1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Heb. יְרוּשָׁלַם Yerushalaïm, pronounced as a dual), the chief city of Palestine. Letters found at Tell el-Amarna in Egypt, written by an early ruler of Jerusalem, show that the name existed under the form Urusalim, i.e. “City of Salim” or “City of Peace,” many years before the Israelites under Joshua entered Canaan. The emperor Hadrian, when he rebuilt the city, changed the name to Aelia Capitolina. The Arabs usually designate Jerusalem by names expressive of holiness, such as Beit el Maḳdis and El Muḳaddis or briefly El Ḳuds, i.e. the Sanctuary.
Natural Topography.—Jerusalem is situated in 31° 47′ N. and 35° 15′ E., in the hill country of southern Palestine, close to the watershed, at an average altitude of 2500 ft. above the Mediterranean, and 3800 ft. above the level of the Dead Sea. The city stands on a rocky plateau, which projects southwards from the main line of hills. On the east the valley of the Kidron separates this plateau from the ridge of the Mount of Olives, which is 100 to 200 ft. higher, while the Wadi Er Rababi bounds Jerusalem on the west and south, meeting the Valley of Kidron near the lower pool of Siloam. Both valleys fall rapidly as they approach the point of junction, which lies at a depth of more than 600 ft. below the general valley of the plateau. The latter, which covers an area of about 1000 acres, has at the present time a fairly uniform surface and slopes gradually from the north to the south and east. Originally, however, its formation was very different, as it was intersected by a deep valley, called Tyropoeon by Josephus, which, starting from a point N.W. of the Damascus gate, followed a course first south-east and then west of south, and joined the two main valleys of Kidron and Er Rababi at Siloam. Another shorter valley began near the present Jaffa gate and, taking an easterly direction, joined the Tyropoeon; while a third ravine passed across what is now the northern part of the Haram enclosure and fell into the valley of the Kidron. The exact form of these three interior valleys, which had an important influence on the construction and history of the city, is still imperfectly known, as they are to a great extent obliterated by vast accumulations of rubbish, which has filled them up in some places to a depth of more than 100 ft. Their approximate form was only arrived at by excavations made during the later years of the 19th century. The limited knowledge which we possess of the original features of the ground within the area of the city makes a reconstruction of the topographical history of the latter a difficult task; and, as a natural result, many irreconcilable theories have been suggested. The difficulty is increased by the fact that the geographical descriptions given in the Old Testament the Apocrypha and the writings of Josephus are very short, and, having been written for those who were acquainted with the places, convey insufficient information to historians of the present day, when the sites are so greatly altered. All that can be done is to form a continuous account in accord with the ancient histories, and with the original formation of the ground, so far as this has been identified by modern exploration. But the progress of exploration and excavation may render this subject to further modification.
The geological formation of the plateau consists of thin beds of hard silicious chalk, locally called misse, which overlie a thick bed of soft white limestone, known by the name of meleke. Both descriptions of rock yielded good material for building; while in the soft meleke tanks, underground chambers, tombs, &c., were easily excavated. In ancient times a brook flowed down the valley of the Kidron, and it is possible that a stream flowed also through the Tyropoeon valley. The only known spring existing at present within the limits of the city is the “fountain of the Virgin,” on the western side of the Kidron valley, but there may have been others which are now concealed by the accumulations of rubbish. Cisterns were also used for the storage of rain water, and aqueducts, of which the remains still exist (see Aqueducts ad init.), were constructed for the conveyance of water from a distance. Speaking generally, it is probable that the water supply of Jerusalem in ancient times was better than it is at present.
his narrative describes the portion of wall upon which each of these was employed.
