The Antonia Fortress Roman Soldier Barracks

While overlooking Jerusalem, the Antonia Fortress was garrisoned with 600 Roman soldiers, who watched over the Temple courts in order to preserve order. The Bible spoke about the Antonia Fortress as a barracks (Acts 21:37), and it was here that Paul gave an address to the people (Acts 22:1-21). Paul was held in the fortress in protective custody until a military escort took him to Caesarea (Acts 23:12-24, 31-35).

Acts 21:32-36
Then the commander came near and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and he asked who he was and what he had done. And some among the multitude cried one thing and some another. So when he could not ascertain the truth because of the tumult, he commanded him to be taken into the barracks. When he reached the stairs, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob. For the multitude of the people followed after, crying out," Away with him!"


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The Fortress of Antonia was partly surrounded by a deep ravine 165 feet wide. It functioned as headquarters for the Roman soldiers, a palace and a barracks. Herod constructed a secret passage from the fortress to the Temple and Josephus described that this is where Aristobulus was killed.

The Fortress of Antonia was built on a rock hill, which was much higher than the Temple area (75 feet), on the northwest side. The castleís 4 walls were interesting:
The western wall was built upon the edge of the cliff overlooking the Tyropoeon Valley.
The north wall was directly across the hill Bezetha and there was a deep mote between them. The rock hid the Temple from view on this side according to Josephus.
The southern wall one could see over the entire Temple area.
The eastern wall overlooked the Pool of Bethesda and the Kidron Valley.

Josephus is the authoritative source for the description of the Antonia Fortress and he wrote about its interior. It is described as a small city, a palace for a king and a barracks for many soldiers. There were apartments, cloisters, baths and large courtyards. There were also stairs that led down from the Fortress to the porticoes of the Temple court at the extreme north side. It is also written that there was a deep passageway underground, which went from the fortress to the Court of Israel, mainly for uprisings and emergencies.

When Titus initiated his extreme assault into the Temple area it was from the Antonia Fortress.

The Northwest Corner of the Temple (see picture below).
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These photos are from an archaeological reproduction of first century Jerusalem, located in Jerusalem.

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The Fortress of Antonia was built in 35 B.C. and named in honor of Herodís friend and Roman Triumvir Marcus Antonius also known as Mark Antony. It was actually Mark Anthony who had requested that the Senate make Herod King of Judea as an eastern boundary to the Roman Empire. At some point the Romans took over the Antonia Fortress and placed a garrison there.

Titus Vespasian attacked the city of Jerusalem from the north side in 70 A.D. and overcame it. The legions of Rome slaughtered over a million Jews and 95,000 Jewish captives were taken away as prisoners.

The Antonio Fortress

Antonia Fortress Antonia Fortress - Introduction Antonia Fortress - The Antonia Fortress Antonia Fortress - Built in 35 B.C. Antonia Fortress - Location Antonia Fortress - Name Antonia Fortress - Size and Description Antonia Fortress - Roman Soldier Barracks Antonia Fortress - History Antonia Fortress - Place of Jesus Trial? Antonia Fortress - High Priest's Robes Antonia Fortress - Destroyed in 70 A.D. Antonia Fortress - Modern Site Antonia Fortress - Historical Sources Antonia Fortress - Conclusion

The Fortress of Antonia was built in 35 B.C. and named in honor of Herodís friend and Roman Triumvir Marcus Antonius also known as Mark Antony. It was actually Mark Anthony who had requested that the Senate make Herod King of Judea as an eastern boundary to the Roman Empire. At some point the Romans took over the Antonia Fortress and placed a garrison there.

Introduction

The Antonia Fortress

Built in 35 B.C.

Location

Name

Size and Description

Roman Soldier Barracks

History

Place of Jesus Trial?

High Priest's Robes

Destroyed in 70 A.D.

Modern Site

Historical Sources

Conclusion

 

The Antonia Fortress

Bible History Online

The Story of the Bible


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