Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Israel is a country located in the Middle East, on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It shares borders with Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt.

Philip, an apostle, travels with Joseph of Arimathea from Israel to France, and bids him to go to Britain with the Grail.

Israel | Antiquity to the 9th century AD

Ancient Israel | Before the year 0
The area was originally inhabited by various ancient peoples, including Canaanites and Philistines. Around the twelfth century BC, according to biblical accounts, the Israelites, led by figures like Moses and Joshua, settled in the region.

In the eleventh century BC, the Israelite tribes united to form the United Kingdom of Israel under King Saul, followed by David and Solomon. Solomon built the First Temple in Jerusalem, a significant religious and political center.

After Solomon’s death, the kingdom split into the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah. In 722 BC, the Assyrians conquered the Kingdom of Israel and deported its inhabitants. In 586 BC, the Babylonians captured Jerusalem and destroyed the First Temple, leading to the Babylonian exile of the Jews.

Persian and Hellenistic Period
The Persian Empire, under Cyrus the Great, allowed Jews to return to their land and rebuild the Temple in the sixth century BC. In the fourth century BC, Alexander the Great conquered the region, bringing Hellenistic influence.

Hasmonean Dynasty and Roman Rule
The Hasmonean Dynasty, a Jewish ruling family, gained independence from the Seleucid Empire in the second century BC. In 63 BC, the Roman General Pompey intervened, leading to Roman control over the region, now known as Roman Judea, a province of the Roman Empire.

Herodian Period | 1st century BC – 1st century AD
Herod the Great, or Herod I (c. 73-4 BC), was a skilled politician and ruler appointed by the Roman Senate. He is perhaps the most famous figure of the Herodian Dynasty.

Herod undertook extensive building projects, including the expansion and renovation of the Second Temple in Jerusalem (Herod’s Temple). The project was an attempt to win favor with the Jewish population and solidify his rule. Despite his architectural achievements, Herod’s reign was marked by political intrigues, and he was known for his harsh rule.

The Herodian Dynasty eventually came to an end with the death of Agrippa II in the early first century AD. The region continued to be under Roman control, and tensions between the Jewish population and the Roman authorities escalated, leading to the Jewish-Roman Wars.

Roman-Jewish Wars and Destruction of the Second Temple | 66 – 136 AD
During the period 66 to 136 AD, there were two major Jewish revolts against Roman rule: the First Jewish-Roman War (66-73 AD) and the Bar Kokhba Revolt (132-136 AD). The First Jewish-Roman War resulted in the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD. The Bar Kokhba Revolt was brutally suppressed by the Romans, and it led to significant Jewish population loss and dispersion.

In the first century AD, the life of Jesus of Nazareth, a central figure in Christianity, unfolded in the region, particularly in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Christianity emerged and began to spread during the first century AD, with Jesus’ teachings as its foundation. Early Christian communities developed in the region, particularly in Jerusalem, which was a significant center of early Christianity. The spread of Christianity continued during the subsequent centuries, and it gradually gained recognition in the Roman Empire. In the fourth century, the Roman Empire adopted Christianity as its offical religion under Emperor Constantine the Great.

Byzantine Period
After the Roman Empire split, the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) controlled the region. Jerusalem was a key religious center within the Byzantine Empire, and many churches were constructed during this period. Monasticism, a significant aspect of early Christianity, took root in the region during the Byzantine era. Monastic communities and monasteries were established. The Judean Desert and the area around the Dead Sea became known for their monastic settlements.

In the sixth and seventh centuries, the Byzantine Empire faced invasions and conflicts with the Sasanian Persian Empire. These conflicts affected the region, including Jerusalem, which was briefly captured by the Persians in 614 AD. In 636, the Arab Muslims, led by Rashidun Caliphate, defeated the Byzantines at the Battle of Yarmouk. This marked the beginning of Muslim rule in the region and the spread of Islam.

See also
Galilee | The Legend of King Arthur
Holy Land | The Legend of King Arthur
Jaffa | The Legend of King Arthur
Nazareth | The Legend of King Arthur