Daily Archives: November 7, 2017

Today’s Holiday: Saints and Martyrs Day


Today’s Holiday:
Saints and Martyrs Day

Since the Reformation the Church of England has not added saints to its calendar. Although there have certainly been many candidates for sainthood over the past 450 years, and many martyrs who have given their lives as foreign missionaries, the Church of England has not canonized them, although a few are commemorated on special days. Instead, since 1928 it has set aside November 8, exactly one week after All Saints’ Day, to commemorate “the unnamed saints of the nation.” More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

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Today’s Birthday: Dorothy Day (1897)


Today’s Birthday:
Dorothy Day (1897)

Day was an American journalist, Christian anarchist, and social reformer. She originally wrote for the New York socialist journals The Call and The Masses. After the birth of her daughter in 1927, she converted to Catholicism, cofounded The Catholic Worker, and started a movement to aid the urban poor. Although her outspoken pacifist views were criticized by Catholic conservatives, she influenced Catholic liberals. What honor did she receive 20 years after her death? More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

This Day in History: Mount Holyoke Female Seminary Opens Its Doors (1837)


This Day in History:
Mount Holyoke Female Seminary Opens Its Doors (1837)

The first of the Seven Sisters—traditionally female colleges often considered the equivalent to the historically male-dominated Ivy League—Mount Holyoke is one of the oldest women’s colleges in the US. It was founded by Mary Lyon, a pioneer in women’s education, in the midst of a movement that created unprecedented new educational opportunities for women in the US. Many colleges were later modeled on Mount Holyoke. What unusual feature did each dorm room at the seminary originally have? More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Quote of the Day: W. Somerset Maugham


Quote of the Day:
W. Somerset Maugham

Anyone can tell the truth, but only very few of us can make epigrams. More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Article of the Day: The Tame Silver Fox


Article of the Day:
The Tame Silver Fox

Tame silver foxes are the result of about 50 years of Russian experiments to domesticate the silver morph of the red fox. Scientist Dmitri Belyaev began the project to test his theory that the key to domestication is behavior—not size or reproduction—and did so by breeding the least aggressive foxes in each generation. The resulting tame foxes possess a temperament that differs fundamentally from that of their wild forebears. Interestingly, the breeding also resulted in what physical changes? More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Idiom of the Day: you could hear the grass grow(ing)


Idiom of the Day:
you could hear the grass grow(ing)

It is so still or quiet that one would be able to hear even the tiniest, imperceptible sounds. Watch the video…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Word of the Day: kinetic


Word of the Day:
kinetic

Definition: (adjective) Supplying motive force.
Synonyms: energizing
Usage: The bustling market was the kinetic center of the city, and all movement seemed to radiate outward from it.: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Allahists gotta go!: Watch “How Is Muslim Immigration to Sweden Working Out?” on YouTube


Allahists gotta go!

Watch “The Lord of the Rings • May It Be • Enya” on YouTube



May It Be
Enya

Lyrics
May it be an evening star
Shines down upon you
May it be when darkness falls
Your heart will be true
You walk a lonely road
Oh! How far you are from home

Mornie utulie
Believe and you will find your way
Mornie alantie
A promise lives within you now

May it be the shadow’s call
Will fly away
May it be your journey on
To light the day
When the night is overcome
You may rise to find the sun

Mornie utulie (darkness has come)
Believe and you will find your way
Mornie alantie (darkness has fallen)
A promise lives within you now

A promise lives within you now

Written by Howard Shore, Eithne Ni Bhraonain, Nicholas John Ryan, Roma Shane Ryan • Copyright © EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group

Watch “Katie Melua – I Will Be There (Full Concert Version) – Official Video” on YouTube


I Will Be There
Katie Melua

LYRICS

She is like the lady down the road
Or just the woman up the street
Like any mother you may know
To me, she is the one who had it planned
To lead us all to Wonderland
She always wanted us to go
And she said
Don?t ever be lonely
Remember, I’ll always care
Wherever you may be
Remember I will be there
And like another lady that we know
She has a smile so bright and sweet
And hair as white as driven snow
Though life is never easy day to day
She has a very special way
To make us smile when we are low
And she says
Don’t ever be lonely
Remember, I’ll always care
Wherever you may be
Remember I will be there
Don?t ever be lonely
Remember, I will be there
I will be there
I will be there
Songwriters: Mike Batt
I Will Be There lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

PSD=COMUNISM =MAFIA : SĂ FIE SCOS IN AFARA LEGII!!!


