Jezebel: Phoenician Princess of Ancient Sidon, Queen of Israel

She was a woman who refused to submit to the religious beliefs and practices of her husband and his culture. Introduction Jezebel was the Phoenician Princess of Sidon (9th century BCE) whose story is told in the Hebrew Tanakh (the Christian Old Testament) in I and II Kings where she is portrayed unfavorably as a[…]

Mesopotamian Effects on Israel during the Iron Age

Archaeology, epigraphy, and literature function in tandem in order to establish a more coherent account. Introduction The Iron Age in the traditional Ancient Near Eastern chronology ranges from somewhere around 1200 BCE to 333 BCE. It begins from the era when it was first thought iron came to be used up to the ascendency of[…]

Ancient Israelite Technology

Looking at ancient Israeli construction and architecture, writing, industrial tools, and weapons of war. Introduction Technology enabled ancient Israel, the Northern Kingdom excluding Judah, to be economically prosperous and establish itself as a major political power as early as the 10th century BCE, steadily growing until its destruction in 720 BCE. Some of the most important[…]

The Crusades: Consequences and Effects

Many exaggerated claims have been made concerning the effects and consequences of the crusades on life in the Middle Ages and later. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The crusades of the 11th to 15th century CE have become one of the defining events of the Middle Ages in both Europe and the Middle East. The campaigns[…]

The Crusades: Causes and Goals

What were the motivating factors for crusaders, from the Pope to the humblest warrior? By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The Crusades were a series of military campaigns organised by Christian powers in order to retake Jerusalem and the Holy Land back from Muslim control. There would be eight officially sanctioned crusades between 1095 CE and 1270[…]

The Kingly Pursuits of Herod during the Augustan Period

Herod built on a Roman scale. King Herod had a substantial architectural heritage to his name in the Levant by the time of his death in 4 BCE. As one of Rome’s most loyal client kings, he incorporated much Roman-style architecture throughout the lands he ruled. He visited Rome in 40 BCE and returned two[…]

How Modern Disputes Have Reshaped the Ancient Canaanite City of Banias

Banias was first settled by the Canaanites c.198 BCE and later renamed Caesarea Philippi by the Romans in 4 BCE. In the complex world of Middle Eastern boundary disputes, spare a thought for Banias, the ancient City of Pan. Straddling a strategic crossroads, it has for centuries seen masters come and go. Today’s tug-of-war is[…]

Archaeology and Religion in Late Bronze Age Canaan

Numerous excavations and a fairly large number of contemporary written documents give us a good picture of the religious system and cult practices in Canaan. Abstract Dozens of temples were excavated in the Canaanite city-states of the Late Bronze Age. These temples were the focal points for the Canaanites’ cultic activities, mainly sacrifices and ceremonial[…]

Abel Beth Maacah: A 3,000-Year-Old Oracle Cult in Ancient Israel

A shrine to a “wise woman” fulfilling an oraculor role. By Philippe BohstromArchaeologist The town of Abel Beth Maacah was known in biblical times as a place for conflict resolution, we may divine from references in scripture. Now archaeologists have found a strange shrine that they think may have been associated with the “wise woman” of the[…]

Medieval Jerusalem: A Period of Decline

After about 1244 CE, the city remained a backwater of the late medieval Muslim empires and would not again exceed a population of 10,000 until the 16th century. Introduction The history of Jerusalem during the Middle Ages is generally one of decline; beginning as a major city in the Byzantine Empire, Jerusalem prospered during the[…]

The Archaeological Excavations at Magdala

According to historical sources and archaeological facts, Magdala was an important town with social and economic development. Introduction Magdala, known as Migdal in Hebrew (מִגְדָּל: tower) and also as Taricheae (Ταριχέα, from the Greek Τάριχος or tarichos: preserved by salting or drying fish), was an important fishing town during the first century CE on the western shore[…]

Dead Sea Scrolls: Esoteric Code Reveals Ancient Priestly Calendar

Painstaking reconstruction of fragments of text has revealed the working draft of an ancient Jewish calendar and priestly duty schedule. About 1,000 Dead Sea Scrolls discovered just over 70 years ago near Khirbet Qumran on the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea have been officially published since the turn of the millennium. But in the case of[…]

A Brief Overview of the History of the Dead Sea Scrolls – and Forgeries

Five of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Museum of Bible were found to be forged. The scrolls are considered priceless. Here’s why. The Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., has removed five Dead Sea Scrolls from exhibits after tests confirmed these fragments were not from ancient biblical scrolls but forgeries. Over the last decade, the Green family,[…]

