâs), and of the two aqueducts from the south, give any indications of construction earlier than the work of the Romans. The high-level aqueduct indeed was probably not in existence till the time of Hadrian, as will appear subsequently. It was the low-level aqueduct that Pilate made.325 It was fed by the spring at Etam, south of Bethlehem, by a reservoir farther south, and by the lowest of the three great tanks near the spring. When in repair it still162 carries water to the Temple enclosure, having a serpentine course of about thirteen miles, and passing through two tunnels at Bethlehem and near Jerusalem. The three pools at Etam are fed by rain water, and by the spring known as the “Sealed Fountain.” The channel crossed the Valley of Hinnom (on arches) above the present Birket es Sulṭân, and ran on the south slope of the upper city and along its east side, crossing the Tyropœon, and passing (near the present Gate of the Chain) through the Herodian west rampart, and thus to a rock-cut tank south of the inner Temple court. Josephus does not over-estimate its length, if he refers to that feeder of the “low-level” aqueduct which runs from the spring of Kueizîba, far south of the Etam pool, to feed the three reservoirs. Even the shorter distance from near the pool makes Pilate’s aqueduct much longer than any other known in Palestine. That it should be attributed to Solomon is due to later traditional conjecture, and there is no notice in the Bible of any such work as executed by him. The three reservoirs are now called “Solomon’s Pools,” but the masonry is Roman. Josephus says that Solomon had gardens “abounding in rivulets of water” at Etam, but does not speak of any aqueduct. The legend of the “Sealed Fountain” may be founded on his allusion, which Christian writers connected with a verse in the Song of Songs, “A garden enclosed is my one bride, A spring shut up, a fountain sealed.”326

Under Agrippa I. Jerusalem reached the summit of its prosperity, and as early as ten years after the Crucifixion the city had so greatly increased in size, on the north, that a new wall was necessary to defend the new suburbs. This wall was built by Agrippa after 41 A. D., but the building was stopped by command of the Emperor Claudius, whose suspicions were163 roused by Marcus, the governor of Syria.327 Josephus says, “The beginning of the third wall was at the tower Hippicus, whence it reached as far as the north quarter of the city and the tower Psephinus. Then it extended opposite the monuments of Helena, which Helena was queen of Adiabene, the daughter of Izates, and being prolonged across the Caverns of the Kings, it bent at a corner tower called the Monument of the Fuller, and joined the old wall at the valley called the Valley of Kedron.” For a fourth hill, north of Antonia, had become an inhabited quarter beyond the outer fosse of that citadel, and this was called “Bezetha” in Aramaic, or in Greek “the New City.” The word Bezetha comes from a root meaning to “divide,” and seems to refer to the ridge being here cut across by the fosse. From other passages we learn that there was a gate opposite Helena’s monument, with towers called the “Women’s Towers.” Psephinus was a great octagonal tower at the north-west corner of the wall; it was 70 cubits high, and Josephus says that Arabia, and even the Mediterranean, could be seen from it. This seems impossible, but at least it may have had a view of the mountains of Arabia near Petra, which can be seen from the high ground near the modern Russian buildings, as I have personally observed in winter when they were covered with snow.


We may consider in detail the positions of the monuments of Helena and of the Caverns of the Kings, which are the two fixed points on the line, as well as the question whether any remains of Agrippa’s wall can be supposed to exist. Helena’s monument is perhaps one of the best fixed sites at Jerusalem; and, if we may believe Josephus, who says that it was164 “no more than three furlongs from the city,”328 we have a measurement which determines the position of the Women’s Towers as being about due west of the “House of Stoning,” described in the last chapter. The tomb was adorned with three pyramids, and held the bones of Helena, who had become a convert to Judaism, and of her son Izates, named after his grandfather. They died about the same time, apparently not earlier than 50 A. D. Pausanias describes this tomb as having a rolling stone at its door, and Jerome says that it lay east of the north road. These indications point to the great Greco-Jewish rock-sepulchre which is commonly called the “Tombs of the Kings,” or by Arabs “Tombs of the Sulṭâns.”


This monument has four chambers, reached from an outer court by a small door with a rolling stone still before it. There is also a fifth chamber below, having a secret entrance, and reached by a flight of steps. The tomb was explored by M. de Saulcy, who made very remarkable discoveries in it, showing that it was still in use after 79 A. D., for all the coins were of the reign of Titus. Izates, however, had a large family, and some of his children came to Jerusalem when the throne of Adiabene descended to his brother Monobasus. Cinerary urns, lamps, glass bottles for unguents, others of alabaster, gold ornaments, chains, and fibulæ were found, as well as osteophagi like those in other tombs near Jerusalem, ornamented with incised geometrical patterns. But the most important find was an unopened sarcophagus, with a partly legible Aramaic text of two lines, having eight letters in each. When the cover was removed, a skeleton was seen with the hands crossed in front; it crumbled away immediately, leaving only the gold threads which once adorned the winding sheet. But the text (in Aramaic letters very like the Palmyrene forms)165 appears clearly to begin with the name ’Elen malkatha, for “Helena the queen,” and thus serves to identify the monument as being actually that of the royal family of Adiabene.329

The “Caverns of the Kings” seem to be clearly those which still exist under the cliff east of the Damascus Gate. They have been used at some time as a quarry, but the unfinished stones now remaining in them are not of very great dimensions. M. Clermont-Ganneau, however, found a rough sketch of a cherub carved on the wall, and as this appears to be in the old Phœnician or Babylonian style, it indicates considerable antiquity for the caverns. There is also a rock fosse with scarps at and east of this place, defending the present north wall of the city, which runs apparently on the line of Agrippa’s wall to a corner tower, and then turning southwards joins the east wall of the Ḥaram. It is generally agreed that this was the line of Agrippa’s wall on the north-east and east,330 but some writers suppose that the modern north wall represents the farthest extension of Jerusalem in Agrippa’s time throughout its course, and they have placed Psephinus at the mediæval “Tancred’s Tower,” within the north-west angle of the present city. This tower, however, does not suit the description by Josephus, since it is neither octagonal nor has it an extensive view. The masonry, even of the oldest part, is of the twelfth century, and the foundations of an older wall between this tower and the Damascus Gate have also been proved to be the work of the Crusaders. If we follow the description of Josephus, Psephinus must have been farther to the north-west, and outside the present wall. The Women’s166 Towers must also have been about 300 yards farther north than the Damascus Gate, if they were only 3 furlongs from the tomb of Helena; and the broad fosse, south of the “House of Stoning,” defines the approximate line of Agrippa’s wall as running from a block of rock west of the north road where there was an angle, and thence south-east, and then east over the Caverns of the Kings.

As regards any remains of this wall, large stones, with well-dressed faces and drafts after the Herodian style, have been found in several places towards the north-west outside Jerusalem, and these may have belonged to Agrippa’s wall; but it is very doubtful if any of them are in their original positions. One group, excavated by Sir Charles Wilson in 1864, forms the side of a tank, and the stones have evidently been re-used—probably farther north than the line of the wall to which they originally belonged. In 1838 there were remains of a wall, and foundations which Dr. Robinson describes as those of a “large tower,” extending north-west, beyond the modern city, towards the Russian cathedral, which was not then built. He describes “large hewn blocks of stone,” and regards this line as having “belonged very distinctly to the third wall.” This was still to be seen in 1847, and Herr Konrad Schick, who saw the remains, speaks of a “strong wall,” but unfortunately they have now entirely disappeared. Such remains are not to be found towards the north-east outside the present north wall, which seems clearly to have been here built on the old line.331


In the time of Agrippa Jerusalem therefore extended over about 300 acres, and—judging from the density of population in the modern city—it must have had167 about 30,000 inhabitants. The old city, bounded by the “second wall,” occupied only 200 acres, and it does not seem likely that the town would have become half as large again in the short interval of ten years which elapsed between the Crucifixion and the accession of Agrippa, especially as these were not particularly prosperous years. Thus, though the “second wall” was the northern limit of the fortress in the time of our Lord, it is probable that Bezetha had already been built over, and that the houses extended on the flat ground outside the rampart, on the north-west, even before the date of the Crucifixion. This would involve the abandonment of the traditional site of Calvary as not being outside the city, but we have already seen that this site in all probability lay even within the second wall.

The wall of Agrippa appears to have been still unfinished when its building was stopped by Claudius, and in 70 A. D. Titus found it incomplete332 towards the north-west. Josephus says, “The first fortification was lower, and the second did not join it; the builders neglecting to build the wall strong where the new city was not much inhabited.” He is speaking of the west part of the wall, though on the east as well there seems to have been no very formidable rampart north of Antonia. The death of Agrippa I., in 44 A. D., marks the beginning of Jewish troubles, and no later builder attempted to strengthen Jerusalem farther on the north.

Events hurried on to the final catastrophe during the quarter of a century that now followed,333 and the narratives of Josephus are full of allusions to the city and to its topography. The Christians at168 Jerusalem were persecuted by Agrippa just before his death. James the Less was killed by the sword, and Peter was imprisoned.334 Cuspius Fadus, the eighth procurator, was then appointed by Claudius, and he took away again from the priests the custody of the high-priest’s vestments, which were kept in Antonia. In 49 A. D., under Ventidius Cumanus, Roman soldiers insulted the Temple at the Feast of Passover. A riot followed, and a massacre turned the feast into mourning and defiled the Holy House with blood. In 52 A. D. Felix replaced Cumanus, and the discontent of the Jews increased under his rule when Nero became emperor two years later. Of Felix, who married Drusilla, sister of Agrippa II., Tacitus says that “he exercised all kind of barbarity and extravagance, as if he had royal authority with the disposition of a slave.” “He had been a good while ago set over Judæa, and thought he might be guilty of all sorts of wickedness with impunity,” relying on the power of his brother Pallas at Rome. Cumanus was then ruling Galilee, and Felix, “by the use of unseasonable remedies, blew up the coals of sedition into a flame, and was imitated by his partner in the government, Ventidius Cumanus.”335


A short respite of four years, under Porcius Festus and Albinus (60 to 64 A. D.), preceded the fatal selection of Gessius Florus, the last procurator. During this time the Temple was finished,336 and Agrippa II. rebuilt the Hasmonæan palace. This gave great offence to the priests, because it had a view of the inner Temple; and they built a screen on the cloister wall which Festus ordered them to remove. Agrippa had been given authority over the Temple by Claudius, and refused to expend its treasure on a projected169 rebuilding of the eastern cloister, though he did not object to the paving of the city. Under Albinus,337 James the “brother of Jesus who was called Christ” was stoned to death by an illegal order of the Sanhedrin, according to the famous passage in Josephus, and Agrippa was obliged to depose the high-priest Ananus, because of the wrath of Albinus, whose consent had not been given to this third execution at the “House of Stoning.” It was probably after this persecution, about 64 A. D., that the surviving disciples left Jerusalem. James the Great was alive at Jerusalem in 58 A. D., so that there is no difficulty as to his martyrdom about 62 A. D. But it is remarkable that, on the occasion of Paul’s last visit to Jerusalem, Peter is not mentioned, though he was still one of the “pillars” in 52 A. D. He had perhaps died in the interval, and the belief in his later martyrdom at Rome is not supported by any statement in the New Testament. The diminished band of the Apostles withdrew before the time of the great revolt, and found peace at the little village of Pella beyond Jordan, escaping the miseries of the final siege, the “beginning of sorrows” when false Messiahs, such as Eleazar and the Egyptian prophet, appeared, and when there were “wars and rumours of wars” throughout Palestine. Within the time of the first generation they saw the end of their world. “For the days shall come upon thee that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground and thy children within thee, and they shall not leave one stone upon another, because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”338

The Roman world was not likely to prosper under170 an emperor like Nero, who would not trouble himself with its more serious affairs, and Gessius Florus was a bad procurator under an evil master. Cestius Gallus, governor of Syria,339 in vain attempted to restore order when he visited Jerusalem, and received the appeal of the Jews against their tyrant, who was accused of appropriating the sacred treasures. Florus entered Jerusalem in wrath, and allowed his soldiers to pillage the upper market. He is said to have crucified many Jews, and to have ordered a massacre, in spite of the entreaties of Berenice, while a procession of priests preceded by harpers and singers strove to pacify the insurgents. The Romans drove the mob with clubs to the Bezetha quarter, but failed to gain entry into Antonia, and Florus withdrew to the citadel of the upper city. The Jews appear to have barricaded the approach to the Temple by cutting down the cloisters on the north. The citizens, supported by Berenice, appealed to Cestius, and Florus retreated to Cæsarea.


Agrippa II. now returned from Egypt to Jamnia, near Joppa, and to him the Jews also appealed. Cestius sent his envoy Neapolitanus, who was received at Siloam, escorted round the walls, and after worshipping in the Temple returned to Syria. Agrippa from his palace addressed the crowd, and Berenice wept before them. But when he attempted to collect the arrears of taxation he was stoned, and left Jerusalem in disgust. The fanatical spirit of the rioters was fanned by Eleazar, son of the high-priest, and the more moderate and peaceful party were forced to seek refuge with the Romans in the upper city fortress. The fierce “siccarii,” or “dagger men,” drove the soldiers of Agrippa into this citadel. They burned the house of the high-priest, the palaces of Agrippa and Berenice, and the place of the “archives” where171 the legal contracts were stored: they thus destroyed any records of their debts or agreements. Some of the priests were forced to hide in underground vaults, while others fled to the “upper palace” built by Herod the Great. The rebels attacked Antonia, which fell into their hands after two days, and was set on fire; they then attacked the western citadel, driving the Romans to the three towers Hippicus, Phasaelus, and Mariamne. They were led by a certain Menahem, who for the moment eclipsed Eleazar: he was the son of Judas the Galilean, and assumed royal state. The high-priest was found hidden in the aqueduct tunnel and was killed, which roused his son Eleazar to attack Menahem, who fled to Ophel. Metellius, the Roman commander, reduced to extremities when one of the towers of the western fortress had been undermined, at length was forced to treat with Eleazar. The Romans laid down their shields and swords, but some were then slain, and others compelled to become Jews. There seems to have been no more than a single cohort (perhaps 1,000 men) in the city, which thus fell entirely into the hands of the fanatical party.

The Roman governors, selected by emperors like Nero, were no doubt both corrupt and incapable; but the hatred of Semitic peoples was a survival of the ancient hatred of Carthage. The Romans despised a civilisation and a religion which were far more ancient and more lofty than their own. The Jews, when governed honestly, were content to remain under the empire; they only asked for freedom to follow their own law, as they had asked the Greeks in earlier days. But Roman prejudices against them can best be understood by reading Tacitus, who hated them, or the poets, who knew only the more degraded class of Jewish hucksters crowded in the ghetto in Rome. Tacitus says that “the Jews172 were the only people who stood out, which increased the rage” of the Roman race. He supposed that they came originally from Crete, or from Libya, or from Assyria, and he repeats the libels which are attributed to Manetho the Egyptian priest. He had heard of Moses as a law-giver, but his belief that the image of an ass was adored in the Temple may have arisen from some distorted account of the Cherubim, if these may be regarded as having had animal forms, as in the vision of Ezekiel. He admits that “among themselves there is an unalterable fidelity and kindness always ready at hand,” yet adds, “but bitter enmity against all others.” “The Jews have no idea of more than one divine being,” is his comment on the religion of the race, and he contradicts himself when he says, “They have no images in their cities, much less in their temples.” But the enmity felt against Israel was political rather than religious. Jerusalem was the last stronghold of a nation which refused to be absorbed in the cosmopolitan system of the empire.


Against this rebellious city Cestius Gallus now hastened from Syria,340 and with the 12th legion from Cæsarea he reached Beth-horon and Gibeon, where Simon, son of Gioras, attacked him in rear on a sabbath day. This caused three days’ delay, after which he encamped at Skopos (“the view”), which was 7 furlongs north of Jerusalem, at the high ridge where the city first becomes fully visible on the north road. No attempt was made by the rebels to defend the unfinished wall of Agrippa, or the northern suburbs, and the Romans set fire to Bezetha and to the wood market. Cestius then attacked the upper city at the high saddle by the royal towers but desisted after five days. Intrigue and treachery are the bane of generals, and Florus173 desired apparently that Cestius should fail, with 10,000 men, to retake the city which he had deserted, leaving only 1,000 to guard it. According to Josephus, Florus intrigued with officers of the auxiliary cavalry; and a certain Tyrannius Priscus induced Cestius to attack Antonia and the Temple instead of the upper city. The commander found his troops unreliable and his officers untrustworthy. He was also perhaps ill himself, for he died (according to Tacitus) shortly after, “whether by fate or that he was weary of life is uncertain.” He gave up when probably on the eve of success, and retreated to Gibeon to await reinforcements. But he was vigorously pursued, and after two days the retreat became a rout, and he lost half the legion and all his cavalry. The remnant fled down the Beth-horon pass to Antipatris and Cæsarea. This second defeat of Rome occurred in the twelfth year of Nero, some time in October, so that further operations became difficult till the next spring.

The disasters thus brought on the empire by Florus and Nero cost Rome four years of effort to repair, and entailed the systematic reduction of the whole of Palestine. On the death of Cestius, Vespasian was ordered to the east in the year 66 A. D. His ability had been shown twenty years before, when, at the age of thirty-seven, he was commanding in Britain, where he subdued the isle of Vectis. He was now pro-consul in Africa, and had thus a wide experience of war in the west and in the east alike. He made his base in Syria, and gathered a force of four legions, ordering reinforcements from Egypt to fill the ranks of the 5th and 10th, or Macedonian and Fretensis, legions.341 His plan was to conquer the country completely from the north, in order finally to march on Jerusalem from all sides except the south. The war thus began in Galilee, and it was not till February,174 68 A. D., that Gadara submitted, and allowed of his advance to Jericho in May. This success gained him the confidence of the Romans; and the 5th, 10th, and 15th legions, whom he met in Syria, knew him well, having served under him before. The 12th legion was made up to strength by drafts from the 22nd and 23rd legions stationed at Alexandria. On July 1, 69 A. D., Vespasian was proclaimed emperor, and left for Italy. The final triumph was thus reserved for his brave and able son Titus.

A Roman legion, at this period of history, answered to a division, consisting of 5,000 to 6,000 regular infantry, with the same number of auxiliaries, and 300 cavalry. In addition to a force of at least 40,000 men, Titus had also a number of native allies. The Arabs sent 5,000 archers and 1,000 horsemen, and Agrippa—who joined the army in Galilee—brought 1,000 foot and 1,000 horse. Thus Josephus is probably right in estimating the total at about 60,000 in all. This army indeed represented a very moderate force for the reduction of the whole country and for the conquest of the difficult mountain region round Jerusalem, though the Crusaders afterwards took the city with 40,000 men. It was very important, not only for the Flavian family, but for the peace of the world, that there should be no further defeat of Rome, and a margin of safety was desirable. The fighting force in Jerusalem did not probably exceed 20,000 in all, and though a proportion of three to one was barely sufficient for the besiegers of so strong a fortress, the Romans were far superior in discipline and in the use of engines of war.

The final concentration began in the spring of 70 A. D. The 5th, or Macedonian, legion came up from Emmaus Nicopolis on the west; the 10th (Fretensis) from Jericho to the Mount of Olives; the 15th (Apollinaris) marched on Gophna, north of Bethel; and the175 disgraced 12th legion (Fulminata) joined them from Cæsarea. Thus in the final advance the last named was in the centre—at Skopos—with the 10th to its left and the 15th to its right, the 5th and the auxiliaries forming the reserve in rear. In this order the forces remained till the later stages of the siege, when the 5th legion came into the fighting line against Antonia, and the 10th was transferred to the right centre, joining the 15th in the attack on the upper city.


The defenders of the city were divided into three factions,342 which fought one another within the walls. The Zealots, under the command of John of Gischala, and Eleazar son of Simon, sent in 68 A. D. to the Idumæans for assistance, and these wild warriors were admitted during a terrible storm by the fanatics, who sawed the bars of the city gate, closed by order of the high-priest. They passed through the city to the Temple, where they surprised the guards; and the high-priest himself was slain. But after creating anarchy by the murder of many of the moderate party, and of Zachariah, son of Baruch, who was accused—like Jeremiah—of being a friend of the foe, and who fell in the middle of the Temple, the Idumæans—like other Arabs—got tired of the war, and desired to return home with their plunder. The better class of the inhabitants preferred the Romans to the Zealots, and many of them also deserted the city. Vespasian, who had heard of the death of Nero, which occurred on June 16, 68 A. D., showed no signs of advance on the town, and John of Gischala was left for a time to tyrannise over Jerusalem. But, in April of the next year, Simon, son of Gioras, brought back the Idumæans in the third year of the war, and drove John into the Temple, where he erected four towers in the cloisters, one on the north-west above the lower city, another176 on the north-east, a third as a signal tower on the top of the Pastophoria (or “Chamber of Offerings”343), where a priest used to stand to announce the sabbath by blowing a trumpet, and the fourth near the Xystos, apparently at the east end of the Tyropœon bridge. Simon made another tower at its west end, to prevent the faction of John having access to the upper city. John soon quarrelled with Eleazar, who held the inner temple, and, when the Romans appeared at Passover time in 70 A. D., he succeeded in obtaining entrance into the courts, and treacherously made himself master of the whole. His forces, including the Zealots, are reckoned at 8,400 men by Josephus. He defended the eastern hill from Bezetha to Ophel, while Simon, with a total force of 15,000 men, including 5,000 Idumæans, held the rest of the city to the west.



G = Gate

The Romans were first seen three days before the Passover, when Titus camped on Skopos; but the siege is only reckoned by Josephus as beginning after the feast, on Abib 23. It lasted for 134 days, or more than four months, and ended in the heat of summer some time in August.344 The details are important, as illustrating the topography of the city, and can be easily understood by the light of our previous studies: some of the places mentioned appear, however, to have been built after the time of Herod the Great. Thus, in addition to the two palaces of the upper city, we now find in the lower city two others built by the royal family of Adiabene during their residence in Jerusalem. The first of these was the palace of Queen Helena in “the middle of Akra,” and the other that of her son Monobasus near Siloam. The sons and brothers of Izates—Helena’s177 eldest son—were in Jerusalem during the siege, but gave themselves up to Titus after the fall of the Temple.345 We also learn that there was a monument of John Hyrcanus in the west part of the lower city, and one of Alexander Jannæus, probably east of the Temple. We hear for the first time of the pools Strouthios and Amygdalon, and of the Serpent’s Pool outside the city, as also of Herod’s monuments and the tomb of Ananus, with other places that have been already mentioned. But the fortifications remained much in the same condition in which they had been left by Agrippa I. nearly thirty years before the siege.


The first reconnaissance of the city by Titus nearly led to disaster, probably because he underestimated the daring of the defenders. He came down the north road to the tomb of Helena,346 where he began to diverge to the right in order to examine the tower Psephinus. In the neighbourhood of Agrippa’s wall there were enclosed gardens, with stone walls and ditches, and the Romans were entangled in the narrow lanes outside the city. Titus was not even wearing his armour when the Jews sallied suddenly out of the Women’s Towers, and, under cover of the garden walls, cut off the advanced party of horsemen from their supports on the north road, and showered darts at Titus, who, however, escaped unwounded. The legions now began to make their camps at and in rear of Skopos, and on the Mount of Olives, probably not very far east of the central or Skopos camp.347 A second sally348 astonished the 10th legion while so employed, at a distance of 6 furlongs from the city. The Romans were here twice thrown into confusion by178 the first surprise and by a second daring attack, and were twice rallied by Titus himself, whose courage saved a serious defeat on his left flank, and taught his soldiers confidence and discipline. After this he began to clear the approaches by levelling the garden walls and hedges, and cutting down the fig and olive trees to the very foot of Agrippa’s wall, and on the west to “Herod’s monuments,” which have now disappeared, but which were close to the Serpent’s Pool, which seems to have been that now known as the Birket Mâmilla. This work was interrupted by another desperate sally from the Women’s Towers; but after four days’ labour the besieging force took up its positions, the intention of Titus being to break in on the north-west, and thus, as in former sieges, to attack the upper city at the saddle north of the royal towers, and the Temple at Antonia. The headquarters were advanced to within 2 furlongs of the north-west angle at Psephinus, and by Abib 24 the banks defending the siege engines were completed.

Cestius Gallus had left his rams and catapults behind him in his hurried flight, and these were now used by the defenders, who were instructed by those legionaries who had been saved by becoming Jews when the cohort left by Florus laid down its arms. They were, however, ill-accustomed to the use of the balistæ, which threw stones and darts; and the engines of the besiegers (rams, balistæ, and siege towers) were superior to those of the defence, some engines of the 10th legion being able to throw a stone of one and a half hundredweight for a quarter of a mile. The Jews watched the white stones soaring through the air, and warned the defenders, crying in Aramaic, “The stone is coming”349; but the Romans afterwards discoloured the projectiles to make them less visible.



The description of Jerusalem at the time of its fall, given by Tacitus,350 is brief, but so like the longer accounts of Josephus as to have been supposed to be founded on them; it contains, however, details which seem original. He says that “there were other walls beneath the royal palace, besides the tower of Antonia, with its top particularly conspicuous.... The temple was like a citadel, having walls of its own.... The cloisters wherewith the temple was enclosed were an excellent fortification. They had a fountain of water that ran perpetually, and the mountains were hollowed underground; they had, moreover, pools and cisterns for the preservation of rain water.... Moreover, the covetous temper that prevailed in the time of Claudius gave the Jews an opportunity of purchasing with money leave to fortify Jerusalem. So they built walls in time of peace.” The estimate of population by Tacitus is, however, not much less exaggerated than the incredible calculations of Josephus; but the latter gives a very fair idea of the proportion between the actual combatants and of their respective numbers.

On the fifteenth day of the siege, after the corner of a tower was shaken by the battering ram of the 15th legion, and a sally from the “secret gate” near Hippicus had been repulsed, the wall of Agrippa was taken, in spite of the destruction of three siege towers. The defenders apparently found the line of defence too extended for their numbers, and many—grown weary of fighting and watching—had retired to the inner city to sleep. The Romans demolished the rampart, and wasted the north quarter of the town, which had already been partly destroyed by Cestius Gallus. The camp of Titus was moved within Agrippa’s wall to a place on the north-west of the second wall known as the “Camp of the Assyrians,” in memory of the attack made on Hezekiah in 703 B. C.,180 when the Assyrian leaders stood outside the wall by the “Conduit of the Upper Pool.” Simon therefore endeavoured to prevent the building of new banks by sallies from Hippicus on this side, at the gate by which “the water was brought in” to that tower by the ancient conduit of Ahaz, as it is still brought in to the citadel even now.

On the twentieth day of the siege the second wall was breached, and the Romans broke in on the north at “a place where were the merchants of wool, the braziers, the market for cloth, and where the narrow streets led obliquely to the wall.” They were, however, driven out again, and the wall was not finally taken till three days later, when a truce was called to see if the Jews would submit. As no overtures were made by the defenders, the new banks against the upper city and Antonia were begun on the twenty-eighth day, and finished on the thirty-seventh day of the siege, when the struggle again became desperate.351

The bank erected by the 10th legion is described as being near the Pool Amygdalon, and that of the 15th legion was 30 cubits from it—evidently on the west—at the monument of the high-priest John Hyrcanus. A few words may be spared to discuss these sites.352 Josephus wrote his “Wars of the Jews” in Aramaic,353 but whether he personally translated this work into Greek may be doubted, as the translator shows signs of imperfect acquaintance with the language of the original. Thus it is probable that Amygdalon (“the almond”) is only a transliteration really for Ha-Migdolon (“the great tower”). The pool is not noticed till after the second wall had been taken, at its weakest point on the north-west, where (as described in 134 B. C.) the ground was on the same level inside and outside the rampart.354 It seems clear therefore that this pool181 was the tank now known as “Hezekiah’s Pool,” near the great tower of Phasaelus. The monument of John Hyrcanus must have been to its west, and is described as being outside the second wall, though only about 40 feet either from the pool or from the Roman bank, which must have been on the saddle west of the pool. This description defines pretty closely the line of the second wall at this point. The banks raised by the Romans were for the protection of those who worked the rams, balistæ, and siege towers, and for this reason John’s monument could not have been far north of the wall of the upper city. All the notices agree in placing it somewhere near the Pool Amygdalon to the west.


Titus appears to have been anxious to save his men, and even to save the besieged; he now endeavoured to induce them to submit, while afterwards he preferred the slower method of blockade to the chances of assault on the two remaining strongholds. Josephus was commissioned to address the defenders, which he did at some danger to himself.355 Though he was a priest, and a Pharisee, he was hated by the Zealots because he belonged to the moderate party, and to the liberal school of educated Jews who agreed with Gamaliel in Jerusalem and Philo in Egypt. He had fought bravely in Galilee, but was disgusted with the Zealot leaders, John and Eleazar. He had a wider knowledge of the world than they had, and his embassy to Poppea—nearly twenty years before—had made him favourably known at Rome.356 Vespasian spared his life when he was captured after the fall of Jotapata; and from that time, knowing that the struggle for freedom was hopeless, he endeavoured to save his country from further misery. His speech to the besieged was on the familiar lines of which182 we have instances in the New Testament, rehearsing Hebrew history from Abraham down to Herod. Its most interesting passage, however, is that which refers to Siloam. He regarded the Romans as being now in the right, though in the wrong when Sosius was defeated, and that they were consequently favoured by God in the supply of water due to the abundant rain of the season. “As for Titus, those springs which were formerly almost dried up when they were under your power, since he has come, run more plentifully than they did before; accordingly you know that Siloam, as well as all the other springs that were without the city, did so far fail that water was strictly sold by measure, whereas they now have such a great quantity of water, for your enemies, as is sufficient not only for drink both for themselves and their beasts, but even to water their gardens.” This passage agrees with the accounts of the south wall already mentioned in placing Siloam outside its line. It is also remarkable that, while the besieged suffered long agonies from famine, they are not said to have suffered from thirst. No doubt the rains also filled their cisterns, and the great tanks would have been filled up from the aqueducts before the latter were cut off by the Romans.

The horrors of the siege, famine, rapine, and dissension within, crucifixion and torture for those who deserted, are detailed by Josephus. “A deep silence also and a kind of deadly night had seized on the city; while yet the robbers were still more terrible than these miseries were themselves”; yet there was no thought of submission among those desperate men who fought on for all that was dear to them—for faith and freedom as of old. They had been goaded to rebellion after years of oppression, and Nero was as guilty of the burning of Jerusalem as he was of the burning of Rome. Yet without the miseries of those four months the new world could183 not begin. The Christian and the Jew alike were set free from the shackles of the past when the undying fire went out for ever on Tammuz 17—thenceforth a fast-day in Israel.357


All through May the struggle for Antonia went on, from the thirty-eighth day of the siege till the sixty-eighth day. The Roman banks in the fosse were undermined—no doubt by use of the rock tunnel leading to the Pool Strouthios—and the Romans were forced for a time to abandon their engines. The banks against the upper city were also destroyed, and Titus, after these repulses, determined to surround the city with a blockading wall, and so to starve out the defenders. The length of 40 furlongs, or 5 miles, given by Josephus for this vallum358 appears to be fairly correct. It had thirteen small forts along its line. Its appearance may be judged from the existing remains of a similar wall, built by Silva round Masada359 a little later, on which I have looked down from the heights of that desert fortress near the Dead Sea. It is a dry-stone rampart, with two large camps behind it on the north-west and north-east. Its length is less than 3,000 yards, and in part of this distance there are six small forts on the line at intervals of 500 feet on the average. The vallum of Titus began near his own headquarters at the “Camp of the Assyrians,” and stretched east through Bezetha and over the Kidron to Olivet, where it bent at the “Rock of the Dovecote.” This point seems to be fixed by the description of an existing rock cutting noted360 by Sir Charles Wilson in 1864: “Entering the village of Siloam on the north, there is on the left a high cliff which bears evident signs of having184 been worked as a quarry, and on the summit of which is a curious place which appears to have been an old dovecote cut in the rock.” Thence the wall went to the “other hill” (the south summit of Olivet), “over the valley which reaches to Siloam.” It then crossed the “Valley of the Fountain,” by which perhaps we may understand the present “Well of Job,” and climbed the south precipice of Hinnom, near the “monument of Ananus the high-priest,” which was probably the fine tomb now called the “Retreat of the Apostles,” which was converted later into a chapel with a frescoed roof.361 The wall ran along the cliff to the west side of the city, and turned north near a hamlet called the “House of Erebinthi,”362 and thus reached Herod’s monuments near the present Mâmilla pool, and its original starting-place farther north-east. This work is said to have been completed in three days.


Meanwhile, the banks were repaired, and were ready by the sixty-sixth day of the siege, when the summer sun was beating down mercilessly on besiegers and besieged. Four days later the Syrian soldier Sabinus attempted to lead a forlorn hope against Antonia. “His complexion was black, his flesh was lean and spare and well knit, but there was a certain heroic soul that dwelt in this small body.” He perished in the attempt, but two nights later, about 3 a.m., the standard-bearer of the 5th legion, with two cavalry-men and a trumpeter, surprised the citadel, clambered up the ruins of the breach, and slew the sentries. The Romans poured in, and the “top of the hill”—or scarp of Antonia—being occupied, the key of the Temple fortress was in their185 hands. Yet the inner Temple resisted still for thirty-five days, till the fatal ninth of Ab,363 the day on which, according to the rabbis, the Holy House had been ruined by the Babylonians, and the day also on which Bêther fell sixty-five years later. The daily sacrifice had ceased three weeks before, also on a day of evil memory on which Antiochus Epiphanes had burned the scroll of the Law. The formal siege of the inner courts entailed the clearance of the Antonia courtyard, and the erection of four banks on the north side, one at the north-west corner of the Priests’ Court, a second at Moked, and two others outside the Court of the Women. The outer cloisters were set on fire, and burned fiercely in the dry season, especially because the gilding that adorned the roofs was spread over a wax covering of the timbers. The great gatehouse was battered, the golden gates were set on fire. The bodies of the defenders were piled round the altar, and the blood—not of bulls or goats, but of men—ran down the steps. Yet the survivors still fought from the roof of the Temple itself, hurling the leaden spikes which kept birds from nesting on the Holy House upon the Romans below, until the fire reached them, and a few submitted and were spared, except the priests, whom Titus ordered to be slain.