PSD=COMUNISM =MAFIA : SĂ FIE SCOS IN AFARA LEGII!!!

France 24 : Arrests made in French, Swiss anti-terrorism raids


Arrests made in French, Swiss anti-terrorism raids

Ten people suspected of using encrypted social networks to prepare a possible attack were arrested Tuesday in counterterrorism operations in France and Switzerland, according to French officials.

http://www.france24.com/en/20171107-france-switzerland-arrests-anti-terrorism-raids-paris-aix-encryption

Among those arrested were a 23-year-old Colombian woman and 27-year-old Swiss man, both targets of a Swiss investigation into banned Islamic extremist groups.

Searches are still underway in the Paris suburbs and in southeastern France.

Counterterrorism investigators detained nine people in France and one inSwitzerland in operations aimed at clarifying details of the suspected plot, according to a French judicial official. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, would not provide details about their identities.

In parallel to the Swiss investigation, French authorities opened a probe in July focused on suspicious activity by a person in Switzerland using the Telegram network, according to a French judicial official. The Swiss-based chief suspect had communicated with people in France on social networks about unspecified violent acts, the official said.

>> In Numbers: Behind France’s two-year state of emergency

A French security official said the suspected plot did not appear to be fully developed but authorities acted Tuesday out of concern that the group was moving toward action.

Among French towns targeted in the operation were Aix-en-Provence in southern France and Menton on the Mediterranean coast as well as Paris suburbs, according to the security official.

The office of Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber said the arrest there followed searches of buildings in the French-speaking Vaud and Neuchatel regions of western Switzerland.

The Swiss investigation had originally targeted a 27-year-old Swiss man and was more recently extended to include the Colombian woman, neither of whom was identified by name. Lauber’s office said the woman is expected to remain in custody until she appears before a court. The Swiss man was among those arrested in France.

A joint investigation team has been created in the case by authorities in the two countries.

The operation comes days after a new counterterrorism law came into effect in France to replace a state of emergency that had been in place since deadly attacks in Paris two years ago.

French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb appeared to downplay the arrests, telling reporters during a visit to Germany on Tuesday that, “in a relatively habitual way, we arrest a certain number of individuals who appear that they could be dangerous.”

(AP)

France 24 :  ‘With reckless daring, new Russia was being born’: the October Revolution, 100 years on


‘With reckless daring, new Russia was being born’: the October Revolution, 100 years on

The October Revolution started on 7 November (25 October in the old Russian calendar). It put the Bolsheviks in power in Russia, shocking the rest of the world, leading to the Russian Civil War, the creation of the USSR and subsequently the Cold War.