The Zealot Temple Siege against Rome, 68 CE

After freeing the Zealots from the Temple, the Edomites and Zealots massacred the common people. Introduction The Zealot Temple Siege (68 AD) was a short siege of the Temple in Jerusalem fought between Jewish factions during the Great Jewish Revolt against the Roman Empire (66–70 AD). According to the historian Josephus, the forces of Ananus ben Ananus, one[…]

Literary Archaeology at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount

A literary alternative to the murderous, supersessionist versions of the story that animates the site. Given the amount of blood that has been spilled, it may be hard for anyone who does not live there to believe that Palestine and Israel together constitute an area roughly the size of Massachusetts with a population nearly twice[…]

Dome of the Rock: Religious Significance, History, and Architecture

Completed in 691 CE, the Dome of the Rock is the oldest extant Islamic building in the world. Introduction The Dome of the Rock (Arabic: مسجد قبة الصخرة, translit.: Masjid Qubbat As-Sakhrah, Hebrew: כיפת הסלע, translit.: Kipat Hasela) is an Islamic shrine and a major landmark in Jerusalem. It was completed in 691 C.E., making it the oldest extant Islamic building in the[…]

The Mar.tu: A History of the Ancient Amorites

The Amorites occupied large parts of southern Mesopotamia from the 21st century BCE to the end of the 17th century BCE. Introduction The Amorites (Sumerian MAR.TU) were an ancient Semitic-speaking people[1] from Syria who also occupied large parts of southern Mesopotamia from the 21st century BC to the end of the 17th century BC, where[…]

The Ancient Land of Canaan

Human habitation of the land of Canaan goes far back with both Cro-magnon and Neanderthal skeletons having been unearthed from Paleolithic times. Introduction Canaan is an ancient term for a region approximating present-day Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, plus adjoining coastal lands and parts of Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Canaanites are mentioned extensively in the Bible, as well as in[…]

The Bar-Kochba Revolt: A Final Confrontation with Rome

This followed a long period of tension and violence, marked by the first Jewish uprising which ended with the destruction of the Second Temple. By Benjamin Kerstein Introduction The Bar Kochba Revolt (132–136 CE) was the third and final war between the Jewish people and the Roman Empire. It followed a long period of tension and violence, marked[…]

The Maccabean Revolt: The Seleucid Fall and Rise of the Hasmonean Dynasty

The outcome was the formation of the Hasmonean Dynasty, an autonomous Jewish rule over Palestine that would last a generation. By Harry Oates Introduction After the death of Alexander the Great, his Kingdom was divided into four; Egypt, the Seleucid Empire, the Kingdom of Pergamon and Macedon (including Greece). Egypt, governed by Ptolemy I Soter[…]

King Solomon: History, Mythology, or Both?

The story of King Solomon begins with his father, King David, and his mother, Bathsheba. Introduction According to biblical tradition (and some say myth), King Solomon was the third and last king in the ancient United Kingdom of Israel. Other faiths, such as Islam and Rastafarianism, also embrace the notion of Solomon as a sagacious king and powerful[…]

The Diaspora in Ancient Israel and Rise of the Synagogue

The ancient synagogue represents an inclusive, localized form of worship that did not crystallize until the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. Introduction A unique and fundamental aspect of ancient Judean society in both Israel and the Diaspora, the ancient synagogue represents an inclusive, localized form of worship that did not crystallize until the destruction[…]

A History of Early Jericho

Jericho started as a popular camping ground for the hunter-gathers of the Natufian culture dating to 10000 BCE. By Art RamosHistorian Introduction The city of Jericho is remembered for the story in the Book of Joshua in the Bible regarding its destruction by the Israelites. Excavations have revealed that Jericho is one of the earliest[…]

Ancient Canaan: In Search of Identity

Whoever the ancient Canaanites were, their identity was lost in the successive invasions by foreign people interested in controlling an important hub of commerce. Introduction Canaan was the name of a large and prosperous ancient country (at times independent, at others a tributary to Egypt) located in the Levant region of present-day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel. It was also known as Phoenicia. The[…]

A Brief History of the Kingdom of Israel before the Assyrian Captivity

Israel was a regional superpower, but unable to retain its independence in the face of Assyrian imperialism. According to the Bible (the only thorough source for this period of Israel), the united kingdom of Solomon was divided after his death in ca.931. His son Rehoboam, we are told, increased the taxes, and provoked a rebellion[…]