6 December 2017

Terminological inexactitudes? UPDATED

This morning on the BBC Home Service the Mayor of Jerusalem told us that Jerusalem has been the Capital of Israel for 3,000 years.

UPDATE: Motu proprio most kindly supplied a great deal of information about what Jerusalem was capital of for three thousand years. Unfortunately, my aging and moribund computer seemed to have endless trouble showing the Comments on screen. I hop they are now all 'up'.

32 comments:

Duarte Valério said...

Save for a few short periods of intermission that need not concern us at all --- I guess he might have added.

KaeseEs said...

And here I was, thinking it was the capital of Judea.

TomG said...

An unexceptionable statement in any meaningful sense.

William Tighe said...


"An unexceptionable statement in any meaningful sense."

Except as regards truth and historical accuracy; but perhaps those "senses" are not "meaningful."

Simon Platt said...

Surely that's about the least inaccurate of anything that's been said on the Home Service today? I haven't listened to it much today, but in the half hour or so when I did one fellow apologised for not knowing his Victorian history - as well he might, because he was discussion the founding of the Manchester Guardian, in 1821.

I recently had occasion to complain to the BBC, about something completely different albeit on the same channel. I received their reply today. Unfortunately, it seems to be a reply to a completely different complaint, one which I hadn't made.

All par for the course, I'm afraid.

Rubricarius said...

Perhaps it was the Mayor's attempt at humour?

Ana Milan said...

And who is PF to judge? If he cannot judge on matters directly involving the Catholic faith (Sodomy, Holy Matrimony, Ten Commandments, Sacrilege, etc.) then he certainly isn't fit to pronounce on political policies of which he is not, as pope, elected to meddle in.

Belfry Bat said...

Melchizedek was in Salem before Abraham saw the River Jordan or begot Isaac.

I say this not to suggest that the Priest-King's descendents might claim any priority over God's Own Chosen People, but to highlight how "we were there first" is not only an unhelpful argument, but an un-Jewish argument.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

I thought that the capital of Syria Palestina was Aelia Capitolina ...

motuproprio said...

The history of Jerusalem is too complicated for a one-liner!
• 1010 BC: King David attacks and captures Jerusalem. Jerusalem becomes City of David and capital of the United Kingdom of Israel.
• c. 931–930 BC: Jerusalem becomes the capital of the (southern) Kingdom of Judah
• c. 850 BCE: Jerusalem is sacked by Philistines, Arabs and Ethiopians, who looted King Jehoram's house, and carried off all of his family except for his youngest son Jehoahaz.
• 786 BC: Jehoash of Israel sacks the city, destroys the walls and takes Amaziah of Judah prisoner.
• 733 BC: Jerusalem becomes a vassal of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Ahaz of Judah appeals to Tiglath Pileser III of the Neo-Assyrian Empire to protect the city from Pekah of Israel and Rezin of Aram. Tiglath Pileser III subsequently conquers most of the Levant.
• c. 712 BC: The Siloam Tunnel is built in order to keep water from the Gihon Spring inside the city. The tunnel was built by King Hezekiah in preparation for a siege by the Assyrians – Jerusalem pays further tribute to the Neo-Assyrian Empire after the Neo-Assyrian King Sennacherib laid siege to the city.
• 609 BC: Jerusalem becomes part of the Empire of the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt after Josiah of Judah is killed by the army of Pharaoh Necho II at the Battle of Megiddo. Josiah's son Jehoahaz of Judah is deposed by the Egyptians and replaced as ruler of Jerusalem by his brother Jehoiakim.
• 599–597 BC: first Babylonian siege – Nebuchadnezzar II crushed a rebellion in the Kingdom of Judah and other cities in the Levant which had been sparked by the Neo-Babylonians failed invasion of Egypt in 601. Jehoiachin of Jerusalem deported to Babylon.

motuproprio said...


• 587–586 BC: second Babylonian siege – Nebuchadnezzar II fought Pharaoh Apries's attempt to invade Judah. Jerusalem mostly destroyed including the First Temple.
• 539 BC: Jerusalem becomes part of the Eber-Nari satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire after King Cyrus the Great conquers the Neo-Babylonian Empire by defeating Nabonidus at the Battle of Opis.
• Cyrus the Great issues the Edict of Cyrus allowing Babylonian Jews to return from the Babylonian captivity and rebuild the Temple 516 BCE: The Second Temple is built in the 6th year of Darius the Great.
• 445 BC: Nehemiah is appointed governor of Judah, and rebuilds the Old City walls.
• 350 BC: Jerusalem revolts against Artaxerxes III, along with other cities of the Levant and Cyprus. Artaxerxes III, retakes the city and burns it down in the process. Jews who supported the revolt are sent to Hyrcania on the Caspian Sea.
• 332 BC: Jerusalem capitulates to Alexander the Great, during his six-year Macedonian conquest of the empire of Darius III of Persia.
• 323 BC: The city comes under the rule of Laomedon of Mytilene, who is given control of the province of Syria following Alexander's death and the resulting Partition of Babylon between the Diadochi. This partition was reconfirmed two years later at the Partition of Triparadisus.
• 320 BC: General Nicanor, dispatched by satrap of Egypt Ptolemy I Soter and founder of the Ptolemaic Kingdom, takes control of Syria including Jerusalem and captures Laomedon in the process.
• 315 BC: The Antigonid dynasty gains control of the city after Ptolemy I Soter withdraws from Syria including Jerusalem.
• 312 BCE: Jerusalem is re-captured by Ptolemy I Soter after he defeats Antigonus' son Demetrius I at the Battle of Gaza.