The capture of the Temple placed the lower city at the mercy of the victors, and the soldiers plundered the Akra, the Council House, and the Ophel, setting the whole on fire to Siloam. Yet the upper city still held out under Simon, son of Gioras, the last left of the rebel leaders. Eleven days after the Temple was fired, banks were begun against this last citadel, and the siege dragged on yet for eighteen days more,364 till at length the rampart was breached on the west, and186 the upper city also fell, after a siege of 134 days, on Elul 8, in August. The few survivors fled to Siloam and hid in the tunnel. Simon concealed himself in a “certain subterranean cavern,” and John in another. The latter was forced by hunger to give himself up, and was sentenced to imprisonment for life. The whole city was burned and the walls entirely demolished, except the three “royal towers” and part of the wall on the west side of the upper city, where the 10th legion was left under Terentius Rufus. A little later, while Titus was still at Cæsarea, “Simon, thinking he might be able to astonish and delude the Romans—”after he had failed to mine his way out of the cavern—“put on a white dress and buttoned on him a purple robe, and appeared out of the ground in the place where the Temple had formerly been.” He thus seems to have been hidden in the cave under the Ṣakhrah. He was taken alive, and afterwards walked the Via Sacra at Rome, to meet his death in the triumph of Titus.


The captives were condemned to fight wild beasts at Cæsarea. The golden lamp, the golden table, the trumpets of Jubilee, and the Temple copy of the law365 (afterwards given to Josephus), were borne in triumph on that day, as the arch of Titus still bears witness. Medals were struck recording the great victory,366 with the head of Vespasian on one side and on the other Israel mourning under the palm, with the Latin legend “Judæa Capta.” Well might they remember the prophecies of Jesus, son of Ananus, who for eight years had walked the streets, crying, “Woe, woe, to Jerusalem!” till the stone from an engine slew him; and the prediction that the temple should perish when it became a quadrangle; and, above all, that awful night367 of the last Pentecost ever celebrated in the187 sanctuary, to which Tacitus and Josephus alike refer. “As the priests were going by night to the inner Temple as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that first of all they felt a quaking and heard a great noise”—the sound of the great doors of Nicanor as they swung suddenly open—“and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude saying, Let us depart hence.”


321 “Wars,” V. xi. 1.

322 “Ant.,” XVII. x. 1–10; “Wars,” II. iii. 1–4.

323 The rulers of Jerusalem were procurators except Agrippa I., who was king. They were as follows: Coponius, from 10 A. D.; M. Ambivius, c. 12 A. D.; Annius Rufus, c. 13 A. D.; V. Gratus, 14 A. D.; P. Pilatus, 25 A. D.; Marcellus, 35 A. D.; Marullus, 37 A. D.; Agrippa I., 41 A. D.; Cuspius Fadus, 44 A. D.; Tib. Alexander, 47 A. D.; V. Cumanus, 49 A. D.; Felix, 52 A. D.; P. Festus, 60 A. D.; Albinus, 62 A. D.; Gessius Florus, 64 A. D. The final revolt began in 65 A. D.

324 “Ant.,” XVIII. iii. 1, 2, 3, iv. 1–3.

325 “Ord. Survey Notes,” pp. 80–3; “Mem. Survey West Pal.,” vol. iii. pp. 89–91; Bliss, “Excavat. at Jer.,” pp. 53–6, 332.

326 “Ant.,” VIII. vii. 3; Cant. iv. 12.

327 “Wars,” V. iv. 2, 3. See “Ant.,” XIX. vii. 2; and for the Women’s Towers, “Wars,” V. ii. 2, iii. 3; for Helena’s tomb, “Ant.,” XX. iv. 3; Pausanias, “Greciæ Descript.,” viii. 16; Jerome (“Epist. Paulæ”).

328 “Ant.,” XX. iv. 3.

329 “Ord. Survey Notes,” p. 66 and pl. xxv.; de Saulcy, “Voyage en Terre Sainte,” 1865, vol. i. De Saulcy misread the inscription as “Queen Sarah.”

330 The Rev. Selah Merrill follows Robinson as to the course of this wall, and as to most of the other disputed questions.

331 Robinson, “Bib. Res.,” 1838, i. p. 315; “Ord. Survey Notes,” 1864, p. 72, and pl. xxxi.; Schick in Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, 1895, p. 30.

332 “Wars,” V. vi. 2.

333 “Ant.,” XX. i. 1, v. 2, vii. 1, viii. 5, 9, 11, ix. 1, 2, xi. 2; “Wars,” II. xii. 1, xiii. 2, xiv. 1, 2, 6, xv. 1–6, xvi. 1–3, xvii. 1–10, xviii. 1, down to xix. 9.

334 Acts xii. 1–23.

335 Tacitus, “Hist.,” V. ix., “Annals,” xii., as quoted by Whiston.

336 “Ant.,” XX. ix. 7, viii. 11; “Wars,” V. i. 5.

337 “Ant.,” XX. ix. 1; Acts xxi. 18; 1 Cor. ix. 5; Gal. ii. 9.

338 Matt. xxiv. 4–42; Mark xiii. 5–37; Luke xix. 42–4, xxi. 5–36.

339 “Wars,” II. xiv. 2-xix. 9.

340 “Wars,” II. xviii. 10-xix. 9; Tacitus, “Hist.,” V. x.

341 “Wars,” V. i. 6; Tacitus, “Hist.,” V. i.

342 “Wars,” IV. iv. 1, v. 1, vi. 1, vii. 1, 2, ix. 3–12, V. i. 4.

343 No doubt at the Gate Korban (“of the offering”).

344 See journal of siege, “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., p. 4. Canon Williams made the curious mistake of reckoning by solar months, for the details show that lunar months, of alternately 30 and 29 days, are intended by Josephus.

345 “Wars,” V. vi. 1, VI. vi. 4.

346 See back, p. 164.

347 The old camp at Tellilia above a valley west of Skopos is quite possibly one of those made in 70 A. D. See my description (“Mem. Survey West Pal.,” iii. p. 161).

348 “Wars,” V. ii. 3–5, iii. 2.

349 This passage (“Wars,” V. vi. 3) indicates the Aramaic original of the book. The Greek translator renders eben “son,” instead of “stone.”

350 “Hist.,” V. xi. xii.

351 “Wars,” V. vii. 2-xi. 4.

352 Ibid., V. vi. 2, vii. 3, ix. 2, xi. 4.

353 Ibid., Preface, 1.

354 “Ant.,” XIII. viii. 2.

355 “Wars,” V. ix. 3, 4.

356 “Life,” 3; “Wars,” III. vii. 2-viii. 9.

357 “Wars,” VI. ii. 1; Mishnah, Taanith, iv. 6.

358 “Wars,” V. xii. 2.

359 See my plan and account, “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” iii. p. 417.

360 “Ord. Survey Notes,” p. 64.

361 “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., p. 419.

362 Perhaps the Aramaic really read Beth ha Rababthi (B and N being much alike), thus connecting the place with the present Valley of Rabâbeh—the Hinnom gorge.

363 “Wars,” VI. i. 6-iv. 6; Mishnah, Taanith, iv. 6, 7.

364 “Wars,” VI. viii. 1–4.

365 Josephus, “Life,” 75.

366 Madden, “Coins of the Jews,” pp. 183–97.

367 Tacitus, “Hist.,” V. xiii.; Josephus, “Wars,” VI. v. 3.


When the last smouldering fires had burned out among the ruins, the silence of death came over the desolate heaps which had once been Jerusalem, nor does it appear certain that any buildings were erected, or any native population allowed to dwell on the site, for sixty-five years after the fall of the city. The camp of the 10th legion was built on the plateau of the upper city, and was defended by the three great towers, which would form a citadel still in case of need. The demolition of the walls appears otherwise to have been so complete as to leave no traces of their lines thereafter, though the huge blocks lay on the ground, and were used again when the Roman colonial city, Ælia Capitolina, was built. Every stone of the Holy House seems to have been deliberately removed. The outer Temple ramparts were overthrown into the valleys, down to the level of the plateau formed by Herod within them. Two buttresses only were left on the north-west, close to Antonia, while on the south-east the corner of the wall stood up alone, as it was seen by the pilgrims down to the time of Justinian in our sixth century, with the spring of a huge arch which supported vaults at this angle. The great bridge was broken down to the ground, and the stones of its arch still lie on the Herodian pavement of the street that passed under it. Zion was a “ploughed field,” and the rabbis who189 ventured to visit the desolate sanctuary mourned as they saw the jackals prowling in its ruins.368


The Sanhedrin established itself at Bureir, in Philistia, and afterwards at Jamnia, south of Joppa, where a famous school of doctors studied the Scriptures down to the time of the later revolt in 135 A. D.; but it would seem that the Jews were not allowed to approach their Holy City, and only visited it by stealth. Nor have we any certain indication that the Christians returned till after the Roman city was built. Eusebius369 gives a list of fourteen bishops following James the Just; but the first of these (St. Simeon) must have left Jerusalem in 64 A. D. The second is supposed to have been consecrated in 107 A. D. They all bear Jewish names, except Seneca (125 A. D.) and his successor Justus. As to this “line of the circumcision,” which was supposed to end in 135 A. D., Eusebius himself says, “The space of time which the bishops of Jerusalem spent in their see I could in no wise find preserved in writing ... but this much I have been informed from records, until the siege of the Jews in Hadrian’s time there were fifteen bishops.”

The presence of the 10th legion, Fretensis, is, on the other hand, shown by the recovery of inscribed objects found by Mr. Bliss,370 namely, three fragments of Roman tiles bearing the abbreviated title of the “Legio X Fretensis,” and in one case a representation of the boar, which was the emblem of this legion. But at some time before the year 117 A. D. this garrison was changed and the 3rd legion, Cyrenaica, took its place.190 It was also perhaps during this period that the Jews and Jewish Christians began to adopt a custom which continued in use down to the Middle Ages. The “lovers of Zion” desired that their bones might rest at the Holy City, and it became a pious duty to gather them, and to rebury them near it. There was also, in later times at least, a superstitious belief that those who were not buried in the “Valley of Decision” (Jehoshaphat) would have to find their way there through Sheol from their graves371—a survival of the ancient Egyptian belief in the journey of the soul through Amenti to the judgment hall of Osiris. It is said that, to the present day in Russia, Jewish cemeteries are called “Jehoshaphat,” and that this ancient superstition still survives. Stone caskets, adorned by geometrical patterns engraved on the sides, were prepared to bring the bones from other regions. Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela (about 1163 A. D.) speaks of these as existing in the cave of Machpelah at Hebron: “You there see caskets filled with the bones of Israelites; for unto this day it is a custom in the house of Israel to bring thither the bones of their relicts, and of their forefathers, and to leave them there.”


We have already seen that the bones of the family of Nicanor were so buried on Olivet, and that similar caskets (or ossuaries) were found in the tomb of Helena of Adiabene372; these latter may belong to the first century, as the only coins found with them were of the reign of Titus. Several other examples were found buried on the south spur of Olivet in 1873, and were studied by M. Clermont-Ganneau. Hebrew names are scratched upon them, and in one instance a191 rough cross, as though marking the presence of a Hebrew Christian from Pella or from Kaukabah in Bashan, where Ebionite Christians were living down to our fourth century. The exact age of these examples is uncertain, and the presence of the cross—an emblem only used in secret before 326 A. D.—rather favours the supposition that they are late. In 1900 other Jewish tombs were explored on the north of Olivet, and similar ossuaries were found; three of these bore Greek texts, and another was inscribed in Hebrew. The names Protas and Papos are clearly written, and that of “Yehoḥanan bar Ṣabia” seems to be decipherable. Quite recently also Jewish texts have been found in a tomb near the village of Silwân, with the names of “Abishalom father of Yehoḥanan,” and of “Shemra.” They are cut in soft rock and blacked in, but the last letter of the second name is painted in red. To the same class belong probably the graffiti in the so-called “Tombs of the Prophets” on Olivet, one of which was discovered by de Vogüé with the words “Phlôrianos Astaros” in Greek, and the Hebrew broken text “Peace be to ’Ab...” There are, however, fragments of Greek Christian graffiti at this site,373 and though the expression “father of Yehoḥanan” points to burial or re-burial by a son, it seems probable that these interments of the bones of ancestors may be supposed to be of very various ages. The tombs in which they occur are certainly old, for they contain kokîm tunnels as graves instead of the loculi of the Greco-Jewish age.

In the reign of Trajan374 the Jews of Mesopotamia and of Egypt broke out into revolt and were subdued, but there is no notice of any such rebellion in192 Palestine. We have evidence that Jerusalem was then held by the 3rd legion, which was originally called Augusta, but afterwards Cyrenaica on account of its success against the Jewish rebels at Cyrene; for a Latin text was found in 1895, built into the Turkish wall near the south or Sion Gate. “To Jove the best and greatest, Serapis, for the health and victory of the Emperor Nerva Trajanus Cæsar, the best, the august, the German, Dacian, Parthian [victor]; and to the Roman people, the standard bearer of the third Cyrenaic legion made” (this). This text cannot be earlier than 116 A. D., and Trajan died the next year.

The invocation of Serapis is interesting because the Jerusalem coins of Hadrian, the next emperor, represent a temple with a statue which seems clearly to be that of Serapis as Jove. Serapis, though adored at Alexandria with Isis, was not an Egyptian god. He was worshipped by the Romans in the second century as a supreme deity, but his image was brought from Pontus by the first Ptolemy, in the third century B. C., to Alexandria, where was his most famous temple.375 His statues and his busts on coins represent him as a bearded Jupiter sometimes accompanied by the infernal dog Cerberus; on his head appears the modius, or “measure,” which may perhaps mean that he was the god of measurement and retribution. The name is probably very ancient and even of Akkadian origin, Sar-api being “the king of the waves” or of the “depth.”376 He thus answers to the ancient sea-god Ea, who was supreme in the depths and who also resembled Pluto, being the judge of the dead in the under-world. His original temple at Sinope was on the shore of the Black Sea. Nothing could more remarkably illustrate the substitution of pagan worship193 at Jerusalem for that of Jehovah than this remarkable text, and the site of the Temple was soon after consecrated to this Asiatic Jove.


Much confusion as to the history of Jerusalem under Hadrian has been caused by following the later statements of Byzantine historians, and by the anachronisms of the Talmud, as also by a strange theory which attributes the stamping of certain coins to the time of the revolt at Bêther in 135 A. D. Jerome377 says that “remains of the city existed even to the time of prince Hadrian throughout fifty years”—a statement which is evidently true since they remain still, but which does not suggest that any town had been built over the ruins till the time of this emperor. It was the policy of Trajan and of Hadrian to break up the nationality of the Jews, who were recovering from the catastrophe of the fall of Jerusalem, and showed signs of determination to revive their ancient independence in regions where they were numerous, and had grown rich by trade. Hadrian acceded in 117 A. D., and may possibly have visited Palestine in 130 A. D. It was then probably that he conceived the idea of refounding Jerusalem as an ordinary Roman colonial city. Dion Cassius,378 writing less than a century later, says of Hadrian that he “stirred up a war ... by founding a city at Jerusalem which he named Ælia Capitolina, and by setting up another temple to Jupiter on the site of the Lord’s Temple.” But it would seem more correct to say that the intention thus to paganise the Holy City was the immediate cause of the desperate revolt at Bêther. Renan379 very truly remarks that “the really historic texts do not speak of a taking and destruction of194 Jerusalem” (at this time), “but by the way they read exclude such an event.” Eusebius, when following the contemporary account of the war by Ariston of Pella, says nothing at all about Jerusalem. Tertullian, Jerome, and Chrysostom, who believed in a siege of Jerusalem by Hadrian, are late authorities. References to the exclusion of the Jews from Jerusalem, to be found in the writings of Justin Martyr and Eusebius, may belong to the time after 135 A. D., and the prohibition of circumcision in 132 A. D. was quite sufficient to account for Jewish rebellion.


The story of this rebellion is overgrown with legend, and the Rabbinical references seem sometimes to confuse the events of the great siege by Titus with those of the war against Hadrian. Bêther was identified by Canon Williams at the present village Bittîr, six miles south-west of Jerusalem, and its proximity to the capital may have led to some confusion between the siege of this fortress and that of Jerusalem. The place is still a village380 on a cliff, with a fine spring, and a Latin inscription, while the name “ruin of the Jew,” close by, may preserve some memory of the desperate struggle led by Bar Cocheba and Rabbi ’Aḳîbah. Jerusalem, on the other hand, according to Jerome,381 “was razed and burned to the ground after fifty years, under Ælius Hadrianus, so that it even lost its former name.” The siege and capture of Bêther put an end to further attempts of the Jews to become free from Rome, especially because an age of toleration and good government followed. The Cyrenaic legion was probably used against them, which accounts for the text found in Rome speaking of the employment of Getulæ from Mauritania in this195 Jewish war, which took place when Lucius Quietus had been murdered, and replaced by Tineius Rufus as governor of Palestine. During its course the latter was superseded by Sextus Julius Severus, who was summoned as legate from Britain to put down this formidable revolt.382

In the Mishnah we read that on Ab 9 “Bêther was taken and the city was ploughed up.” Later commentators refer the latter statement to the time when “Turannus Rufus ploughed up Sion.” Jerome says that “the city Bethel [Bêther] being taken, ... the Temple was ignominiously ploughed, the people being oppressed by Titus Annius Rufus.” The Mishnah, again, speaks of the “wars of Vespasian and of Ḳîṭus” (Quietus), and apparently means by the latter the war of 135 A. D. There thus seems to be a confusion between the demolition of Jerusalem by Terennius (or Terentius) Rufus in 70 A. D., and the later war which began under Tineius Rufus,383 and which had nothing to do with any ploughing up either of the Temple or of Sion. As regards the exclusion of the Jews from Jerusalem, it appears from Eusebius that after 135 A. D. they purchased the right to weep at the ruins of the temple, for “after the Jewish disturbance the place became inaccessible to Jews.” Justin Martyr, speaking to a Jew about Jerusalem, says “that it is guarded from you, that none should be in it; and it is death” to enter. Sulpicius Severus relates that a cohort of soldiers was placed as a guard, to forbid the entry of any196 Jew into the city. This edict seems to have fallen into disuse under the tolerant Antonines and in the third century, but it was renewed by Constantius II. after the revolt of the Jews in Galilee in 339 A. D.; and Jerome says, “Still you may see a sad crowd, a wretched people, who fail to gain pity, assemble and draw nigh. Decrepit women, old men in rags ... all weeping; and while tears drown their cheeks, while they raise their livid arms and tear their locks, the soldier comes and demands money to allow them to weep a little more.”384 This pathetic account reminds us of scenes which may still be witnessed at Jerusalem, but none of these passages serve to show that it was an inhabited place, once more besieged and ruined by Hadrian, nor that it was ever occupied by the rebels of 135 A. D.

The leaders of the revolt were Bar Cocheba (Kôkeba), “the Son of the Star,” and Rabbi ’Aḳîbah, who believed this pretender to be the true Messiah, in spite of the warning of Rabbi Jehoḥanan, “’Aḳîbah, the grass will be growing between thy jaws before the Son of David comes.”385 The rabbinical accounts of the Bêther war are late and legendary, and the “Son of the Star” is called in the Talmudic allusions “the son of falsehood”—Bar Kôzîba—probably as a term of contempt. The theory according to which he struck coins in Jerusalem demands notice, in connection with the history of the city, but it appears to be one of those learned fallacies which are very long in dying.386



Certain silver coins of “Eleazar the Priest,” marked (by the alphabetic characters used) as being of the Hasmonæan age, have been rashly attributed to Eleazar, who defended the Temple in 70 A. D. In at least one instance the coin is regarded as a forgery by both de Vogüé and de Saulcy, and this appears to apply to all the so-called “coins of the revolts.” The copper ones bear blundered imitations of genuine inscriptions from coins of Simon the Hasmonæan. They have been struck on much defaced Roman coins of Vespasian, Titus, Domitian, and Trajan, but more probably in the nineteenth century than in the second century. One such coin bears the name Simon, and is struck on a silver tetradrachm of Antioch attributed to Vespasian. It does not seem to have occurred to the scholars who suppose it to have been struck by Simon, son of Gioras, in 70 A. D., that as Vespasian had then only been emperor a few months, and as Jerusalem was besieged, it is quite impossible that an old coin of his reign could have been found in the city in the year of its fall. The forgery of Jewish coins is still common in Palestine, and the forgers did not foresee that the remains of the original legend on a coin would be read by the trained eye of some European specialist, while they thought that the worn surface of the coin would show its antiquity, but that its value would be much higher if it was regarded as being Jewish. The same observation applies to all the restruck copper coins, which have been variously attributed to Simon son of Gioras, to Simon son of Gamaliel, and to Bar Cocheba, who has been conjectured to have been also named Simon—of which there is no proof at all. The latter assumption was necessitated by the fact that some of the coins used by the forgers were as late as the reigns of Domitian and Trajan. It may, however, be remarked198 that if the Jews, in 135 A. D., struck any coins at all, the lettering is not likely to have been in the same characters used about 139 B. C., but would have been in those used at the time, that is to say, practically in square Hebrew. We may regard these coins, therefore, as forged imitations of those of Simon the Hasmonæan, and they have no bearing on the question whether Jerusalem had been rebuilt before 135 A. D. Appian387 was a contemporary historian, but says nothing about any siege of Jerusalem, which city he tells us was “razed to the ground by Vespasian.” He adds, “And anew by Hadrian in my time”—the word “built” having perhaps dropped out, unless further demolitions were needed to clear the site for the new city.


There is no allusion to any coins of Bar Cocheba in the Mishnah, and certain passages in the Aramaic commentaries which are supposed to support this theory seem to have been ill translated,388 and belong to later ages. Thus in the Tosiphta (after 500 A. D.) a passage referring to “second tithes” appears to say that they are “not to be redeemed by coins of persecution [marud] not current, or not engraved. How is this to be understood? When they have false coins, even coins of Jerusalem, they must not redeem with them ... yet they might redeem with coins of former kings.”389 This statement, at most, indicates the existence of forged Jewish coins in our sixth century. Again, in the Jerusalem Talmud—a little earlier—the passage on which the above is a comment runs: “Coins of persecution, or of a son of falsehood [Ben Kôzîba, that is, “a forger”], cannot be used for release. Depreciated coin, according to the decision199 of a case by Rabbi Ime, is to be thrown into the Salt Sea.”390 A third passage, yet later, reads: “They durst not release with coins not current, as for instance false coins of Jerusalem, or of former kings.”391 The last passage quoted by scholars is equally indefinite: “They wanted to retain denarii of Hadriana Turiyina, coins for Jerusalem.”392 This passage might, however, have been in the mind of a later Jewish coiner when he used coins of Trajan. It does not clearly refer, any more than the other passages, to Bar Cocheba.

These questions have been noticed in some detail because they effect our conclusions as to the history of Jerusalem before the revolt of Bêther. Christian historians, writing two centuries later, believed in a second destruction of the city by Hadrian. Eusebius, though in one passage he speaks of Jerusalem as in ruins, yet in another says it was half destroyed by Titus and half by Hadrian. Jerome also says that Hadrian “threw down the walls.” They regarded this as a fulfilment of prophecy,393 especially in connection with that of Daniel, and with the expectation of an approaching end of the world; but a modern student of the passages to which they allude would be more apt to conclude that the history had been misunderstood, and that the true facts did not accord with such interpretations of the prophets.

It is at least generally agreed that Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem in or after the year 135 A. D. The fear, mentioned by Dion Cassius as bringing on the war, that foreigners would dwell in the Holy City, and that strange gods would be there set up, was then justified. The emperor, who was very sarcastic about both200 Jewish and Christian religions, as we learn from a letter of his own, seems to have recognised the strength of the site, and to have regarded a modernised city as likely to dispel the ancient ideal of Israel, though that was for ever preserved by the “mourners of Zion.” Throughout the second century Roman cities continued to spring up in Palestine and Syria, each built complete at one time by some imperial command, as at Gerasa and Philadelphia, or later at Ba’albek and Palmyra. They were constructed on a definite plan, with a central street of pillars and surrounding city walls. The theatre, the civil basilica, the music hall, and the temples were near the main street and the forum; and the side-streets ran at right angles, while an arch of triumph commemorated the founder. At Jerusalem also this plan was adopted as far as the site and the huge blocks of Herod’s towers and Temple allowed, and some of the remains of Hadrian’s city are still traceable by aid of an ancient map.



Outline from Dr. Guthe’s facsimile.


The map in question was discovered a few years ago at Medeba in Moab.394 It is a fragment of a mosaic which was laid on the floor of the cathedral, representing Palestine as far north as Shechem, both east and west of Jordan, with the Sinaitic Desert and the Nile Delta. It was evidently constructed before the Moslem Conquest, and is supposed to date earlier than the building by Eudocia of a new wall at Jerusalem about 450 A. D. It shows the basilica of Constantine, which perished in 614 A. D., and all its inscriptions are in Byzantine Greek characters earlier than those in use in the Middle Ages. It is the most remarkable discovery of recent years as affecting the contemporary history of the Holy City, and, though201 many of the buildings shown are not earlier than the fourth century, it still indicates the plan of the Roman city as built by Hadrian. A street of pillars runs through the town from north to south, and of these two shafts still remain in a vault, west of the bazaar and east of the Holy Sepulchre Cathedral. A second pillared street, diverging on the east, represents the old Herodian street which ran parallel to the western rampart of the Temple enclosure; and at its south end steps seem to be represented, descending the Tyropœon towards Siloam; but the mosaic is unfortunately broken away in this part, and it is not very clear whether the south wall is drawn out of scale, and intended really to enclose the whole of the upper city hill (as Eudocia built it), or whether it is intended to run on the line of the present south wall, excluding the south part of the hill called Sion in and after the fourth century, and excluding Ophel. It is certain, however, that this must have been the line of Hadrian’s wall, since the earliest pilgrim395 found part of Sion and the Pool of Siloam outside the wall, while the supposed palace of David on Sion—near the so-called “Tower of David”—was inside. The map is also interesting because it shows a great pillar—such as the Romans erected for a statue to stand on—in the middle of an open space just inside the North Gate. The present name of this gate (Bâb el ’Amûd, “gate of the pillar”) seems to preserve a tradition of this column, and the wall of Hadrian evidently ran on the line followed by the present wall on the north, though on the west it seems not to have included quite as much ground as at present north of the Jaffa Gate. This plan must be further considered in dealing202 with the Jerusalem of Constantine. Our pilgrim396 seems to agree with the map, placing the Prætorium to the right of those who went from Sion out of the city by the Neapolis (or northern) Gate.


The coins of Hadrian and of his successors, and the actual remains of the Roman age, including the head of Hadrian’s statue, the inscription which once belonged to it, and the arch of triumph which he—or some later emperor—built, exist in illustration of the statements made by early Christian writers as to the erection of pagan shrines in Jerusalem. The statues set up in Ælia Capitolina were still standing in the fourth century. Jerome397 tells us that “where once was the Temple and the religion of God there stands the statue of Hadrian and the idol of Jove”; and again: “A statue of Hadrian on horseback stood, till the present day, in the very place of the Holy of Holies.” The Bordeaux Pilgrim (in 333 A. D.) mentions the existence in the temple court of “two statues of Hadrian, and not far from the statues is the Pierced Stone.” These two were perhaps one of Hadrian himself and one of Jove, and they were clearly erected on the site of the Holy House near the Ṣakhrah rock. The head of a statue representing a Roman, crowned with bay leaves and with the imperial eagle in front, was picked up by a peasant in 1873 near the tomb of Helena of Adiabene, lying on its face in the road among the stones.398 It is believed to represent Hadrian by comparison with his known portraits, and may have203 belonged to his statue in the Temple. In the south wall of the Ḥaram, at the Double Gate, a Latin inscription has been built in upside-down, and reads: “To Titus Ælius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, father of his country, pontif, augur, by decree of the decurions.”399 This no doubt was the dedicatory text of the Temple statue of Hadrian. None of these indications show that any temple of Jupiter was erected on Mount Moriah, though the so-called “Cradle of Christ,” in the vault at the south-east angle of the Ḥaram, is very clearly a Roman niche to hold a statue. The coins of Hadrian and of his successors, however, show a shrine of Jupiter Capitolinus as if existing somewhere at Jerusalem, which was renamed Ælia Capitolina after Ælius Hadrianus and Jupiter Capitolinus. There may have been a small arcaded building near the Ṣakhrah which had been pulled down before 333 A. D., leaving the statues standing; or the temple of Jove may have been elsewhere in the city. Dion Cassius400 says that Hadrian “called it Ælia Capitolina, and in the place of the shrine [naos] of God he erected in opposition another shrine to Zeus”; but this rhetorical sentence need not perhaps be read in a very literal sense.

The coins of the period appear to show that Serapis, as Jove, was the deity adored in the new shrine, wherever it may have been.401 A coin of Hadrian’s, representing him crowned with bay leaves, bears on the reverse the words “Æl. Col.,” and represents a seated Jupiter with two attendant nymphs or goddesses in a temple. Others of Antoninus Pius, also struck at Jerusalem, give the head of Serapis, or represent a deity standing in a temple, or again204 with a dog, or have a representation of the city itself as a tower-crowned female. The Serapis head recurs later under Marcus Aurelius, Caracalla, and Elagabalus, and the temple, with an arched nave and two side cloisters, under a pediment, again contains a deity standing, with attendants on either side. We can hardly doubt, therefore, the existence of a Serapis temple at Jerusalem as early as Hadrian’s time.

Jerome, however, indicates the existence of a temple built by this emperor in the city itself. He speaks of a marble statue of Venus on the “rock of the cross,” and of an image of Jupiter over the “place of the resurrection.” Later historians do not attribute these to Hadrian, and Eusebius only says that “impious men” had founded, above the Holy Sepulchre, a “dark shrine of the unchaste demon Aphrodite.”402 But it is very likely that Jerome is right, for Serapis and Isis (as Jove and Aphrodite) were adored together in Rome, and the site of Constantine’s great basilica, where this shrine of Venus was still standing early in the fourth century, was one very probable for a temple in a Roman city such as Ælia Capitolina, facing east towards the central pillared street of the city. It is this temple, perhaps, which is represented on the coins above noticed.


Eusebius speaks of Sion—the hill of the upper city—as a “ploughed field” in fulfilment of prophecy, and Cyril of Jerusalem says the same403; but Epiphanius believed that Hadrian had found seven synagogues and a small church on Mount Sion; and the Bordeaux Pilgrim—probably influenced by this tradition—thought that one synagogue still remained in his own time,205 though the rest had disappeared, having been covered by ploughed and sown lands. The existence of these synagogues in Hadrian’s time is extremely unlikely. That his wall ran over the top of the hill is further confirmed by the fact that this was the line of defence even in 680 A. D., after the outer wall of Eudocia had been built to include Siloam. The actual buildings, inside the city, according to the Paschal Chronicle (though this is rather a late authority), were pagan. The passage reads thus: “Pulling down the shrine of the Jews in Jerusalem, he [Hadrian] established the two markets, the theatre, the mint, the trikameron [or “three-roomed” building], the tetranumphon [or “four-nymph” place], the dodeka-pulon [or “twelve-gate” place], which was formerly called the steps, and the quadrant, and he divided the city into seven quarters.”

We cannot, unfortunately, recognise under their new names these features of Roman Jerusalem, but the streets were on the old lines, and these give three quarters west of the central street of pillars, and two to its east; the sixth would be on Bezetha, and the seventh was the Temple enclosure.404 The principal monument of the period, still standing, is the triumphal arch west of Antonia, now called the Ecce Homo arch. The central archway spans the Via Dolorosa, and the smaller one to the north is seen in the chapel of the Sisters of Zion, while the corresponding one to the south has been destroyed. A similar arch is still standing at Gerasa in Gilead—a city also of the second century A. D. It is possible that the north wall of the Ḥaram, which is of large206 Roman masonry, was built at this time, unless it is to be regarded as the work of Julian or of Justinian. Other fragments of Roman times, recently found,405 include a Roman bath near Siloam, with tesseræ of the 5th legion, and a fresco in a tomb near that of Queen Helena. We may also attribute to this period the pagan epitaph in the “Cave of St. Pelagia” on Olivet406 reading “Courage, Dometila, no one is immortal”—a sentiment found, in other cases, in texts of Bashan and Syria of the same age. No doubt there are many other relics of Hadrian’s city hidden beneath the surface of the present town, and the wall west of “Hezekiah’s Pool”407 may have been the west wall of Ælia Capitolina.

