Aelia Capitolina

Aelia Capitolina

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Aelia Capitolina was a city built by the emperor Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

, and occupied by a Roman colony, on the site of Jerusalem, which was in ruins since 70 AD
Siege of Jerusalem (70)
The Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD was the decisive event of the First Jewish-Roman War. The Roman army, led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberius Julius Alexander as his second-in-command, besieged and conquered the city of Jerusalem, which had been occupied by its Jewish defenders in...

, leading in part to the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132–136.

Politics


Jerusalem was still in ruins from the First Jewish-Roman War
First Jewish-Roman War
The First Jewish–Roman War , sometimes called The Great Revolt , was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews of Judaea Province , against the Roman Empire...

 in 70 AD. Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

, a contemporary, reports that "Jerusalem ... was so thoroughly razed to the ground by those that demolished it to its foundations, that nothing was left that could ever persuade visitors that it had once been a place of habitation."

When the Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

 Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

 vowed to rebuild Jerusalem from the wreckage in 130 AD, he considered reconstructing Jerusalem as a gift for the Jewish people. The Jews awaited with hope, because Hadrian was considered a moderate. But after Hadrian visited Jerusalem, he decided to build Aelia Capitolina which would be inhabited by his legionnaires. Hadrian also decided to never allow Jews to re-enter the city ever again. Jews, incensed at this harsh decree as well as by Hadrian's law forbidding circumcision
Circumcision controversies
Male circumcision has often been, and remains, the subject of controversy on a number of grounds—including religious, ethical, sexual, and health....

, secretly started putting aside arms from the Roman munitions workshops; soon after, a revolt broke out under Simeon ben Kosiba. This Bar Kokhba revolt, which the Romans managed to suppress, enraged Hadrian, and he came to be determined to erase Judaism from the province; Iudaea province
Iudaea Province
Judaea or Iudaea are terms used by historians to refer to the Roman province that extended over parts of the former regions of the Hasmonean and Herodian kingdoms of Israel...

 was renamed Syria Palaestina
Syria Palaestina
Syria Palæstina was a Roman province between 135CE and 390CE. It had been established by the merge of Roman Syria and Roman Judaea, following the defeat of the Bar Kokhba Revolt in 135 CE. In 193 Syria-Coele was split to form a separate provincial locality...

, and Jews were banned from entering the city, on pain of death, except on the day of Tisha B'Av
Tisha B'Av
|Av]],") is an annual fast day in Judaism, named for the ninth day of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar. The fast commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem, which occurred about 655 years apart, but on the same Hebrew calendar date...

. The Sanhedrin
Sanhedrin
The Sanhedrin was an assembly of twenty-three judges appointed in every city in the Biblical Land of Israel.The Great Sanhedrin was the supreme court of ancient Israel made of 71 members...

 had earlier relocated to Jamnia
Council of Jamnia
The Council of Jamnia or Council of Yavne is a hypothetical late 1st-century council at which it is postulated the canon of the Hebrew Bible was finalized....

. Hadrian's new plans included temples to the major regional deities, and certain Roman gods, in particular Jupiter Capitolinus; a great offense to the traditionalist monotheist Jews.

The Christian church in Jerusalem after 135


According to Eusebius, the Jerusalem church was scattered twice, in AD70 and AD135, with the difference that from 70-130 the bishops of Jerusalem have evidently Jewish names, whereas after 135 the bishops of Aelia Capitolina appear to be Greeks. Eusebius' evidence for continuation of a church at Aelia Capitolina is confirmed by the Bordeaux Pilgrim. The Pilgrim's reference is a basis for the Church of Zion, Jerusalem
Church of Zion, Jerusalem
The Church of Zion, Jerusalem, also known as the Church of the Apostles on Mount Zion, is the thesis of a presumed distinct Jewish-Christian congregation continuing at Mount Zion in Jerusalem in the 2nd-5th Century, when it was the Roman colony of Aelia Capitolina, distinct from the main Gentile...

 thesis of Bagatti (1976) and Testa, though the archeological evidence may suggest only a later Crusader church.