motuproprio said...

• 311 BC: The Antigonid dynasty regains control of the city after Ptolemy withdraws from Syria..
• 302 BC: Ptolemy invades Syria for a third time, but evacuated again shortly thereafter.
• 301 BC: Coele-Syria (Southern Syria) including Jerusalem is re-captured by Ptolemy I Soter.
• 200 BC: Jerusalem falls under the control of the Seleucid Empire following the Battle of Panium.
• 175 BC: Antiochus IV Epiphanes succeeds his father and becomes King of the Seleucid Empire. He accelerates Seleucid efforts to eradicate the Jewish religion by forcing the Jewish High Priest Onias III to step down in favour of his brother Jason. He outlaws Sabbath and circumcision, sacks Jerusalem and erects an altar to Zeus in the Second Temple after plundering it.
• 167 BC: Maccabean revolt led to the guerilla Battle of Wadi Haramia.
• 164 BC 25 Kislev: The Maccabees capture Jerusalem, and rededicate the Temple. The Hasmoneans take control of part of Jerusalem, while the Seleucids retain control of the Acra (fortress) in the city and most surrounding areas.
• 160 BC: The Seleucids retake control of the whole of Jerusalem after Judas Maccabeus is killed, marking the end of the Maccabean revolt.
• c. 140 BC: The Acra is captured and later destroyed by Simon Thassi.
• 139 BC: Simon Thassi travels to Rome, where the Roman Republic formally acknowledges the Hasmonean Kingdom.

motuproprio said...


• 134 BC: Seleucid King Antiochus VII Sidetes recaptures the city. John Hyrcanus as governor, becomes a vassal to the Seleucids.
• 116 BC: A civil war between Seleucid half-brothers Antiochus VIII Grypus and Antiochus IX Cyzicenus results in a breakup of the kingdom and the independence of certain principalities, including Judea.
• 73–63 BC: The Roman Republic extends its influence into the region.
• 63 BC: Roman Republic under Pompey the Great besieges and takes the city. Hyrcanus II is appointed High Priest and Antipater the Idumaean is appointed governor.
• 45 BC: Antipater the Idumaean is appointed Procurator of Judaea by Julius Caesar,
• 40 BC: Antigonus, son of Hasmonean Aristobulus II offers money to the Parthian army to help him recapture the Hasmonean realm from the Romans. Jerusalem is captured by Barzapharnes, Pacorus I of Parthia and Roman deserter Quintus Labienus. Antigonus is placed as King of Judea. Herod escapes to Rome.
• 40–37 BC: The Roman senate appoints Herod "King of the Jews" and provides him with an army. Herod and Roman General Gaius Sosius wrest Judea from Antigonus II Mattathias, culminating in the siege of the city.
• 37–35 BC: Herod the Great builds the Antonia Fortress, named after Mark Anthony, on the site of the earlier Hasmonean Baris.
• 6 BC: End of Herodian governorate in Jerusalem. Herodian Dynasty replaced in the newly created Iudaea province by Roman prefects and after 44 by procurators. Senator Quirinius appointed Legate of the Roman province of Syria and Jerusalem loses its place as the administrative capital to Caesarea Palaestina.
• 7BC–26 AD: Brief period of peace, relatively free of revolt and bloodshed in Judea and Galilee.

motuproprio said...
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motuproprio said...


