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November 29    Scripture

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Illustrated History : Ancient Monuments

Capernaum Synagogue Numerous synagogues were set up in Jerusalem, including one for freedmen, or ex-slaves. There were no less than 480 synagogues in Jerusalem during Jesus' time. The well preserved synagogue at Capernaum dates from the first or second century AD and could be the site of the building where Jesus spoke. About the only synagogue visible today which for certain, dates to the first century AD, is the building excavated at Masada.

Damascus Gate The Damascus gate and Herod's gate were in the north wall of Jerusalem. The Damascus Gate was the chief entrance into the city.

Hanging Gardens of Babylon The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were considered one of the wonders of the ancient world. The Greek historian Herodotus described Babylon in great detail. King Nebuchadnezzar built them in 580 BC apparently for his wife Amytis, daughter of the Median King Astyages, who was homesick for the mountains and vegetation of her native land.

Hasmonean Palace The Hasmonean Palace was the palace of the famous Hasmonean dynasty. It was located on the Western side of the Upper City. It contained a roof called the Xystus with where the people in the large square below could be addressed. It had large courts, living quarters, baths, and a service court.

Herod the Great's Fortified Palace King Herod the Great built his magnificent fortified palace to provide protection for Jerusalem's Upper City. It also guarded the west side of the city along with Herod's three towers. Just like Herod's Temple, his Palace was constructed on a platform, about 1000 feet (from north-south), and 180 feet (from east-west). The Palace consisted of 2 main buildings, each with its banquet halls, baths, and accommodations for hundreds of guests. It was surrounded with groves of trees, canals, and ponds studded with bronze fountains.

Herod's Theater Herod the Great built a marvelous theater in Jerusalem's Upper City. It was a large auditorium with no roof and semicircular rows of seats ascending from the center stage. Wealthy Jews came there to watch the best of Greek and Roman drama. Most traditional Jews, however, scorned this and other outgrowths of Greco-Roman culture as immoral.

Hippicus Tower The Hippicus Tower was named after Herod the Great's general and friend. It stood 132 feet high. It was one of the three towers built to protect Jerusalem on the northwest side. It was located near Herod's Palace to the north and in the middle of Jerusalem's northern wall, to the west of the western wall of the Temple Mount. It is undoubtedly located on the exact same site as Nehemiah's Tower of Hananeel, according to Josephus.

Monument of King Alexander Jannaeus The Monument of King Alexander Jannaeus (103-76 BC) was located near the Pool of the Sheepmarket. Josephus wrote of the monument of Alexander (Jannaeus) on the east of the city (5 Wars vii. 3)

Palace of Caiaphas The high priest at the time of Jesus' ministry in Jerusalem, Caiaphas, did not live there but in another section of the Upper City. Jesus' informal trial before the Sanhedrin probably took place in one of the large halls of his palace. Peter denied Jesus in one of these courts. The Ossuary of Caiaphas was discovered in Jerusalem by archaeologists. It was carved from limestone and bears the name "Caiaphas", the name of the Temple High Priest during the time of Christ. Ossuaries were typically used to hold the bones of the dead.

Pharos Lighthouse of Alexandria In the ancient world there once stood the 500 foot Pharos Lighthouse on an island in Egypt. Built in 290 B.C. one could easily notice it when approaching the famous Alexandria Harbor. It was one of the wonders of the ancient world.

Phasael Tower Herod the Great built the Phasael Tower and named it after his brother who died before he came to power. It was the largest of the three towers built to protect the western side of the city of Jerusalem and his grand palace. It stood 145 feet high. The most beautiful of the three was the Mariamne Tower named after his favorite wife..The Hippicus Tower was named after his friend. We know about Herod and his buildings through the writings of Josephus, Strabo, Dio Cassius, Jewish Literature, archaeology and the Bible.

Pool of Bethesda The Pool of Bethesda was located on the eastern side of the city near the Fortress of Antonia. The name Bethesda means "house of mercy." The water source was a nearby spring. The Pool had five porches and according to the Bible there was a tradition that an angel moved the waters at certain times and healed the sick. It was here at the Pool of Bethesda that Jesus healed the man who was lame for thirty-eight years.

Pool of Siloam The Pool of Siloam was the only permanent water source for the city of Jerusalem in the first century AD. It was fed by the waters of the Gihon Spring diverted through Hezekiah's Tunnel, built in the 8th century BC. Jesus told the blind man to go wash at the Pool of Siloam, and after doing it he received his sight. This was significant since the Hebrew word Siloam means "sent" and Jesus was the Messiah "sent" from heaven. The english equivalent is the word "apostle."

The Colosseum The Colosseum was the largest and most famous of all Roman amphitheaters. It was originally constructed by the Emperor Vespasian just after 70 AD., and was dedicated by his son Titus in 80 AD. It was known in ancient Rome as the Flavian Amphitheatre, and was completed by Titus' younger son Domitian. The Colosseum was built in the valley between the Palatine, Caelian and Esquiline hills. It could accommodate 70,000 people, who came to watch the games. Many Christians were thrown to the wild beasts in the arena.

Tomb of Absalom The traditional site of Absalom's Tomb is located on the eastern slope of the Kidron Valley, on the east side of Jerusalem. Josephus wrote about this tomb, which existed in the first century A.D. (Antiquities vii. 10, ยง 3). It stands twenty feet high and twenty-four feet square.

Tomb of David Behind the Palace of Caiphus stood the Tomb of David which is a monument that marks the spot where David's tomb was located. The real spot for the tomb is on the southeast hill in David's city.