Name



Aelia came from Hadrian's nomen gentile, Aelius
Aelia (gens)
The gens Aelia, occasionally written Ailia, was a plebeian family at Rome, which flourished from the 5th century BC until at least the 3rd century AD, a period of nearly eight hundred years. The archaic spelling Ailia is found on coins, but must not be confused with Allia, which seems to be a...

, while Capitolina meant that the new city was dedicated to Jupiter Capitolinus
Capitoline Hill
The Capitoline Hill , between the Forum and the Campus Martius, is one of the seven hills of Rome. It was the citadel of the earliest Romans. By the 16th century, Capitolinus had become Capitolino in Italian, with the alternative Campidoglio stemming from Capitolium. The English word capitol...

, to whom a temple was built on the site of the former Jewish temple
Jewish temple
Jewish temple:*Jewish temple or The Jewish Temple, may refer to the original two ancient Jewish Temples in Jerusalem.**The First Temple was destroyed by the ancient Babylonians in 586 BCE.**The Second Temple was destroyed by Rome in 70 CE....

, the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

. The city was without walls, protected by a light garrison of the Tenth Legion
Legio X Fretensis
Legio X Fretensis was a Roman legion levied by Augustus Caesar in 41/40 BC to fight during the period of civil war that started the dissolution of the Roman Republic...

, during the Late Roman Period. The detachment at Jerusalem, which apparently encamped all over the city’s western hill, was responsible for preventing Jews from returning to the city. Roman enforcement of this prohibition continued through the 4th century. The Latin name Aelia is the source of the Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 term Iliyā' (إلياء), an early Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic name for Jerusalem.

Plan of the city



The urban plan of Aelia Capitolina was that of a typical Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 town wherein main thoroughfares crisscrossed the urban grid
Urban planning
Urban planning incorporates areas such as economics, design, ecology, sociology, geography, law, political science, and statistics to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities....

 lengthwise and widthwise. The urban grid was based on the usual central north-south road (cardo
Cardo
The cardo was a north-south oriented street in Roman cities, military camps, and coloniae. The cardo, an integral component of city planning, was lined with shops and vendors, and served as a hub of economic life. The main cardo was called cardo maximus.Most Roman cities also had a Decumanus...

) and central east-west route (decumanus). However, as the main cardo ran up the western hill, and the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

 blocked the eastward route of the main decumanus, a second pair of main roads was added; the secondary cardo ran down the tyropoean valley, and the secondary decumanus ran just to the north of the temple mount. The main Hadrianic cardo terminated not far beyond its junction with the decumanus, where it reached the Roman garrison's encampment, but in the Byzantine era it was extended over the former camp to reach the southern walls of the city.

The two cardines converged near the Damascus Gate
Damascus Gate
Damascus Gate is the main entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem. It is located in the wall on the city's northwest side where the highway leads out to Nablus, and from there, in times past, to the capital of Syria, Damascus; as such, its modern English name is Damascus Gate, and its modern Hebrew...

, and a semicircular piazza
Piazza
A piazza is a city square in Italy, Malta, along the Dalmatian coast and in surrounding regions. The term is roughly equivalent to the Spanish plaza...

 covered the remaining space; in the piazza a columnar monument was constructed, hence the traditional name for the gate - Bab el-Amud (Gate of the Column). Tetrapylon
Tetrapylon
The South Tetrapylon -- which is greek for "four gates"-- is the intersection of Jerash's Cardo with the first cross street in the ancient ruins of Jerash in Jordan dated to the Roman period at the end of the 2nd century AD. Four niched pilasters formed the base of a former central monument....

 were constructed at the other junctions between the main roads.