It is clear from his account that the lines of fortifications included both the eastern and western hills. North of the Temple enclosure there was a gate, known as the Sheep Gate, which must have opened into the third valley mentioned above, and stood somewhere near what is now the north side of the Haram enclosure, but considerably south of the present north wall of the latter. To the west of the Sheep Gate there were two important towers in the wall, called respectively Meah and Hananeel. The tower Hananeel is specially worthy of notice as it stood N.W. of the Temple and probably formed the basis of the citadel built by Simon Maccabaeus, which again was succeeded by the fortress of Antonia, constructed by Herod the Great, and one of the most important positions at the time of the siege by Titus. At or near the tower Hananeel the wall turned south along the east side of the Tyropoeon valley, and then again westward, crossing the valley at a point probably near the remarkable construction known as Wilson’s arch. A gate in the valley, known as the Fish Gate, opened on a road which, leading from the north, went down the Tyropoeon valley to the southern part of the city. Westward of this gate the wall followed the south side of the valley which joined the Tyropoeon from the west as far as the north-western corner of the city at the site of the present Jaffa Gate and the so-called tower of David. In this part of the wall there were apparently two gates facing north, i.e. the Old Gate and the Gate of Ephraim, 400 cubits from the corner. At the corner stood the residence of the Babylonian governor, near the site upon which King Herod afterwards built his magnificent palace. From the corner at the governor’s house, the wall went in a southerly direction and turned south-east to the Valley Gate, remains of which were discovered by F. J. Bliss and fully described in his Excavations in Jerusalem in 1894–1897. From the Valley Gate the wall took an easterly course for a distance of 1000 cubits to the Dung Gate, near which on the east was the Fountain Gate, not far from the lower pool of Siloam. Here was the most southerly point of Jerusalem, and the wall turning hence to the north followed the west side of the valley of the Kidron, enclosing the city of David and the Temple enclosure, and finally turning west at some point near the site of the Golden Gate joined the wall, already described, at the Sheep Gate. Nehemiah mentions a number of places on the eastern hill, including the tomb of David, the positions of which cannot with our present knowledge be fixed with any certainty.
After the restoration of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah, a considerable number of Jews returned to the city, but we know practically nothing of its history for more than a century until, in 332 B.C., Alexander the Great conquered Syria. The gates of Jerusalem were opened to him and he left the Jews in peaceful occupation. But his successors did not act with similar leniency; when the city was captured by Ptolemy I., king of Egypt, twelve years later, the fortifications were partially demolished and apparently not again restored until the period of the high priest Simon II., who repaired the defences and also the Temple buildings. In 168 B.C. Antiochus Epiphanes captured Jerusalem, destroyed the walls, and devastated the Temple, reducing the city to a worse position than it had occupied since the time of the captivity. He built a citadel called the Acra to dominate the town and placed in it a strong garrison of Greeks. The position of the Acra is doubtful, but it appears most probable that it stood on the eastern hill between the Temple and the city of David, both of which it commanded. Some writers place it north of the Temple on the site afterwards occupied by the fortress of Antonia, but such a position is not in accord with the descriptions either in Josephus or in the books of the Maccabees, which are quite consistent with each other. Other writers again have placed the Acra on the eastern side of the hill upon which the church of the Holy Sepulchre now stands, but as this point was probably quite outside the city at the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and is at too great a distance from the Temple, it can hardly be accepted. But the site which has been already indicated at the N.E. corner of the present Mosque el Aksa meets the accounts of the ancient authorities better than any other. At this point in the Haram enclosure there is an enormous underground cistern, known as the Great Sea, and this may possibly have been the source of water supply for the Greek garrison. The oppression of Antiochus led to a revolt of the Jews under the leadership of the Maccabees, and Judas Maccabaeus succeeded in capturing Jerusalem after severe fighting, but could not get possession of the Acra, which caused much trouble to the Jews, who erected a wall between it and the Temple, and another wall to cut it off from the city. The Greeks held out for a considerable time, but had finally to surrender, probably from want of food, to Simon Maccabaeus, who demolished the Acra and cut down the hill upon which it stood so that it might no longer be higher than the Temple, and that there should be no separation between the latter and the city. Simon then constructed a new citadel, north of the Temple, to take the place of the Acra, and established in Judaea the Asmonean dynasty, which lasted for nearly a century, when the Roman republic began to make its influence felt in Syria. In 65 B.C. Jerusalem was captured by Pompey after a difficult siege. The Asmonean dynasty lasted a few years longer, but finally came to an end when Herod the Great, with the aid of the Romans, took possession of Jerusalem and became the first king of the Idumaean dynasty. Herod again raised the city to the position of an important capital, restoring the fortifications, and rebuilding the Temple from its foundations. He also built the great fortress of Antonia, N.W. of the Temple, on the site of the citadel of the Asmoneans, and constructed a magnificent palace for himself on the western hill, defended by three great towers, which he named Mariamne, Hippicus and Phasaelus. At some period between the time of the Maccabees and of Herod, a second or outer wall had been built outside and north of the first wall, but it is not possible to fix an accurate date to this line of defence, as the references to it in Josephus are obscure. Herod adorned the town with other buildings and constructed a theatre and gymnasium. He doubled the area of the enclosure round the Temple, and there can be little doubt that a great part of the walls of the Haram area date from the time of Herod, while probably the tower of David, which still exists near the Jaffa Gate, is on the same foundation as one of the towers adjoining his palace. Archelaus, Herod’s successor, had far less authority than Herod, and the real power of government at Jerusalem was assumed by the Roman procurators, in the time of one of whom, Pontius Pilate, Jesus Christ was condemned to death and crucified outside Jerusalem. The places of his execution and burial are not certainly known (see Sepulchre, Holy).