The “high-level” aqueduct, from a well (now dry) in Wâdy el Bîâr, south of Solomon’s Pool, appears to be of this period. Its course near the pool is lost, but it was carried over the hill near Bethlehem on stone pipes. It disappears a little farther north, but probably fed the Birket Mâmilla. Inscriptions in Latin along its course refer to the Centuria of Valerius Æmilianus and the Centuria Natalis, and show that it was made, or repaired, at some period later than 70 A. D.408


The age of Hadrian was followed by that of the Antonines (138–80 A. D.), when the Jews lived content and prospered as traders. The Sanhedrin, leaving Jamnia after 135 A. D., finally settled at Tiberias, and synagogues in Roman style—but with Hebrew texts—were built in Galilee. Under Severus (193–211) the Jews were granted civil immunities, and they did not207 again revolt till 339 A. D. According to Eusebius, a new line of Christian bishops began to rule the church at Jerusalem in Hadrian’s time, though more probably they would not have returned to the city till somewhat later. Under Marcus Aurelius the Christians had become numerous in the Roman world, and in the third century—after the persecution by Decius—their bishops began to be recognised by the State, while a congregation under one in Jerusalem certainly existed in Cyprian’s time. He also mentions a female pilgrim to the Holy City, and speaks of Bishop Alexander, who—according to Eusebius—succeeded Narcissus,409 having previously ruled a church in Cappadocia. But during this age of prosperity we hear nothing else about the restored city, nor have we any account of sacred Christian sites. For three generations the Christians were absent from the ruined town, and when they did return it was entirely altered. There is a break of at least seventy years in their connection with Jerusalem, and it is not probable that the new generation knew anything of the old city or of the Gospel sites.


368 Jer. xxvi. 18; Tal. Bab., Makkoth, 24 b.

369 The list of bishops from Eusebius (“Hist. Eccl.,” iv. 5) is given by Canon Williams (“Holy City,” 1849, i. p. 487).

370 “Excav. at Jer.,” p. 265. Another text by Sabinus, an officer of the 10th (Fretensis) legion, was supposed by M. Clermont-Ganneau (Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, 1871, p. 103) to be as late as the time of Caracalla, which now seems doubtful, as the 3rd legion had replaced the 10th in 117 A. D.

371 See Tal. Bab., Ketuboth, 111 a; Joel iii. 2, 12.

372 See back, pp. 128, 164. Clermont-Ganneau, in Revue Archéologique, May-June, 1883; “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., p. 404; Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, Jan. 1900, p. 75, report by Mr. C. A. Hornstein; Oct. 1908, p. 342, report by Mr. R. A. Stewart Macalister.

373 Clermont-Ganneau, in Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, 1871, p. 102; de Vogüé, “Temple de Jérusalem,” pl. xxxviii. fig. 2.

374 Canon Dalton, in Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, April 1896, p. 133; Bliss, “Excav. at Jer.,” pp. 249–53.

375 Tacitus, “Hist.,” iv. 83; see Gibbon, ch. xxviii.

376 Akkadian sar, “king,” and ap, “sea”; Turkish ab. Api is also “water” in ancient Persian—Sanskrit ap, modern Persian ab.

377 “Epist. ad Dardanum.”

378 Dion Cassius, lxix. 12; see Robinson, “Bib. Res.,” i. p. 367.

379 “L’Église Chrétienne,” 1879, p. 541; Euseb., “Hist. Eccl.,” iv. 6; Tertullian, “Contra Jud.,” 13; Chrysostom, “In Judæos Hom.,” v. 11.

380 “Survey West Pal.,” iii. pp. 20, 21, 128; Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, 1900, p. 168. Eusebius, “Hist. Eccl.,” iv. 2, places Bêther near Jerusalem.

381 On Ezek. v. 1. This passage was perhaps misunderstood by later writers.

382 See Derenbourg, “Pal.,” p. 117; Renan, “Église Chrétienne,” 1879, p. 205; Robinson, “Bib. Res.,” i. p. 368; Eusebius, “Hist. Eccl.,” iv 6; Mishnah, Ḥalah, iv. 10, Taanith, iv. 7, Sotah, viii. 14; Jerome on Zech. viii. 191, “In Ruf.” ii. 8, Tal. Jer., Taanith, iv.

383 Renan, “Église Chrétienne,” 1879, p. 193, quotes “Corpus Inscript. Lat.,” iii. 2, to show that Tineius Rufus was not Legate of Judæa after the war, and gives the various spellings. See Dion Cassius, lxix. 13.

384 Justin Martyr, “Apol.,” i. 47; Eusebius, “Demonstr. Evang.,” vi. 18; “Hist. Eccl.,” iv. 6; Jerome on Zeph. i., Jer. xviii., xx., xxx.; Sulpic. Severus, “Hist. Sac.,” ii. 45; Renan, “Église Chrétienne,” 1879, p. 222; Eutychius “Annales,” i. 416.

385 Midrash, Eka, ii. 2; Tal. Jer., Taanith, iv. 7.

386 Munter (“Jüdischen Krieg,” p. 57) quoted by Munk (“Pal.,” 1863, p. 605). Munk and Renan regard this theory as unsound. It was advocated by de Saulcy (“Numismatique Judaique,” 1854, pp. 157–70) and by Madden (“Jewish Coinage,” 1864, pp. 154–210).

387 “De Rebus Syriac.,” 50. He wrote in Rome—though an Alexandrian—in 130–47 A. D.

388 The Aramaic texts are given by Madden, pp. 329–33.

389 Tosiphta, Ma’aser Sheni, i. 5.

390 Tal. Jer., Ma’aser Sheni, i. 2.

391 Tal. Bab., Baba Kama, 97 b.

392 Ibid., Bekoroth, 50 a, Aboda Zara, 52 b.

393 “Hist. Eccl.,” iv. 6; “Demonstr. Evang.,” vi. 18; Jerome on Joel i. 4, on Dan. ix. 27, and on Ezek. xxiv. 14.

394 “Die Mosaikkarte von Madeba,” 1906, by Prof. Dr. Guthe, and the architect P. Palmer. Count G. T. Rivoira, “Architettura Lombarda,” 1908, p. 328, suggests the time of Justinian for this map.

395 Bordeaux Pilgrim, 333 A. D. “Item exeunti Hierusalem ut ascendas Sion in parte sinistra et deorsum in valle, juxta murum, est piscina quæ dicitur Siloa”; “intus autem, intra murum Sion, paret locus ubi palatium habuit David.”

396 Bordeaux Pilgrim. “Inde ut eas foris murum de Sion euntibus ad portam Napolitanam ad partem dextram deorsum in valle sunt parites [sic] ubi domus fuit, sive Prætorium Ponti Pilati.” Napolis (Nea-polis) was the later Greco-Roman name for Shechem, north of Jerusalem.

397 On Isa. ii. 8 and Matt. xxi. 15.

398 See my drawing in “Mem. Survey West Pal.,” Jerusalem vol., p. 406.

399 The Latin is given in “Mem. Survey West Pal.,” Jerusalem vol., p. 427.

400 Dion Cassius, lxix. 12.

401 They are reproduced by Madden, from de Saulcy, “Numismatique Judaīque,” plates xv.-xviii.

402 Jerome, “Epist.,” 49, ad Paulin.; Eusebius, “Life of Constantine,” iii. 25.

403 Eusebius, “Demonstr. Evang.,” viii. 3; Cyril, “Catech. Lect.,” xvi. 18; Mic. iii. 12.

404 The ancient wall south of the Holy Sepulchre Cathedral may be of this age. It is of large stones, some of which are drafted. It runs east and west, but is not founded on rock, though the base is 18 feet below the present surface. Probably the rock is 20 or 30 feet lower still on this line, and the wall is described as standing on debris. Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, April 1894, p. 146. It is not of necessity a wall of the city.

405 Bliss, “Excav. at Jer.,” 1898, pp. 228, 249.

406 “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., p. 424; Waddington, “Inscript.,” Nos. 1829, 1854, 1897, 2032. Another occurs in the Tombs of the Prophets, “Courage, Eutherius, no one is immortal.” Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, Jan. 1901, p. 22.

407 See back, p. 63.

408 See back, p. 161, and Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, Oct. 1904, p. 296, Jan. 1905, p. 74.

409 Cypr., “Epist.,” 75; Euseb., “Hist. Eccl.,” vi. 11.


The Romans policed the western world for the benefit of Italy alone. We have made them our model, but the progress of higher thought in the past was due to the Hebrew, the Greek, the Norman, and the Frank, rather than to the Roman, whose only culture was Greek, or to his Saxon disciples. Before Marcus Aurelius died, in 180 A. D., the empire had become cosmopolitan. Signs of decay then appeared under Commodus, and the heart of Italy withered. Constantine substituted the hereditary principle for the elective method dear to the old free republic, but he only delayed the doom to which Roman supremacy and centralisation now hastened. An ignorant plutocracy, corrupted by luxury, destroyed the ancient yeomanry by absorbing the small holdings of the “coloni,” and ruined agriculture by laying the land under grass. They sapped the sources of their own power, and substituted foreign slaves for native freedmen. The plebeian settled as a legionary in distant lands, forming colonies, military and civil, of crossbred descendants, and the colonial emperors had little regard to the selfish prejudices of Rome.

The Church was also changing, like the empire. Under the philosophic Aurelius, Christians were becoming numerous, and before the end of the second century Tertullian wrote as follows410: “The cry is209 that the State is full of Christians; that they are in the field, in the citadels, in the islands; men lament, as if for some calamity, that both sexes, every age and condition, even high rank, are passing over to the profession of the Christian faith; and yet, for all this, their minds are not awakened to the thought of some good that they have failed to notice in it.” “We are but of yesterday, but we have filled every place among you—cities, islands, fortresses, towns, market-places, the very camp, tribes, companies, palace, senate, forum: we have left nothing to you but the temples of your gods.” Yet Truth cannot keep her robe spotless when she walks the market with the crowd. The Church was becoming Romanised, the “sacerdos” began to be distinguished in his “ordo” from the laity or “people.” Men of high rank, like Cyprian (or like the later Ambrose), were being elected as bishops in the third century, and their influence was very different from that of the humble “overseers” of earlier days. After the Decian persecution the federated Churches were strong enough to demand toleration, and received it from the dying Galerius after 300 A. D. Sacerdotal organisation was more welcome to Roman rulers than the teaching of the Master, but it also rendered the leaders of the Church more willing to regard worldly expedience.


The adoption of Christianity as the imperial cultus by Constantine revolutionised Church and Empire. Eusebius is enthusiastic in praising (or flattering) the newly converted master of the West, but his hero’s memory is stained by cruel deeds of tyranny; and, though his heart may have been touched by the Gospel, it is more probable that his policy was due to considerations of worldly state-craft. Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus was the son of Constantius Chlorus, the emperor who died at York. Constantine was born in Mœsia, served in Persia, and210 became sole emperor in 323 A. D. at about fifty years of age. He was a shrewd statesman, with experiences gained in many lands, and perceived the trend of his time, which permitted him to convert the Italian republic into a European monarchy. The change of capital, which Italy had dreaded even in the days of Julius Cæsar, recognised the Asiatic conquests as being the richest and most valuable provinces of the empire, and broke down the Roman supremacy. Constantine also cast his eyes on the Christian Churches, and perceived in them a power which might become a mighty engine in his hands—a cultus better organised and more popular than any other, and a society which he might sway by securing the nomination of its bishops.

But to the Christian faith this recognition was a misfortune lamented by all the great men of the fourth century—by Jerome and Chrysostom, Gregory and Basil, if not so by the courtly Eusebius. The Council of Nicæa, called in 325 A. D., produced the great Arian schism; but the cultus of the “divine emperor” was eagerly adopted by the masses, and the Catholic Church was suddenly swamped by the conversion of innumerable ignorant and superstitious pagans, while, as State officials, the bishops lost their freedom, and were selected rather on account of their loyalty to the emperor than because of the purity of their faith. Palestine became a holy land, and was filled with wonder-loving pilgrims. Cyril of Jerusalem was obliged to exhort his neophytes against “things done to honour lifeless idols, the lighting of lamps, or burning incense by fountains or rivers, watching of birds, divination, omens, amulets, charms on leaves, and sorceries.”411


It was under such circumstances that Constantine211 took steps to show his zeal for the Catholic party, and—as usual with former emperors—to found a shrine at the most appropriate place in honour of his own peculiar cultus. According to Eusebius, after the Council, the new “bishop of bishops,” who had then presided, “desired to perform a glorious work in Palestine by adorning and consecrating the place of our Lord’s resurrection, not without God, but moved by the spirit of the Saviour Himself.”412 Crowds of pilgrims were then visiting Olivet,413 and among them was the emperor’s mother, Helena. It would seem from the letter which Constantine wrote to Macarius,414 who became bishop of Jerusalem in the year of the edict of Milan (313 A. D.), that the establishment of the Church had at once been signalised (perhaps with imperial permission) by the destruction of the Aphrodite temple in the Holy City, which was hateful to Jews and Christians alike. It was entirely removed, and even the earth was carried away and the rock laid bare. During these operations an ancient sepulchre—which (as before suggested) was probably that of the family of David—was found, and was no doubt recognised at once as being Jewish. Moreover, a rock grave was discovered 15 yards farther west, and it was this that Macarius declared to be the true tomb of Christ. We are not told why he made this announcement. Eusebius does not speak of any tradition, nor does it seem possible that the tomb of Joseph of Arimathæa should have been known to the Christians who returned to Jerusalem seventy or a hundred years after the fall of the city, buried as it was under the foundations of a heathen temple. We learn nothing except that Constantine was inspired to seek the site, and that the bishop of Jerusalem informed him of its discovery.


The announcement was received415 with enthusiasm by Constantine, who wrote of the discovery as being miraculous, according to the copy of his letter given by Eusebius: “Truly that the evidence [gnórisma] of His most holy Passion, hidden of old under the earth for so many periods of years, should be anew manifested to the faithful ... is a prodigy defying all admiration.” For, as Eusebius says, “the awful and most holy witness [marturion] of the Saviour’s resurrection was discovered beyond all hope.” The letter goes on to declare the confirmation of the emperor’s belief by “all those supernatural events which daily occur to demonstrate the truth of the faith,” and it says that his “first wish now, and after having by God’s leave freed from the heavy load of impious idols the place holy from the first by God’s will, holier yet since it has thrown a vivid light on the Passion of the Saviour, my wish I say is to adorn this holy place by the construction of splendid buildings.” The rest of the letter gives directions for this purpose. It does not, however, enlighten us as to the reasons for selecting the site. The emperor, like his people at large, seems to have been quite satisfied to rest on the authority of Macarius.


We are now more critical than men were in the fourth century; and besides all the difficulties (already noticed) in accepting this site as appropriate, there is another—namely, that the rock grave found by the bishop cannot apparently have been like that described in the Gospels. Our only contemporary witness is Eusebius, and the turgid language of his eulogy on Constantine gives us little accurate information. He died in 340 A. D., and Cyril wrote twenty years after the supposed discovery occurred.416 He says that the stone still lay in his time beside the Holy Sepulchre, and that “the hollow place which213 was then at the door of the salutary tomb, and was hewn out of the rock itself as is customary here in the front of sepulchres, now appears not, the outer cave having been hewn away for the sake of the present adornment; for before the sepulchre was decorated by royal zeal there was a cave in the face of the rock; but where is the rock that has in it this hollow place?” We may echo these words to-day, and may well ask, Was there ever any such cave?

Quaresmius (writing in 1616 A. D.) preserves a letter from Father Boniface of Raguza, who was present in 1555 when the building over the Holy Sepulchre was repaired. We must accept his statement that, when the covering (of marble) was taken off, “the sepulchre of our Lord appeared in its original state hewn in the rock.” But he does not speak of there being any rock cave over it. On the contrary, there were walls decorated by two ancient frescoes of angels, together with a parchment bearing the name “Helena Magna” in Latin capitals, which was probably much later than her time. When the great basilica was first built, the rock was levelled sufficiently to form a flat floor for the great apse; but a little to the south-east the cliff supposed to be Calvary was allowed to stand up 15 feet above this floor, with the cavern of Golgotha beneath its flat summit. The rock face in which the door of the Jewish tomb, west of the Sepulchre, was cut stood up 6 feet above the floor, and it appears that the rock surface sloped gently eastwards, so that the existence of a cave at least 7 feet high, with rock above it, seems to have been impossible at the spot where the Holy Sepulchre itself was found. That grave must have been simply a rock-sunk tomb, covered probably by a large and heavy stone, and when the floor was levelled it stood up as a trough, with rock walls, about 2 feet above the pavement of the apse.


Such graves are not uncommon in Palestine, being sometimes single, sometimes three or more in a row, each covered by a hewn stone like the lid of a sarcophagus. I have described one group which I found in 1872 at Sepphoris, north of Nazareth; and in another case at Mithilia—a ruin not far off—a rock sarcophagus stands up alone on a rock which has been scarped on each side below it. At Umm el Buruk, in Gilead, there are other examples which I described in 1881, and this site is the ruin of a Roman town, with a Greek inscription stating that “Antonius Rufus” made something (apparently a tomb) “for himself at his own cost.”417 There can be little doubt that graves of this kind belong to the Roman period, and they are neither Hebrew nor even Greco-Jewish. The “new tomb” in the garden was of the last-named class, with a loculus so placed in the cave that the two angels could be seen from the door sitting at the head and foot of the grave itself. Macarius cannot apparently have found such a tomb, but he discovered a rock-sunk grave which, as it was single and also near a Hebrew tomb, he rashly assumed to be the sepulchre which he hoped to find. He was not an archæologist, nor was he well acquainted with the topography of the ancient city which Hadrian had transformed into a modern town. We need not doubt that he was as honestly convinced about the matter as General Gordon was convinced about the “Garden Tomb.” But they both appear to have been misled by enthusiasm without knowledge, and they both created sacred sites which were eagerly adopted by those who accepted their authority.


The result of fixing the site, which has now become traditional, was that a Christian church was built215 where a heathen temple had stood. This was the case also at Ba’albek, at Gerasa, possibly at Bethlehem, and in many other cases, such as the basilica of St. Clement at Rome. There is no doubt that Constantine’s sites were the same as now shown. Not only are they described as lying “north of Sion”—that is, of the upper city, which is so called by all the pilgrims—and also as being to the “left hand” of those who went north to the Nâblus Gate, while the east gates of the basilica opened on the market,418 but we have now the mosaic map already described, which shows the position of Constantine’s great Church of the Resurrection, and enables us to understand the rather vague description by Eusebius.419

The sepulchre was first adorned by the chamber built over it. This stood in a great apse which had in its wall three smaller apses, one on the west, the others on the north and south. They still exist, though the apse has been converted into the rotunda. De Vogüé remarked that the north and south apses have their east sides tangential to the diameter of the great apse, which clearly shows that it was not originally built as a rotunda. His restoration of the whole cathedral has been proved to be the best of several suggestions by the discovery of the mosaic map. The apse had no roof, and the paved, pillared court round the sepulchre was open to the sky. East of this was a roofed basilica, like that still existing at Bethlehem, which was also founded by Constantine. The site of Calvary was in the south-west part of this basilica, which had a nave and aisles—probably four, as at Bethlehem—with a clerestory above, and a gilt ceiling. East of the basilica was an216 atrium, or entrance hall, and beyond this the pillared porch, with gates opening on the central pillared street of the city. To the south of the basilica was the great tank used as a baptistery, and still traceable. It was fed from reservoirs, of which the most important—now called “Helena’s Cistern”—is 66 feet deep, and measures 60 feet by 30 feet, being immediately east of Calvary. The total length of these buildings was 350 feet east and west, and the breadth 120 feet north and south.

One of the most remarkable ceremonies of the year was connected with the baptistery; and Cyril420 describes how the christenings were carried out at Eastertide. In the evening before the Day of Resurrection the neophytes assembled in the dark porch—apparently by torch-light—and, turning to the west, renounced Satan and all the practices of pagan superstition. The women were separately assembled by deaconesses. Every neophyte was naked, and was anointed with oil from head to foot. They were led to the “holy pool,” and thrice descended its steps into the water, confessing their belief in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. They were then clothed in white, and the bishop confirmed them by the chrism, marking with the sign of the cross, in holy oil, the forehead, ears, nostrils, and breast of each new member of the Church, after which they partook of the Eucharist at the Easter Communion. The bishop preached to them, and St. Silvia says, “So loud are the voices of those applauding that they are heard outside the church.” This applause by congregations is also mentioned by Chrysostom. The other ceremonies—both daily and annual—including processions to Olivet and to Sion, which are described in some detail by St. Silvia, with the217 exhortations to pilgrims delivered in Greek, Syriac, and Latin, need not now detain us.

The oldest church in Jerusalem seems to have been that of “Holy Sion,” which the Crusaders rebuilt, and which is now the Nebi Dâûd Mosque, outside the south wall of the city. A small chapel may have been built here towards the close of the third century, and by the fifth it had come to be regarded as having been built by the apostles.421 The Temple enclosure remained in ruins till the time of Justinian, but a basilica was also built by Constantine on the summit of Olivet, and the Pool of Siloam was surrounded by a cloister. The other traditional sites, including the Prætorium, the House of Caiaphas, and Bethesda, have been already sufficiently noticed.422


The accession of Julian, after the death of his uncle Constantine in 337 A. D., and of his cousin Constantius in 353 A. D., checked the progress of Christian church building for ten years, and obliged Catholics and Arians for the moment to lay aside their differences in defence of their common faith. The Jews had rebelled against Constantius in the second year of his reign, when Sepphoris was razed to the ground. In the last six months before his death, on the borders of Persia, the philosophic Julian is said to have endeavoured to win their loyalty by rebuilding their Temple. According to a contemporary statement, the work was abandoned soon after it was begun, the labourers “fearing globes of flames” which burst out of the foundations—miraculously, according to Gregory of Nazianzen.423 The Jews were now allowed to return to Jerusalem, and are said to have contributed218 largely to the funds raised by Alypius, governor of Palestine.

It is very doubtful whether any remains of this work are to be recognised, though some writers have thought that the “Golden Gate,” on the east wall of the Ḥaram, was built by Julian. It seems to have taken its name (Porta Aurea) from a misunderstanding of the Greek hôraia, and to have been thus identified by later writers with the “Beautiful Gate” of the Temple. It certainly existed in the sixth century,424 but according to architectural authority the style of the arched cornices is not as early as the time of Julian, while the gate-house within is supported on great columns which seem clearly to be as late as the sixth century, when the Temple walls appear to have been still in ruins. It is more probable, therefore, that the Golden Gate, which is unnoticed by pilgrims before the time of Justinian, is to be attributed to the period of his restoration of the Temple enclosure.


The city remained at peace under the emperors of the East for three centuries after the Christian religion had been tolerated at Milan in 313 A. D. The next great building period was in the time of Eudocia, widow of Theodosius II. She lived sixteen years in the Holy City, and died there, at the age of sixty-seven, about 460 A. D. She built (as already noticed) the Church of St. Stephen outside the north gate, and here she was buried; she also built a wall on the south side of the upper city to include the Church of St. Sion, and carried it over the Tyropœon Valley (enclosing for the first time the Pool of Siloam), running it north, on the ancient line on Ophel, to the south-east219 angle of the Temple enclosure. The ruins of this wall have now been excavated.425

The reasons for supposing that the wall excavated by Mr. Bliss is not older than the time of Eudocia are purely antiquarian, and require notice because it has been assumed, by recent writers, that it represents the “old wall” described by Josephus, though its course is not that which he mentions, since—in 70 A. D.—the rampart crossed the Tyropœon “above Siloam,” and left the pool outside. The wall was partly rebuilt for a short distance on the slope of Sion, at some later period (before 680 A. D.), but it is substantially all of one character, and fragments of Roman and Byzantine work have been built into its masonry. A new gate was made near its south-west angle, the threshold stones of which were more than once renewed. A pilaster with Roman letters and numerals was here used up, and the drain under the lowest pavement of the street was covered with flat stones. “One of these,” says Mr. Bliss, “has a large plain Greek cross carved on its under side,” which clearly indicates that even the oldest part of the wall is later than the fourth century.

The style of fortification, with buttresses at intervals, is also distinctively Byzantine, and the masonry is “roughly set in coarse lime,” and (near Siloam) is “covered with plaster.” The masonry does not resemble that of even Herod’s time, but (as seen by myself and as shown in the drawings supplied by Mr. Bliss) it may confidently be ascribed to the fifth century. Similar masonry is common in the walls of chapels and monasteries throughout Palestine and Syria belonging to that age, and it is certain that this was hewn at the time, and was not merely re-used material. It was a rude imitation of the older Greek and Roman style, but the work is very inferior in220 execution. The stones are generally less than 2 feet square, the joints are wide, and mortar is used, while in some cases small fragments of stone are packed in on the face of the joint. The courses are irregular, and some stones are rudely drafted, while others are not. This masonry is constantly associated with barrel vaults having graduated voussoirs—the keystone narrow, and the haunch-stones broad—which is also distinctive of Byzantine architecture. No one who has examined the Palestine monasteries of the Byzantine age could doubt that the wall in question must be of the same period, and it appears that it was the work of Eudocia, though it was repaired and strengthened, in the same style, rather later—probably by Justinian. Soon after his time Antoninus Martyr says, “The fountain of Siloam is at the present day within the walls of the city, because the Empress Eudocia herself added these walls to the city, and built the basilica and tomb of St. Stephen.”426

Specimens of Masonry, showing the Comparative Size and Finish.

The chapel which has been found on the north side of the Pool of Siloam appears to be somewhat later than this wall. It is not mentioned by any writer before 570 A. D., and it may have been built under Justinian. The pool—as described by Antoninus Martyr—was then converted into a baptistery, and the chapel was no doubt used in connection with the rites. The reservoir was divided into two parts by rails. In one part men were washed, in the other women, “for a blessing,” and the intermittent flow from the tunnel was awaited. The waters were said to cure leprosy—no doubt with reference to the Gospel story.427 As late as the eleventh century428 a Moslem writer informs us, in speaking of Siloam, “there are at this221 spring many buildings for charitable purposes, richly endowed”; but these were apparently not kept up, and the chapel is not noticed in the accounts of the Middle Ages. The institution is mentioned by Nâṣr-i-Khosrau in connection with the hospice in the city itself (afterwards that of St. John), which dated from about 800 A. D. It is, however, possible that both these charitable institutions originated with Justinian, who certainly erected others on the Temple hill.


The mosaic map of Jerusalem, perhaps about 450 A. D., has already been noticed.429 It shows very clearly Constantine’s Church of the Anastasis, with the great roofless apse on the west, the basilica to its east having a pitched roof, while the atrium seems also to be roofless, and the porch gates stand above steps leading down to the pillared street close by to the east. The representation of the city is a rude perspective, and the main buildings are quite out of scale. The pillared street ascends to Zion by steps at right angles to its course, which is north and south through the middle of the city. The walls are strengthened by towers such as have been actually unearthed on the south. Three city gates are shown on west, north, and east. The only building on the Temple site is at the south-east corner—apparently the “Chapel of St. Simeon” in the old Herodian vault, where the “Cradle of Christ” was early shown. The second pillared street, west of the Temple, descends towards Siloam by steps, and Antoninus Martyr,430 in the sixth century, speaks of descending this street under the “arch” of the causeway, which then led to the central gate of the west Temple wall, and “by many steps” down to Siloam. The Church of St. Anne is shown in the north-east part of the city, and a large church inside222 the wall on the south-west is probably St. Sion.431 The House of Annas appears to its north, with three other buildings—two east of the central street.

At the time when Eudocia retired to Jerusalem the terror of the Huns had fallen on Europe and on Asia. Before his death, her husband, Theodosius II., was forced to make peace with Attila. Last of the Spanish emperors of Byzantium, he was succeeded in 457 A. D. by Leo of Thrace. The Roman Empire was broken up by the Goths, who were driven from their homes by the Huns, and who invaded the Balkan peninsula and Asia Minor. Theodoric the Ostrogoth nearly won Byzantium from Zeno the Isaurian, and then conquered Italy and sacked Rome. The rude civilisation of the Goths was fatal to the ancient culture of Greeks and Latins, and the Arians triumphed over the Catholics. Asia was Arian at heart, and the Eastern Churches refused the new definitions and the Mariolatry of the imperial orthodoxy. After the Council of Chalcedon (in 451 A. D.), when Jerusalem became the seat of a patriarch, Syrians, Copts, Armenians, and Chaldeans alike were separated from the Greeks and Romans. The superstitions which Chrysostom denounced at Antioch even in the fourth century degraded Christianity, and learning hid itself in remote monasteries, while education was ruined by Gothic barbarism. From this welter of confusion rose the new empire of Justinian—himself of Gothic descent—which restored the glories of Constantine’s monarchy for forty years after 527 A. D. But the ancient world was entirely changed, and Byzantine power lingered only half a century after Justinian’s death.



Justinian was a great builder, and did much for Jerusalem. If the architectural style of his work on the Temple hill is sometimes more classical than that of his great Cathedral of St. Sophia in his capital, this may be attributed—in an age of novelty—to the later selection of Theodorus as his architect.432 The fine, square, undrafted masonry which stands on the Herodian work in the outer Temple walls is certainly later than Hadrian’s time, since his inscription has been built into it upside-down at the Double Gate. It is attributed by de Vogüé to Justinian, who was the first to restore the ramparts destroyed by Titus. Similar masonry is also found in connection with the wall of Eudocia, but this is less well hewn than Justinian’s work. His great building was the Church of St. Mary on the south side of the Temple enclosure, and besides this he appears to have founded the Church of the Virgin’s Tomb, as well as one to St. Sophia, and two hospitals.

We owe our knowledge of Justinian’s works to Procopius, but his description of the St. Mary Church is so vague as to lead some writers to state that its position cannot be identified. Procopius433 says that the “temple to the Virgin, ... called by natives the New Church,” was ordered to be built “on the most prominent of the hills.” It was begun by the Patriarch Elias, and completed by Justinian about 532 A. D. It was found that there was not enough flat ground to allow of the emperor’s design being carried out, without raising the foundations on vaults under about a quarter of the area towards the south-east, so that it224 was evidently on the narrower part of the Temple ridge. Antoninus Martyr tells us that a footprint of Christ was shown in this church, which later writers identify with the present Aḳṣa Mosque,434 where the “footprint of Jesus” is still shown. In the twelfth century the Templars’ Church occupied the south part of this mosque, and had an apse on the east, the wall of which is still visible. It consisted of a nave and two aisles, and the mosque dome is still supported on fine columns which appear to be of the time of Justinian. The building stands partly on the rock and partly on the vaulted passage from the Double Gate, which passage is also of masonry attributable to the age of Justinian, its barrel vault being Byzantine.

On the south-east the rock is 40 feet lower than the floor of the mosque, and the surface is banked up above it, and is partly supported by the west wall and the vaulted roof of the Triple Gateway. The site thus answers to that described by Procopius, and the Templars’ apse very probably marks the site of that which belonged to Justinian’s church, and which is described as being on the east. The building had two side apses—as was usual in this age—and on the west was a narthex, or narrow porch, with a square atrium or outer court, and beyond this again the western gates. The great apse was flanked by two tall pillars, and the church appears to have had a clerestory. The atrium, as well as the aisles, was adorned with large pillars, and it is supposed that some of the massive columns now used in the north part of the mosque have been cut down in height, and originally belonged to the church. They have Corinthian capitals, but are evidently not standing in situ,435 and in style they are not225 as early as the pillars of Constantine’s basilica at Bethlehem.436

We may suppose, therefore, that the new Church of the Virgin occupied what is called the “transept” of the Aḳṣa, thus including the “footprint of Christ” in its south-west part. It was thus about 160 feet long and 100 feet wide, with an atrium 100 feet square on the west. It resembled in plan the Holy Sepulchre basilica, except that it had three apses on the east instead of one large apse on the west. This building became the first mosque in Jerusalem a century after it was built.


Besides building this church and repairing the outer walls of the Temple, Justinian very probably enclosed the five acres on the north-east, which (as already said437) formed no part of Herod’s enclosure. He adorned the Double Gate with an arched cornice outside, and probably built the Golden Gate in the same style, as well as the fine gate-house within. The Ṣakhrah rock—as the site of the Jewish Temple—was purposely left desolate, as it was in Constantine’s time; but a Church of St. Sophia was built, and is described by Theodorus (who was perhaps the same person who built the church for Justinian) as being in the Prætorium. It is thus to be identified with the “Chapel of the Mocking,” which still exists inside the Turkish barracks on the Antonia scarp. Antoninus Martyr also describes it at the same site, and calls it a basilica.438


It is not clear from the account by Procopius where the two hospitals built by Justinian stood, nor are any remains of them known to exist. They flanked some entry, and may have been near the west central gate of the enclosure (now the “Gate of the Chain”), where the ancient causeway was repaired, and ran on Byzantine arches over the street leading from the Gate of St. Stephen to Siloam. Cyril of Scythopolis439 mentions Justinian’s hospital for sick pilgrims as having one hundred beds, to which another hundred were added later. Procopius speaks of one hospice as being a lodging for visitors coming from a distance, and of the other as being a resting-place for the sick poor. Antoninus Martyr, forty years later, says: “From Sion we came to the Basilica of the Blessed Mary, where is a large company of monks, and where also are hospices for men and women. There I was received as a pilgrim: there were countless tables, and more than three thousand beds for sick persons.” The hospices may have been enlarged by his time, but Antoninus is not a very reliable writer, and is given to exaggeration, besides being extremely credulous.

To Justinian we may also, perhaps, ascribe the building of the underground chapel at Gethsemane, which was supposed to be the site of the Virgin’s Tomb. It is first mentioned by Theodorus, and though St. John of Damascus speaks of the Empress Pulcheria (after 450 A. D.) as desiring relics from this tomb, he only wrote three centuries later. Yet a third church in honour of the Virgin first appears in the accounts of Theodorus and Antoninus. This was close to the “Sheep Pool,” and its site is perhaps marked by the present Latin chapel of the “Flagellation.”