http://www.france24.com/en/20171107-russia-october-bolshevik-revolution-100-years-centenary-anniversary-communism-lenin-putin On March 15 (March 2 in the old calendar), Tsar Nicholas II abdicated after a week of mass protests – the February Revolution, as it has been called. The Provisional Government, a mixture of liberals, socialists and aristocratic grandees, took power.
Led by Vladimir Lenin, the communist Bolsheviks capitalised on continued public discontent, with an armed rebellion in Petrograd (since given back its original name, St. Petersburg) on November 7. On this day, Bolshevik Red Guards occupied government buildings. The following day, they captured the Winter Palace, the seat of the Provisional Government and the Tsar’s former residence.
“So, with the crash of artillery, in the dark, with hatred, and fear, and with reckless daring, new Russia was being born,” wrote American journalist John Reed in his first-hand account of the October Revolution, “Ten Days that Shook the World”. Those events in Petrograd continue to resonate in Russia and around the world. Raisa Ostapenko, researcher in Eastern European history at the Sorbonne University, discussed the revolution with FRANCE 24.
FRANCE 24: How did Russia get from the February Revolution – which installed the Provisional Government in power – to the October Revolution?
Initially headed by nonpartisan Prince Georgy Lvov, the Provisional Government was plagued by its lack of political legitimacy and popular support, and by its “bourgeois” image. A challenger emerged in the form of the Petrograd Soviet (the workers’ council) – a Socialist-led institution with little interest in actual administration, but support from Russia’s workers and soldiers, and the ability to pressure the government into reform. The entities cooperated as part of the “Dual Power” arrangement, though largely on the Soviet’s terms.
Eventually, Alexander Kerensky, a young member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party with one foot in each institution, became Russia’s Minister of Justice and then Minister of War. Sustaining Russia’s involvement in World War I, Kerensky failed to resolve economic instability and massive food shortages, and sowed greater frustration by quashing a series of worker and soldier-led rebellions in July 1917.
Though initially seen as a moderate leader, Kerensky was soon politically alienated. His reforms – universal suffrage and freedoms of assembly, press, speech and religion – came as too little too late for Russia’s proletariat, which felt neglected. The Kornilov Affair of September 1917 – an attempted military coup d’état by then Commander-in-Chief General Lavr Kornilov – cemented support for the Bolsheviks.
In short, though the February Revolution resulted in Tsar Nicholas II’s abdication and removed the Romanov line of succession, these changes were simply insufficient to quell the outpouring of popular disaffection that had accumulated under an antiquated system of governance, rampant economic and social inequality, and decades of civic and military turbulence. Further political upheaval was inevitable.
FRANCE 24: What happened on November 7 to bring the Bolsheviks to power?
In April 1917, Vladimir Lenin returned to Russia in a sealed train. Known for his fervent opposition to the war and incitement of violence against the ruling classes, he had previously been exiled to Switzerland by the Tsarist government. His return marked the start of six months of methodical planning by the Leon Trotsky-led Revolutionary Military Committee (consisting of armed workers and soldiers) that would culminate in the October Revolution.
On November 7, the Bolsheviks launched a coup against the Provisional Government. Though Kerensky and his government had superficially come to know of the Committee’s intentions, the Bolshevik uprising proved to be too immense. Supported both by the Petrograd Garrison and a newly docked fleet of marines, the Bolsheviks seized key government facilities with virtually no resistance. The next day, a final assault was launched on the weakly defended Winter Palace – the seat of the Provisional Government and the former home of the Tsar.
FRANCE 24: What was the international response?
Eager to fulfil their promise to end Russia’s involvement in World War I, the Bolsheviks signed an armistice with the Central Powers in December 1917 and the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918. The Bolsheviks hoped that international communism would one day come to Germany, while Germany awaited the Bolshevik’s failure. Indeed, the revolution brought further turmoil to Russia as the Bolsheviks struggled to maintain power, eventually abandoning an election-based system in favour of the “dictatorship of the proletariat” in January 1918. The Russian Civil War broke out shortly thereafter.
Fought largely between the pro-Bolshevik Reds and the Whites (Cossacks, bourgeoisie and other anti-Bolshevik groups), the civil war resulted in millions of deaths. The Whites benefited from substantial military support from France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan, while the Reds – who emerged victorious – enjoyed support from within Russia.
The resonance of the October Revolution was felt across the Russian Empire, including Kiev, which saw its own uprising. The ensuing Ukrainian War of Independence (1917-1921) involved numerous internal and international players. Among the latter were France, Germany, Poland and Romania.
FRANCE 24: How is this anniversary being commemorated in Russia in 2017?
The only groups set to mark the event are Russia’s minority Communist Party and those feeling nostalgic for their Soviet past. Revolutionary fervour has been brewing in Russian for several years now and 2017, as if in homage to the events of 1917, has set itself apart as one of outburst. Anti-corruption protests on March 26 attracted up to 150,000 participants countrywide following a documentary by oppositionist leader Alexei Navalny on Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s assets; a similar event on June 12 saw nearly 1,800 arrests. Ultimately, this is the reason why the current government has made it clear that today’s centennial of the Russian Revolution would not be commemorated.
The Revolution was a series of uprisings against unsatisfactory rule, similar to the civil unrest that swept Russia’s neighbour Ukraine in 2013-14 and saw its old president Victor Yanukovych flee across the border. Why would Putin endorse such resistance or commemorate it when his own fist is so tightly wrapped around the sceptre?

