First Temple

Judas Maccabee and the Temple. November 21, 164 BC.

Judah Maccabee was a Jewish priest (kohen) and a son of the priest Mattathias. He led the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire (167–160 BCE). The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah (“Dedication”) commemorates the restoration of Jewish worship at the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 164 BCE, after Judah Maccabeus removed all of the statues depicting Greek gods and goddesses and purified it. In the early days of the rebellion, Judah received a surname Maccabee. Several explanations have been put forward for this surname. One suggestion is that the name derives from the Aramaic maqqaba (“makebet” in modern Hebrew), “hammer” or “sledgehammer” in recognition of his ferocity in battle. Others believe it is in reference to his weapon of choice. It is a...

The Temple of Venus Genetrix. September 26, 46 BC.

The night before the battle of Pharsalus (48 B.C.), Julius Caesar (100-44 B.C.) vowed a temple to Venus Genetrix (“Mother Venus”), mother of Aeneas, and the mythical ancestress of the Julian family. The Temple was dedicated on 26 September 46 BC, the last day of Caesar’s triumph. “…and vowed, if he was successful, to make a thank-offering by building a temple to her in Rome as bringer of victory.” Appian, The Civil Wars (II.68) The Forum of Julius Caesar, in which the temple stands, was finished by Augustus (63 B.C.-A.D. 14) in 29 B.C. The cult statue was sculpted for Caesar by Arcesilas, and there were other statues and precious objects on display here. Trajan (A.D. 53-117) rebuilt the temple, which also had to be restored after the fire of A.D. 283. On...

Restoration of the Temple – November 21, 164 BC

According to the Hebrew Bible, the First Temple of Jerusalem was built by King Solomon in 957 BC. It replaced the Tabernacle and local sanctuaries and altars that were constructed under Moses, described in the Book of Deuteronomy. The Temple was sacked by the Egyptian pharoah, Shishak, (Shoshenq I?), a few decades later, as detailed in the Book of Kings and Book of Chronicles. This is a category of  temple coins The Temple saw various reconstruction efforts, but it wasn’t until Jehoash, King of Judah, invested considerable funds in 835 BC to see it seriously rebuilt. The Temple remained intact until c.700 BC when the Assyrian King, Sennacherib, stripped it once again and in 586 BC, the Temple was completely destroyed when the Babylonians sacked the city. The Babylonian Empire fell in 539 B...

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