Random Facts about the History of Jerusalem
HISTORY OF JERUSALEM
The earliest name of Jerusalem appears to have been Jebus, or poetically, Salem, and its king in Abraham's time was Melchizedek. When the Hebrews took possession of Canaan, the city of Salem was burned, but the fortress remained in the hands of the Jebusites till King David took it by storm and made it the capital of his kingdom. From that time it was called Jerusalem. During the reigns of David and Solomon it attained its highest degree of power. When ten of the Jewish tribes seceded under Jeroboam they made Shechem (and later Samaria) the capital of their kingdom of Israel, and Jerusalem remained the capital of the smaller but more powerful kingdom of Judah. The city was taken by Shishak, King of Egypt, in 971 B.C., was later conquered and sacked by Joash, King of Israel, and in the time of Ahaz, the King of Syria came against it with a large force, but could not take it. The city was besieged in Hezekiah's reign, by the army of Sennacherib, King of Assyria, but was saved by the sudden destruction of the invading army. After the death of Josiah, the city was tributary for some years to the King of Egypt, but was taken after repeated attempts by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C., and was left a heap of ruins. The work of rebuilding it began by order of King Cyrus about 538 B.C., who allowed the Jewish people who had been carried into captivity to return for this purpose. From this time Jerusalem enjoyed comparative peace for several hundred years and grew to be an important commercial city. When Alexander invaded Syria it submitted to him without resistance. After his death it belonged for a time to Egypt and in 198 B.C., passed with the rest of Judea under the rule of Syria. Antiochus the Great ruled it with mildness and justice, but the tyranny of his son, Antiochus Epiphanes, brought about the revolt, headed by the Maccabees, through which Jerusalem gained a brief independence. In 63 B.C., Pompey the Great took the city, demolished the walls and killed thousands of the people, but did not plunder it. However, nine years later Crassus robbed the temple of all its treasures. The walls were soon after rebuilt under Antipater, the Roman procurator, but when Herod came to rule over the city with the title of King, given him by the Roman Senate, he was resisted and only took possession after an obstinate siege, which was followed by the massacre of great numbers of the people. Herod improved and enlarged the city, and restored the temple on a more magnificent scale than in Solomon's time. Jerusalem is said at this time to have had a population of over 200,000. This period of wealth and prosperity was also rendered most, memorable for Jerusalem by the ministry and crucifixion of Christ. About A.D. 66, the Jews, goaded to desperation by the tyranny of the Romans, revolted, garrisoned Jerusalem, and defeated a Roman army sent against them. This was the beginning of the disastrous war which ended with the destruction of the city. It was taken by Titus, in the year 70, after a long siege, all the inhabitants were massacred, or made prisoners, and the entire city left a heap of ruins. The Emperor Hadrian built on the site of Jerusalem a Roman city, under the name of Elia Capitolina, with a temple of Jupiter, and Jews were forbidden to enter the city under pain of death. Under Constantine it was made a place of pilgrimage for Christians, as the Emperor's mother, Helena, had with much pains located the various sites of events in the history of Christ. The Emperor Julian, on the contrary, not only allowed the Jews to return to their city, but also made an attempt, which ended in failure, to rebuild their temple. In 614 the Persian Emperor Chosroes invaded the Roman empire. The Jews joined his army, and after conquering the northern part of Palestine, the united forces laid siege to and took Jerusalem. The Jews wreaked vengeance on the Christians for what they had been forced to endure, and 20,000 people were massacred. The Persians held rule in the city for fourteen years; it was then taken by the Romans again, but in 636 the Caliph Omar beseiged it. After four months the city capitulated. It was under the rule of the Caliphs for 400 years, until the Seljuk Turks in 1077 invaded Syria and made it a province of their empire. Christian pilgrims had for many years kept up the practice of visiting the tomb of Christ, as the Caliphs did not interfere with their devotions any further than by exacting a small tribute from each visitor. But the cruelties practiced upon the pilgrims by the Turks were many, and report of them soon roused all Europe to a pitch of indignation, and brought about that series of holy wars, which for a time restored the holy sepulcher into Christian hands. Jerusalem was stormed and taken July 15, 1099, and 50,000 Moslems were slaughtered by their wrathful Christian foes. The new sovereignty was precariously maintained until 1187, when it fell before the power of Saladin. Jerusalem, after a siege of twelve days, surrendered. Saladin, however, did not put his captives to death, but contented himself with expelling them from the city. Jerusalem passed into the hands of the Franks by treaty, in 1229, was retaken by the Moslems in 1239, once more restored in 1243, and finally conquered in 1244 by a horde of Kharesmian Turks. In 1517 Palestine was conquered by Sultan Selin I., and since then has been under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, except for a brief period--from 1832 to 1840, when it was in the hands of Mahomet Ali Pasha of Egypt, and his son Ibrahim had his seat of government in Jerusalem.