Herod Agrippa, who succeeded to the kingdom, built a third or outer wall on the north side of Jerusalem in order to enclose and defend the buildings which had gradually been constructed outside the old fortifications. The exact line of this third wall is not known with certainty, but it probably followed approximately the same line as the existing north wall of Jerusalem. Some writers have considered that it extended a considerable distance farther to the north, but of this there is no proof, and no remains have as yet been found which would support the opinion. The wall of Herod Agrippa was planned on a grand scale, but its execution was stopped by the Romans, so that it was not completed at the time of the siege of Jerusalem by Titus. The writings of Josephus give a good idea of the fortifications and buildings of Jerusalem at the time of the siege, and his accurate personal knowledge makes his account worthy of the most careful perusal. He explains clearly how Titus, beginning his attack from the north, captured the third or outer wall, then the second wall, and finally the fortress of Antonia, the Temple, and the upper city. After the capture, Titus ordered the Temple to be demolished and the fortifications to be levelled, with the exception of the three great towers at Herod’s palace. It is, however, uncertain how far the order was carried out, and it is probable that the outer walls of the Temple enclosure were left partially standing and that the defences on the west and south of the city were not completely levelled. When Titus and his army withdrew from Jerusalem, the 10th legion was left as a permanent Roman garrison, and a fortified camp for their occupation was established on the western hill. We have no account of the size or position of this camp, but a consideration of the site, and a comparison with other Roman camps in various parts of Europe, make it probable that it occupied an area of about 50 acres, extending over what is now known as the Armenian quarter of the town, and that it was bounded on the north by the old or first wall, on the west also by the old wall, on the south by a line of defence somewhat in the same position as the present south wall where it passes the Zion Gate, and on the east by an entrenchment running north and south parallel to the existing thoroughfare known as David Street. For sixty years the Roman garrison were left in undisturbed occupation, but in 132 the Jews rose in revolt under the leadership of Bar-Cochebas or Barcochba, and took possession of Jerusalem. After a severe struggle, the revolt was suppressed by the Roman general, Julius Severus, and Jerusalem was recaptured and again destroyed. According to some writers, this devastation was even more complete than after the siege by Titus. About 130 the emperor Hadrian decided to rebuild Jerusalem, and make it a Roman colony. The new city was called Aelia Capitolina. The exact size of the city is not known, but it probably extended as far as the present north wall of Jerusalem and included the northern part of the western hill. A temple dedicated to Jupiter Capitolinus was erected on the site of the Temple, and other buildings were constructed, known as the Theatre, the Demosia, the Tetranymphon, the Dodecapylon and the Codra. The Jews were forbidden to reside in the city, but Christians were freely admitted. The history of Jerusalem during the period between the foundation of the city of Aelia by the emperor Hadrian and the accession of Constantine the Great in 306 is obscure, but no important change appears to have been made in the size or fortifications of the city, which continued as a Roman colony. In 326 Constantine, after his conversion to Christianity, issued orders to the bishop Macarius to recover the site of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and the tomb in which his body was laid (see Sepulchre, Holy). After the holy sites had been determined, Constantine gave orders for the construction of two magnificent churches, the one over the tomb and the other over the place where the cross was discovered. The present church of the Holy Sepulchre stands on the site upon which one of the churches of Constantine was built, but the second church, the Basilica of the Cross, has completely disappeared. The next important epoch in building construction at Jerusalem was about 460, when the empress Eudocia visited Palestine and expended large sums oh the improvement of the city. The walls were repaired by her orders, and the line of fortifications appears to have been extended on the south so as to include the pool of Siloam. A church was built above the pool, probably at the same time, and, after having completely disappeared for many centuries, it was recovered by F. J. Bliss when making his exploration of Jerusalem. The empress also erected a large church in honour of St Stephen north of the Damascus Gate, and is believed to have been buried therein. The site of this church was discovered in 1874, and it has since been rebuilt. In the 6th century the emperor Justinian erected a magnificent basilica at Jerusalem, in honour of the Virgin Mary, and attached to it two hospitals, one for the reception of pilgrims and one for the accommodation of the sick poor. The description given by Procopius does not indicate clearly where this church was situated. A theory frequently put forward is that it stood within the Haram area near the Mosque of el Aksa, but it is more probable that it was on Zion, near the traditional place of the Coenaculum or last supper, where the Mahommedan building known as the tomb of David now stands. In 614 Chosroes II., the king of Persia, captured Jerusalem, devastated many of the buildings, and massacred a great number of the inhabitants. The churches at the Holy Sepulchre were much damaged, but were partially restored by the monk Modestus, who devoted himself with great energy to the work. After a severe struggle the Persians were defeated by the emperor Heraclius, who entered Jerusalem in triumph in 629 