BBC News: Revolution: The events that sparked 100 angry years


I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

Revolution: The events that sparked 100 angry years – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-41885442

BBC News: Texas shooting: Trump rejects stricter gun checks


I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

Texas shooting: Trump rejects stricter gun checks – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-41895042

Mărturie la scenă deschisă


Mărturie la scenă deschisă

Am fost în iad și am supraviețuit…pentru că din când în când supraviețuiești mai ușor ca un număr, ca un individ, decât ca o întreagă națiune…există supraviețuitori ai lagărelor de exterminare ale lui Hitler și ale lui Lenin și ale lui Stalin, și ale comunismului româno-rus nu? Ei înșiși pe de altă parte au căzut pradă acelorași procese ca cele pe care le-au pus la cale !
Euzicasa

From Wikipedia: Acra (fortress)


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acra_%28fortress%29?wprov=sfla1

Das Martyrium der sieben Makkabäer

The Acra or Akra (Hebrew: חקרא‎‎ or חקרה, Ancient Greek: Ἄκρα) was a fortified compound in Jerusalem built by Antiochus Epiphanes, ruler of the Seleucid Empire, following his sack of the city in 168 BCE. The fortress played a significant role in the events surrounding the Maccabean Revolt and the formation of the Hasmonean Kingdom. It was destroyed by Simon Maccabeus during this struggle.

For other uses, see Acra (disambiguation).
Quick facts: Alternate name, Location …
The exact location of the Acra, critical to understanding Hellenistic Jerusalem, had been a matter of lengthy discussions. Historians and archaeologists had proposed various sites around Jerusalem, relying mainly on conclusions drawn from literary evidence. This approach began to change in the light of excavations which commenced in the late 1960s. New discoveries had prompted reassessments of the ancient literary sources, Jerusalem’s geography and previously discovered artifacts. Yoram Tsafrir had interpreted a masonry joint in the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount platform as a clue to the Acra’s possible position. During Benjamin Mazar’s 1968 and 1978 excavations adjacent to the south wall of the Mount, features were uncovered which may have been connected with the Acra, including barrack-like rooms and a huge cistern. In November 2015 the Israel Antiquities Authority announced the likely discovery of the Acra in a different location, south-west of the Temple Mount and north-west of the City of David.

The Ancient Greek term acra was used to describe other fortified structures during the Hellenistic period. The Acra is often called the Seleucid Acra to distinguish it from references to the Ptolemaic Baris as an acra and from the later quarter in Jerusalem which inherited the name Acra.

History
Background
Following Alexander the Great’s death in 323 BCE, Judea was contested between the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt, and the Seleucid Empire based in Syria and Mesopotamia. Seleucid emperor Antiochus III’s victory over Egypt in the Battle of Panium brought Judea under Seleucid control. The Jewish population of Jerusalem had aided Antiochus during his siege of the Baris, the fortified base of Jerusalem’s Egyptian garrison. Their support was rewarded with a charter affirming Jewish religious autonomy, including barring foreigners and impure animals from the Temple’s precincts, and an allocation of official funds for the maintenance of certain religious rituals in the Temple. Despite being allowed religious freedom, many Jews were enticed by and adopted elements of the prestigious and influential Greek lifestyle. The imperial culture offered a route to political and material advancement, and this led to the formation of Hellenistic elites among the Jewish population. Hellenization produced tensions between observant Jews and their brethren who had assimilated Greek culture.