• 750 AD: the Abbasids take control of the entire empire including Jerusalem.
• 878 AD: Ahmad ibn Tulun, ruler of Egypt and founder of the Tulunid dynasty, conquers Jerusalem and most of Syria.
• 904AD: The Abbasids regain control of Jerusalem after invading Syria.
• 969 AD: Fatimids conquer the Ikhshidid domains of the Abbasid empire including Jerusalem.
• 1073 AD: Jerusalem is captured by Malik-Shah I's Great Seljuq Empire.
• 1077 AD: Jerusalem revolts against the rule of Emir Atsiz ibd Uvaq while he is fighting the Fatimid Empire in Egypt. On his return to Jerusalem, Atsiz re-takes the city and massacres the local population. As a result, Atsiz is executed by Tutush I, who appoints Artuq bin Ekseb, later founder of the Artuqid dynasty, as governor.
• 1092 AD, and the Great Seljuk Empire splits into smaller warring states. Control of Jerusalem is disputed between Duqaq and Radwan after the death of their father Tutush I in 1095.
• 1099: Siege of Jerusalem (1099) – First Crusaders capture Jerusalem and slaughter most of the city's Muslim and Jewish inhabitants. Godfrey of Bouillon promises to turn over the rule of Jerusalem to the Papacy once the crusaders capture Egypt. The invasion of Egypt did not occur as Godfrey died shortly thereafter. Baldwin I was proclaimed the first King of Jerusalem.
• 1187: Siege of Jerusalem (1187) – Saladin captures Jerusalem from the Crusaders. Allows Jewish and Orthodox Christian settlement. The Dome of the Rock is converted to an Islamic centre of worship again.

motuproprio said...

• 1229–44AD: From 1229 to 1244, Jerusalem peacefully reverted to Christian control as a result of a 1229 Treaty agreed between the crusading Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and al-Kamil, the Ayyubid Sultan of Egypt, that ended the Sixth Crusade. The Ayyubids retained control of the Muslim holy places, and Arab sources suggest that Frederick was not permitted to restore Jerusalem's fortifications.
• 1244 AD: Siege of Jerusalem (1244) – In order to permanently retake the city from rival breakaway Abbasid rulers who had allied with the Crusaders, As-Salih Ayyub summoned a huge mercenary army who destroyed the city.
• 1246 AD: The Ayyubids regain control of the city.
• 1248–50 AD: The Ayyubids relocate to Damascus, where they continue to control the rump of their empire including Jerusalem for a further ten years.
• 1260 AD: Jerusalem raided as part of the Mongol raids into Palestine under Nestorian Christian general Kitbuqa. Hulagu Khan sends a message to Louis IX of France that Jerusalem remitted to the Christians under the Franco-Mongol Alliance.
• 1300 AD: Further Mongol raids into Palestine. Jerusalem held by the Mongols for four months.
• 1377 AD: Jerusalem and other cities in Mamluk Syria revolt, following the death of Al-Ashraf Sha'ban.
• 1516 AD: The Ottoman Empire replaces the Mamluks in Palestine after Sultan Selim I defeats the last Mamluk Sultan Al-Ashraf Qansuh al-Ghawri
• 1799 AD: Napoleon's unsuccessful campaign in Egypt and Syria intends to capture Jerusalem, but is defeated at the Siege of Acre.
• 1831AD: Wali Muhammad Ali of Egypt conquers the city following Sultan Mahmud II's refusal to grant him control over Syria as compensation for his help fighting the Greek War of Independence

motuproprio said...
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Banshee said...

I think we lost a comment by motuproprio, because I don't see anything between AD 637 and AD 1840.

Jerusalem was the capital of the Crusader kingdom that was around for a while.

motuproprio said...
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motuproprio said...

• 6 BC: End of Herodian governorate in Jerusalem. Herodian Dynasty replaced in the newly created Iudaea province by Roman prefects and after 44 by procurators. Senator Quirinius appointed Legate of the Roman province of Syria and Jerusalem loses its place as the administrative capital to Caesarea Palaestina.
• 7BC–26 AD: Brief period of peace, relatively free of revolt and bloodshed in Judea and Galilee.
• 66–73 AD: First Jewish-Roman War, with the Judean rebellion led by Simon Bar Giora
• 70 AD: Siege of Jerusalem (70) Titus, eldest son of Emperor Vespasian, ends the major portion of Great Jewish Revolt and destroys Herod's Temple on Tisha B'Av. The Roman legion Legio X Fretensis is garrisoned in the city.
• 130AD: Emperor Hadrian visits the ruins of Jerusalem and decides to rebuild it as a city dedicated to Jupiter called Aelia Capitolina.
• 132–135AD: Bar Kokhba's revolt – Simon Bar Kokhba leads a revolt against the Roman Empire, controlling the city for three years.
• 136AD: Hadrian formally re-establishes the city as Aelia Capitolina, and forbids Jewish and Christian presence in the city.

motuproprio said...