After the death of Justinian, whose power held at227 bay the Vandals and the Goths, the Persians, and the Turks of the Volga, and after the peaceful times of his nephew, Justin II., and of Tiberius II., who married the widow of Justin, Maurice the Cappadocian—of Roman origin—was emperor for twenty years, till he was murdered in 602 A. D. by the centurion Phocas, elected emperor by the discontented army, and attacked by Khosrau II., the Sassanian ruler of Persia. The Byzantine empire had fallen on evil days, and Heraclius, the exarch of Africa, refused tribute to Phocas. Khosrau I. had conceived the ambitious idea of conquering Western Asia; but he was held in check by Justinian, who was allied to the Turks on his north and to the Sabean kings on the south. The grandson (Khosrau II.) took advantage of the weakness of Phocas, and attacked Aleppo and Antioch in 610 A. D., while Heraclius, son of the exarch, was besieging the upstart centurion in Byzantium. For ten years Khosrau II. held Chalcedon, and the Persian forces faced the new Greek emperor at Constantinople. The victorious Sassanian entered Alexandria, and in 614 A. D. the Persians besieged Jerusalem. Muhammad at Mekkah watched the war, and predicted that in spite of the defeat of the Greeks they would triumph a few years later.440 Meanwhile, the Holy City fell to the Persians in June441; and, according to a contemporary account in the Paschal Chronicle, a terrible massacre of monks and nuns followed. The churches were laid in ruins; the Holy Sepulchre basilica, built by Constantine, was burned down; the Patriarch Zacharias and the True Cross were taken away to Persia as hostages. Mediæval writers state that the corpses of the martyrs were buried at the “Charnel House [or, Cave] of the Lion,” beside the Mâmilla Pool228 outside Jerusalem, on the west,442 where a subterranean chapel still exists.

The prediction of Muḥammad was speedily fulfilled. Heraclius drove the Persians out of Asia Minor in 622 A. D.—the year of the Hejirah—and struck boldly at the heart of their empire. He advanced nearly to Ispahan, and in five years he so ruined Sassanian power as to leave Persia a prey to the Moslems ten years later. His advance forced Khosrau II. to retreat from Palestine, and early in 628 the latter was murdered by his son Siroes, who made an ignominious peace with the Byzantines. Thus, in the following year, Heraclius made a triumphal entry by the Golden Gate into Jerusalem, at the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14, and bore the sacred relic on his shoulder, while the patriarch, having died in captivity, was succeeded by Modestus, his vicar.


Even before this last triumph of the Byzantine emperor, steps had been taken to rebuild the ruined churches, as soon as the Persians had retired. John Eleemon, Patriarch of Alexandria, raised funds and sent a thousand workmen from Egypt.443 The monk Modestus, appointed vicar to the captive Patriarch Zacharias, superintended the building work.

The churches destroyed by Khosrau II. included (according to Eutychius, who, however, wrote three centuries later) the church of Gethsemane (or of the Virgin’s Tomb), and those of Constantine and Helena,229 with Golgotha and the Holy Sepulchre. About sixty years after these were rebuilt, the Gaulish bishop Arculphus described the new churches to Adamnan, bishop of Iona, to which island he had been driven by a storm. Rough sketch-plans were also made by Adamnan from his accounts, representing the sites near the Holy Sepulchre, the square church of Holy Sion, and the round church on the summit of Olivet. Before these were in turn destroyed (in 1010 A. D.), they were also visited by St. Willibald in the eighth century, and by Bernard, “the wise monk,” in the ninth century. From these accounts,444 and from existing remains, we may conclude that the new buildings were very inferior to those of Constantine’s time, but that they were on the same sites.

The chapel or chamber over the Holy Sepulchre was now apparently a round tugurium or “cabin,” without any ante-chamber. The great apse in which it stood was converted into a rotunda, and a circular wall, or fence, was built outside it. The central drum, supported on pillars, was roofless just as it was later. Three altars stood in the three small apses of the rotunda. The “cabin” was covered with marble slabs, and had a gold cross on its roof. The Calvary rock was enclosed in a second (square) chapel, which was separated by a porch from the small “Church of Constantine,” which in part replaced the old basilica proper. Under this was a rock-cut crypt reached by steps—as it still is—and shown as the place where the three crosses were found hidden by St. Helena. Besides these three churches there was a fourth to the south of the rotunda of the Holy Sepulchre. It was dedicated to St. Mary, and is said to have been large230 and square. Its exact position is not very clear, and no remains survived the second destruction in 1010 A. D., unless it was on the site of the chapel afterwards built, and also dedicated to the Virgin, rather farther west than the position on the map of Adamnan. The open court, or “Paradise,” east of the rotunda was paved with marble, and the walls shone with gold. It was supposed to represent the garden in which the “new tomb” had been hewn in the rock.445 In or near its centre was a pillar said to mark the “middle of the world,” which was proved by its casting no shadow at the summer solstice; but this, of course, was impossible. Four chains hung from this pillar, connecting the four churches to it (according to Bernard in 867 A. D.); on the north-east side of the Paradise was a wooden table on which alms were received; and south of this (between Calvary and the basilica) was a chamber where the silver cup of the Last Supper was shown.


The only remains attributable to these buildings are those which have recently been found west of the old pillared street,446 and east of the cave “Chapel of Helena,” together with the columns supporting the roof of the latter, and perhaps one capital which has been built into the wall of the Chapel of the Virgin south of the rotunda, and which the visitor passes (on his left) when going from Christian Street to the south entrance of the present cathedral. The capitals in the Chapel of Helena, with their heavy outline and basket-work ornament, are evidently Byzantine work of about the seventh century, and the capital of the built-in pillar is in the same style. The wall and gate recently described by Mr. Dickie may have belonged to the renovated basilica built231 by Modestus, and ancient masonry here appears to have been re-used, perhaps more than once. As this wall is not at right angles to the axis of the original basilica, it probably belonged to the detached building erected by Modestus, or to that which superseded it in 1028 A. D. The “Prison of Christ,” east of the rotunda, is not noticed in any account of the period when the buildings of Modestus were standing (622–1010 A. D.), and this with its arcade seems to have belonged to the third period of building to be described later.

Other churches which may have been rebuilt by Modestus include the “double church” of the Virgin’s Tomb (a subterranean chapel with a round roofless building over it), and the remarkable round church on the summit of Olivet. These, like the four churches above described, were rebuilt by the Franks in the twelfth century. The Armenian account (already noticed447) speaks of the Virgin’s Tomb as reached by two hundred and fifty steps, having above it a cupola on four marble columns covered with copper crosses. It also mentions St. Sion apparently as having a crypt, and a wooden cupola on which the Last Supper was painted. The Church of the Ascension was also roofless, and had apparently a central drum, supported on pillars and pierced by eight windows on the west side: these were glazed, and lamps were hung in them which could be seen shining by night from the city. A circular double cloister surrounded the drum, and in the centre was a bronze cylinder,448 with a glazed door through which could be seen the rock marked by the two footprints of Christ. The pilgrims used to be admitted within, and carried away with them the232 dust lying on the rock. A strange superstition was also connected, in the eighth century, with two pillars which apparently stood in the east gate of the outer cloister; for St. Willibald says that “the man who can squeeze between the pillars and the wall becomes free from his sins.” The same superstition still clung to two pillars in the Aḳṣa Mosque as late as 1881 A. D.; for it was said by Moslems that any one who squeezed between them would go to heaven. In consequence, perhaps, of my having passed through them, an iron bar was placed across by order of the pasha to prevent this old custom being followed any more. It is a survival of the widespread peasant belief in the virtue of “passing through” holed stones, creeping under dolmens, or altars, or arches, which we find all over the world, from Ireland to China and Japan.

The works of Modestus had only been completed about a dozen years before the Moslem Conquest, and were the last carried out under Christian domination until the time of the first Crusade, though other churches were built in 1028 A. D., as will appear later. The gradual growth of Christian buildings in Jerusalem, down to the era of the downfall of Christian power in Palestine, has been described in the historical sequence of their construction to the time immediately preceding the triumph of Islâm.


410 “Apologeticus,” i. 37.

411 “Catech. Lect.,” xix. 8, delivered in the new Church of the Anastasis in 348 A. D. Cyril was a semi-Arian.

412 “Life of Constant.” (in Greek), iii. 25.

413 “Demonstr. Evang.,” vi. 18.

414 “Life of Constant.,” iii. 30.

415 “Life of Constant.,” iii. 28.

416 “Catech. Lect.,” xiii. 9.

417 “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” vol. , pp. 316, 330; “Mem. East Pal. Survey,” p. 244. In the latter instance there are several groups of rock-sunk graves.

418 Onomasticon, s.v. Golgotha; Bordeaux Pilgrim; St. Silvia (385 A. D.).

419 Eusebius, “Life of Constant.,” iii. 34–9; Willis, “Ch. of Holy Sep.,” 1849; de Vogüé, “Églises de la Terre Sainte,” 1860; Prof. Hayter Lewis, “Holy Places of Jer.,” 1888.

420 “Catech. Lect.,” xix. 1-xxi. 4. See Tertullian, “In Prax.,” 26, “De Corona,” 3.

421 “Primitiva et ecclesiarum mater sancta Sion,” “Will. Tyre.,” xv. 4; Eucherius (c. 427–40 A. D.), “Ut fertur ab apostolis fundata”; Theodorus (c. 530 A. D.), “Mater omnium ecclesiarum.”

422 See back, pp. 14–17.

423 Ammianus Marcellinus, xxiii. 1; Julian, “Epist.,” xxix., xxx.; Greg. Nazianzen, “Orat.,” iv.

424 Antoninus Martyr (c. 570 A. D.), “The [east] gate of the city which adjoins what was once the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, the thresholds and posts of which still stand.” See Prof. Hayter Lewis, “Holy Places of Jerusalem,” 1888, p. 94. This statement may be explained by the conclusion reached by de Vogüé (“Temple de Jérusalem,” chap. v.) that remains of an earlier gate are traceable at the Golden Gate.

425 See back, p. 91; Bliss, “Excav. at Jer.,” 1898, pp. 9–128.

426 Ant. Mart., xxv. Theodorus (530 A. D.) places the site outside the “Galilee Gate.” He also says that Siloam “is within the wall.”

427 John ix. 11.

428 Nâṣr-i-Khosrau, 1047 A. D.

429 See back, p. 200.

430 Ant. Mart., xxiv.

431 The great corner tower on south-west seems to be that at the present Protestant Cemetery. The other chapels may be the House of Caiaphas, the Church of St. Giles (near the Causeway), and that of the Spasm in the Via Dolorosa.

432 The arched cornices at the Double and Golden Gates are attributed by de Vogüé to about the sixth century. The different style of the interior gate-house at the latter gate, and of the Byzantine pillars in the Aḳṣa, may be explained by the work having been begun by the Patriarch Elias, and finished by Justinian in a style more like that in use at Byzantium.

433 “De Ædificiis Justiniani,” v. 6; Antoninus Mart., xxiii.

434 Robinson, “Bib. Res.,” i. pp. 296, 384.

435 Prof. Hayter Lewis, “Holy Places of Jer.,” 1888, pp. 74–9.

436 The suggestion that the Bethlehem basilica is later than Constantine’s age seems to be only true in part. Much of the building is undoubtedly later. The mosaics date only from the twelfth century, and the roof of the transept from 1482. But the pillars of the basilica appear to be of Constantine’s age, and to be still in situ (see “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” 1883, vol. iii. p. 85).

437 See back, p. 119.

438 Theodorus (c. 530 A. D.), “Pretorium Pilati ... ibi est ecclesia Sanctæ Sophiæ”; Antoninus Mart., xxiii.

439 Cyril of Scythopolis, “Vita Sabæ.”

440 Ḳorân, xxx. 1.

441 See Robinson, “Bib. Res.,” i. p. 387.

442 Eutychius, “Annales,” ii.; John of Würzburg (c. 1160 A. D.); “Citez de Jhérusalem”; “Ord. Survey Notes,” p. 68. The pool is perhaps the Beth Mamil of the Talmud (Tal. Bab., Erubin, 51 b; Sanhed., 24 a; Bereshith, Rabḅa, ch. li.) though some pilgrims connect it with St. Babylas. The legend of the pious lion who buried these martyrs may have arisen from a corruption of the name Mamilla (“filled”) as M’aun-el-lawi (“den of the lion”). The cemetery near the pool is now Moslem, but the Ḳubbet el ’Abd, or “slave’s dome,” is an old Crusader’s tomb in its midst.

443 Leontius, “Life of John Eleemon.”

444 There is also a short Armenian account, probably of the seventh century. N. Bain in Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, Oct. 1896; “Archives de l’Orient Latin,” ii. p. 394. The rotunda is here stated to have had an upper arcade of twelve pillars.

445 St. Willibald (c. 754 A. D.).

446 Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, Oct. 1907, p. 297, Oct. 1908, pp. 298–310, report by Mr. A. C. Dickie.

447 See back, p. 229.

448 So Arculphus in 680 A. D.; but in 754 A. D. Willibald describes it as being square.


Among the texts, from the Ḳorân, of the mosaics in the Dome of the Rock occurs one which reads, “Jesus the son of Mary is one sent by God, and His Word whom He sent upon Mary, and His Spirit.”449 Muḥammad did not regard our Lord as being simply a human being, and Carlyle was not wrong in calling Islâm a kind of Christianity. But it was the Christianity of Syrian and Arab Gnostics, not of the Gospels, just as Muḥammad’s ideas about the faith of Israel were taken from Talmudic Jews, and not from the Old Testament. Islâm was a revolt, not only from the savage superstitions of Arabia but from the formalism of Jews and Byzantine Christians, who, as Muḥammad said truly, had corrupted the truth by teaching the traditions of men. He denied all the doctrines concerning the Trinity which, in his time, preoccupied the minds of Christians, and which had rent the seamless robe into seven pieces, by the schisms of Latins, Greeks, Armenians, Chaldeans, Maronites, Syrians, and Copts, who had replaced the Catholic Church of Constantine. Politically, Islâm set free the Semitic race from the feeble tyrannies of Greeks and Persians. History repeated itself, for the Arab is always eager to swarm from his deserts when the rulers of the rich lands to the north are weakened by234 strife among themselves. About 650 B. C., when the king of Assyria was fighting Babylon, the Arabs conquered Eastern Palestine for a few years till driven back by Assur-bani-pal. In the time of our Lord, the Arab king of Petra ruled also in Damascus, and among the earliest Christian converts were the Beni Ghassan Arabs of Bashan. Thus, when Muḥammad had united Arabia, there was already a large Semitic population ready to join the Moslems in the north, and a large Gnostic and Ebionite school of thought as weary as were the Jews of oppression by monks and bishops, weary also of endless disputes among the churches, and ready to accept a simpler belief in one God, and in a living prophet who said that there was but one faith taught by all who came before him, and common to Christian and Jew. It was not a persecuting faith, and the tolerance of Islâm, under the Arab khalifs, was not changed into fanaticism till later Turks arose to give their captives the stern choice between the sword and the Ḳorân.


It needed, therefore, only one great defeat for the decayed power of Byzantium to crumble away, and for the ruined Sassanians to lose their sway over races mainly Semitic. This victory was won on the precipitous banks of the Yermûḳ stream in Bashan, four years after the death of Muḥammad, which took place in his house at Medînah on June 8, 632 A. D. The capture of Jerusalem by the forces of Omar, in 637 A. D., was merely an incident in that story of wonderful conquests, which, within three-quarters of a century, united West Asia, North Africa, and Spain under the Arab khalîfah of Damascus, as “successor” of the prophet.

We have, however, no contemporary account of the siege of Jerusalem, which lasted at least four months. The Moslem histories were—at earliest—written six centuries later, though based on older sources. The235 earliest Christian account is that of Theophanes, two hundred years after the event, and the narrative of Eutychius (about 930 A. D.) is inaccurate: this writer was chiefly interested in showing that Heraclius was defeated because he had become a Maronite, deserting the orthodoxy of the Greek Church.450 There is, however, a general agreement as to the main features of the story. When the patriarch Sophronius capitulated to Abu ’Obeidah, a lean Arab about fifty-five years of age, clad in a coarse cotton shirt and sheepskin jacket, was seen approaching on his camel, accompanied by his victorious general on a little dromedary with a rude halter of hair, his camel-hair cloak folded on the wooden saddle. Such was the early simplicity of the conquerors of Asia—of Abu ’Obeidah, and of his master Omar the second khalîfah. To the patriarch it was a sure sign of the end of the world, and Theophanes says that he exclaimed, “This is of a truth the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place.” Eutychius preserves what seems to be the original written promise to the city, faithfully fulfilled by Omar: “In the name of God merciful and pitying, from ’Amr ibn el Khaṭṭâb to the dwellers in the city Ailia, that they may be safe as to their lives, their children, their possessions, and their churches, that these shall neither be pulled down nor occupied.” Yet a place must be set aside where Moslems should pray in future, and it was agreed that this should be at the site of Solomon’s Temple, which still stood desolate at the Ṣakhrah rock.451

Omar therefore entered the Ḥaram, and—according to tradition—entered by the “Prophet’s Gate” towards236 the south part of the west wall. He prayed in Justinian’s basilica of the Virgin, and the place now shown as his “station” (Maḳâm ’Amr) did not then exist, being the vestry of the later Templar Church adorned with twisted Gothic pillars.452 He is said to have visited the Ṣakhrah, which he purified. Eutychius says that in Constantine’s time “the Rock and the parts adjacent thereto were ruinous, and were thus left alone. They cast dirt on the stone, so that a great dunghill was piled upon it, wherefore the Romans (or Byzantines) neglected it, and did not pay it the honour which the Israelites were wont to do, neither did they build a church over it, for that our Lord Jesus Christ said in the Gospel, ‘Behold your House shall be left unto you desolate.’” Omar caused it to be purified, and “then some one said, ‘Let us build a temple with the stone for Ḳiblah’ (or direction for ‘fronting’ in prayer); but Omar answered, ‘Not so, but let us build the shrine so as to place the stone behind it.’ So Omar built a shrine and set the stone in its back part.” With this account the later Moslem historians of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries A. D. agree.453


As regards this Mosque of Omar, which no longer exists, a very common error is due to the mistakes of later Christian historians,454 and the Dome of the Rock—which did not exist till half a century after Omar’s entry—is called the “Mosque of Omar” in popular literature. Theophanes says that “Omar began to restore the Temple at Jerusalem, for indeed the building no longer then stood firmly founded, but had fallen into ruin.” William of Tyre, in the twelfth237 century, thought that the old Ḳufic texts in the Dome of the Rock attributed the building to Omar. The Franks could not read them, or they would have found out their mistake. This great historian of their victories speaks of “mosaic work with most ancient monuments in letters of the Arabic idiom, which are believed to be of his [Omar’s] time.” But the first khalifs were warriors and not builders. Muḥammad’s mosque at Medînah was made of mud and palm-tree posts, and the real Mosque of Omar, which was still standing about 680 A. D., before it was replaced by the Dome of the Rock, was near the east wall of the Ḥaram. It is described by Arculphus in such a manner as to agree with the later statement of Eutychius, leaving no reasonable doubt on the question. As recorded by Adamnan, his guest (Arculphus) said: “Also in that famous place where, before, the temple had been magnificently built, the Saracens frequent a square house of prayer placed near the east wall, building it themselves—a poor work with upright beams and great planks—on certain remains of ruins; which house is said to hold as many as three thousand men together.”455 This rude wooden mosque stood, therefore, east of the Ṣakhrah, amid the ruins of the Temple courts, of which traces only were left.

The triumphs of the khalifs of Damascus were preceded by fierce internal dissensions in Islâm. When ’Othmân, the third khalîfah, died, in 644 A. D., Muawîyah, the son of Abu Ṣofiân—Muḥammad’s old enemy, head of the elder branch of that Ḳoreish family to which the prophet belonged—was ruler of Syria.238 He refused to recognise ’Aly, the son-in-law of Muḥammad, as the fourth khalîfah, and war between the two parties ensued. In 660 ’Aly was assassinated at Ḳufa by the poisoned sword of an anarchist, and his son Ḥasan abdicated six months later in favour of Muawîyah. The Persian legend of Ḥasan and Ḥosein has no true foundation. Ḥasan was poisoned by his wife in 667 A. D., at the instigation, it is said, of Yezîd, son of Muawîyah. The latter was still khalîfah at Damascus till 680 A. D. Ḥosein, whom the Persian story represents as being a boy, was about fifty-four when he fell at the battle of Kerbela in the same year. Ḥasan is said to have left fifteen sons and five daughters, and among these were the children of Fâṭimah, the prophet’s daughter, from whom the later Khalifs of Egypt claimed descent. The struggle between the two parties of the Ḳeis and the Yemini—or Syrians, and Arabs of the Yemen—went on yet later, and the memory of these factions is indeed not yet dead456 even to-day in Palestine. ’Abd el Melek was the fifth khalîfah of Damascus (685–705 A. D.) of the family of Muawîyah, and for eight years before his accession Islâm was rent by internecine quarrels. ’Abd-Allah ibn Zobeir led the Yemen faction, and Arabia and Africa refused to acknowledge the Omawîyah family as khalifs. It was at this time that ’Abd el Melek conceived the idea of making Jerusalem the Ḳiblah for the faithful, and—as he had no access to the Black Stone at Mekkah—of inducing them to perambulate the Ṣakhrah rock instead. It was then probably that Muḥammad was first said to have been miraculously borne by the lightning cherub to Jerusalem, and to have ascended from the holy rock to heaven. The legend grew out of a single verse in the Ḳorân: “Glory to Him who239 carried His servant by night from the Ḥaram place of prayer to the place of prayer that is more remote.”457 This probably referred to the Medînah mosque, but was now understood to mean the one at Jerusalem—the great enclosure where Justinian’s church still stood, as a Moslem place of prayer; and it thus received the name Masjid el Aḳṣa, or “the more distant mosque.” These events preceded, and account for, the building of a Moslem shrine over the site of the Temple itself, which had been unoccupied for six hundred years.


In the time of ’Abd el Melek Jerusalem remained much as it had been under Justinian, except that Eudocia’s wall seems to have been allowed to fall into ruins. It was probably found to be indefensible from catapults on the south cliff of Hinnom, and the Sion wall, as early at least as 680 A. D., ran on its present line on the south.458 Perhaps, indeed, Hadrian’s wall had never been destroyed, and the great re-used Herodian blocks, which are now visible at the base of the Turkish wall, may have been there since 135 A. D. The city was smaller and less prosperous than it had been under the Christians: the smaller buildings of Modestus had replaced the great basilica of Constantine; and, by agreement with Omar, no new churches were built. ’Abd el Melek now attempted to make the Holy City the sacred centre of his empire. El Y’aḳûbi, who wrote two centuries later, says of this khalîfah that he “built a dome over the Ṣakhrah”; and Eutychius (in 930 A. D.) says the same.459


We do not, however, depend solely on any literary statement as to the origin of this building. Round its octagonal screen, above the arcade, run the original Ḳufic texts which preserve passages from the Ḳorân written, in mosaic letters, only about fifty-eight years after Muḥammad died.460 The passages selected refer specially to the “unity” of God and to the nature of Jesus the Messiah, and seem to have been chosen specially for record in a Christian city. They are connected together by the ordinary “testimony” to the oneness of God and to Muḥammad as His messenger. Amid these texts comes the historic statement: “Built this dome the servant of God ’Abd [Allah the Imâm El Mâmûn], emir of the faithful, in the year seventy-two; may God accept it and be pleased with him. Amen. The restoration is complete, and glory be to God.” This text would seem to be evidence at first that the Dome was built by the ’Abbaside khalîfah El Mâmûn (808–33 A. D.); but the letters of his name are on a blue ground of a different shade to that of the original, and are squeezed into the space which was once occupied by the name of ’Abd [el Melek ibn Merwan], as is proved by the date 72 A. H. (or 690–1 A. D.), which has been left unchanged. The statement that “the restoration is complete” refers to El Mâmûn’s restoration of ’Abd el Melek’s original work. The ancient enmity between the Omawîyah and ’Abbas dynasties accounts for the obliteration of the real founder’s name.


El Muḳaddasi, in describing the Dome of the Rock three centuries later, says that he had “never heard tell of anything built in the times of ignorance that could rival the grace of this dome,” and it remains one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.241 The original chapel consisted of a great drum with a gilded dome supported on pillars and piers, with round arches above them. Round this circle, which covered the Ṣakhrah, is the octagonal arcade with similar round arches on similar pillars and piers. These arches are covered with glass mosaics, and the Ḳufic texts run above them, with gold letters on a blue ground, belonging to the original building. The mosaics of the drum, with their rich arabesque designs, are probably later, and the enamelled tiles of the interior bear the date answering to 1027 A. D. The dome itself fell down in 1016 A. D., and a fine text in the Ḳarmathian characters of this age records its restoration in 1022 A. D.461 Another text in more modern Arabic mentions “renewal of the gilding” by Ṣalâḥ-ed-Dîn Yûsef (Saladin) in 1190 A. D.462 The building thus bears witness to its own history, by dated inscriptions in various characters belonging to various ages; for the Ḳufic (used in the seventh century A. D.) is an older script than the Ḳarmathian, and this again is older than the Neskhi Arabic of Saladin’s time.

According to tradition, the small Dome of the Chain, immediately east of the Dome of the Rock, was the model first erected by ’Abd el Melek for the larger building.463 This statement is, however, very late. The Dome of the Chain is in the proportion of 2 to 5 as compared with the Dome of the Rock in its original state, before the outer octagonal wall was built in 831 A. D.; but it is a decagon and not an octagon, and no great importance is to be ascribed to the tradition, though there is a considerable resemblance in general style between the two buildings. The pillars of the242 Dome of the Rock464 are none of them in situ, but have all been taken from some former building. I made careful drawings of them in 1872, and found that of the twelve under the drum no two had similar capitals. The capitals do not belong, in some cases, to the shafts, nor do the bases, which are also of different forms, and their height made up by thick layers of lead. These pillars, moreover, once belonged to a Christian building, and the cross is still visible on one of the capitals. The columns were taken either from the ruined basilica of Constantine in the city, or more probably from the cloisters with which Justinian adorned the vicinity of his Church of the Virgin, according to Procopius; for the style is much that of the pillars in the part of the Aḳṣa which appears to have been originally Justinian’s basilica.

This robbery of a Christian building has given a somewhat Byzantine character to the Dome of the Rock, and the extensive use of glass mosaic work also recalls Byzantine art. The mosaics of the Dome of the Rock differ, however, in this respect, that they are entirely confined to arabesques, and never represent human (or animal) figures, such as appear in the Greek mosaics at Bethlehem and elsewhere: this shows that they were intended for a Moslem, and not for a Christian building. The Arabs had no native style of architecture. Muḥammad and Omar built rude wooden structures, and it is recorded of El Welîd—son of ’Abd el Melek—that he employed skilled workmen from Persia and Byzantium to build his great mosque at Damascus. Thus arose the Saracenic style, created by Greek and Persian architects, and using round arches even as late as the ninth century A. D., instead of those horseshoes which became distinctive later of Moslem art. The models243 for the Dome of the Rock are to be found in the Sassanian architecture of Persia, in the round churches built by Justinian and Modestus at Jerusalem, or the octagonal church of Zeno on Gerizim, and in the Byzantine decoration of St. Sophia at Constantinople; but the heavy wooden beams which tie together the pillars of the arcade, above the capitals, are not a Byzantine feature, but are found in early mosques at Cairo and in Spain. They are survivals of the wooden architecture of Omar’s age, and they are never found in Roman or Greek buildings.


There is no early statement to the effect that ’Abd el Melek did any building in the mosque proper, or “covered part” (mughaṭṭah), of the Aḳṣa. An Arabic history of the fourteenth century gives what purports to be the report sent to ’Abd el Melek, at Damascus, as to the work done at Jerusalem: “God has vouchsafed completion to what the emîr of the faithful commanded, concerning the building of the Dome over the Ṣakhrah of the Holy City, and the Aḳṣa Mosque also, and not a word can be said to suggest improvement thereto”465; but the term masjid, or “mosque,” may refer—as elsewhere—to the Ḥaram enclosure generally, and the only definite statement (by the same authority), that “in the days of ’Abd el Melek all the gates of the mosque were covered with plates of gold and silver,” may (if true) have the same extended meaning. It seems probable that until the accession of the ’Abbas family, as khalifs at Baghdâd, the mosque proper at Jerusalem continued to be the ancient Church of the Virgin where Omar had prayed.

The Omawîyah, or descendants of Muawîyah, retained the khalifate for less than a century (661–750 A. D.); their strength lay in Syria and Egypt, and244 their weakness in Arabia and in the East. The battle of the Zâb was fatal to Ibrahîm, the thirteenth and last khalîfah of Damascus, and the white banner of this great house fell before the black ensign of Abu el ’Abbas, who was yet more closely connected with the prophet as a descendant of Muḥammad’s uncle. Thus the political centre of Islâm was transferred to Baghdâd, and the influence of Persia and India, under the ’Abbasides, began to mingle with that of Greek philosophy, which had been learned from the Syrian and Chaldean monks who preserved in their monasteries the works of Plato and Aristotle, which were lost in Europe. The Ṣûfi bore a Greek name (sophos, or “wise”), and the term originally denoted an Arab student of Greek science; but the mysticism of India attracted the cultivated Moslem, and undermined gradually the simple faith of the first century, causing a deep schism between the Sunnî, or follower of “tradition,” and the Persian Shi’ah, or “sectarian.” Philosophic scepticism, concealed at first, developed under the ’Abbasides with the growth of a culture learned by the Arab from the ancient Aryan races whom he had conquered, and was only repressed by the reaction which began when the Turks superseded the Arabs as masters of Islâm. The age of the ’Abbasides, for about a century (750–860 A. D.), was the culminating period of Moslem civilisation, at a time when Europe was sunk in Gothic barbarism; and though Spain never acknowledged the ruler of Baghdâd as suzerain, Egypt and the whole of Western Asia obeyed these khalifs till the rise of the Fâṭemite dynasty in 916 A. D. at Ḳairwân.


The revolution of 750 A. D. was heralded and followed by earthquakes, which were no doubt regarded as omens. The Dome of the Rock, standing on sure foundations, appears to have escaped any serious245 damage, but the Aḳṣa Mosque was ruined, the west wall falling—according to later accounts466—about 746 A. D., and the east wall about 755 A. D. We may probably understand by these statements that the great apse and the atrium of Justinian’s church, not being founded on rock, were overthrown; and the mosque was still in ruins in 770 A. D. The restoration was begun by El Manṣûr, the second of the khalifs of Baghdâd, and was mainly carried out under his son and successor El Mahdy, after 775 A. D. The fourteenth-century account of this restoration states that El Mahdy made the building “shorter and broader”; and El Muḳaddasi, describing it two centuries after its restoration, says that “the more ancient portion remained like a beauty spot in the midst of the new, and it extends as far as the limit of the marble columns; for beyond, where the columns are of concrete (or plaster), the later building begins.” This account seems clearly to apply to the present Aḳṣa Mosque, which, as de Vogüé perceived,467 was “preceded by a Christian church, of which the ruins were the nucleus for the Arab constructions.” For there is a marked contrast between what is called the “transept,” or south part of the mosque, and the ruder work of the northern nave and aisles. The building was made shorter by the disappearance of the great atrium on the west, and broader by building the nave on the north. The only subsequent alterations of plan were those of the Templars in the twelfth century. They added a great refectory to the west, on the site of the south part of the original atrium, with a fine Norman porch still standing on the north, and a long vestry on the south Ḥaram wall just east of the church.


The building, as it exists,468 presents a dome supported by white marble Corinthian pillars, and this probably replaced the original dome of the Church of the Virgin. The pillars are of the same character with those in the Dome of the Rock. The north part of the mosque consists of a nave and six aisles, the roof supported by huge Byzantine pillars, which are certainly not in their original position, but have been re-used. Sir Charles Wilson remarks that “some of the building inside is very bad; in several places rough pieces of masonry have been built up by the side of the columns, to gain sufficient support for the piers” of the walls above. One column is enclosed in a polygonal pier, and some capitals are rude plaster imitations of the old Corinthian capitals on other pillars. The shafts of the pillars seem to have been cut shorter, and they thus present clumsy proportions. The arches of the arcades above them are pointed, and the clerestory has two rows of windows one above the other, but this superstructure may belong to the later restoration in 1187 A. D., or even to that recorded in an inscription, on the porch, as effected by ’Aisa, Saladin’s nephew, in 1236 A. D. The pillars are very rudely tied together by heavy wooden beams—as in the Dome of the Rock—and these may have belonged to the original work of El Mahdy. The history of this building, which is a patchwork of various dates, not to be compared for architectural beauty with the more purely Arab Dome of the Rock,247 seems clearly to be indicated by the preceding statements. The church of Justinian was partly ruined before 770 A. D., and El Mahdy restored it, using up the pillars of its atrium and cloisters to build a long addition to the mosque on the north, which addition was of very inferior workmanship as compared with that of the church to which it was annexed. Each of the six aisles and the nave—running north and south—had a double gate on the north, and each of the six bays had a double gate on the east.469


The justice and tolerance of the great khalifs of Baghdâd is admitted by Bernard, the pilgrim monk of the ninth century who visited Egypt and Palestine in the time of El Mut’azz, the thirteenth ’Abbaside khalîfah, just before the Turks became powerful in the East. He says that “the Christians and the pagans have there such peace between them that if I should go a journey, and in the journey my camel or ass which carries my baggage should die, and I should leave everything there without a guard, and go to the next town to get another, on my return I should find all my goods untouched. The law of public safety is there such that if they find in the city, or on the sea, or on the road, any man journeying by night or by day without a letter, or some mark of a king or prince of that land, he is at once thrown into prison, till such time as he can give good account whether he be a spy or not.” The Jerusalem Christians benefited by this peaceful rule in the East, and we have evidence of their undisturbed possession of property, in the Greek inscriptions of the rock tombs on the south precipice of the Hinnom Valley.