This street pattern has been preserved through Jerusalem's later history; the western cardo is Suq Khan ez-Zeit (Olive-oil Inn Market), the southern decumanus is both the Street of the Chain and Suq el-Bazaar (Bazaar Market; called David Street by Israelis), the eastern cardo is Al-wad Road (Valley road), and the northern decumanus is now the Via Dolorosa
Via Dolorosa
The Via Dolorosa is a street, in two parts, within the Old City of Jerusalem, held to be the path that Jesus walked, carrying his cross, on the way to his crucifixion. The current route has been established since the 18th century, replacing various earlier versions...

. The original thoroughfare, flanked by rows of columns and shops, was about 73 feet (22 meters) wide (roughly the equivalent of a present-day six lane motorway), but buildings have extended onto the streets over the centuries, and the modern lanes replacing the ancient grid are now quite narrow. The substantial remains of the western cardo have now been exposed to view near the junction with Suq el-Bazaar, and remnants of one of the tetrapylon are preserved in the 19th century Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

 chapel at the junction of the Via Dolorosa and Suq Khan ez-Zeit.

As was standard for new Roman cities, Hadrian placed the city's main Forum
Forum (Roman)
A forum was a public square in a Roman municipium, or any civitas, reserved primarily for the vending of goods; i.e., a marketplace, along with the buildings used for shops and the stoas used for open stalls...

 at the junction of the main cardo and decumanus, now the location for the (smaller) Muristan
Muristan
The Muristan is a complex of streets and shops in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem...

. Adjacent to the Forum, at the junction of the same cardo, and the other decumanus, Hadrian built a large temple to the goddess
Goddess
A goddess is a female deity. In some cultures goddesses are associated with Earth, motherhood, love, and the household. In other cultures, goddesses also rule over war, death, and destruction as well as healing....

 Venus
Venus (mythology)
Venus is a Roman goddess principally associated with love, beauty, sex,sexual seduction and fertility, who played a key role in many Roman religious festivals and myths...

, which later became the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also called the Church of the Resurrection by Eastern Christians, is a church within the walled Old City of Jerusalem. It is a few steps away from the Muristan....

; despite 11th century destruction, which resulted in the modern Church having a much smaller footprint, several boundary walls of Hadrian's temple have been found among the archaeological remains beneath the Church. The Struthion Pool
Struthion Pool
The Struthion Pool is a large cuboid cistern beneath the Convent of the Sisters of Zion in the Old City of Jerusalem, built in 1st century BCE and perhaps even earlier.- Construction :...

lay in the path of the northern decumanus, so Hadrian placed vaulting
Vault (architecture)
A Vault is an architectural term for an arched form used to provide a space with a ceiling or roof. The parts of a vault exert lateral thrust that require a counter resistance. When vaults are built underground, the ground gives all the resistance required...

 over it, added a large pavement on top, and turned it into a secondary Forum; the pavement can still be seen under the Convent of the Sisters of Zion
Convent of the Sisters of Zion
The Convent of the Sisters of Zion is a convent of the Congregation of Notre-Dame de Sion, located near to the eastern end of the Via Dolorosa, in Jerusalem. The convent was built in 1857, by Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne, but the site also contains ancient archaeological remains of significant value.-...

.

See also

  • Judea
    Judea
    Judea or Judæa was the name of the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel from the 8th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, when Roman Judea was renamed Syria Palaestina following the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt.-Etymology:The...

  • Iudaea Province
    Iudaea Province
    Judaea or Iudaea are terms used by historians to refer to the Roman province that extended over parts of the former regions of the Hasmonean and Herodian kingdoms of Israel...

  • Palestine
    Palestine
    Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

  • Church of the Holy Sepulchre
    Church of the Holy Sepulchre
    The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also called the Church of the Resurrection by Eastern Christians, is a church within the walled Old City of Jerusalem. It is a few steps away from the Muristan....

  • Kingdom of Jerusalem
    Kingdom of Jerusalem
    The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....

  • Names of Jerusalem
    Names of Jerusalem
    This article explores the different names of Jerusalem and their linguistic natures, etc. For a discussion of the politics and history of Jerusalem itself, the Jerusalem and Timeline of Jerusalem articles are probably a better place to start....


External links