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Ancient times

The Sack of Jerusalem depicted in the Arch of Titus, 70 AD
Ancient times

The land that now encompasses Israel and the Palestinian territories has been conquered and re-conquered throughout history.

Details of the ancient Israelite states are sketchy, derived for the most part from the first books of the Bible and classical history. Some of the key events include:

Biblical times

  • 1250 BC: Israelites began to conquer and settle the land of Canaan on the eastern Mediterranean coast.
  • 961-922 BC: Reign of King Solomon and construction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Solomon's reign was followed by the division of the land into two kingdoms.
  • 586 BC: The southern kingdom, Judah, was conquered by the Babylonians, who drove its people, the Jews, into exile and destroyed Solomon's Temple. After 70 years the Jews began to return and Jerusalem and the temple were gradually rebuilt.

    Classical period

  • 333 BC: Alexander the Great's conquest brought the area under Greek rule.
  • 165 BC: A revolt in Judea established the last independent Jewish state of ancient times.
  • 63 BC: The Jewish state, Judea, was incorporated into the Roman province of Palestine
  • 70 AD: A revolt against Roman rule was put down by the Emperor Titus and the Second Temple was destroyed. This marks the beginning of the Jewish Diaspora, or dispersion.
  • 118-138 AD: During the Roman Emperor Hadrian's rule, Jews were initially allowed to return to Jerusalem, but - after another Jewish revolt in 133 - the city was completely destroyed and its people banished and sold into slavery.
  • 638 AD: Conquest by Arab Muslims ended Byzantine rule (the successor to Roman rule in the East). The second caliph of Islam, Omar, built a mosque at the site of what is now the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem in the early years of the 8th Century. Apart from the age of the Crusaders (1099-1187), the region remained under Muslim rule until the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the 20th Century.

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