In these tombs there are fifteen inscriptions in Greek uncial characters, which have recently been copied again with great care by Mr. R. A. Stewart Macalister.470 Their translation has puzzled many scholars, and remains still doubtful in some details; but the following interpretations may perhaps be found more satisfactory than those as yet proposed. The texts begin and sometimes end with Greek crosses, showing their Byzantine character. Five of them read only “of Holy Sion,” and two more “monument of Holy Sion.” These seven seem to mark tombs belonging to priests or monks connected with the ancient Sion Church. Another text in red paint is now illegible, but the remaining seven inscriptions are more important. Pilgrims from the West were numerous in this age: St. Willibald (about 722 A. D.) came from Hampshire, and Bernard the Wise (about 867 A. D.) was a Breton monk from Mont St. Michel; we are therefore not surprised to read over one tomb, “Private monument of Thekla, daughter of Mærwulf the German.” She may have been a pilgrim, or a nun who took this Greek name as her title in religion, and who died in the hospice about to be mentioned; or she may have come from Byzantium, where Teutonic mercenaries were employed, and no doubt married Greeks. The next text is that of “The private monument of Ouroros [perhaps for Auroros] of Holy Sion,” probably a monk, and possibly also a Teuton. Another, inscribed in red paint now much defaced by weather, is that of “The common tomb of the Patriarch’s Hospital,” which was apparently consecrated for pilgrims dying in Justinian’s hospital, or in that which was founded about 800 A. D. by Charlemagne, as will appear249 immediately. A fourth text is of great value, as giving a date: “Pachomios was buried singly in the year 718” A. D.471 He was thus not consigned to the “common monument” with other pilgrims. The fifth inscription is also in red paint, over the door of a tomb, and is much defaced. It seems, however, to read, “The private grave of the beloved offspring of holy Sergius, beneath his own coffin.” The sixth text, inside the same tomb, refers to this beloved son, the words “nineteen years” being legible, and no doubt giving his age. It is probable that “holy Sergius” was the Greek patriarch of Jerusalem who died c. 858 A. D., or the second of the name dying 911 A. D. The seventh inscription is boldly cut on the front of the tomb, round a Greek cross,472 and appears to run thus: “A private monument holding Thekla, abbess of the monastery of Job in the city [or, lot] of George.” De Vogüé (misreading the contracted word thes as seb) supposed this to be the tomb of Thekla Sebastê (or Augusta), the eldest daughter of Theodosius and Theodora, shut up in a convent by her brother Michael III. of Byzantium, and still alive under Basil the Macedonian (867–86 A. D.); but this now seems to be uncertain. If the contracted word As stands for “city,” her monastery must have been in Lydda, the city of St. George; but if it stands for Aisa, “lot” (the diphthongs being often omitted in texts of this age), it is more probable that the grave was in the property of the Church of St. George in Jerusalem. There was more than one Monastery of Job in Palestine, the most famous being that in Bashan, while another (Deir Aiyûb) was on the Jaffa road near the foot of the mountains. There may have been a third at Jerusalem itself,250 for in 1129 A. D. the “Casale of St. Job” belonged to the Church of the Virgin’s Tomb,473 and this might be near the “well of Job,” not far East of the tomb. Another possible explanation is that the “Lot of George” was the property of the patriarch George, who died about 807 A. D., before the time of Thekla Augusta. Whatever be the true explanation of this and of the other texts, we see at least that in the eighth and ninth centuries the patriarchs of Jerusalem and the priests and monks of St. Sion held peaceful possession of their properties under the Moslems, and that the pilgrims from the Christian hospitals were buried, not only in a “common tomb” such as the great excavation at Aceldama, which existed474 for their use at least as early as 680 A. D., but also in “private monuments” hard by.


The “golden prime of good Hârûn er Rashîd” brought East and West into friendly intercourse.475 Charlemagne sent ambassadors to him, and they distributed alms in Jerusalem. The khalîfah received them courteously, and granted their requests in favour of his Christian subjects, sending them back with his own envoys, who bore rich presents of vestments and spices. He made over to the new Emperor of the West the charge of the Holy Sepulchre; and the keys of Jerusalem were sent to him as an emblem of possession of the sacred Christian sites. Hârûn, at Charlemagne’s request, is said to have sent to him the only elephant he possessed, which arrived in Europe in 802 A. D. Alms continued to be sent to the Holy City by Charlemagne, and by his son and grandson, and the famous hospital of Charles the Great was now founded in the centre of Jerusalem.251 Bernard the Wise in 867 A. D. says, “We were received in the hospital of the most glorious emperor Charles, where are lodged all those who go to that place for devout cause and speak the Roman tongue; near which is a most noble church in honour of St. Mary, having, by the zeal of the aforesaid emperor, a library together with twelve mansions, fields, vineyards, and gardens, in the Valley of Josaphat. Before the hospital itself is the forum (or market) where every one who deals there pays two aurei yearly to him who supplies it.” The hospital therefore faced the bazaar, and occupied apparently the same site where the Benedictines of Amalfi were afterwards found by the Crusaders. It is not clear whether the Church of St. Mary was that built by Modestus south of the Holy Sepulchre rotunda, or—as is more probable—was on the site of St. Mary Latin, built by Amalfi merchants beside their hospice. This church has now become the German Cathedral, and the hospital of the great German emperor was the original foundation which developed into the famous home of the Knights of St. John. The historic fact of this foundation originated the legend according to which Charles the Great himself visited Jerusalem to see the monastery, as we read in the “Chanson du Voyage de Charlemagne,” written in 1075 A. D., of which there is also an Anglo-Saxon version.476

Mult fu liez Charlemagne Very glad Charlemagne
De cel grant beltet Of this great beauty
Vit du clères colurs Saw in clear colours
Le mustier painturet The monastery painted
De Martyrs et de Virgenes With Martyrs and Virgins
Et de Granz Majistez And the Great Majesty
E les curs de la lune And the moon’s courses
E les festes anvels And annual festivals
E les lavacres curre And running fountains
E les peisons par mer. And fish at sea.



The son of Hârûn er Rashîd was the last of the great ’Abbasides and the same Mâmûn (808–833 A. D.) whose name is found in the Dome of the Rock, not only in the Ḳufic text over the arcade, but also on the four fine bronze gates of the outer octagonal wall, where it accompanies his true date, answering to 831 A. D. The beams of the roof above this wall bear a yet later date, answering to 913 A. D., and it seems probable that El Mâmûn built this wall, and that it did not form part of ’Abd el Melek’s original design. It certainly existed in 985 A. D., and is noticed by Ibn el Fâḳîḥ in 902 A. D., but El Y’aḳûbi says that ’Abd el Melek “built a dome over the Ṣakhrah and hung it round with curtains of brocade,” on the occasion when—according to the letter preserved by later writers—this khalîfah desired “to build a dome over the Holy Rock in order to shelter Moslems from the inclemency of the weather.”477

The outer wall in question is adorned with fine windows, which were filled with coloured glass in 1528 A. D. It has a parapet with round arches, supported by coupled dwarf pillars, and with recesses under the arches, as was discovered in 1873. These, and the upper part of the wall outside, were covered with glass mosaics of which traces have been found; while the lower part, according to various accounts from the tenth to the twelfth century, was adorned as now with marble.478 The arcade of the parapet was253 still visible in 1486 A. D., when Breidenbach made his sketch of the building; but the whole of the upper part of the wall and parapet was covered over later with the beautiful Kishâni tiles, which bear the date 1561 A. D. In its original condition the octagonal wall and the arcaded parapet resembled in style the Sassanian buildings at Ctesiphon and Takht-i-Bostân in Persia; and an exactly similar arcade with recessed panels, under round arches on coupled dwarf pillars, exists in the beautiful kiosque at ’Ammân in Gilead, which—in plan—is similar to the Persian buildings above mentioned. This kiosque is probably Moslem work, and an early mosque exists close by.479 Thus while the original work of ’Abd el Melek shows the influence of Byzantine art, the additions made by the Baghdâd khalîfah El Mâmûn, in 831 A. D., very naturally show Persian style.

The same Mâmûn also restored the Aḳṣa Mosque and the Ḥaram generally at the same time. Nâṣr-i-Khosrau (in 1047) says480 that this khalîfah sent from Baghdâd, for the Aḳṣa, a beautiful bronze gate looking like gold, set in “fired silver,” and chased. It thus resembled those which still bear his name in the four porches of the Dome of the Rock. The Ḥaram contained several other small domes which still exist on the platform, and which date back to this great age of Moslem civilisation and prosperity. These include the “Dome of the Prophet” and the “Dome of Gabriel,” to the north-west of the Ṣakhrah chapel; but the “Dome of Spirits,” farther north, is not noticed in early accounts, for the “Dome of Solomon” is probably the building on the east wall of the Ḥaram north of the Golden Gate, now called the “Throne254 of Solomon,” to which a legend attaches (borrowed from the Talmud) concerning Solomon’s power over demons, and his burial on the spot seated on his throne, so that his death was not perceived by the genii, whom he ruled by aid of his ring, until a worm gnawed the wood of his staff and the corpse fell to the ground. The “Dome of the Roll” in the south-west corner of the platform seems to have disappeared, unless the reference is to the underground chamber at this corner, which in 1873 was inhabited by a Moslem hermit.


Many legends had grown up during the two centuries since Omar visited the Ḥaram. The Holy Rock was believed—no doubt because of the Talmudic legend which made it the foundation of the Temple and of the world—to be a rock of Paradise, wondrously suspended over the abyss. Upon its surface was shown the footprint of Muḥammad, and in the cave beneath he was said to have prayed with all the prophets who preceded him from Abraham downwards. Through the pierced shaft in the roof of the cave he ascended to Heaven. The rock would fain have followed him back to Paradise, but the finger-marks of Gabriel show how it was held down. In the last days the Black Stone of Mekkah—according to Syrian Moslems—is to fly to Jerusalem to greet the Ṣakhrah, and the “tongue of the rock” is that which it will use to salute its sister of Paradise. North of the rock itself are still shown the tomb of Solomon, and the nails in a slab (perhaps once covering a Templar’s grave) which fall through into the abyss, and mark the lapse of centuries preceding the last day. Beneath the cave there was said to be a well descending to Hades, called the “Well of Souls” (Bîr el Arwâḥ) to the present day. The “Well of the Leaf” (Bîr el Waraḳah), a tank under the Aḳṣa, was so called because—according to a255 tradition mentioned by Mejîr ed Dîn—a certain Arab, descending to find his bucket in Omar’s time, found here also an entrance to Paradise, and brought back with him a leaf from the “Tree of the Limit” on which the fates of men are written. In the gatehouse towards the south part of the west Ḥaram wall was shown—as now—the ring to which, in the “Gate of the Prophet,” the wondrous cherub horse with wings was haltered, to await the return of Muḥammad from Heaven, and to carry him back to Mekkah. This steed (El Boraḳ, “the glittering”) had the wings and tail of a peacock, and a shining face. The “Dome of the Chain” was named from a legend of the chain that David hung in it, which none but those who told the truth could grasp. Nâṣr-i-Khosrau speaks of the “print on stone of the great shield of Ḥamzah,” which was not apparently the Persian mirror shown in the Dome of the Rock down to 1886, and said to be now at Constantinople, which used to be called “Ḥamzah’s Buckler.”

Such was Jerusalem—Christian and Moslem—in the peaceful days of Islâm under El Mâmûn. But many troubles were to come before the pilgrims, who now began to be more numerous, could find security once more under Latin rulers; and to the history of their oppression by Turks and Egyptians we must now turn.


449 De Vogüé, “Temple de Jérusalem,” 1863, p. 84; see Ḳorân iv. 169, xix. 34–7.

450 Extracts from Eutychius, “Annales,” bk. ii., in the series of Pal. Pilgrims’ Texts Society, 1895.

451 Besant and Palmer, “Jerusalem,” 1871, p. 71; Theophanes, “Chronographia” (see Robinson, “Bib. Res.,” i. p. 389); Eutychius “Annales,” ii.

452 See Suyûti, as quoted by Guy le Strange, “Pal. under Moslems,” 1890, p. 112.

453 Guy le Strange, “Palestine under the Moslems,” 1890, pp. 138–44.

454 Ibid., p. 91; Theophanes, “Chronographia”; William of Tyre, I. ii., “Ex opere musaico Arabici idiomatis, literarum vetustissime monumenta quæ illius (Omar) tempore esse credentur.”

455 “Ceterum in illo famoso loco ubi quondam templum magnifice constructum fuerat, in vicinia muri ab oriente locatum, nunc Saraceni quadrangulam orationis domum quam subrectis tabulis et magnis trabibus super quasdam ruinarum reliquias construentes, vili fabricati sunt opere, ipsi frequentant, que utique domus tria hominum millia simul ut fertur capere potest.”

456 See my volume, “Heth and Moab,” 1st edit., p. 377; Besant and Palmer, “Jer.,” p. 78; El Y’aḳûbi (c. 874 A. D.).

457 Ḳorân, xvii. 1.

458 Arculphus, “Situs quippe ipsius urbis a supercilio aquilonali montis Sion incipiens.”

459 Prof. Hayter Lewis, “Holy Places of Jer.,” 1888, p. 64. Eutychius is there quoted as saying, “Abdil Maleci Ebn Mervan mittens hic Hierosolyma, templum auxit donec petram in ipsum inferet, hominesque Hierosolyma peregrinari jussit.” Before this the “templum” was the Aḳṣa only.

460 Ḳorân, cxii., lvii. 2, iv. 169, xix. 34–7, xvii. in. See de Vogüé, “Temple de Jérusalem,” p. 84; Besant and Palmer, “Jerusalem,” pp. 86–8.

461 De Vogüé, “Temple de Jérusalem,” pl. xxxvii.

462 Ibid., pp. 91, 92.

463 Mejîr el Dîn (c. 1520 A. D.). See Guy le Strange, “Pal. under Moslems,” p. 153.

464 See “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., 1883, pp. 246–50.

465 Guy le Strange, “Pal. under Moslems,” pp. 91, 144–5, quoting the “Muthîr el Ghirâm,” 1351 A. D., ch. vi.

466 Guy le Strange, “Pal. under Moslems,” pp. 92, 93, 98.

467 De Vogüé, “Temple de Jérusalem,” 1863, p. 69.

468 Prof. Hayter Lewis, “Holy Places of Jer.,” 1888, p. 78; Sir C. Wilson, “Ord. Survey Notes,” 1865, p. 40; El Muḳaddasi (c. 985 A. D.). The account by Nâṣr-i-Khosrau, in 1047 A. D., is unreliable, or at least confused. He makes the length 420 arsh (about 630 feet), and the breadth 150 arsh (about 225 feet), which is quite impossible if referring to the maḳṣurah or roofed building, which measures about 250 feet north and south by 180 feet east and west. He also speaks of 280 marble columns in the masjid, but the Aḳṣa itself has only 76 columns. No traces of any larger building exist.

469 The present mosque has 3 doors on north, 3 on east, and 3 on west, but El Muḳaddasi speaks of 11 on east and 15 on north—perhaps including double doors, i. e. 6 on east, and 7 on north (for the nave and 6 aisles). Nâṣr-i-Khosrau says 17 gates in all, 7 on north and 10 on east.

470 Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, July 1900, p. 225, seq. My own copies were imperfect, and de Vogüé’s appear to be wrong as to a few letters.

471 Tou ekostou is probably a mistaken spelling for tou ekastou.

472 De Vogüé, “Temple de Jérusalem,” p. 134. The words are abbreviated: Thes is for Theisa, and As for Astu or for Aisa.

473 Rohricht, “Regesta Regni Hierosol.,” No. 131.

474 Arculphus says that pilgrims were buried in Aceldama.

475 Robinson, “Bib. Res.,” 1838, p. 392; Eginhard, “Vita Car. Magni.,” v.

476 “Publications de la Société de l’Orient Latin,” Serie Géographique, 1882.

477 Prof. Hayter Lewis, “Holy Places of Jerusalem,” p. 33; “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” 1883, Jerusalem vol., pp. 248, 249, 307–17; Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, 1873, p. 155. The beam with the date answering to 913–14 A. D. was found in 1873, on removal of the wooden ceiling put up in 1776 A. D.

478 Carved slabs from some other building have been used up in this marble casing. One of them bears, in Greek uncial characters, the words “Huper Sotêrias Marias” being evidently Christian. “Ord. Survey Notes,” p. 33, and plates xiii., xiv. A Byzantine tombstone is also re-used in the paving of the floor of the Dome of the Rock. “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., p. 426.

479 See my volume, “Syrian Stone Lore,” 1st edit. 1886, pp. 352–62. In “Mem. East Pal. Survey,” 1889, pp. 57–63, I have given a full account, with the plans and drawings which I made of the kiosque and mosque in 1881.

480 Guy le Strange, “Pal. under the Moslems,” 1890, p. 107.



The Turks,481 or “settlers,” were a branch of that strong Mongol race which first created civilisation in Mesopotamia, and which, through the courage and masterfulness that have always characterised this sturdy people, ruled Western Asia at least a thousand years before Abraham, as Akkadians and Hittites, who, though dominated by the Aryan and Semitic races after 1500 B. C., still clung, under their “tarkhans,” to North Syria as late as the time of Nebuchadnezzar. The Turks proper had penetrated, or had been driven, into Central Asia at some early period, and the home of the tribes—Huns, Uigurs, Khitai, and others—was beyond the Oxus. They were long held at bay by the Byzantines and the Persians, but broke out east into China, and west into Hungary as Huns in the fifth century. Justinian was allied with the Turks, called Khozars, on the Volga. In Turkestan they protected the silk caravans, and about 580 A. D. Dizavul (“the orderer”) sent his ambassadors to Justin II. of Byzantium. The civilisation of the Turks was primitive until they came under the influence of Buddhists from India, of Jews (who257 established a great trade in Central Asia), and of Chaldean Christians who had churches at Samarkand about 900 A. D. The old Uigur alphabet is evidence of the wide range of the race, which drove a wedge of Yakuts into Siberia. Their letters were those of the Aramean alphabet of Persia, and Uigur texts are found on the banks of the Yenissei; while farther east this alphabet reached Manchuria and China. Farther west the Khozars were converted to Judaism about 750 A. D., and are even said to have been ruled by Jewish kings. More than one empress of Byzantium was a Turkish princess, and the blood of the race thus ran in the veins of the Isaurian dynasty, Constantine VI. being the son of a Khozar mother.

After the death of El Mâmûn, the seventh of the ’Abbaside khalifs, the Arab empire began to crumble away. In his reign Crete and Sicily were conquered, and the power of Islâm extended to the borders of India. But the simple creed of Muḥammad was undermined by philosophy, scepticism, and mysticism in the East, while the Turkish mercenaries who guarded the khalîfah at Baghdâd soon became his masters. To the Turk the civilisation and philosophy of the age were of little value. He understood the Ḳorân, and became a fanatical Moslem on conversion; his influence was reactionary, and where he ruled, civilisation made little progress. Revolts in the provinces were frequent, and the khalifs became mere religious figure-heads. One of the first secret sects in Islâm appeared near Merv in 767 A. D., where El Moḳann’a, the “veiled” prophet, was joined by the Turks. A yet more formidable society was that of El Ḳarmat of Ḳûfa, appearing in 890 A. D. The Ḳarmathians pillaged Mekkah in 929 A. D., and their secret scepticism with exoteric mysticism was the origin of later Druze heresies which affected the history of Jerusalem. For two centuries the power of the Turks258 continued to increase in the East till Togrul entered Baghdâd in 1055 A. D.

In the West also the employment of Turks as governors led to the disruption of the Arab empire. Ibn Tulûn in Egypt renounced fealty to the khalîfah in 868 A. D., and his family reigned in Syria till 905 A. D. Again in 934 A. D. Ikshîd—also a Turk—revolted, and his successors held Egypt and Palestine till they were conquered by Mu’ezz-li-Dîn-Allah, the fourth of the Fâṭemites of Ḳairwân and the founder of Cairo. Thus in the last year of his reign (969 A. D.) Jerusalem came under the rule of this Egyptian Arab khalîfah, who claimed descent from the prophet’s daughter.

The city, and especially the Ḥaram, are described in this age by El Muḳaddasi (“the man of the very holy city”), who was a native Moslem, and a great admirer of his home. He wrote under El ’Azîz, the fifth Fâṭemite, in 985 A. D. He says that the Syrians lived in fear of the Greeks; for the new Armenian emperor of Byzantium also took advantage of the weakness of Islâm. Nicephorus Phocas had been murdered by Zemisces, who reigned as John I. Nicephorus had recovered Tarsus, Antioch, and Aleppo; and Zemisces took Damascus, and marched nearly to Baghdâd. Antioch, Cilicia, and Cyprus were retained by the Greeks till just before the first Crusade. El Muḳaddasi, as a devout Moslem, was much troubled by the independent manners of Jews and Christians in Jerusalem, but bears witness to the prosperity of the town. The city was celebrated for enormous grapes and incomparable peaches, for excellent apples, bananas, raisins, cheeses, and cotton, almonds, oranges, figs, dates, and nuts, “besides milk in plenty and honey and sugar.” “In Jerusalem there are all manner of learned men and doctors,” yet he adds, “you will not find baths more filthy than those of the Holy City, nor in any town are provisions259 dearer. Learned men [of Islâm] are few, and the Christians numerous, and the same are unmannerly in public places.... Everywhere the Christians and the Jews have the upper hand, and the mosque is void of either congregation or assembly of learned men.” He refers to El Mâmûn’s work on the Aḳṣa Mosque, and to a “colonnade supported on marble pillars lately erected by ’Abdallah, son of Ṭahir” (that is to say, nephew of El Mâmûn), as also to the fine dome and pitched roof. Cedar doors, covered with bronze, had been sent by the mother of Muḳtadir-bi-Allah—the eighteenth ’Abbaside khalîfah—shortly before the Egyptian conquest, for he reigned (at intervals) till 932 A. D. This writer gives a correct account of the Ḥaram buildings, and of the measurements of the surrounding walls.


It was perhaps on account of the growing power and independence of the Christians that the successor of El ’Azîz determined to destroy the Holy Sepulchre Church; but the excuse was that the “holy fire” was a scandalous imposture. El Ḥakim-bi-amr-Allah was the sixth Fâṭemite khalîfah, and acceded in Cairo in 996 A. D. There seems to be no doubt that he was insane—driven mad probably by mysticism—and about 1005 A. D. his eccentricities disgusted all his subjects. He was finally strangled by order of his sister in 1021 A. D., and was succeeded by his son Ed Ḍâher-li-’azaz-Dîn-Allah, who was followed by his son El Mostanṣir-bi-Allah; both these khalifs are connected with Jerusalem history.

The Fâṭemites were not orthodox Moslems, but belonged to the secret sect of the Ism’ailîyeh—one of the heresies which sprang up in Persia under the influence of Indian mysticism; and they held the doctrine of successive Imâms who were incarnations of God in various ages, accompanied by successive incarnations of the Word of God in the persons of260 successive prophets. The sect was closely connected with that of the Ḳarmathians, and recognised all the Fâṭemites as Imâms or divine incarnations, the founder of the dynasty being the eighth of these mystic personages. Ḥâkim accordingly proclaimed himself divine, but the strangest feature of these systems was that they were not the real beliefs of the higher initiates. ’Abdallah, the founder of the Ism’ailîyeh sect, was a sceptic, and while—like the leaders of many such secret societies back to Ḥasan of Baṣrah, who was hanged by ’Abd el Melek in 704 A. D.—he endeavoured to unite Jews, Christians, and Moslems by teaching the doctrine of successive revelations, which Muḥammad had proclaimed, he in reality renounced all creeds, and sought to rule men by what he regarded as their superstitions. Like all secret societies, these mystics failed in the end, but under the Fâṭemites they had real power, though the Sunnî subjects of Ḥâkim were deeply offended by his blasphemous heresies. He sought to propitiate them by concessions to their orthodoxy, but he did not extend his toleration to Christians, who were persecuted for several years. Finally, in 1010 A. D., as stated by Moslem and Christian accounts alike, the churches of Modestus were burned to the ground.482


The memory of Ḥâkim is kept alive to the present day in Palestine among the Druzes, who still regard him as having been an incarnation of God, and as destined to appear again in the last days.483 Neshtakîn ed Derazi, from whom this remarkable sect are named, was a disciple of Ḥamzah Ibn ’Aly, one of the Ism’ailîyeh of Khorasan. He went to Egypt and preached the divinity of Ḥâkim, but being expelled by261 the orthodox, retired to Hermon, where he gathered disciples, most of whom seem to have been Persians. Ḥamzah himself remained in Cairo till the murder of Ḥâkim, after which he disappeared; for the khalîfah’s son was an orthodox Moslem. It is still the belief of some 100,000 Druzes that Ḥâkim and Ḥamzah, as incarnations of God and of the Word, will return in triumph from China at the end of the world; and this strange idea shows the connection of the Druzes with the Mongol mystics of Central Asia, and with the later school of Buddhism. Yet Ḥamzah himself and his higher initiates had no such belief, and their secret teaching substituted seven laws for the seven taught to the lower grade, including “economy of truth,” mutual aid, the denial of all creeds, separation from others, the unity of God, submission to His will, and resignation to the appointed ḳismah or “lot.”

When this strange episode in Moslem history ended in 1021 A. D., the relations between Christians and Fâṭemites improved. Palestine had been torn by civil wars under Ḥâkim; by riots at Damascus; and by rebellion at Tyre, where a Greek fleet appeared to aid the oppressed Sunnîs, but suffered defeat from the Ḳarmathian governor. The Greek emperor Romanus III. obtained, in 1028 A. D., the consent of Ed Ḍâher, son of Ḥâkim, to the rebuilding of the churches.484 The news of the destruction of the Holy Sepulchre had spread with returning pilgrims to Europe, and had excited great indignation. Funds were no doubt easily collected for the restoration, but it seems that the new buildings were small and poor, as compared with those that preceded them. They were still standing in 1099 A. D., when the Crusaders arrived, and were included in the new262 cathedral later. They were complete by 1048 A. D. under El Mustanṣir, but William of Tyre485 speaks of the Golgotha Chapel as “a very small oratory”; and the Russian abbot Daniel (about 1106 A. D.) says, “This was once a large church, but is now only a small one.”

From these accounts, and that of Sæwulf, we find that several additions were made to the four churches of Modestus. The sepulchre still stood in a rotunda, and south of this were three chapels, while to the north was a fourth, all of which now exist, with apses to the east. The northern one is now the Latin Chapel of Mary Magdalene. The chapel nearest the rotunda on the south, over which the Norman belfry—built later—still rises, was then consecrated to the Trinity, and became the Latin baptistery. South of this was the Chapel of St. John, and the fourth, at the extreme south end of the buildings, was the Chapel of St. Mary, having a great fresco of the Virgin painted outside on its west wall. East of the north side of the rotunda was an arcade of pillars, which may have belonged to the “Paradise” of the seventh-century church. It does not run quite parallel to the axis of the Norman cathedral, and the later piers can still be seen added on the line of the Norman choir. At the end of this arcade, on the east, was the small chapel of the “Prison,” which is now mentioned for the first time. Calvary was a separate chapel on the old site, and another square building stood over the crypt, where the crosses were said to have been found by Helena.


The rotunda was decorated by the munificence of the Byzantine emperor, Romanus III. The Russian abbot Daniel says that the dome—supported on twelve pillars and six piers—was open to the sky above, as before, and as it continued to be in the263 Norman cathedral. There were galleries round the building, and the walls of the rotunda were adorned with mosaics, as were those of the Golgotha Chapel. The tomb itself was surmounted by a cupola, on which the Franks afterwards placed a silver statue of Christ, which must have been a grievance to the Greeks. The mosaic design on the east wall of the Golgotha Chapel represented the Crucifixion, the figures being larger than life. But the most remarkable mosaics seem to have been those on the drum just below the dome of the round church.486 These were still visible as late as 1586, as described by Zuallardo. On the east was a figure of Christ as a child, with the Virgin on one side and the Angel Gabriel on the other (the Annunciation); on the left was Saint Helena, with six prophets holding scrolls on either side, the thirteenth prophet (probably Isaiah) thus facing the Christ, side by side with the archangel Michael, next the apostles. On the right was Constantine enthroned, and flanked by six apostles on either hand. The names were written to these pictures in Greek and in Latin. The new buildings were completed just before the Turks took possession of Jerusalem.

The earthquake of 1016 A. D., which caused the fall of the wooden dome over the Rock, was no doubt regarded by Christians as the revenge of Heaven on those who had destroyed the Holy Sepulchre. But six years later it was restored by Ed Ḍâher, and still stands with its fine Ḳarmathian text beginning, “In the name of God merciful and pitying: truly he who believes in God restores God’s places of prayer.” Another earthquake did damage to the mosque and to the walls of Jerusalem in 1034, and in 1060 the great lantern, hung from the dome264 and lighting the building with five hundred lamps, fell with a crash on the Ṣakhrah—an omen of new troubles falling on Islâm.487

Under El Mustanṣir, in 1047, Jerusalem was visited by the Persian pilgrim Nâṣr-i-Khosrau, who mentions the inscription still extant, giving actual measurements of the length and breadth of the Ḥaram enclosure. He says that there were no buildings along the south wall east of the Aḳṣa. In the city he found “an excellent hospital, which is provided for by considerable sums which were given for the purpose: great numbers of people are here served with draughts and lotions; for there are physicians who receive a fixed stipend to attend at this place for the sick.” This probably was Charlemagne’s Hospice. This Moslem pilgrim also says, “From all the countries of the Greeks, and also from other lands, the Christians and the Jews come up to Jerusalem in great numbers, in order to visit the church and the synagogue that is there.” The Jews prospered under Moslem rule, and the trade of the East was now to a great extent in their hands. In the twelfth century they deserted a Palestine under Christian rulers, but were found farther east in great numbers, wherever the Moslems remained dominant.


In 1077 A. D. Jerusalem fell into the hands of the Seljuk Turks, and was pillaged by Atsiz. The history of this fateful change of masters, which, within a generation, gave cause for the first Crusade, demands a brief notice. The history of Persia and Baktria, since 874 A. D., had been one of constantly reinforced Turkish aggression. The Saman family265 was said to be descended from the Sassanians, but their forces were Turkish Moslems. Bokhara, under Ism’aîl, in 895 A. D., was the capital of a kingdom stretching from the Tien-shan Mountains to the Persian Gulf, and from ’Irâḳ to the borders of India. It was said to be “the seat of all the sciences.” A century later (in 976) the Samanides were attacked by the Uigurs, and Ilik Khan entered the city in 999 A. D. Ilik (“the prince”) ruled from China to the Caspian in Central Asia, while the great Ghuznî dynasty was founded by Sebuktekin, who sought to aid the Samanides. Ilik, in turn, was attacked by an outlawed general of Bogu Khan (“the stag”), who was named Seljuk, son of Tokmak. It would seem that this family had been converted by the Jews of Central Asia, for among the names of early Seljuks we find those of Moses, Jonah, Israel, and Michael. But they now appeared as devout Moslems. Their tribesmen were still nomads when Togrul (“the slayer”) and Tchakar (“the brilliant”), grandsons of Seljuk, fought Ilik in Bokhara and Boghra Khan in Kashgar. On the death of the great Maḥmûd of Ghuznî in 1030 A. D. they attacked his heir, Mas’aûd, and Tchakar—ruling in Merv—totally defeated him nine years later. The united brothers then conquered Kharezm, and finally defeated the Buyîds, who had ruled in Azerbijân (or South Media) since 935 A. D., and who were all-powerful in Baghdâd. Thus in 1055 A. D. Togrul entered the Moslem capital, and was made “Emîr of Emîrs” as the protector of Kaîm, the twenty-sixth of the Abbaside khalifs. The ambition of the Seljuks aimed at establishing their empire over the whole of West Asia, and they thus at once came into collision with Byzantium.