bringing with him the holy cross, which had been carried off by Chosroes. At this period the religion of Mahomet was spreading over the east, and in 637 the caliph Omar marched on Jerusalem, which capitulated after a siege of four months. Omar behaved with great moderation, restraining his troops from pillage and leaving the Christians in possession of their churches. A wooden mosque was erected near the site of the Temple, which was replaced by the Mosque of Aksa, built by the amir Abdalmalik (Abd el Malek), who also constructed the Dome of the Rock, known as the Mosque of Omar, in 688. The Mahommedans held Jerusalem until 1099, when it was captured by the crusaders under Godfrey of Bouillon, and became the capital of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (see Crusades, vol. viii. p. 401) until 1187, when Saladin reconquered it, and rebuilt the walls. Since that time, except from 1229 to 1239, and from 1243 to 1244, the city has been held by the Mahommedans. It was occupied by the Egyptian sultans until 1517, when the Turks under Selim I. occupied Syria. Selim’s successor, Suleiman the Magnificent, restored the fortifications, which since that time have been little altered.
Modern Jerusalem.—Jerusalem is the chief town of a sanjak, governed by a mutessarif, who reports directly to the Porte. It has the usual executive and town councils, upon which the recognized religious communities, or millets, have representatives; and it is garrisoned by infantry of the V. army corps. The city is connected with its port, Jaffa, by a carriage road, 41 m., and by a metre-gauge railway, 54 m., which was completed in 1892, and is worked by a French company. There are also carriage roads to Bethlehem, Hebron and Jericho, and a road to Nablus was in course of construction in 1909. Prior to 1858, when the modern building period commenced, Jerusalem lay wholly within its 16th-century walls, and even as late as 1875 there were few private residences beyond their limits. At present Jerusalem without the walls covers a larger area than that within them. The growth has been chiefly towards the north and north-west; but there are large suburbs on the west, and on the south-west near the railway station on the plain of Rephaim. The village of Siloam has also increased in size, and the western slopes of Olivet are being covered with churches, monasteries and houses. Amongst the most marked features of the change that has taken place since 1875 are the growth of religious and philanthropic establishments; the settlement of Jewish colonies from Bokhara, Yemen and Europe; the migration of Europeans, old Moslem families, and Jews from the city to the suburbs; the increased vegetation, due to the numerous gardens and improved methods of cultivation; the substitution of timber and red tiles for the vaulted stone roofs which were so characteristic of the old city; the striking want of beauty, grandeur, and harmony with their environment exhibited by most of the new buildings; and the introduction of wheeled transport, which, cutting into the soft limestone, has produced mud and dust to an extent previously unknown. To facilitate communication between the city and its suburbs, the Bab ez-Zāhire, or Herod’s Gate, and a new gate, near the north-west angle of the walls, have been opened; and a portion of the wall, adjoining the Jaffa Gate, has been thrown down, to allow free access for carriages. Within the city the principal streets have been roughly paved, and iron bars placed across the narrow alleys to prevent the passage of camels. Without the walls carriage roads have been made to the mount of Olives, the railway station, and various parts of the suburbs, but they are kept in bad repair. Little effort has been made to meet the increased sanitary requirements of the larger population and wider inhabited area. There is no municipal water-supply, and the main drain of the city discharges into the lower pool of Siloam, which has become an open cesspit. In several places the débris within the walls is saturated with sewage, and the water of the Fountain of the Virgin, and of many of the old cisterns, is unfit for drinking. Amongst the more important buildings for ecclesiastical and philanthropic purposes erected to the north of the city since 1860 are the Russian cathedral, hospice and hospital; the French hospital of St Louis, and hospice and church of St Augustine; the German schools, orphanages and hospitals; the new hospital and industrial school of the London mission to the Jews; the Abyssinian church; the church and schools of the Church missionary society; the Anglican church, college and bishop’s house; the Dominican monastery, seminary and church of St Stephen; the Rothschild hospital and girls’ school; and the industrial school and workshops of the Alliance Israélite. On the mount of Olives are the Russian church, tower and hospice, near the chapel of the Ascension; the French Paternoster church; the Carmelite nunnery; and the Russian church of St Mary Magdalene, near Gethsemane. South of the city are the Armenian monastery of Mount Zion and Bishop Gobat’s school. On the west side are the institution of the sisters of St Vincent; the Ratisbon school; the Montefiore hospice; the British ophthalmic hospital of the knights of St John; the convent and church of the Clarisses; and the Moravian leper hospital. Within the city walls are the Latin Patriarchal church and residence; the school of the Frères de la Doctrine Chrétienne; the schools and printing house of the Franciscans; the Coptic monastery; the German church of the Redeemer, and hospice; the United Armenian church of the Spasm; the convent and school of the Sœurs de Zion; the Austrian hospice; the Turkish school and museum; the monastery and seminary of the Frères de la Mission Algérienne, with the restored church of St Anne, the church, schools and hospital of the London mission to the Jews; the Armenian seminary and Patriarchal buildings; the Rothschild hospital; and Jewish hospices and synagogues.