Antonio Ciseri’s Martyrdom of the Maccabees (1863), depicting an episode from Antiochus IV’s (seated) persecution of the Jews.
Antiochus IV Epiphanes ascended the Seleucid throne in 175 BCE. Shortly afterward, Epiphanes was petitioned by Jason for appointment to the position of High Priest of Israel—an office occupied by his brother Onias III. Jason, himself thoroughly Hellenized, furthermore promised to increase the tribute paid by the city and to establish within it the infrastructure of a Greek Polis, including a gymnasium and an ephebion. Jason’s petition was granted, yet after a 42-month rule he was ousted by Antiochus and forced to flee to Ammon. In the meantime, Antiochus IV had launched two invasions of Egypt, in 170 BCE and again in 169 BCE, and routed the Ptolemaic armies. Antiochus’ victories were short-lived. His intent to unify the Seleucid and Ptolemaic kingdoms alarmed the rapidly expanding Roman state, which demanded that he withdraw his forces from Egypt. With Antiochus engaged in Egypt, a false rumor spread in Jerusalem that he had been killed. In the ensuing uncertainty, Jason gathered a force of 1,000 followers and attempted to take Jerusalem by storm. Although the attack was repulsed, when word of the fighting reached Antiochus in Egypt, he suspected his Judean subjects of exploiting his setback as an opportunity to revolt. In 168 BCE, Antiochus IV Epiphanes marched on and sacked Jerusalem, looting the temple treasury and killing thousands of its residents. Reversing his father’s policy, Antiochus IV issued decrees outlawing traditional Jewish rites and persecuting observant Jews. Temple rituals were discontinued, Jewish observance of Sabbath prohibited, and circumcision outlawed.

Construction
To consolidate his hold on the city, monitor events on the Temple Mount and safeguard the Hellenized faction in Jerusalem, Antiochus stationed a Seleucid garrison in the city:

And they built the city of David with a great and strong wall, and with strong towers, and made it a fortress [Greek: Acra] for them: And they placed there a sinful nation, wicked men, and they fortified themselves therein: and they stored up armour, and victuals, and gathered together the spoils of Jerusalem; And laid them up there: and they became a great snare. And this was a place to lie in wait against the sanctuary, and an evil devil in Israel.
— 1 Maccabees 1:35–38.
The name Acra derived from the Greek acropolis and signified a lofty fortified place overlooking a town. In Jerusalem, the word came to symbolize anti-Jewish paganism: a fortress of the “impious and wicked”. Dominating both the city and the surrounding countryside, it was occupied not only by a Greek garrison but by their Jewish confederates as well.

The Seleucid suppression of Jewish religious life met with considerable resistance among the native population. While Antiochus was occupied in the east during 167 BCE, a rural priest, Mattathias of Modiin, raised a rebellion against the empire. Both the Seleucid administration and the local Hellenized faction failed to grasp the magnitude of the revolt. In 164 BCE Judas Maccabaeus liberated Jerusalem and reconsecrated the Temple. Although the surrounding city had fallen, the Acra and its inhabitants held out. Maccabaeus besieged the fortress, whose inhabitants sent an appeal to the Seleucid king (now Antiochus V) for assistance. A Seleucid army was dispatched to put down the revolt. When it laid siege to Beth-Zur, Maccabaeus was forced to abandon his siege of the Acra and face Antiochus in battle. In the subsequent Battle of Beth-Zechariah, the Seleucids won their first victory over the Maccabees, and Maccabaeus was forced to withdraw. Spared from capitulation, the Acra persisted as a Seleucid stronghold for 20 more years during which it weathered several Hasmonean attempts to oust the Greek garrison.

Destruction

Judas besieging the Acra (Alba Bible, 1430)
Judas was killed in 160 BCE and succeeded by his brother Jonathan, who attempted to build a barrier to cut off the Acra’s supply line. Jonathan had already assembled the manpower required for the task when he was forced to confront the invading army of Seleucid general Diodotus Tryphon at Beth Shan (Scythopolis). Having invited Jonathan to a friendly conference, Tryphon had him seized and murdered. Jonathan was succeeded by another brother, Simon, who besieged and finally captured the Acra in 141 BCE.