The great family of the Comneni, who were to play an important part in future history, came from Castamona, on the Euxine, but claimed Roman266 descent. They were the successors of the Macedonian emperors, Isaac Comnenos being elected by the army in 1057. On his death his brother John declined the throne, and it was given to his friend Constantine XI., Ducas, in 1059. The latter died eight years later, and his widow, Eudocia—left guardian of three sons—married Romanus Diogenes, who became emperor in 1068 A. D. Togrul had already sent an embassy to Byzantium demanding tribute. He died in 1063 at the age of seventy, his brother Tchakar having died five years before. In 1071 A. D. Alp-Arslân (“the brave lion”), the next sultân, son of Tchakar, crossed the Euphrates; and Diogenes, who had just taken Malazkerd, between Erzerûm and Van, was obliged to retreat to Cæsarea in Cappodocia. His army included Frank and Norman mercenaries, and the Byzantines were deserted by these.488 The Byzantine phalanx was broken by the Turkish archers, and Diogenes was defeated and taken prisoner. He was well treated by Alp-Arslân, and released on promising an annual tribute of 60,000 aurei. But he never regained his throne at Constantinople, and his son Michael was deposed by Nicephorus III., who usurped power in 1078, but who was superseded by Alexius I. (Comnenos) in 1081. Alp-Arslân was fighting in Kharezm as early as 1065, and seven years later, while attacking Bokhara, he was stabbed by a certain Yûsef, whom he had ordered to be crucified. He died when only forty-four years old, and was succeeded by his famous son Melek Shah. This greatest of the Seljuks was at first involved in war with his father-in-law at Samarkand; after 1077 his empire extended267 from the Oxus to Yemen, and he bestowed Syria and Palestine as a fief on his brother Tutush, having organised eight great provinces under his relations. In 1075 Melek Shah had sent Atsiz, a Kharezmian, against the Fâṭemite khalîfah. He took Damascus, but was defeated near Cairo, and in his retreat he reached Jerusalem, which his mutinous soldiers pillaged. Tutush besieged Aleppo in 1078, gained Damascus by treachery, and—having conquered from Antioch to the borders of Egypt—was humbly received by Atsiz at the gate of the Holy City, but immediately ordered him to be beheaded. In 1083 Jerusalem was given by Tutush to his general Ortok, son of Eksek, and on the death of the latter, in 1091, his sons Elghâzi and Sukmân became rulers, Tutush himself being assassinated at Damascus in 1095. The Turks thus held Jerusalem for about twenty years, during which they greatly oppressed the native Christians and the pilgrims. About 1096, or rather later, when the advance of the Crusaders engaged all the Turkish forces in the north, while Radhwân and Dekak, sons of Tutush, disputed the succession, the Fâṭemite khalîfah El Must’aîla-bi-Allah took advantage of their weakness to seize Jerusalem and Damascus; the Holy City was thus in possession of the Egyptians when the Crusaders appeared before its walls in 1099 A. D., and the Seljuk princes and generals were at discord among themselves.

The great Melek Shah had then been dead seven years, and his kingdom split up—though his son at Baghdâd (Borḳiyaruk, “the very brilliant”) was nominal suzerain of the eight kingdoms, or provinces, which were practically independent. Melek Shah also fell a victim to an assassin, and such a fate appears to have been common in Turkish history. The sect of the Assassins (Ḥashshâshîn, or “hemp smokers”) was, indeed, founded in this reign by268 Ḥasan el Ḥomeiri, who was a friend of the celebrated poet ’Omar el Khâyyâm (“the tent maker”), and of Nizâm el Mulk, the prime minister of Melek Shah. These three were of the Ism’ailîyeh sect, and the scepticism of that school finds expression in the well-known quatrains of Omar.

“There was a door to which I found no key,
There was a veil past which I could not see,
Some little talk awhile of me and Thee
There seemed—and then no more of Thee and me.”

The friendship of the three sceptics did not long endure. The vizier found out that Ḥasan was bent on supplanting him, and the latter was exiled to Ḳasbîn, near which was the castle of the “Eagle’s Nest,” where—according to Marco Polo—Ḥasan’s earthly Paradise was established, to lure the youths who vowed implicit obedience to his commands. The first victims of the new order were Nizâm el Mulk (who fell into disgrace), and Melek Shah himself. The Assassins organised a huge secret society which, in the twelfth century, spread from Khorasan to Syria, and was feared by Moslem and Christian alike. It was suppressed in 1254 A. D. by Mengku Khan, but yet later the “Sheikh of the Mountain” was powerful in the Lebanon. Saladin and Edward I. alike were marked as victims, and to the present day the Nuṣeirîyeh of Syria retain the mystic beliefs of the order founded by Ḥasan in 1090 A. D.


Although we have no pilgrim diaries of the century during which the Turks became rulers of Western Asia, we know that the Latins were visiting the Holy City in ever-increasing numbers. Trade with Asia was carried on by French and Italian merchants.489 A269 fair was held annually at Jerusalem on September 15, and the traders of Pisa, Venice, Genoa, and Marseilles bought cloves, nutmeg, and mace brought from India, pepper, ginger, and frankincense from Aden, silk from China—whether by overland caravan or by the Chinese junks490 which appeared in the Red Sea during the Middle Ages—sugar from Syria, flax from Egypt, with quicksilver, coral, and metals, glass from Tyre, almonds, mastic, saffron, with rich stuffs and weapons, from Damascus. The Jews paid a heavy tax to secure the monopoly as dyers, and Jewish dyers still lived near the Tower of David in 1163 A. D., as mentioned by Benjamin of Tudela. The sugar-cane of Tripoli is noticed by Albert of Aix, and sugar-mills, set up by Moslems and afterwards used by the Franks, still remain in ruins at Jericho. Jerusalem was famous for its sugar as early, indeed, as the tenth century.

Among these traders were the merchants of Amalfi. The little town in the Bay of Salerno, south of Naples, had a port sheltered by the hills from the mighty tramontana—the north wind which blows with almost hurricane force in winter. They kept up the ancient hospital in Jerusalem founded by Charlemagne. They apparently built beside it a monastery for Benedictines in 1048 A. D., and a Benedictine nunnery was added later. These were close to the Church of St. Mary Latin, for the hospice was intended for Latin pilgrims. The patron saint was originally the Egyptian patriarch of the seventh century, St. John Eleemon, but afterwards St. John Baptist when the order of the Hospitallers grew out of the Benedictines as Knights of St. John. They retained the black Benedictine robe, with a white cross. Geraud of Amalfi, the first master of the order, was found presiding at the hospice when the270 Crusaders arrived.491 Pope Paschal II. took this institution under his protection on February 15, 1113 A. D., and it is described as “the Hospice of Geraud in the city of Jerusalem, near the Church of St. John Baptist, instituted with all the properties which do or shall belong to the said hospice this side or beyond the sea.” It remained independent of the Latin patriarch down to 1120 A. D., and the order was always specially under the Popes.492

It was perhaps on account of the increased facilities for transit, afforded by the Italian fleets, that the numbers of the Latin pilgrims began now to increase so greatly. Europe was still plunged in Gothic ignorance, but the traders brought home tales which fired the imagination of artistic peoples such as the Provençals, the Normans, and the Kelts were by nature. They heard, as they sat in their grim castles frowning down on some walled village, of great cities in the East full of treasure, and brightened with glorious works of art. They contrasted the splendours of the sunny South, in Italy and in Syria, with the gloom of the North. They learned from the palmer, or the Jewish trader, wonderful legends of Indian and Arab origin, and heard of sacred places and miraculous relics. Palestine was a fairy-land to them; Damascus was a city to sack. They learned also that Christians in the East were persecuted, and trade obstructed, by savage Tartars who demanded endless taxes, who danced on the altar of the Holy Sepulchre, and pulled the patriarch by the beard. Their wrath was roused,271 and they desired to aid the emperor of Byzantium, who was appealing to them for help.


The Church also was recovering from the utter degradation into which it had fallen after the time of Charlemagne. Hildebrand appeared as a great Pope in 1073 A. D.—an Italian probably of Gothic origin, who reformed the Latin episcopacy, and freed himself, by aid of Normans, from the German emperor (whom he brought to his knees at Canossa), yet who died in exile at Salerno in 1085 A. D. The dreamers of dreams are the makers of history. Hildebrand dreamed of an united feudal Europe, under the Pope of Rome as its head. He saw the danger to Christendom of the great Moslem empire under Melek Shah which threatened Byzantium. He was the first to urge on princes the necessity of union, and of a “general passage” beyond the sea for the support of the Greek empire, and for the rescue of the holy places. Appeal had been made to Pope Sylvester II. as early as 1000 A. D., and he had written a letter493 in favour of the Eastern Christians, but nothing could then be done. The dream of Hildebrand was fulfilled within a generation.

The Latin nations were still half savage, and the masses lived in fear of Hell, of the Last Day, and of the Pope—fears which were alike inculcated by their priests. It was expected that the world would come to an end in the year 1000 after the Nativity,494 and wills and legal documents of the tenth century begin with the words “Appropinquante etenim mundi termino, et ruinis crescentibus jam certa signa manifestantur, pertimescens tremendi judicii diem.” Though the year passed without fulfilment of these fears, the idea of immediate ending272 of earthly history continued to be a real motive of action even at the close of the twelfth century, when Geoffrey de Vinsauf says that the world “waxes old.” The pilgrim received remission of his sins at the holy places, and if he died at Jerusalem he was ready to appear in the “Valley of Decision” on the day of doom.

Jerusalem, which then measured nearly a third of a square mile in area, seems a small town to us, but to the pilgrims from the West it must have appeared large and magnificent, though Damascus and Constantinople were much larger. In the middle of the twelfth century Winchester, as the capital of England, under king Stephen, was only a third of the size of the Holy City; and though the beauties of the Ḥaram buildings could not be seen, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, with its mosaics, its lamps of gold and silver, and many other gifts of princes, must have impressed the wild Normans with a sense of Oriental wealth. The Norsemen who accompanied Sigurd, soon after Jerusalem was taken by Godfrey, scorned to show their astonishment at the civilisation of Asia, yet even the smaller town of Sidon was a prize, as Halldor Skualldre sang.

“He who for wolves provides a feast
Seized on the city of the East,
The heathen’s nest; and honour drew,
And gold for gifts, from those he slew.”

After the completion of the new churches, in 1048 A. D., crowds of pilgrims came rejoicing to see them, as Roderick Glaber (“the bald”) relates: “And then from all the world an incredible multitude of men entered Jerusalem, with exultation, bringing gifts for the restoration of the house of God.” Yet earlier, in 1033, he says, “An innumerable multitude began to flow together to the Saviour’s tomb at273 Jerusalem, whom none might hope to number. First the class of the lower people, then the middle class, afterwards the greatest—kings, counts, and nobles—lastly, which had never happened before, many women, noble and poor, arrived there. Many, indeed, desired at heart to die before they went home.”

Among these pilgrims of high rank was Fulk the Black, Count of Anjou, ancestor of a future king of Jerusalem, who came to expiate many deeds of violence. When he returned he built a church at Loche in imitation of the Sepulchre at Jerusalem. He made two more pilgrimages to the Holy City, and died in 1040 at Metz, returning from the last. Robert of Normandy, father of the Conqueror, also went by the land route to Palestine in 1035 A. D. In Asia Minor he met a Norman pilgrim returning home. Robert was sick, and was carried in a litter by Saracens. He bade his subject tell his barons “that you saw me where I was being borne by devils to Paradise.” Before the gate of Jerusalem he found a crowd of poor pilgrims, denied admission by the Egyptian guard because they could not pay the tax of one aureus each. He paid the gold bezant demanded for every one of them. This munificence of the Norman was well appreciated by the Moslem governor, who sent back the money which Robert distributed among the poor. The duke died on his return journey at Nicæa before reaching Byzantium.

The conversion of the Hungarian Mongols to Latin Christianity, in the end of the tenth century, opened a new safe route to Constantinople. Richard, abbot of St. Vitou in Normandy, led a band of seven hundred pilgrims to Jerusalem; and in 1054 the bishop of Cambray was attended by a great host, who were called “the army of the Lord,” but they274 only got to Laodicæa in Syria, and then returned home. Four other German bishops were accompanied by seven thousand pilgrims, and Ingulphus, the secretary of William the Conqueror, was among the leaders. They are said to have been served on vessels of gold and silver, and the tents of the bishops were hung with costly tapestry. They were attacked by an Arab sheikh at Ramleh, and were for a time in danger of their lives. But bishop Gunther of Bamburg felled the insolent brigand with one blow, and he was seized and bound. The Egyptian governor hurried to their assistance, and declared the sheikh to be an outlaw of whom the settled population were afraid. The bishops presented the governor with 500 gold bezants (or about £250), and were safely escorted to Jerusalem. They saw the holy places, and Ingulphus went back by sea to Italy. Bishop Gunther died in Hungary, and only two thousand out of seven thousand ever saw their homes again. Of his own comrades Ingulphus says “that they sallied from Normandy thirty stout and well-appointed horsemen, but that they repassed the Alps twenty wretched palmers, with staff in hand and wallet on back.”

Such were the pilgrims who explored the way for the Crusaders half a century before Peter the Hermit. Whether they continued to come in equal numbers after the Turks took Jerusalem in 1077 A. D. is not known, but, as we shall now see, the dangers and difficulties of pilgrimage then became far greater, and a cry of wrath and misery echoed from the Holy City over all the Latin world.


481 See Gibbon, ch. lii.; Vámbéry, “Hist. of Bokhara,” 2nd edit. 1873; Yule, “Marco Polo,” 1871, p. 172; Carmoly, “Itinéraires de la Terre Sainte,” 1847, “Des Khozars au Xe Siècle,” pp. 1–104. For the name “Turk,” see Vámbéry, “Turko-Tatarischen Sprachen,” 1878, pp. 184, 185.

482 Will. of Tyre, i. 4, 5; Makrizi, etc.; see Guy le Strange, “Pal. under the Moslems,” p. 204.

483 See Churchill, “Mt. Lebanon,” 1853, with an account of Druze beliefs abstracted from Silvestre de Sacy, “Exposé de la Religion des Druzes.”

484 Will. of Tyre, i. 6; Robinson, “Bib. Res.,” 1838, pp. 394–6; “Chron. Adhemari.”

485 viii. 3.

486 Abbot Daniel (c. 1106 A. D.); John of Würzburg (c. 1160 A. D.); Theodorich (c. 1172 A. D.).

487 Besant and Palmer, “Jerusalem,” p. 108; Guy le Strange, “Pal. under the Moslems,” p. 130. Another Ḳarmathian text, forbidding the “protected” (Jews and Christians) to enter a mosque in the city, probably belongs to this period, but it is not clear under which of the Fâṭemites it was set up. Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, Oct. 1897, p. 302, April 1898, p. 86.

488 El Makîn says that Alp-Arslân had 40,000 horsemen. The Byzantines numbered 100,000, including Phrygians, Cappadocians, Macedonians, Bulgarians, Uzi of Moldavia (who mutinied, and who were Turks), Franks, and Normans, commanded by Ursel of Baliol, ancestor of the Scottish king John Baliol; the family came to Durham from Normandy.

489 “Mémoires de l’Académie des Inscriptions,” de Guignes, “Sur l’état du commerce des François dans le Levant avant les Croisades,” quoted in Besant and Palmer’s “Jerusalem,” 1871, p. 127.

490 Ibn Batuta.

491 Foucher of Chartres, “Hic fuit repertus ibidem quando Godefridus ... ceperunt eandem.” He died on September 3, 1120 A. D. The Xenodochium of Geraud (“Regesta,” No. 71) was “prope ecclesiam S. Johannis Baptistæ.” In 1118 A. D. (“Regesta,” No. 86) Roger of Antioch gave houses in Jerusalem and three villages to the hospital: “sitam quam Hierosolymis moratus Guiraldo dederat.”

492 See Röhricht, “Regesta Regni Hierosolymitani,” 1893, Nos. 71, 86; Albert of Aix, vi. 25; William of Tyre, xviii. 4, 5.

493 “Acta Sanctorum,” iv. p. 39; see Robinson, “Bib. Res.,” 1838, i. p. 394.

494 Roderick Glaber, iii. 7, iv. 6; “Bib. Res.,” i. pp. 396–400; Besant and Palmer, “Jerusalem,” 1871, p. 133; Geof. de Vinsauf, “Itin. Ric.,” II. v.


Peter the Hermit was a knight of gentle birth from Picardy: “dwarfish, of mean figure, quick-witted, and with a sharp but kindly eye, he was free spoken, and not wanting in eloquence”495—a man better fitted for the cloister, in which the shy and sensitive found refuge in those rough times, than for the shock of battle. At the age of forty-four he left his monastery at Huy, near Liége, in the year 1094 A. D., and went as a pilgrim to Jerusalem, which was then in the power of the Turk. The misery which Eastern Christians and Western pilgrims had suffered for seventeen years from the wild Tartars and Kharezmians who formed the Seljuk garrison was approaching its culmination. It is said that the Turks often invaded the churches, dancing on the altars, treading under foot the sacred chalices, wrecking their fury on the marble of the sepulchre, and dragging the patriarch from his throne by the beard.496 The only hope for Christians lay in help from Europe. “When the cup of tribulation is full,” said the patriarch Simeon to Peter, “God will send the Christians of the West to help the Holy City.” The time and the man were at hand; and as the little hermit knelt276 before the sepulchre there came to him a voice that said, “Arise, Peter; the time is come. Go forth and tell the tribulations of My people. The time is come that My servants should be succoured, and that My holy places should be free.”

We all know what was the effect on the history of the world that followed Peter’s determination to obey the Voice: how his passionate faith and “eloquence” set Western Europe on fire; how at the Council of Clermont, in November 1095, the “truce of God” was proclaimed among princes; how the letters from the Eastern Christians were read; how Peter testified to their wrongs; how Pope Urban II. sanctioned his mission; and how the assembly rang with the shout of “Diex el volt.” I have devoted another volume to the story of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, and it is here proposed to treat only the history of the city itself under its Latin kings.497 A few words are, however, needed to give the thread of events preceding the conquest.

Like all great popular movements, the Crusade was due to many motives affecting various classes of men. Faith, and sympathy with the wronged, roused the enthusiasm of those who listened to the passionate appeals of Peter, who was known to have served bravely in 1071 under the Count of Boulogne in Flanders. He was a selfless man; for after his day of triumph, when he was acclaimed as the saviour of Jerusalem by five years of suffering, he returned to his cell at Huy, where he died on July 7, 1115 A. D. But besides outraging Christianity, the Turks had endangered the trade of Italy, which, as we have seen, had prospered under the Egyptian Moslems; and the merchant class had a vital interest in the pacification of the East. To the statesmen of Europe277 it was also known that the time was favourable for an attempt to crush Turkish power, which threatened the West, because the Seljuk princes were engaged in internecine quarrels, and were the enemies of the Arab and Egyptian Moslems. Pope Urban II. saw also in this popular excitement the means of uniting all Catholic princes under himself, and of extending the power of the Roman Church over the whole of Christendom by reuniting the various Churches of the East. He had been made a cardinal by the great Hildebrand, and was elected Pope on March 12, 1088, but in the struggle with the empire he had been driven out of Rome, in 1091, by Guibert the Anti-pope who was called Celestin III., and he had only regained possession of the sacred city in December 1093, after crowning Conrad, the rebel son of the emperor Henry IV., at Milan. He lived to carry out, in part, the dream of Hildebrand, and died in the year that saw the conquest of Jerusalem.


The ambition of the Normans in Italy was not satisfied with the capture of the south from the Greeks, or of Sicily from the Moslems. They aimed at conquest of far lands, where the younger sons of their princes might carve out kingdoms. Robert Guiscard (“the wily”), a valvassour (or gentleman) of Hauteville in Normandy, had crossed the Alps in 1053, with five knights and thirty men, to join his brothers who were among the mercenaries invited (as early as 1017) by the Pope to conquer Apulia. He became the feudal overlord of the barons of Calabria and Apulia, as duke, in 1058 A. D. He became also the Pope’s master, but the champion of Hildebrand against the German emperor. His brother Roger reigned in Sicily till 1090, and he himself died warring in Greece five years earlier. His eldest son Bœmund was now fighting for possession of Amalfi, when the opportunity arose for winning a new kingdom in Asia.278 He and his cousin Tancred agreed to lead a force of 10,000 knights and 20,000 foot soldiers to the East. Bœmund became Prince of Antioch, which he left in 1104, and died in Italy seven years later. Tancred became Prince of Galilee, and died at Antioch a year after his cousin.


Godfrey of Bouillon (in the Ardennes) was descended on his mother’s side from Charlemagne. He was the eldest son of Count Eustace II. of Boulogne, and nephew of the duke of Lorraine. He was about thirty-five years old, and had distinguished himself fighting for the emperor Henry IV. against the Pope, but now vowed as penance to aid the Christian cause. Like Bœmund, he was taller than most men, strong and ruddy bearded, loved and respected by all—a true knight, faithful and pure of life, brave and just, courteous to all, and humble of heart. With him came his brother Baldwin, who was the first to establish a Latin province in Asia as Count of Edessa, and who succeeded him as King of Jerusalem. The Lorrainers whom they led numbered 10,000 knights and 24,000 foot. Raymond of Toulouse, who had fought in Spain beside the Cid, led 100,000 men by land to Byzantium with Godfrey. He became Count of Tripoli, and died fighting there on February 28, 1105. Besides these future princes, Robert of Flanders and Robert of Normandy took part in the conquest, and the total force of trained fighting men, assembled at Constantinople in the winter of 1096 A. D., numbered about 200,000 in all. To them fell all the honour and profit, and the wild mobs of 100,000 pilgrims who preceded them, under Peter the Hermit and Walter Lackland, with 20,000 Germans besides, never reached Palestine at all, being massacred by the Turks near Nicæa.

Such were the great actors and such their motives. They knew not what they did, and the results of279 enthusiasm and of ambition alike were far different from what they hoped. The masses may have found consolation in absolution from their sins, but no priestly blessing could alter the nemesis of conduct that came on them and on their children. The traders who hoped to dominate the commerce of Asia found it necessary, in the end, to make treaties with Moslem rulers. The proud princes of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem were, within a century, to become outcasts dependent on their kinsmen at home. The emperors of Byzantium found, not allies, but masters, in the Franks. The Eastern Churches were dispossessed of their chapels and property by Latin bishops. The power of the Papacy was not in the end secured, nor was the union of Christendom, under the bishop of Rome as its feudal head, established more than a hundred years. Pride led to the fall of the Roman Church; and education gained in Asia led to the Renaissance and to the Reformation. The Eternal Purpose which works for the rise of man guided these unwitting agents by ways which they followed with unwilling feet, and a half-savage Europe became a new centre of civilisation in consequence mainly of the Crusades.

It is remarkable, also, that the success of the Latins was not due solely to hard fighting, but was also brought about by the policy of their leaders. Melek el Afḍal, the vizier of the Fâṭemite khalîfah El Must’aîla, was eager to ally himself with the Latins against the Turks, but was dissuaded by the emperor Alexius Comnenos.498 El Ghâzi, son of Ortok, sought aid of the Crusaders, at Mardîn, against Radhwân, son of Tutush, his rightful lord at Aleppo. Tancred took the side of Radhwân, but Baldwin I. (in 1110 A. D.) accepted the aid of El Ghâzi against the Seljuks of Môsul; and Roger of Antioch was allied, in 1115, to this same280 son of Ortok, whose misgovernment of Jerusalem had been the immediate cause of the Crusade. Treaties with Moslems were made by Godfrey and by his successors, and after the fall of the county of Edessa, in 1146 A. D., the Latins were often in peaceful relations with the sulṭân of Aleppo and Damascus. In 1127 ’Imâd ed Dîn Zanghi, the atabek (or “father chief”) who had become Emîr of Emîrs, as protector of the ’Abbaside khalîfah, was a formidable foe of the Latins,499 and under his son Nûr ed Dîn (1146–74 A. D.), who ruled the West, while his elder brother Ḳutb ed Dîn ruled in Môsul, it became evident that there was no prospect of enlarging the borders of the kingdom of Jerusalem. There was a tacit understanding that the Afrîn, the Orontes, and the Jordan, were to mark the boundaries of the Franks, who never occupied Aleppo or Damascus, but held a precarious sway in Gilead and Moab.


The Crusaders took Nicæa from the Seljuk prince Ḳilij-Arslân on May 5, 1097; and, when Antioch was betrayed on June 2 of the next year, they defeated the Turks of Môsul under Kerbogha, the general of Borḳiyaruk, after which they set out for Jerusalem, and reached it unopposed in June 1099 A. D. The force sent south did not exceed 1,500 knights and 20,000 foot-soldiers; but, including camp-followers and irregulars, it amounted to about 40,000 men in all. Jerusalem was protected by a single wall, apparently on the lines of Hadrian’s fortification, and it was attacked as usual from the north.500 The forces of Godfrey were arrayed towards the east, and were separated by those of Count Robert of Flanders and Duke Robert of Normandy from Tancred’s Italians, with whom the men of Lorraine had quarrelled at Tarsus. Tancred attacked on the north-west, at the281 tower which afterwards bore his name. Raymond of Toulouse was opposite the west wall; and part of his force afterwards took up a position on Sion, opposite the south wall of the city. Tancred’s mad attempt to take Jerusalem by assault, using only a single ladder, failed, and regular siege works became necessary for the reduction of the Egyptian garrison. Wood for siege machines was brought from a valley six miles away, but was found small and useless. In the heat of summer the Franks suffered terribly from want of water: for the wells were choked, and some said were poisoned; the Siloam stream was insufficient and difficult of access; and the foraging parties, sent to Bethlehem and Tekoa, were often cut off by the Saracens, who sallied southwards till they were invested on Sion. The cattle and horses died in great numbers, and a pestilence was caused by their unburied corpses. At length the Genoese fleet reached Jaffa, and sent wood and artificers to aid the exhausted besiegers. Storming towers were made, and were covered with the hides of the dead beasts. After four weeks all was ready for the assault, and on July 12 (the Feast of the Visitation) a solemn procession was made to the ruined church on the summit of Olivet, where Peter the Hermit and Arnold, the ambitious chaplain of Robert of Normandy, preached to the army. The first assault, on July 14, was repelled; for the heavy towers stuck fast, and three witches, weaving spells on the ramparts, were believed to have succeeded, though they were slain, while an apparition of St. George, seen by Godfrey and his brother Eustace, failed to excite the valour of their men. But during the night Godfrey took down his tower, and moved it farther west to the postern of the Magdalen (now called “Herod’s Gate”) where the ditch was less deep. Here it was re-erected, and at 3 p.m. in the afternoon of Friday, July 15 (the Moslem day of rest), the bridge282 fell on the rampart, and Godfrey stood on the wall—the first to enter the captured city, which, by the custom of the age, he could claim for his own, as Baldwin claimed Edessa and Bœmund claimed Antioch.

A terrible scene of carnage followed when the gates were opened, and the wild Franks, Normans, and Italians poured into the town. lt is said that—in strange contrast to the clemency of Omar and (afterwards) of Saladin—10,000 Moslems were slain in the Ḥaram, when the knights rode in on a pavement soaked with blood. The massacre went on for seven days. Tancred in vain promised security to fugitives in the Aḳṣa, for all were slain by the lawless soldiers. Only those who took refuge in the Tower of David were saved by Raymond of Toulouse, and sent with their families and baggage to Ascalon, which long remained an outpost of the Egyptians in Palestine. After this conquest the success of the Latins was so complete that no Moslem foe appeared before the walls of Jerusalem for eighty-eight years; and when Saladin began to become formidable in 1178 A. D., nine years before the fall of the kingdom, it was found that the ramparts had fallen into ruins through age, and they were hastily repaired.501 The Frank rule in Palestine, from 1099 to 1187 A. D., was strong and prosperous, and gaps of many years occur in the chronicles, during which we read of no wars, even on the frontiers, which were secured by a line of mighty castles. Notices of Jerusalem, in chronicles and legal documents and letters, thus refer mainly to gifts of land made to the churches and to the military orders, or to internal disputes between the regulars and the patriarchs.


Godfrey, being elected, refused to take the title of king in a city where his Master had only worn a crown of thorns. Within a year he died of fever at283 the early age of forty on July 18, 1100, and was succeeded by his brother Baldwin, the first Latin king, who ruled successfully till 1117 A. D.502 The third king was Baldwin II. (de Burg), a cousin of Godfrey, who married an Armenian princess. He was captive from May 30, 1123, to August 24, 1124, at Ḥarrân, having been seized by Balak, nephew of El Ghâzi, the lord of Mardîn, and was only delivered after Balak had been slain by Jocelyn of Edessa. But this event did not affect Jerusalem. He left four half Armenian daughters, the eldest (Melisinda or Milicent) being a famous queen, married to Fulk of Anjou, under whom Palestine reached the summit of its prosperity as a Christian kingdom. Fulk503 reigned from 1131 to 1144, and left two sons, of whom the elder, Baldwin III., was a gallant youth, long held in ward by his crowned mother Melisinda. She founded the Benedictine nunnery at Bethany—of which the tower still dominates the hamlet—in 1147, and rebuilt the Church of the Virgin’s Tomb in the last year of her life; for she died at Nâblus on September 11, 1161, and was buried on the stairs leading down to the cave-chapel of this restored church. Her son survived her only five months, and died on February 10, 1162. He was succeeded by his gloomy brother Amaury, who weakened the kingdom by making war on Egypt. His son Baldwin IV. was only eleven when Amaury died in 1173, and had already been found to be afflicted with leprosy. His reign was rendered miserable by the quarrels and intrigues of the decadent Latins, and he died in 1185, leaving no child. His elder sister Sibyl504 married William of Montferrat, and afterwards Guy of Lusignan, the unfortunate last king of284 Jerusalem, whom Saladin defeated at Ḥaṭṭîn on July 3, 1187. The victorious sulṭân hastened to Jerusalem, which thus after eight days of siege fell again into Moslem hands, on Friday, October 2, 1187 A. D.

The old French account, called the “Citez de Jhérusalem,” gives us a very full description of the Holy City “au jor que li Sarrazin et Salahadinz la conquistrent sur les Chrestienz”—in the “day when the Saracens and Saladin conquered it from the Christians”; and, taken with other contemporary documents, and with the earlier accounts by Sæwulf, John of Würzburg, Theodorich, and several more, it enables us to recover the names of every main street, every gate and important building that existed in Jerusalem in the latter part of the twelfth century. Further information as to the churches of the Greeks within the town is also afforded by the accounts of the Russian abbot Daniel, and of the Greek pilgrim John Phocas. To the description of the city we may thus now turn.



P = Postern G = Gate


The pilgrim could enter the Bethlehem Gate (now called the Jaffa Gate) freely; for the grievous toll was taken off by Baldwin II., at the request of the Latin patriarch Guarmund.505 He saw on his right the “Tower of David,” or as it was called later the “Castle of the Pisans,” and in the market square, to its east, he mingled with a crowd such as had never before been seen in the Holy City.506 Knights of four orders rode by on hardy Armenian or Cyprian steeds, clad in long hauberks of chain mail, with iron caps and shoes, and mail leggings, wielding the long Norman sword and the lance, their shields painted with simple blazons. Over the hauberk the Templars wore a long belted white dress with red cross, the Hospitallers wore black with a white eight-pointed cross, the Teutonic order white with black cross; and the Knights of St. Lazarus—who tended the lepers at their hospital outside the city—had black and white robes with a green cross. The tall noble from Normandy was dressed in silk and miniver (the skin of the grey Siberian squirrel); he wore his hair and beard long under his furred cap. The tall, slim Norman ladies were robed in white samite and cloth-of-gold. The pages with them had slashed doublets of yellow and crimson. The men-at-arms wore the quilted gambison which, when steeped in vinegar, was said to resist iron weapons; with them marched the Turcopoles—a mixed race, Turko-Greek, in origin—who made excellent light horsemen, not despised like the “Poulains,” or half-bred Syro-Greeks, who had an evil reputation as extortionate inn-keepers and cowards. The Europeans were mainly Franks and Italians, with a smaller proportion of Germans, but you might also see Hungarians, Navarese, Bretons, Scots, Englishmen, Ruthenians, Bohemians, Greeks, and Bulgarians,507 mingling with the red-sashed Armenian in camlet cloth, the Georgian, the Nestorian, and the Syrian Christian, the Moslem Fellâḥ and the Arab from the desert who were contented serfs, the scowling Mullah, the Egyptian in his blue gown, the Persian and Hindu, with ruddy Maronites from Lebanon, and dark Copts from the Delta. All these were ruled, according to the feudal laws of the kingdom, in fiefs held by the Norman, Italian, Frank, and Provençal knights from Lorraine, Auvergne, Burgundy, Apulia, and Sicily. The peasant market was inspected by the mutaḥaseb or “accountant”; the traders from Venice, Genoa, Pisa, Amalfi, and Marseilles had their privileges and agreements with the king. The Church established in the kingdom was that of Rome, and its rites and vestments were Latin. The Oriental bishops were286 only at most recognised as suffragans, and bitterly resented the dominance of the “intruding” hierarchy from the West. But they too were under the protection of the king, like the Jewish dyer in his yellow turban, his hands stained blue with indigo, who still clung to his sacred city; “two hundred,” says Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela (in 1163 A. D.), “dwell in one corner of the city under the Tower of David.” But there must have been others, for the north-east quarter (the ancient Bezetha) was called the “Juiverie”—a ghetto transferred later to the present Jews’ quarter on the south-east.508 The Jews were both Sephardim from Spain and Africa and also probably Ashkenazim from Eastern Europe. They were ranked lower than the Moslems, but the nobles were often in debt to Jewish bankers.

The new rulers brought with them a new and beautiful style of architecture from Italy and Sicily. It was distinguished by its lightness and its boldly carved ornamentation, with a finish to the hewn ashlar more perfect than any other. It was based on the Lombard Romanesque, but was influenced by Saracen art. The clustering pillars, groined roofs, and ribbed arches, the coupled dwarf columns, and even the “dog-tooth” moulding, of which a bold example remains in the west window of the cloister south of St. Mary Latin, had appeared earlier among Saracens, and—as we have seen—in some cases these were features of Arab art as early as the ninth century.509 Fine examples of this Italian-Norman style—which we find also at Palermo in 1185 A. D.—are still to be seen at the south entrance of the Holy Sepulchre287 Cathedral, or in the Hospital close by, in the Templar’s porch added to the Aḳṣa Mosque, as well as at Gaza, Ramleh, Nâblus, Tortosa, and elsewhere in Palestine and in Syria. The arches at first were round, but after 1130 A. D. the pointed Saracenic arch was used. The general appearance was lighter than that of our Norman architecture in England: for the glories of the style wrongly called “Gothic” in France and Britain and Germany, developed (from this earlier art of Italians and Normans) in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The “mason’s marks,” or lucky signs on the stones, which distinguish Norman work in Palestine, are the same that we find in French and English cathedrals, after the return of Templars and others to the West, when Acre fell in 1291, and the orders were expelled from Syria.