The climate is naturally good, but continued neglect of sanitary precautions has made the city unhealthy. During the summer months the heat is tempered by a fresh sea-breeze, and there is usually a sharp fall of temperature at night; but in spring and autumn the east and south-east winds, which blow across the heated depression of the Ghor, are enervating and oppressive. A dry season, which lasts from May to October, is followed by a rainy season, divided into the early winter and latter rains. Snow falls two years out of three, but soon melts. The mean annual temperature is 62.8° F., the maximum 112°, and the minimum 25°. The mean monthly temperature is lowest (47.2°) in February, and highest (76.3°) in August. The mean annual rainfall (1861 to 1899) is 26.06 in. The most unhealthy period is from 1st May to 31st October, when there are, from time to time, outbreaks of typhoid, small-pox, diphtheria and other epidemics. The unhealthiness of the city is chiefly due to want of proper drainage, impure drinking-water, miasma from the disturbed rubbish heaps, and contaminated dust from the uncleansed roads and streets. The only industry is the manufacture of olive-wood and mother-of-pearl goods for sale to pilgrims and for export. The imports (see Joppa) are chiefly food, clothing and building material. The population in 1905 was about 60,000 (Moslems 7000, Christians 13,000, Jews 40,000). During the pilgrimage season it is increased by about 15,000 travellers and pilgrims.
Authorities.—Pal. Exp. Fund Publications—Sir C. Warren, Jerusalem, Memoir (1884); Clermont-Ganneau, Archaeol. Researches (vol. i., 1899); Bliss, Excavns. at Jerusalem (1898); Conder, Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (1897), and The City of Jerusalem (1909), an historical survey over 4000 years; Le Strange, Pal. under the Moslems (1890); Fergusson, Temples of the Jews (1878); Hayter Lewis, Holy Places of Jerusalem(1888); Churches of Constantine at Jerusalem (1891); Guthe, “Ausgrabungen in Jer.,” in Zeitschrift d. D. Pal. Vereins (vol. v.); Tobler, Topographie von Jerusalem (Berlin, 1854); Dritte Wanderung (1859); Sepp, Jerusalem und das heilige Land (1873); Röhricht, Regesta Regni Hierosolymitani; Bibliotheca Geographica Palaestinae (1890); De Vogüé, Le Temple de Jérusalem (1864); Sir C. W. Wilson, Golgotha and the Holy Sepulchre (1906); publications of the Pal. Pilgrims’ Text Society and of the Société de l’Orient latin; papers in Quarterly Statements of the P. E. Fund, the Zeitschrift d. D. Pal. Vereins, Clermont-Ganneau’s Recueil d’archéologie orientale and Études d’arch. orientale, and the Revue Biblique; Baedeker’s Handbook to Palestine and Syria (1906); Mommert, Die hl. Grabeskirche zu Jerusalem (1898); Golgotha und das hl. Grab zu Jerusalem (1900); Couret, La Prise de Jérusm. par les Perses, 614. (Orléans, 1896—Plans, Ordnance Survey, revised ed.; Ordnance Survey revised by Dr Schick in Z.D.P.V. xviii., 1895). (C. W. W.; C. M. W.)
- The sites shown on the plan are tentative, and cannot be regarded as certain; see Nehemiah ii. 12–15, iii. 1–32, xii. 37–39.
- See 2 Kings xiv. 13.