• 259AD: Jerusalem falls under the rule of Odaenathus as King of the Palmyrene Empire
• 272AD: Jerusalem becomes part of the Roman Empire again after Aurelian defeats the Palmyrene Empire.
• 324–25AD: Emperor Constantine confirms status of Aelia Capitolina as a patriarchate. This is the date on which the city is generally taken to have been renamed Jerusalem.
• 361 AD: Julian the Apostate becomes Roman Emperor and attempts to reverse the growing influence of Christianity by encouraging other religions. Alypius of Antioch is commissioned to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem and Jews are allowed to return to the city.
• 614 AD: Siege of Jerusalem (614) – Jerusalem falls to Khosrau II's Sassanid Empire Nehemiah ben Hushiel was made governor of the city. Most of the city is destroyed.
• 629AD: Byzantine Emperor Heraclius retakes Jerusalem, after the decisive defeat of the Sassanid Empire at the Battle of Nineveh (627).
• 636–37AD: Siege of Jerusalem (637) Caliph Umar the Great conquers Jerusalem and under Islamic rule Jews were once again allowed to live and worship freely in Jerusalem. Jerusalem becomes part of the Jund Filastin province of the Arab Caliphate.
• 750 AD: the Abbasids take control of the entire empire including Jerusalem.

motuproprio said...
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motuproprio said...
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motuproprio said...

• 1799 AD: Napoleon's unsuccessful campaign in Egypt and Syria intends to capture Jerusalem, but is defeated at the Siege of Acre.
• 1831AD: Wali Muhammad Ali of Egypt conquers the city following Sultan Mahmud II's refusal to grant him control over Syria as compensation for his help fighting the Greek War of Independence
• 1840 AD: The Ottoman Turks retake the city—with help from the English (Lord Palmerston).
• 1917 AD: The Ottomans are defeated at the Battle of Jerusalem during the First World War. The British Army's General Allenby enters Jerusalem on foot, in a reference to the entrance of Caliph Umar in 637.
• 1918–20 AD: Jerusalem is under British military administration.
• 1920-1947 AD: British Mandate
• 1947 AD November 29: 1947 AD: UN Partition Plan calls for internationalization of Jerusalem as a "corpus separatum"
• 1947–48 AD: 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine.

motuproprio said...

• 1948 AD: 1948 Arab–Israeli War.
• 1949 AD: Jerusalem is proclaimed the capital of Israel. The Knesset moves to Jerusalem from Tel-Aviv. Jordan prevents access to the Western Wall and Mount Scopus, in violation of the 1949 Armistice Agreements.
• 1967 AD 5–11 June: The Six Day War.
• 1980 AD: The Jerusalem Law is enacted leading to UN Security Council Resolution 478 (it states that the Council will not recognize this law).

Capital of Israel for 3000 years?

motuproprio said...
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motuproprio said...
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motuproprio said...

Apologies for the vagaries of Blogger!

Sue Sims said...

Motuproprio is of course quite correct in his recounting of the history of Jerusalem. One should, however, add to that political history the fact that Jews have been praying 'L'Shana Haba'ah B'Yerushalayim' presumably since the destruction of the Second Temple and the diaspora; there's a 10th century reference to the prayer, for instance. It's part of the Seder, and one of the prayers recited on Yom Kippur; and growing up, I heard it (mostly in English: 'Next year in Jerusalem') at the end of every wedding reception and barmitzvah.

Nor is this just for the last 2,000 years, as everyone who reads Fr Hunwicke's blog will recall: "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning."

Oliver Nicholson said...

Albrecht von Brandenburg said... "I thought that the capital of Syria Palestina was Aelia Capitolina ..."

No, it was Caesarea, which continued to be the capital of Palaestina Prima in Late Antiquity. The Late Antique capital of Palaestina Secunda was Scythopolis (Bashan, where the bulls encompass you on every side) and of Palaestina Tertia was Petra. The capital of the Umayyad and Abbasid Jund of Filastin was at first Lydda (Diospolis - reputed home of S. Geroge) and then Ramla.

John Smith Smith said...

Motuproprio answered a question that had not been asked, didn't he? That was a lot of work, and he seems to like saying intelligent things: I hope he enjoyed his secretarial labors.

Perhaps next he can pretend that there is an argument for why someone would make the comment his secretarial labors strove to mock.
Then he can assess, impartially, what it would require for that argument to be a good argument. Once he has done that, in the tradition of the old philosophers, he can criticize the statement he disagrees with, and help us all get closer to the truth. Sue Sims gave a hint, or more than a hint, which perhaps Mr Proprio can attend to. Every day is a good day to learn something new, as long as one is honest and a lover of truth!

Prayerful said...

Clearly the site of the First and Second Temple was a capital of the people of Israel, speaking in a wholly cultural or religious sense for Jews. It was the capital of the British ruled Mandate of Palestine, and obviously the Frankish Kingdom of Jerusalem, their Outremer wherever they managed to hold on to it. Even when it was a Herodian, Maccabean and Judean capital, it only was a royal capital an extent of land smaller than the modern State of Israel. When in ancient times that area of land with Jerusalem as capital was greater or similar, or even as a capital in any sense but religious (see commenters above) it was for a period of time somewhat less than 3000 years. Anyhow, political shouting and factual statements are somewhat different, they tend not to go together.