From the Bethlehem Gate, David Street descended east, leaving on its left Patriarch Street (now called “Christian Street”), named from the Patriarch’s house farther north; and farther east there were three roofed streets to the left, which are the present bazaars: they were called “Herb Street,” “Covered Street,” and “Malquisinat.”510 In the latter cooked food was sold to pilgrims. The groined and ribbed vaulting over the bazaar is Norman work here still standing, and the short Latin text, “Sca Anna,” carved on a wall, shows that one of the shops once belonged to the Church of St. Anne.

Beyond these cross streets, after a short sharp turn to the right, David Street became Temple Street, and ran to the “bridge”—Justinian’s old causeway then rebuilt, leading to the “Beautiful Gate” of the Temple, now called the Gate of the Chain. The streets to the right, leading south, were—first, Sion Street, which288 was the old pillared street, a continuation of the line of Herb Street, leading to the Sion Gate; secondly, the Street of Judas’ Arch (where Judas hanged himself); and, thirdly, farther east, German Street, leading to the German (or Teutonic) Hospice in the east part of the upper city. Herb Street continued north as St. Stephen Street, passing east of the cathedral to the north gate of St. Stephen. On the south side of the cathedral a street ran east from Patriarch Street to Herb Street, passing north of St. Mary Latin. This was called Palmers’ Street, where the pilgrims bought palms. The parallel street north of the cathedral was the Street of the Holy Sepulchre. The name Via Dolorosa was as yet unknown, and the east part of this line was called “Street of the Repose”—from the legend of the Virgin’s rest under the arch of Hadrian—leading to the Gate of Jehosaphat in the east wall of the city, and passing on its right the “Gate Dolorous,” which was that of the Antonia citadel. The old street running south, on the west side of the Temple area, was that of the Tannery, leading to the gate now called (wrongly) the “Dung Gate,” but then known as the “Postern of the Tannery.” Besides these main streets, and that which led south past David’s Tower to St. Sion, there were others called “Marshal’s Street” (or that of St. Anastasia), Tresmailles, Gerard, and Cocatrice Street, the positions of which are not very clear.511

The main gates of the city512 were four, including the Bethlehem Gate on the west, and the “Gate of St. Stephen of the Column” on the north, the latter bearing a name which shows that the pillar marked on the fifth-century mosaic map was still known: this gate is called “the Gate of the Pillar” to the present289 day.513 On the east was the “Gate of Jehosaphat,” now called St. Stephen’s Gate, and on the south the Sion Gate in its present position. Between these there were posterns, that of St. Lazarus being west of the north gate and no longer existing. It led to the Lepers’ Hospital, close to the city outside. East of the north gate was the Postern of the Magdalen, so called from the church of the same name inside the walls in this quarter: it is now called “Herod’s Gate,” or by Moslems, Bâb ez Zahirah (“Flower Gate”), a corruption of the old Bâb es Ṣahrah, or “Gate of the Plateau,” which in the fifteenth century was the title for the flat ground north of the city towards the east. The Golden Gate was closed, but to its south was a little postern in the east wall which still exists.514 The fourth postern was that of the Tannery already mentioned.


The walls of the city ran practically on the present line—Tancred’s Tower515 (now called “Goliath’s Castle”) on the north-west being inside the Turkish line, while farther east the foundations of the Crusader’s wall appear just outside the present one. They show that kind of rubble set in hard cement which was used in the twelfth century as the core of a wall, and which was faced with cut stones drafted with a bold rough boss. At the north gate Sir Charles Warren excavated the remains of the older entrance just outside the modern one, and concluded that it represented the work of Crusaders who used older materials; a stone was found with a Templar’s cross cut upon it, which belonged to this older wall.516 This is important, because the remains in question have been rashly assumed to be those of the “second wall” described by Josephus.


We have seen that, on the south, part of Sion was outside the city (as in 680 A. D. also), when the Crusaders beleaguered Jerusalem. Mr. Bliss,517 however, discovered a wall which, starting from that of Eudocia on Sion, was carried north on the east side of the hill to the present wall, thus enclosing the Cœnaculum Church and the “House of Caiaphas.” He supposes this to have been built by Frederic II. in 1229 A. D. There is no doubt that it is mediæval work of the twelfth or thirteenth century, but it might be as late as 1243. A Norman moulding has been built in among the stones, and they have the characteristic diagonal dressing of Norman work. This wall is shown on the old map of 1308 A. D., and its ruins seem to have been still traceable in 1586, according to Zuallardo’s picture. It may, however, have existed even in the twelfth century, for Theodorich clearly describes a “barbican,” or fortified out-work, on Sion, added to the main wall, with a ditch and towers, which account answers well to the remains of this extra wall.518


The pilgrim naturally first went to visit the Holy Sepulchre. The fullest account of the cathedral, which was probably built in the time of Baldwin II. to include all the eleventh-century chapels described in the preceding chapter, is that of Theodorich. The main entrance was, as now, on the south, where the fine double gate, with two windows above, led into the church. Under the pointed arches, supported by clustered pillars, we still see the two carved lintels, one representing the entry into Jerusalem, the raising of Lazarus, and the Last Supper, to the left, and the other with a centaur and various figures291 surrounded by elaborate arabesques, being an allegorical subject, as explained by de Vogüé. The later pilgrim custom, which dates back to the fourteenth century, of carving names on these pillars, was probably not permitted in the twelfth century. The later visitors used to sketch their coats-of-arms on the walls (as can still be seen at Bethlehem), but this was regarded as an objectionable practice by the better educated.519 The courtyard in front of the gate, having on its west the three chapels built in 1048, and on its east the Coptic and Armenian chapels, and that supposed to mark the site of Abraham’s sacrifice, was entered through a screen, formed by arches on six pillars, of which only the bases now remain. It did not yet contain the tomb of Philip d’Aubigny (before the gate), over which so many feet have trodden, for he only died in 1236 A. D.520 The belfry tower was, however, built early in the twelfth century, and the domed Chapel of St. Mary of Egypt, with its large window and outside steps, is of the same age with the façade of the cathedral.

The cathedral included the old “Paradise” under its roof. A fine “choir of canons” east of the rotunda occupied part of the site of Constantine’s basilica. It had an apse to the east, and part of the rotunda wall was removed, and an arch, called “Arch of the Emperors,” built to give free passage to this choir, which had a semi-circular walk behind the apse; three apses, forming small chapels, were made in the outer wall of this walk, and the “pillar of derision” was shown, as it still is by Greeks,292 in the southern of the three apses close to Calvary: between this and the central apse the steps led down to the crypt, where the three crosses were said to have been found. This was now under the cloisters of the canons’ houses, and a dome in the middle of these cloisters lighted the cave-chapel below. The groined roof of the choir still shows remains of fresco painting, representing the vine of David, which are probably ancient.


The building over the sepulchre itself remained till 1808, and was very different in style from the neo-Byzantine chapel now standing.521 The often-copied picture by Zuallardo, taken with his description, shows that the building was pentagonal, the walls, adorned by ten pillars, forming five recessed panels under round arches. On the flat lead roof rose an open cupola, with clustered columns at the four corners, supporting a copper dome, which was first covered with silver, but in later years with gold.522 According to Abbot Daniel, the silver statue of Christ was on this cupola. It was no doubt taken down by the Greeks after 1187 A. D., and it does not appear in Zuallardo’s picture. The ante-chapel of the Angel, to the east, had also a flat roof, supported on groined arches, the stone on which the angel sat being shown in the centre. The whole building was Romanesque in style, and remarkable for its severe beauty. It was probably as old as 1048 A. D. There was an altar on the west side of the pentagon, surrounded by painted iron rails and reticulated screens of cypress wood, where now the Coptic altar stands within its iron grille. The dome of the rotunda above was funnel-shaped and open to the air, being also made of cypress wood. The rain thus fell on the sepulchre chapel,293 and gutters on the roof carried it off below. On the inside there was an ancient fresco of the Resurrection.

The high altar of the choir, on the east, had behind it the throne of the patriarch—according to the Greek and ancient Latin custom. Images of the Virgin, the Baptist, and the angel Gabriel stood under the arches which opened into the ambulatorium, or walk; and above the altar, on the ceiling, was the great picture of the exaltation of Adam: “Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, bearing the cross in His left hand, holding Adam with His right, leading majestically to heaven with a giant’s stride, His left foot raised, His right still planted on earth.”523 Beneath this picture were verses in Latin. The rotunda had a gallery, with a door on the west leading to the palace.524 Godfrey and Baldwin I. had lived in the Aḳṣa Mosque, but after the establishment of the Templars the Latin kings held their court where the Greek patriarch now lives, west of the cathedral. An arch over Patriarch Street seems to have led to the gallery door (still visible, though now blocked up), and through a window the kings could look down on the sepulchre. The palace had many vaulted rooms, and a courtyard filled with orange trees and pomegranates. It could contain a household of an hundred persons.

The present groined roof of the Calvary Chapel, supported on heavy piers, is also probably Crusaders’ work. Two pictures in this chapel represented the Crucifixion and the Descent from the Cross. The ante-chapel of Golgotha beneath (built in 1808) did not exist, nor apparently did the flights of steps now leading up on the west from the floor of the church. For, facing Calvary, the first two rulers of the Latin294 kingdom were buried, and the monuments of their six successors were against the south wall of the choir. Godfrey’s tomb was to the right, and that of his brother Baldwin I. to the left, in front of the Golgotha Cave. The former was marked by a plain block on which stood a stone roof or pediment, supported by four twisted dwarf pillars at the corners, according to Zuallardo’s picture. It bore the simple Latin text, in “Lombard” letters, “Hic jacet inclitus Dux Godefridus de Bullion, qui totam istam terram acquisivit cultui divino. Cujus anima requiescat in pace. Amen.” The tomb of Baldwin I. was probably much like Godfrey’s, with the inscription:

Rex Balduinus, Judas alter Maccabæus
Spes patriæ: vigor ecclesiæ: virtus utriusque
Quem formidabant, cui dona tributa ferebant
Cedar, Ægypti, Dan, ac homicida Damascus
Proh dolor, in modicó clauditur hoc tumulo.

These tombs apparently escaped the fury of the Kharezmians, and were only removed by the Greeks in 1808, but they were ransacked in 1244 A. D. There is some doubt as to the exact position of the six later tombs, but the description by Theodorich (about 1172 A. D.) seems to show that Baldwin II. lay immediately north of Baldwin I., in the same line with Godfrey, and the remaining five kings were to the west, in line with Baldwin II., in proper order, Fulk next to him, followed by Baldwin III., Amaury, Baldwin IV., and Baldwin V., the latter being a child, and placed farthest from Calvary. Their graves are distinctly stated to have been “contiguous to the choir.” The same writer says that the vaulted roof of Calvary was painted with representations of David, Solomon, Isaiah, and other prophets, and that the pilgrims laid wooden crosses on the rock, where the holes for the three crosses were shown (as now);295 these votive offerings were removed and burned in a great bonfire at Easter-time.


The Easter ceremony of the Holy Fire is described by the Russian abbot Daniel in the reign of Baldwin I. On Good Friday the church was cleansed, and all the lamps put out and filled with fresh oil. Every candle in Jerusalem was extinguished, and on Easter Eve the rotunda was crowded with pilgrims holding unlighted tapers. The cathedral rang with their cry, “Lord, have mercy upon us,” and the Syrians perhaps already sang as they still do:

“The eve of fire’s our feast-day;
This is the tomb of the Saviour.
O thou Jew, O thou Jew,
A feast of apes is the feast for you.”

The abbot of St. Saba stood before the sepulchre, while services in Greek and in Latin went on. The Fire was sometimes delayed three days, or appeared in the Temple or in the Hospital. It was believed to fall from heaven through the open roof. On the occasion described a fine rain was falling on the densely packed crowd round the tomb. They sang the Song of Moses, and at length “a small cloud coming suddenly from the East rested over the open dome of the church.... It was at that moment that the Holy Light illuminated the Holy Sepulchre, shining with an awful and splendid brightness. The bishop and four deacons then opened the doors of the tomb, and entered with the taper of Prince Baldwin.”

The canons of the Holy Sepulchre were of the Augustinian order. They received from Godfrey twenty-one villages lying near Jerusalem on the north in the royal domain, but other kings and barons added many other lands “for the saving of their souls” till they numbered seventy “casales” in all, besides fishing rights on the Sea of Galilee, and296 churches at Bari, Brindisi, and in Sicily.525 Five of the villages were in Lower Galilee, and all the other Palestine property of this church was lost for ever in 1187 A. D.


South of the cathedral was the large block of buildings belonging to the Knights of St. John. It occupied an area of 500 feet side, or nearly 55 acres. It was bounded by Patriarch Street on the west, Herb Street on the east, Palmer Street on the north, and David Street on the south, while a narrow lane (in which the Latin goldsmiths had shops) ran north and south in the middle of the area. The east half was excavated by the German Government in 1872, and the west half by the Greek patriarch some thirty years later. Thus the whole of the remaining buildings are now visible. In the north wall the fine Norman gateway, with an arch carved with the signs of the twelve months, still remains, and in the north-east corner is the Church of St. Mary Latin, now rebuilt and consecrated as the German cathedral. Under its foundations, rock was found at a level 60 feet lower than that of the Calvary rock, showing how steeply the north bank of the Tyropœon Valley here falls south. The cloisters of the Benedictine monastery, with their fine west window, are to the south of this church, and in the south-east part of the area was the Benedictine nunnery, under which is a great tank, the rock floor in the bed of the valley being more than 70 feet lower than Calvary. In the west half of the area the remains of a larger church—St. Mary Magna—exist, with buildings belonging to the Hospital proper. The Chapel of St. John Baptist526 is in the south-west part of the block, close to Patriarch297 Street and David Street. It is a basilica, with a narthex on the west, an apse on the east, and two other apses facing north and south respectively. The stone altar is still in situ, and the building forms the crypt of the later Greek church of St. John the Forerunner. The floor of this chapel of the knights is on the same level as that of the cathedral, and 10 feet above the rock; but the rubbish of later demolitions has now raised the street 25 feet higher, and the mediæval buildings were, till recently, quite covered over above their roofs.

Such was the home of the most popular of the military orders.527 It was first supported by tithes granted by the Church in the diocese of Cæsarea, in Tripoli, Nazareth, and Acre. Baldwin I., in 1110, made a large grant of lands, and the master owned villages in the plains, and bought property in Nâblus. The knights were even given “tents of Beduins” by Baldwin III., and one of the results of the distribution of their lands was, that while the canons of the Holy Sepulchre lost all their villages in the mountains, the Hospitallers retained their property in the plains for nearly another century, and were not greatly concerned in imperilling this, in 1192, for the recovery of the Holy City by the Church. Even as early as 1155 they were at feud with the patriarch, and rang all their bells to annoy him when he preached in the cathedral.

Near the hospital were the two exchanges: that of the Latins (called Khân es Ṣerf—“inn of exchange”—by Mejîr ed Dîn in the sixteenth century) at the turn where David Street joined Temple Street; and that of the Syrians (now Khân ez Zeit, “the oil inn”), east of the Street of St. Stephen.528 Other churches in the north part of the city included St.298 Chariton, north of the cathedral, the Chapel of the Spasm farther east, with St. Mary Magdalen and St. Anne in the Jews’ quarter. All these still remain, showing Norman origin by their style. The tank west of St. Anne, in which traces of frescoes on the walls are still visible, was, as already said, shown as the Pool of Bethesda. The Chapel of the Flagellation, opposite Antonia, already existed, and a Chapel of St. Gilles was at the causeway near the “Beautiful Gate” of the Temple.

The order of the Templars529 grew out of the Augustinians. The canons of this order were established in the Temple by Godfrey; and in the reign of Baldwin II., in 1118 A. D., eight Burgundian knights, under Hugh de Payen, vowed to poverty, obedience, and chastity as tonsured monks, were established in the Aḳṣa Mosque as their hospice. A rule was given them by Pope Honorius in 1128. The Templars were the richest and proudest of the four orders, and it is curious that they were always unpopular, and constantly suspected of treachery. They seem to have been willing to establish good relations with Moslems in time of peace, and to have studied Oriental philosophy; and for such reasons, as also because they were independent of the patriarch, they were coldly regarded by the Church. Their records were destroyed when the order was suppressed in 1312 A. D., but their possessions in Europe were yet more numerous than in Palestine or Syria. They held castles near the coast, and escorted pilgrims. They had also a castle on the Jericho road, and built ’Athlit under Carmel in 1218, or seventy-three years before the fall of Acre. They acted as bankers, and they were given, or bought, many properties in the later299 times when the barons of Palestine and Syria were eager to get rid of their lands.


The Templars carried out considerable works in the Ḥaram area. They added a Norman porch to the Aḳṣa Mosque, and a refectory, on the west of that building which was converted into a church with three apses on the east; and a long hall south of them was perhaps the vestry, with windows on the south Ḥaram wall, and pillars with braided shafts and elaborate capitals. John of Würzburg, about 1160 A. D., says that “the new and large church is not yet finished.” Their hospice was called “the Palace of Solomon,” and the same writer says, “There is the wonderful stable, of such size as to be able to hold two thousand horses, or five hundred camels.” He evidently means the vaults now called “Solomon’s Stables,” near the south-east part of the Ḥaram, for he says, “Near the Templar buildings, on the city wall, was the house of Simeon the Just.... In this house [converted into a church] blessed Simeon lies buried. In the same church, in the crypt below, ... is the wooden Cradle of Christ.” The crypt in question still exists at the south-east angle of the Ḥaram, and a cradle (a Roman statue niche) is still shown. The stables were formed by setting on end the great Herodian stones (drafted on one side) which formed stout piers with barrel vaults for roof. The holes made for the halters of the horses can still be seen, and the so-called “Single Gate,” in the south wall east of the Triple Gate, now walled up, shows its late date by its pointed arch. This was one entry to the Templars’ stables, and a larger one was made by altering the Triple Gateway itself, at the west end of the vaults. Theodorich says that the stables would hold ten thousand horses, and that the Templar Hospice included “gardens, halls, vestibules, consistories, rain-water tanks, splendid300 cisterns hewn beneath, baths, barns, granaries, wood-houses, ... and on the west the new house of the Templars with cells and refectories.... The roof, contrary to the custom of the country, has a high-pitched ridge.” There was a garden near the Chapel of the Cradle, and the city wall outside the Aḳṣa formed an “out-work” as it does now. The church itself had a dome—probably the Arab dome of the mosque.

The Dome of the Rock was not altered, but the octagonal wall was painted inside in fresco; and remains of this work were still visible when the marble facing was removed in part in 1873. The holy rock was covered with marble flags, and an altar erected on it. The footprint of Muhammad was shown as that of Christ. Ibn el Athîr, writing of 1187, says that Saladin ordered this marble pavement to be removed. He also covered up the frescoes, which represented Jacob’s Vision at Bethel and the Presentation in the Temple, with Latin verses inscribed beneath or around. The beautiful grille of French hammered iron-work, with lily heads between the spikes, was also now carried round the circle of the drum, between the piers and pillars. The cave under the rock was called “Confessio,” and was said to be the place where our Lord met the woman taken in adultery. It still contains a Norman altar with twisted pillars. Above this was an image of Christ, and a picture of Zacharias and the Angel.530 The Templar churches in Europe were built round or polygonal in imitation of the Templum Domini, or “Temple of the Lord,” which was the new name for the Dome of the Rock now surmounted by a cross. The “Cloisters of the Canons” (now removed) appear to have occupied301 the north part of the platform. The Dome of the Chain was called the “Chapel of St. James,” and the “Dome of the Roll” became the “School of the Virgin”; for the legends of the apocryphal gospels created several new sites in the Ḥaram. Another image of Christ also stood over the porch of the west door, built, in 831 A. D., by El Mâmûn.


The upper city and the environs of Jerusalem remain to be described as they were in the latter part of the twelfth century. The Hospice of St. Mary of the Germans stood on the east side of German Street, just about where Agrippa’s palace had been, in the north-east corner of the upper city. The Chapel of St. Thomas of the Germans was probably the small one to be found in a Jew’s house west of the same street. I explored these sites in 1881, and found remains of a large mediæval building531 which was newly built about 1160 A. D., according to John of Würzburg, who complains that before that date “no part of the city even in the smallest street had been given to the Germans,” and that the “new” St. Mary of the Germans “received hardly any benefactions from other nations.” The constant struggle between the emperor and the Pope discouraged German colonisation; for the kings of Jerusalem were vassals of the Pope alone. The Teutonic order was at first only a branch of that of the Hospital, and it is not known when they became independent.532 On December 9, 1143, Celestin II.—who was Pope for only six months—wrote to Raymund the master of the Hospital of St. John as to “the new Hospital for Germans in Jerusalem,” placing it under him and all future masters, but directing that the prior and attendants should be of Teutonic race. The order did not302 become important till 1229, when the knights took the side of Frederic II. against the commands of Pope Gregory IX.; and they had little property of their own till John of Brienne (in 1220) gave them lands in Galilee. But there were Germans in Jerusalem of the sub-order before the city fell to Saladin, as will appear immediately.

To the left (or west) of the Street of Judas’ Arch was St. Martin. This may have been where the name “House of the Holy Ghost” still applies to a Jewish house, as it is noticed next to “St. Peter of the Chains,” which was the name then given to the House of Annas near the Sion Gate—now the Armenian nunnery, or “Convent of the Olive Tree,” as already noticed533 with St. Thomas, at the Syrian monastery, which has a fine Norman gateway on the north side. St. James the Less—east of the present Protestant Church—is also of this age. St. George, north of the House of Annas, now belongs to the Greeks, and apparently belonged to them in 1167 A. D.534 The “Church of the Three Maries” also still exists, east of David’s Tower, as does St. Mark north of St. George. In the barbican were the House of Caiaphas (or St. Saviour) and the Cœnaculum (now Nebi Dâûd), which latter was a large church built on the site of the ancient St. Sion. The upper storey was the supposed site of the “upper chamber” of the Last Supper, and in the lower storey, or crypt, the Holy Ghost was believed to have descended on the Apostles at Pentecost. The home of St. John, where the Virgin died, was just south of the House of Caiaphas.


The Latin descriptions never mention the churches303 of the Greeks, Syrians, Georgians, Armenians, or Copts in the Holy City. The Latins had appropriated all the principal holy places. The abbot Daniel speaks of a monastery of St. Saba, apparently near the Tower of David; and John Phocas (in 1185 A. D.) mentions the Georgian hermits who lived in the tombs and caves on the east side of the Kidron Valley. The crosses that these and other recluses535 cut on the walls can still be seen. The large Armenian Church of St. James on Sion probably existed in the twelfth century. The interior is now cased with porcelain tiles, and the floor is covered with fine carpets. The shrine on the north, supposed to contain the head of James the Less, is adorned with tortoise-shell, and in the great hall to the south is a remarkable fresco which may be of the twelfth or thirteenth century, representing Hell (as was then customary) as a monster with a huge mouth, into which naked souls are driven by the pitchforks of devils.

We hear very little about the water-supply of the city, except that there were large tanks in the Ḥaram. The “Lake of Baths,” mentioned in 1137,536 is probably the present “Patriarch’s Bath,” or Pool of Hezekiah, and the Piscina Interior—or supposed Bethesda—near St. Anne has been already mentioned. Outside the city the Mâmilla Pool was called the Lake of St. Egerius; and, about 1172, the Germans (that is to say, probably the Teutonic Order) constructed the present Birket es Sulṭân under the west wall of the upper city.537 It was for “the common use of the304 town,” and was called the German Lake. On the old map of 1308 these two reservoirs already bear the titles “Upper” and “Lower Gihon.” The Well of Job, as already explained,538 was reopened in 1184 by the Franks. Pilate’s aqueduct does not appear to be ever mentioned.


It is necessary to distinguish Queen Melisinda’s nunnery of St. Lazarus, founded in 1147, at Bethany, from another St. Lazarus—the Lepers’ Hospital, served by the Order of St. Lazarus—which was established outside the north wall, near the postern of the same name. No traces of this building are known as yet to exist. It is mentioned as early as 1130 A. D., and in 1144 Baldwin III.—whose nephew was a leper—confirmed the grant of a vineyard made by King Fulk to “the lepers of St. Lazarus.” In 1150 he gave another to the same establishment, “situated on the plains of Bethlehem”; and Humphrey of Toron settled upon it thirty bezants annually, from the tithes of Toron, in the next year. It existed down to 1186, and it is always described as being “near,” or even “touching,” the wall.539 East of this, but still west of the great north road, was the old Church of St. Stephen, founded by Eudocia; and under the cliff of “Jeremiah’s Grotto” was the Templars’ Hospice already noticed. The chapel north of the cliff, though evidently Norman work, does not appear to be ever mentioned. I have described the fresco of Christ and the twelve Apostles which it contained.540 Many Crusaders’ tombs occur on this side of the city, especially east of the Gate of St. Stephen, and near305 the Postern of the Magdalen.541 Outside the gate, south of the Templars’ Hospice, there was also an important cemetery, about 500 feet from the wall and east of the main road.542 It was evidently for laymen, because the bodies are laid with the head to the west, whereas priests were buried with head to the east. Thus at the resurrection the congregation was supposed to stand up facing the clergy, who accompanied the hosts of heaven. Under a pavement at this site were found lamps, crosses, and coins, and on the flagstones were coins of Justinian, Maurice, Justin, and Justinian II., with a fine pectoral cross having an evangelist represented on each arm. These remains bring us down to the seventh century, but above them were found Saracen coins, and others of the Latin kingdom. This graveyard may have belonged to the Church of St. Stephen, like the tomb farther west (about 120 yards from the wall) which I described in 1881. A very remarkable mosaic pavement also occurs, some 700 feet north-west of the same Gate of St. Stephen, and may have belonged to the church. In design it so closely resembles pictures in the Roman catacombs that it might be supposed to be as old as the third or fourth century. It represents an Orpheus harping to beasts, with figures of a satyr and a centaur. But two smaller figures of Theodosia and Georgia are introduced, with their names, and are clearly Byzantine in style. The property of the Church of St. Stephen (according to a deed dated 1163 A. D.) adjoined that of the Hospital—probably to its west—and, as we have seen, had the Templar Hospice to its east.543 Another tomb close by544 is inscribed in Greek with306 words from the first verse of the 91st Psalm, according to the Septuagint version: “He that dwelleth in the help of the Most High.”

Leaving this group of buildings north of the wall, we may now pass east to the “Church of the Virgin’s Tomb,” or “Our Lady of Josaphat,” as it was called in the twelfth century, close to Gethsemane. The fine Norman arch of its facade, on the south side, is that of the church as restored by Queen Melisinda in 1161 A. D.545 This church, wherein she was buried the same year, was perhaps the most richly endowed of any except the cathedral. A bull of Pope Alexander IV., dated January 30, 1255, recapitulates the names of forty-eight villages belonging to St. Mary of Jehosaphat, and the church had lands also in Calabria, Apulia, and Sicily, on which to rely when all the Palestine revenues ceased. It was, however, deserted in 1254 A. D., and lapsed once more into the power of the Greek patriarch. John of Würzburg states that the cave chapel, at the bottom of the steps, was adorned by a cenotaph of the Virgin, having beautiful marble casing, a many-coloured picture, and a dome above it covered with silver and gold, and Latin verses. An image of St. Basil stood to the right of the entrance, with other verses in honour of Mary.

The history of the Church of the Ascension is less easily followed.546 The abbot Daniel, about 1106 A. D., found only a small church here, but says that it had formerly been a large one. Probably a chapel was erected after the destruction of the seventh-century church in 1010 A. D., but this was afterwards replaced by a “large church,” according to John of Würzburg, having a dome open to the sky in the middle, like the rotunda of the Holy Sepulchre, and like the old307 Church of Ascension described in 680 A. D., which replaced the original basilica of Constantine. The existing remains of Norman pillars in the irregular boundary wall show that the site was surrounded by a circular building 95 feet in diameter. Probably in plan it was not unlike the Dome of the Rock, but this mediæval church has been entirely destroyed. The little domed building in the centre, covering the footprint of Christ, was erected in 1617 by the Moslems, who still are in possession, and was restored in 1834. A minaret not more than three centuries old rises on the west side of the enclosure, and beneath is the Cave of St. Pelagia, also now in the hands of the Moslems. The church itself belonged to the Augustinian order.


Our pilgrimage round mediæval Jerusalem thus ends at the appropriate site of Chaudemar (Aceldama), where the powdered dust of the bones of countless pilgrims still covers the floor of the great pit, on the south precipice of Hinnom. The rock fosse measured 30 feet by 20 feet, and the vaulted roof, supported on two stout piers of masonry—drafted and with rustic bosses—is 34 feet above the floor. The rock to the west is carved with endless rows of crosses. Zuallardo, in 1586, pictures this building as covered with four small domes which do not now exist. As early as 1143, William, patriarch of Jerusalem, took charge of the “church in the field Acheldamach, where the bodies of pilgrims are buried, with all the land of the field, granted facing it by ancient Syrians.”547 It continued to be used for pilgrim burials even two centuries later.

Such was the Holy City in the day when Saladin won it from the Christians, and destroyed the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem.


495 Will. of Tyre, “Hist. Bel. Sacr.,” i. 11. “Pusillus, persona contemptilis, vivacis ingenii, et occulum habens perspicuum, gratumque, et sponte fluens ei non deerat eloquentia.”

496 Ibid., i. 8–10.

497 See “The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem,” 1897, published by Pal. Expl. Fund, 1 vol. octavo, 443 pp.

498 Röhricht, “Regesta,” Nos. 4, 8.

499 “Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem,” pp. 95–8, 107–8.

500 Will. of Tyre, iii. 1-viii. 24; Albert of Aix, ii. 20-vi. 50.

501 Will. of Tyre, xxi. 25.

502 Röhricht, “Regesta,” No. 85.

503 Ibid., Nos. 137, 225, 226.

504 Her son, Baldwin V., died as a child a year after his uncle Baldwin IV.

505 Röhricht, “Regesta,” No. 92, 1120 A. D.

506 “Latin Kingdom,” pp. 175–80.

507 John of Würzburg, xiii. and xxviii.

508 “Citez de Jhérusalem,” “e ces rues apeloit un la juerie”; see Röhricht (1130 A. D.), “Regesta,” No. 133, “in parte Hierosolymorum quæ specialiter Judæaria vocatur.”

509 Count Rivoira, “Arch. Lomb.,” 1908, p. 630, remarks: “Sospetto che gli artefici di Sicilia lo sfoggiassero direttamente per influenza moresca.”

510 Apparently a lingua Franca term, Umm-el-Kuzinât, “mother of kitchens,” otherwise Coquinati; “Citez de Jhér.,” and “Regesta,” No. 431.

511 Röhricht, “Regesta,” No. 421.

512 See map (“Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., 1883, p. 383), “Jerusalem in 1187 A. D.

513 “Regesta,” No. 421.

514 “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., pp. 237–9.

515 Ibid., pp. 264–7.

516 Ibid., pp. 235–6.

517 “Excav. at Jer.,” 1898, pp. 68–75, 336.

518 Zuallardo, “Devot. Viag.,” p. 131; Theodorich (c. 1172 A. D.), “Vallum quoque sive fossatum extrinsecum, muro appositum, et propugnaculis atque minis munitum existit, quod barbicanam vocant.”

519 For coats-of-arms on pillars at Bethlehem see “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” iii. p. 84. By an unfortunate error the graffiti which I copied on pillars of south door of the cathedral have been printed (together with a tombstone from the Hospital) in the wrong place (“Mem.,” iii. p. 137); they include the names “Isaak,” “David,” “Anton Pico 1636,” and “Piero Vandam 1384.”

520 Rev. J. Hamlet in Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, April 1887, p. 76.

521 Zuallardo, “Devot. Viag.,” 1586, p. 207.

522 John Phocas (1185 A. D.) says that the emperor Manuel (1143–80) adorned the Holy Sepulchre with gold.

523 Theodorich.

524 Felix Fabri (c. 1480 A. D.), vol. i. pt. ii. p. 394, translation in the series of the “Pal. Pilgr. Texts Soc.”

525 “Regesta,” Nos. 142, 189, etc.

526 Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, Jan. 1899, p. 43, Jan. 1902, pp. 42–56; Robinson, “Later Bib. Res.,” 1852, p. 184, quoting Tobler, who examined this church in 1840.

527 See “Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem,” pp. 203–7.

528 Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, Jan. 1897, p. 29.

529 See “Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem,” pp. 202–3; “Regesta,” Nos. 347, 447, 462, 568, 572, 630.

530 John of Würzburg; Theodorich; Ibn el Athîr, quoted by Guy le Strange, “Pal. under the Moslems,” 1890, p. 134.

531 “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., 1883, p. 272.

532 Röhricht, “Regesta,” No. 214 note, p. 55. The German hospice is noticed in 1173 (No. 496) and 1177 (No. 548).

533 See back, p. 15; Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, July 1895, p. 251.

534 “Regesta,” No. 461. Besides this, and the Coptic St. George north-west of Hezekiah’s Pool, there was another St. George north-west of the cathedral, north of the Greek Convent of St. Demetrius (Herr Schick, Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, July 1900, p. 253).

535 Such as Eugenius, Elpidius, and Euphratas, mentioned in a mosaic text as “hermits” on the Mount of Olives. Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, Jan. 1895.

536 “Regesta,” No. 170.

537 Ibid., Nos. 543 (Lacus Legerii); 504, 537 (L. Germani), “The new cistern” (John of Würzburg), also noticed in the “Citez de Jhérusalem.”

538 See back, p. 43.

539 “Regesta,” Nos. 136, 227, 259, 266, 397, 487, 628, 656. The convent is noticed as endowed by King Amaury in 1155 (Nos. 284, 303, 308) before his accession: see Nos. 327, 338.

540 See back, p. 155; “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., pp. 388–91.

541 “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., pp. 297–301; Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, April 1902, p. 120.

542 “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., p. 385; Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, April 1897, p. 105, Oct. 1902, p. 404.

543 Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, July 1901, p. 233; “Regesta,” No. 391.

544 Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, 1890, pp. 158, 306.

545 “Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem,” pp. 194, 195, 404.

546 “Mem. West Pal. Survey,” Jerusalem vol., pp. 398, 399; Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, Oct. 1896, p. 311.

547 “Regesta,” No. 215.


There is no more charming character in Moslem history than Saladin, the brave and generous sulṭân who settled the Eastern question with Richard Lion-heart of England, and whose life was lovingly written by his faithful follower Beha-ed-Dîn, the ḳâḍdî of Jerusalem.548 Ṣalâḥ-ed-Dîn Yûsef el Aiyûbi, “the benefactor of the Faith, Joseph, son of Job,” was born in 1137, and was therefore about fifty years old when he took the Holy City. His father, Aiyûb, son of Shâdi, was a Kurd in the service of the Atabek dynasty, being first governor of Tekrît and afterwards of Ba’albek. Nûr-ed-Dîn of Damascus sent Shirkoh, Saladin’s uncle, to assist Egypt in 1163, and Saladin accompanied him. A series of remarkable events placed him at the head of Islâm in 1174 A. D.; for his uncle died in 1169, and was followed by the Fâṭemite khalîfah El ’Adid, and by Nûr-ed-Dîn himself,549 whose widow Saladin married. Thus, at a time when Europe was torn by the great quarrel between the emperor Frederick Barbarossa and Pope Alexander III., Islâm was at length united under Saladin as the protector of the ’Abbaside khalîfah.


The raids which Saladin made on the Latin kingdom met at first with little success. He was defeated at309 Gezer in 1177, and his incursions to Jezreel in 1183 and to Nâblus in 1184 had no permanent effect, nor was he able to take the strong fortress of Kerak, east of the Dead Sea. He was involved in a struggle with the Atabeks at Môsul, and not until he had signed peace with them, on March 3, 1186, was he free to turn his whole force against the Franks. They were well aware of his intentions, and early in the following year King Guy summoned his feudatories to assemble at the great springs a mile west of Sepphoris in Lower Galilee. In March, Renaud of Chatillon broke the truce by capturing a Moslem caravan from Mekkah, and leading his prisoners to Kerak. Saladin marched against him, and meantime an advanced guard of his army, under his son Melek el Afḍal, raided the neighbourhood of Nazareth. On May 1 they encountered near Kefr Kenna the masters of the Temple and Hospital, who had only an hundred and forty knights with them. The knights were defeated, and the master of the Hospital with the marshal of the Temple Order were slain. Saladin at once joined his son, and 50,000 fighting men gathered at the Fountain of Sepphoris to oppose him. The fatal battle of Ḥaṭṭîn was lost by King Guy through a strategical mistake. He was warned by Raymond of Tripoli not to advance, because there was no water on the route. But the Templars were burning with rage at their recent defeat, and the master over-persuaded the king to attack the position which Saladin held covering the springs on the plateau west of Tiberias. The Christians perished from heat and thirst; and, excepting Raymond of Tripoli and Balian of Ibelin, who cut their way out, all the Frank leaders were taken prisoners. They were all well treated except Renaud, whom Saladin slew, as the cause of the war and the most dangerous of the enemies of Islâm. Like Titus, he also considered that priests310 must die when conquered, and he therefore commanded the execution of all the Templars (except the master) and the Hospitallers. Thus two hundred of the most dreaded defenders of the Latin kingdom, all the surviving knights of both orders, were beheaded as being under religious vows.

So rapid were Saladin’s marches after this victory that all Palestine and Syria—except the seaboard cities of Tyre and Tripoli, and the northern capital of Antioch—fell into his hands before any help could come from Europe.550


On December 20, 1187, the Moslems appeared on the west side of Jerusalem, but the sulṭân afterwards shifted his camp to the north. We have two accounts of the siege, one by Bernard the Treasurer, the other by Beha-ed-Dîn. Balian of Ibelin had thrown himself into the city, where he found not a single knight. He made fifty new ones, and stripped off the silver ornaments of the Holy Sepulchre, coining them to pay his troops. Saladin offered terms, which were refused. The chronicler records an extraordinary incident, which casts a strange light on the superstitions of the age. “The ladies of Jerusalem took cauldrons, and placed them before Mount Calvary, and having filled them with cold water, put their daughters in them up to the neck, and cut off their tresses and threw them away.”551 This hair-offering to an offended Deity was a survival of that ancient sacrifice of the first-born which, among Canaanites and Phœnicians, was common in seasons of dire distress, as when the king of Moab slew his son on the wall. On the eighth day of the siege Saladin camped opposite St. Stephen’s Gate, and thus attacked the north wall of the city with mangonels and mines. A breach was effected at the north-east311 angle of the rampart, but the storming party was repulsed, and at length Balian yielded, and Saladin was only too willing to grant favourable terms. The city was full of starving women and children, and of priests who made processions in vain. On Friday, October 2—the day on which Muḥammad was believed to have ascended to heaven—Jerusalem was given up, and all the lives of the inhabitants were spared. They numbered 7,000 men, besides women and children—probably at least 30,000 in all. The ransom agreed upon is variously stated552 at 30 and at 70 shillings for each man, payable within 50 days. Meanwhile, all gates were closed except that on the west, where Saracens were admitted to buy what Christians wished to sell. Balian and the patriarch seized the treasure of the Hospital to pay the ransom of the poor; but, as this did not suffice, Seif-ed-Dîn (Saladin’s brother) begged for 1,000 captives, who would remain as slaves, and released them all. Saladin gave 700 others as a present to the patriarch, and 500 to Balian; the remainder of the poor he allowed to depart by the Postern of St. Lazarus without payment. He restored many prisoners to their wives, and “gave largely, from his own private purse, to all the ladies and noble maidens, so that they gave thanks to God for the honour and wealth that Saladin bestowed upon them.” This is the statement of the Christian chronicler. The Moslem account says that—after the ancient manner of Arab princes—the sulṭân bestowed all the treasure he received, amounting to over £100,000, on his emîrs and soldiers, and on the ’Ulema, and dervishes who accompanied the army, keeping nothing for himself.312 The Christians were safely escorted to Tyre, and 3,000 Moslems who were captives in the city were set free.

The first act of Saladin, entering the city on Friday—the Moslem day of rest—was to attend public prayer in the Aḳṣa Mosque, and to hear a sermon from the khâṭib. He caused the great cross above the Dome of the Rock to be pulled down, and afterwards removed the altar and the marble flagstones from the Ṣakhrah, with the images of Christ already described. He caused a beautiful mimbâr, or pulpit of wood inlaid with ebony and ivory, to be brought from Aleppo. It still stands in the Aḳṣa Mosque, with an inscription giving the name of Nûr-ed-Dîn, and a date answering to 1168 A. D. The mihrâb, or prayer recess, was found covered over by a wall in the Templar Church, and was now again brought to light and cased with marble. The frescoes in the Dome of the Rock were effaced, and covered also with marble veneering on the inside of the outer wall. According to a later account, the Ḥaram was not only swept and purified, but was even washed with rose-water. Two extant inscriptions refer to Saladin’s restorations, and, being very characteristic of Moslem style, may be here given. The first553 is over the chief mihrâb of the Aḳṣa Mosque, dating from 1188 A. D.: “In the name of God merciful and pitying. Has ordered the repair of this holy mihrâb, and the restoration of the Aḳṣa Mosque—piously founded—the servant of God, and His regent, Yûsef, son of Aiyûb, the father of victory, the conquering king, Ṣalâḥ-ed-dunya-wa-ed-Dîn [benefactor of the world and of the faith], after God had conquered by his hand during the [seventh] month of the year 583. And he asks God to inspire him with thankfulness for this favour, and to make him a partaker of pardon through His mercy and forgiveness.”


The other text, two years later,554 is on the tiles313 inside the drum of the Dome of the Rock: “In the name of God merciful and pitying. Has commanded the renewal of the gilding of this noble dome our lord the sultan, the conquering king, the wise, the just, Ṣalâḥ-ed-Dîn Yûsef. In the name of God the merciful the pitying ... in the latter third of the month Rejeb,555 in the year 585, by the hand of God’s poor servant Ṣalâḥ-ed-Dîn Yûsef, son of Aiyûb, son of Shâdi, may God enfold him in His mercy.”

The disappearance of the Franks was regarded with satisfaction by the Eastern Churches: for Saladin followed the commands of the prophet in tolerating their presence; and the sites of which they had been robbed by the Latins fell again into their power. It is said that St. Anne was now converted into a college for ’Ulema (or learned men), of the Shaf’ii sect of orthodox Moslems, and it remained in their hands until 1856, when the site was given to the emperor Napoleon III., who caused the church to be rebuilt, in Norman style, a few years later. The Church of St. Chariton, north of the Holy Sepulchre, was also taken and (according to Mejîr ed Dîn) was endowed by Saladin as a khanḳah or “cloister.” Yâkût (in 1225) says that it was the place of prayer of the Kerrâmi sect.556 It still bears the name of “Saladin’s Cloister,” and remains in Moslem possession, being on the south side of the old “Street of the Sepulchre,” north of the Latin Chapel of the Apparition, not far from the corner where the street crosses the north end of Patriarch Street. But the great churches remained undisturbed; and such was the bitterness of feeling against the Latin hierarchy that the Armenian Catholicus of Ani wrote to Saladin to report the advance of Frederick Barbarossa, while314 the emperor Isaac Angelus also allied himself with the sultan, and wrote to say that the Germans would never reach Syria, and could do no harm even if they did.557

The sudden collapse of the kingdom of Jerusalem was announced to Europe, and was received with consternation. It was due in great measure to the degeneracy of the third generation of Frank colonists, and to the decay of the ancient just rule which, at first, made native Christians and Moslems alike willing to live under the feudal laws. The third Crusade558 was at once undertaken as being necessary for the peace of Europe. The hero of this campaign was Richard Lion-heart, and the treaty which he finally made with Saladin, being often renewed later, formed the basis of agreements between Franks and Moslems for nearly a century. Frederick Barbarossa was the first in the field, but he died of a chill in Asia Minor in 1189 A. D., and only some 5,000 Germans reached Acre, out of 200,000 who left Germany, having been much harassed by the Turks on their way by land to Antioch. The French king Philip Augustus brought perhaps 60,000 men to aid King Guy at the siege of Acre in the spring of 1191 A. D., but after the capture of the city he went home, and the French were never very cordial supporters of the English, who, for the first time, appeared in force in Palestine under Richard.559 After the great battle of Arsûf (between Cæsarea and Jaffa), in which Saladin was badly beaten by Richard, the sulṭân retired with his disheartened army to Jerusalem, where he passed the winter of 1191–2 A. D. On April 13 of the next year the Christian army again advanced to Beit Nûba,315 at the foot of the Jerusalem hills, and the French were eager to undertake the re-conquest of the Holy City. But Richard knew that Saladin had stopped up all the wells and springs outside, and he remembered the cause of disaster at Ḥaṭṭîn, as did the Templars and Hospitallers, who advised him to march on Egypt. They were only 12 miles from Jerusalem, but the discordant counsels of the leaders led to a final breach with the French, who refused to serve any longer under Richard. Had he known the despondency of the defeated Moslems, the result might have been different; but the lands of the two great Orders were now secured, and the seaports contented the great trading republics of Italy. Richard and Saladin—both exhausted by the conflict—were both anxious to arrive at a settlement, and negotiations went on during the whole winter preceding the final advance now interrupted.


Beha-ed-Dîn tells a remarkable story connected with this episode.560 Saladin, in Jerusalem, was in deep anxiety as to the future of his empire, when this faithful friend advised him to, visit the Aḳṣa Mosque, and to pray humbly for aid, which he did “in a low voice, his tears rolling down on the prayer-carpet.” “In the evening of the same day (a Friday), we were on duty with him as usual, when behold, he received a despatch from Jurdîk, who was then commanding the advanced guard. It was in the following words: ‘The whole of the enemy’s force came out on horseback, and took up their position on the top of a tell, after which they returned to their camp. We have sent spies to see what is going on.’ On Saturday morning another despatch came, which ran thus: ‘Our spy has returned, and brings news that discord is rife among the enemy. One party is anxious to push on to the Holy City; the others wish to return to their own territory. The French316 insist on advancing on Jerusalem.’” This was the great debate already mentioned, and “on the following day ... they broke up their camp.” It was thus not the Christians only who believed that Providence was on their side. King Richard was ill and discouraged, and in his absence at Acre Saladin captured Jaffa, but was soon driven back on return of the great champion of Christendom. At length the two leaders agreed to a truce, to last for three years and eight months from September 2, 1192. The plains were to remain in undisturbed possession of the Christians—that is, of the two Orders, and of the Italian republics, which had their quarters in each seaside town—and two Latin priests, with two deacons, were to be allowed to remain in Jerusalem, with a like number in Bethlehem. All those of the Christian army who desired were allowed to visit the Holy City as pilgrims before returning home, that in this manner their vows might be fulfilled.

Thus King Richard left Palestine for ever, but his name is even now not forgotten in villages along the line of his great flank march from Acre to Jaffa. His words, as he gazed on the half-reconquered land from his ship, are said to have been, “O Holy Land, I commend thy people to God. May He permit me to visit thee again, and to aid thee.” But only once again was any Christian king to be crowned in Jerusalem, and only one other interesting historic episode remains to be described. Saladin died, worn out, at the age of fifty-six, on February 21, 1193, and Richard, after two years of captivity in Austria, died before the fortress of Chalus in Normandy in 1199 A. D. The next champion of Christendom was of a very different stamp, and the heroic age had now passed away. Saladin’s dying advice to his son gives us the secret of his success, which had enduring results. “I commend you,” he said, “to the Most High, the317 giver of all good. Do thou His will, for that is the way of peace. Beware of blood: trust not in that, for spilt blood never sleeps; and seek the hearts of thy people, and care for them.... I have become great because I won men’s hearts by gentleness and kindness. Nourish no hatred of any, for death spares none. Deal prudently with men, for God will not pardon if they do not forgive. Yet, as between Him and thee, He will pardon if thou dost repent, for He is most gracious.”


Jerusalem plays no part in the history of the Frankish occupation of the Palestine plains during the thirteenth century, except in the time of the emperor Frederick II. Saladin had repaired the walls of the city in 1192, but his nephew Melek el Mu’aẓẓam, ruling in Damascus, feared that the Franks fighting in Egypt would succeed in capturing the Holy City, and would hold it as a fortress in future. In 1219 he ordered all the walls and towers to be demolished, except those of the Ḥaram and of the citadel.561 Jerusalem thus remained defenceless for ten years, till the arrival of Frederick II. This brilliant emperor was a type of the most advanced culture of his age—a culture which Europe owed to nearly a century and a half of contact with the ancient civilisation of Byzantium and Syria. On November 9, 1225, he married Yolande, daughter of John of Brienne, who, as husband of Mary the rightful heiress, claimed to be king of Jerusalem. Yolande died within three years, but Frederick II. disputed with John the right to the kingdom. The emperor was a good Arabic scholar, and was in communication with Melek el Kâmil (Saladin’s nephew), the sultan of Egypt, on questions of science and philosophy. The successors of Saladin were at strife, and the rulers of Cairo and Damascus were equally anxious to secure alliance with the Christians. As early as318 1226 we find the emperor encouraging the Teutonic Order in Germany.562 They had acquired a large property in Upper Galilee six years before, and were now given “free use of waters, grazing, and wood,” throughout the empire. In spite of papal excommunications, constantly renewed, Frederick II. reached Acre on September 7, 1228; and on February 18 next year he made a treaty, near Jaffa, with his friend Melek el Kâmil, which was to last till 1240 A. D. Jerusalem and Bethlehem were given up to the Christians, with all the lands of the three Orders, in the plains and in Galilee; but it was stipulated that the walls of Jerusalem should not be rebuilt, and that the mosque should remain in Moslem possession.563 On March 17, 1229, Frederick entered Jerusalem, and crowned himself king of the Latin kingdom, thus peacefully regained, on the following day. In April of the same year he sealed a deed, at Acre, which gave to the Teutonic Order “the house, in the city of Jerusalem, that is in the quarter of the Armenians, near the Church of St. Thomas [of the Germans], which was formerly the garden of King Baldwin; six acres of land and a house, which the brothers of the Order possessed in the said city before the loss of the Holy Land.” This clearly applies to the German Hospice already described in the preceding chapter.

Frederick II. was obliged to hurry home to Europe on May 1, having been in Palestine less than eight months; for John of Brienne resented this usurpation of his throne, and as the vassal of the Pope invaded the emperor’s possessions in Apulia. The emperor did nothing for the Templars nor the Hospitallers, because they had obeyed Pope Gregory IX., and had refused to help him. Thus the ancient Templars’ Hospice319 remained a mosque in Jerusalem, and a text dating 1236 A. D. speaks of the restoration of part of the Aḳṣa by Melek el Mu’aẓẓam ’Aisa of Damascus, during the ten years of Christian occupation of the Holy City.


In the last year of the peace thus established, the Templars began to arrange for alliance with Damascus against Egypt, thus reversing the policy of Frederick II. Hermann, the grand master, explained564 to the lord of Cæsarea that, the Saracen princes being engaged in civil war, one of them was ready even to become a Christian; and he broke the treaty, which he regarded as having expired with the death of Melek el Kâmil the year before, in favour of the new alliance. The Christians began to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, but Dâûd Emîr of Kerak fell upon them,565 and a massacre followed; all that had been erected was overthrown, and the Tower of David was dismantled. In 1240 Count Thibaud of Champagne came to the rescue of the Orders, though forbidden to go by both Pope and emperor. He was entirely defeated at Gaza, but Hermann succeeded in making his treaty with Ṣâleḥ ’Imâd-ed-Dîn of Damascus.566 The Egyptians then called to their aid the wild Kharezmian Turks, who were being pressed west by the Mongols, and thus wrought a terrible vengeance on their Syrian kinsmen. In 1244 these hordes advanced through Syria pillaging and slaying. Templars, Hospitallers, and all other Christians fled before them from Jerusalem, leaving only the poor and the sick. The city had been given up to them without conditions under the new treaty, and the walls appear to have been hastily rebuilt; but they were easily stormed, and not only were all the remaining Christians murdered,320 but it is said that, by ringing the bells, the Kharezmians lured back others, who, seeing banners with crosses displayed on the walls, supposed that some unexpected rescue had come, but who, thus deceived, were also massacred.567 The tombs of the Latin kings were desecrated, probably in search of treasure; but they were not—as is often stated—destroyed, for they were still visible in the sixteenth century, and were only removed after the great fire of 1808.

The Kharezmians joined their Egyptian allies at Gaza, where a great battle was fought against the Christians and the Syrian Moslems, who met with a crushing defeat. The victors proceeded to take Damascus, but here the Turks and Egyptians fell out, and after two pitched battles the Kharezmians fled north, and dispersed in Asia Minor. Jerusalem was not restored to the Christians, but was occupied by Melek es Ṣâleḥ Nejm ed Dîn, the sulṭân of Egypt. Frederick II. was indignant with the Templars, and laid all the blame on them for not having accepted the treaty which Richard, Count of Cornwall (who afterwards became titular emperor in 1257), had made with Melek es Ṣâleḥ of Egypt in 1241,568 instead of that which Hermann the grand master contracted in 1244 with Melek es Ṣâleḥ Ism’aîl of Damascus. Frederick had already protested against the conduct of the Order because “they took away from the dominion of the Emperor the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, intending to build in it a fortress contrary to the emperor’s honour”; for he considered himself still bound by his agreement not to fortify the Holy City, and he therefore commanded the Templars to desist from the work. After the Gaza defeat they never had any further opportunity of disobeying his orders; and, in 1146, Melek es Ṣâleḥ of Egypt wrote to Pope Innocent321 IV. to say “that he was sorry the Holy Sepulchre had been destroyed, and promised to punish the malefactors, and would give the keys of the said sepulchre to his faithful ones, who would never open it except to pilgrims, and that he desired to contribute to its restoration and adornment.”569


Jerusalem was never again in the hands of the Christians, and is little noticed in the latter half of the thirteenth century. St. Louis never even attempted its conquest, during the four years that he spent in the East from 1250 A. D. Ten years later Bibars usurped the throne of Saladin’s family, and proceeded victoriously to drive the Franks out of Syria. He was arrested in his designs by Prince Edward, afterwards Edward I. of England,570 with whom he made a truce for ten years and ten months, which secured what remained of their possessions in Palestine to the Christians; but it did not include the recession of Jerusalem. Bibars was succeeded in Egypt by Ḳalâ’un, who had been a slave, but who became sulṭân about 1279 A. D. With him other truces were made, but the lands held by Templars and Hospitallers dwindled gradually, and the county of Tripoli met the same fate that had overtaken Antioch in the reign of Bibars. On the death of Ḳalâ’un the various agreements lapsed; and a massacre of Moslems, in March 1291, led to the siege of Acre by his son Melek el Ashraf, and to the fall of this last city held by the Franks on May 18 in the same year.

The old Crusader spirit had quite died out after the departure of Prince Edward in 1272. The Popes continued to oppose the policy of permanent agreements with the Moslems of Syria and Egypt. They fixed their hopes on the Mongols, who were popularly supposed to be ruled by Christians. For the Mongol khâns were educated as Confucians, and tolerated322 every religion of their subjects. They never succeeded in overcoming the power of the sulṭâns of Egypt, and the policy of Frederick II. would have been more favourable to the Christian cause in the East than that of the Popes proved to be. The failure of Nicholas IV. to arouse enthusiasm when Acre was about to fall was due partly to the increased education of Europe which had undermined the ancient zeal for the Church, partly to the fact that when money for a Crusade was raised, it was used for other purposes than the recovery of Jerusalem, and spent in wars against Constantinople and Egypt, and partly to its being found practically simpler for the three great Orders and the Italian republics to make their own separate treaties with Moslem rulers. It had become a recognised custom to permit the presence of priests and Franciscans in Jerusalem, and the pilgrims were a source of revenue to the Moslems, who allowed them to visit the holy places lying beyond the lands held by the Templars. There was also great discontent already, roused by the pride and tyranny of the Church of Rome. At the time when Acre fell, Pope Nicholas IV. was refusing to recognise the heir of the reigning emperor, Rudolph of Hapsburg, while Edward I. of England and Philip IV. of France were about to declare war on one another. Melek el Ashraf thus reaped the advantage of the great struggles which were preparing the way in Europe for the Reformation.



About 1308 A. D.

Jerusalem was disappearing from history, being now regarded as a city chiefly precious to the pilgrims and the devout Moslems. The only new buildings to be described are additions made to the mosque. Either Ḳalâ’un or his son built the north-west minaret of the Ḥaram; and the latter, whose name was Muḥammad, rebuilt the south wall, and added the existing cloisters on the west side of the enclosure. He has left a text in the Dome of the Rock, dating about 1319 A. D.,323 recording further restorations of Saladin’s work; while the dome of the Aḳṣa also bears one of his inscriptions dating 1327 A. D. The north-east minaret was not added till thirty years later, according to an extant text.571


The ancient map of the city in the early years of the fourteenth century, which is to be found in the elaborate work of Marino Sanudo, has been already mentioned. This writer presented his book to the Pope, and was zealous in endeavouring to revive the enthusiasm of Europe for the recovery of Palestine, but his efforts met with no success. His map represents the Holy City much as it was in Saladin’s time. The House of Caiaphas and the Cœnaculum appear surrounded by the wall of the barbican. The Pool of Bethesda is shown in its present site at the Birket Isrâïl, and St. Stephen’s Gate is on the east instead of on the north; but the mediæval pool west of St. Anne is also marked as a “piscina.” The apocryphal “Upper and Lower Gihon” are shown on the west; the Church of the “Spasm” is at the corner where the Via Dolorosa bends south, just where its remains have now been found. These are the chief features of the map demanding notice.

The later history of Jerusalem may be very briefly summed up.572 Immediately after the loss of Acre, the Turks of Asia Minor began to become powerful. The Osmanli sulṭâns of Iconium were descended from ’Othmân, a Kharezmian vassal of the Seljuk family,324 which, down to 1288, retained power in Asia Minor. The new dynasty made their capital at Broussa, and already threatened Constantinople before they were crushed by Timur at Angora in 1402. The Osmanlis soon recovered, and when they at length conquered Byzantium, in 1453, the terror of the Turk fell on Europe, and led incidentally to the toleration of the Protestants in Germany. In 1516 the sulṭân Selîm invaded Syria, and in the next year he entered Cairo. He thus attained a practical right to the title of Khalîfah of the Prophet, because that office was always purely elective, and was bestowed on the “guardian of the two shrines” (Ḥâmi el Ḥaramein) of Mekkah and Jerusalem, which the present sulṭân still is. Besides this claim, Selîm was acknowledged by El Mutawakkil, son of ’Amr el Ḥakîm, a descendant of the ’Abbaside khalifs found living, as titular khalîfah, in the Egyptian capital, as well as by the sherîf of Mekkah. The walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt, in 1542, by Sulṭân Suleimân, and are noticed by Pierre Belon, the naturalist, in the following year, as being “new.” They are those which still exist, and Suleimân’s name is recorded in an inscription upon them at the Jaffa Gate, as also in another which shows that he restored the Birket es Sulṭân, or old “Pool of the Germans,” in the upper Hinnom Valley. His gift of beautiful windows, and his other work, in the Dome of the Rock have already been noted. In 1555 the Franciscans were allowed to place a new roof on the Holy Sepulchre, and to execute repairs in the interior of the chapel, as already mentioned.


The most interesting description of the Holy City under the early Turkish sulṭâns is that of Zuallardo573 in 1586. He was a Fleming, long resident at Rome,325 and was made a knight of the papal Order of the Holy Sepulchre in the Church itself, by means of the sword and gilt spurs supposed to have belonged to Godfrey of Bouillon, which are still shown in the Latin Chapel. His work is remarkable for its illustrations, which, though very rough, are of considerable value, as has already been shown. His sketch of the south façade of the cathedral is, however, very inaccurate, as it does not show the windows over the double entrance gates, while the view of the rotunda, showing the mosaics of the eleventh century still remaining on the drum, above the gallery, has been considerably touched up by the engraver. Zuallardo represents the present minaret at the Jaffa Gate, which was probably erected in 1542, but does not show any minaret at the mosque on the summit of Olivet, which had replaced the Church of the Ascension. He speaks of the “House of Herod,” which (as noticed in the first chapter of this book) is not now one of the holy places. His drawings of the House of Caiaphas and House of Annas suggest that they have been altered since his time. The Church of St. John—now called the “Dormition of the Virgin”—which was recently granted to Catholics by the present German emperor, is mentioned. It was not a very early sacred site, though noticed about 1321 A. D. by Marino Sanudo. Zuallardo also speaks of the “Retreat of the Apostles”—the tomb probably of Ananus—and of anchorites in the Kidron Valley. The Jews were in the habit of throwing stones at Absalom’s tomb, and he shows the stone-heaps there, which still remain. The carved lions at the east gate were already there—no doubt since 1542; the old Church of the Spasm was still visible, and the “Chapel of the Mocking” (St. Sophia) in the Antonia citadel is noticed, as well as the extant “Chapel of the Flagellation.” Several other sites, as described or pictured in this account,326 have been already mentioned, such as the tombs of the Crusader kings, and the Sepulchre itself. The remains of the chapel at Siloam were not yet covered with earth, and are described as those of a church of the Salvatore Illuminatore.

In 1808 occurred the disastrous fire in the cathedral which destroyed much of the twelfth-century work. The dome was again restored about 1860 by the emperor of the French. In 1831 Jerusalem submitted to ’Aly Pasha of Egypt, and a revolt of the Bedawîn against him was quelled in 1834. Six years later the Holy City reverted to the Turkish sulṭân ’Abd el Mejîd. Since that time the most remarkable event has been the large increase of 40,000 Jews to its population, due mainly to the Russian persecutions of 1881.

We have thus traversed the long ages during which Jerusalem has been, for four thousand years, a holy city. It can never be anything else. Whatever be the outcome of the regeneration of the Turkish empire, Jerusalem can never be a very great centre of trade. It will remain what it has been for so many centuries—the Holy City. To the Jew it is the city of David and Solomon, to the Christian the city where our Lord was crucified, to the Moslem also a city sanctified by many traditions, and by the memory of the proud days when it was won for Islâm by Omar and by Saladin. Perhaps, in the distant future, we may learn more of the ancient remains now hidden under the platform of the Ḥaram, or of those beneath the houses of the present town; in these pages all that has been so far discovered of importance has, in the author’s belief, been described, and the very sanctity of the place makes it as yet impossible to explore some of its most interesting remains. But the Holy City may still be described in the words of the Psalmist: “Jerusalem is builded as a city of gathering together to itself; for thither the tribes go up” (Psalm cxxii. 3).


548 Schultens’s edition, 1735, in Arabic and Latin, was used by me in annotating the English translation for Pal. Pil. Texts Society in 1897.

549 Shirkoh died early in Jan., 1169; El ’Adid, Sept. 13, 1171; and Nûr-ed-Dîn on May 15, 1174.

550 See “Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem,” pp. 146–60.

551 Quoted in Besant and Palmer’s “Jerusalem,” 1871, p. 356.

552 The Christian account makes it about 4¼ bezants (30 shillings) and the Moslem account 10 dinars (70 shillings) for a man. They agree that two women or ten children paid the same as one man. Perhaps the 30 shillings was the ransom for a poor man, and 70 shillings for the rich.

553 De Vogüé, “Temple de Jerusalem,” p. 101.

554 Ibid., pp. 91, 92.

555 The seventh month of the Moslem lunar year, answering to October about this time.

556 Guy le Strange, “Palestine under the Moslems,” p. 484.

557 “Regesta,” Nos. 681, 685, 688; Beha-ed-Dîn, II. lxxi. pp. 185–9, English translation.

558 The second Crusade was an armed pilgrimage of King Louis VII. of France in 1147 A. D., with a futile attack on Damascus (“Latin Kingdom of Jer.,” pp. 108–12).

559 Perhaps 50,000 men.

560 English translation, 1897, pp. 12, 350.

561 Robinson, “Bib. Res.,” 1838, i. p. 317.

562 “Regesta,” Nos. 934, 940, 974.

563 Ibid., Nos. 997, 1010; “Latin Kingdom of Jer.,” p. 313; A. Socin (“Baedeker’s Guide,” 1876, p. 177).

564 “Regesta,” No. 1088.

565 Robinson, “Bib. Res.,” 1838, i. p. 317.

566 “Regesta,” Nos. 1094, 1095; “Makrizi,” see “Latin Kingdom of Jer.,” pp. 316–18.

567 Besant and Palmer, “Jer.,” 1871, p. 459.

568 “Regesta,” Nos. 1101, 1114, 1119.

569 “Regesta,” No. 1144.

570 “Latin Kingdom of Jer.,” pp. 390–400.

571 The roof of the Dome of the Rock was destroyed by fire in 1448 (Mejîr ed Dîn), but this does not mean the Dome. Later texts refer to the work of Turkish sulṭâns. Suleimân in 1520 cased the bases and upper blocks of the pillars in the Dome of the Rock with marble, and gave the beautiful coloured windows in 1528. The doors were restored in 1564, and the wooden ceiling of the outer arcade was renewed in 1776. The latest restorations were those of Sulṭân Maḥmûd in 1830, and of ’Abd el ’Azîz in 1873–5. The Kishâni tiles of the exterior bear the date 1561 A. D. (see back, p. 253).

572 For minor events, see Besant and Palmer, “Jerusalem,” 1871, pp. 434–42.

573 “Il Devotissimo Viaggio di Gerusalemme,” published in Rome in 1587, with editions in 1595 and 1597; an enlarged French edition dates 1608.





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Transcriber’s Notes

Punctuation, hyphenation, and spelling were made consistent when a predominant preference was found in the original book; otherwise they were not changed.

Text contains many diacritical marks, some of which were hard to read. It is likely that some transcription errors remain in this ebook text.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; unbalanced quotation marks were remedied when the change was obvious, and otherwise left unbalanced.

Illustrations in this eBook have been positioned between paragraphs and outside quotations. In versions of this eBook that support hyperlinks, the page references in the List of Illustrations lead to the corresponding illustrations.

Sidenotes originally were the running titles at the tops of odd-numbered pages. Here, they have been positioned between or next to paragraphs, close to the pages on which they originally appeared.

Footnotes, originally at the bottoms of pages, have been sequentially renumbered and placed at the ends of the chapters that reference them.

The index was not checked for proper alphabetization or correct page references.

Text uses both “Siloah” and “Siloam”.

Footnote 417, originally footnote 1 on page 214: text is missing the volume number.

Page 296: “500 feet side” was printed that way.