Two sources provide information about the ultimate fate of the Acra, although their accounts are contradictory in places. According to Josephus, Simon razed the Acra after ousting its inhabitants, and then quarried the hill on which it had stood to render it lower than the temple, purge the city of its evil memory and deny it to any future occupier of Jerusalem. The account appearing in 1 Maccabees paints a different picture:

And Simon decreed that every year they should celebrate this day with rejoicing. He strengthened the fortifications of the temple hill alongside the citadel [Greek: Acra], and he and his men dwelt there.
— 1 Maccabees 13:52.
Thus in this version, Simon did not immediately demolish the Acra, but instead had it occupied and may even have resided within it himself. 1 Maccabees does not mention its ultimate fate. The fortress had been built as an internal checkpoint to monitor and control Jerusalem and its population. If situated in the City of David as most scholars agree, its location would have added very little to Jerusalem’s defenses against external threats. It may have fallen out of use and been dismantled around the end of the 2nd century BCE following the construction of the Hasmonean Baris and Hasmonean Palace in Jerusalem’s upper city.

Bezalel Bar-Kochva (he) offers a different theory: The Acra was still standing in 139 BCE when Antiochus VII Sidetes demanded it back from Simon, along with Jaffa and Gezer, two Hellenized cities Simon had captured. Simon was willing to discuss the two cities but made no mention of the Acra. It was at this point that he must have sealed its fate, as a way to deny the Seleucids any future claim or hold on Jerusalem. Thus, when Antiochus VII subdued the city during Hyrcanus I’s reign, each and every one of his demands were met—except the one demanding the stationing of a Seleucid garrison in the city. Hyrcanus may have been able to reject, and Antiochus to drop, this demand because there was nowhere to billet the garrison, as the Acra would no longer have been standing. This explanation places the razing of the Acra somewhere in the 130s BCE.

Location

1903 map of Jerusalem, identifying the Acra with the entire south eastern hill.
The location of the Acra is important for understanding how events unfolded in Jerusalem during the struggle between Maccabean and Seleucid forces. This has been the subject of debate among modern scholars. The most detailed ancient description of the nature and location of the Acra is found in Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews, where it is described as residing in the Lower City, upon a hill overlooking the Temple enclosure:

…and when he had overthrown the city walls, he built a citadel [Greek: Acra] in the lower part of the city, for the place was high, and overlooked the temple; on which account he fortified it with high walls and towers, and put into it a garrison of Macedonians. However, in that citadel dwelt the impious and wicked part of the multitude, from whom it proved that the citizens suffered many and sore calamities.
— Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 12:252–253
The location of the “lower part of the city”, elsewhere referred to as the “Lower City”, at the time of Josephus (1st century CE) is accepted to be Jerusalem’s south-eastern hill, the original urban center traditionally known as the City of David. Lying to the south of the Temple Mount, however, the area exposed today is significantly lower than the Mount itself. The top of the Mount is approximately 30 metres (98 ft) above the ground level at the southern retaining wall of the later Herodian-era expansion of the Temple enclosure. The elevation decreases to the south of this point. Josephus, a native of Jerusalem, would have been well aware of this discrepancy, yet is nevertheless able to explain it away by describing how Simon had razed both the Acra and the hill on which it had stood. Archaeological research south of the Temple Mount, however, has failed to locate any evidence for such large scale quarrying. On the contrary, excavations in the region have uncovered substantial evidence of habitation from the beginning of the first millennium BCE down to Roman times, casting doubt on the suggestion that during Hellenistic times the area was significantly higher than it was at the time of Josephus or that a large hill had been cleared away. This had led many researchers to disregard Josephus’ account and his placing of the Acra, and suggest several alternate locations. Since 1841, when Edward Robinson proposed the area near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as the site of the Acra, at least nine different locations in and around the Old City of Jerusalem have been put forward.

Western hill
Several researchers have attempted to place the Acra in the Upper City on Jerusalem’s western hill, within the area currently occupied by the Old City’s Jewish Quarter. These propositions seek to locate the Acra within Antiochia, the Hellenistic polis established in Jerusalem according to 2 Maccabees. This conjectural new city would have been hippodamic in plan and therefore would have required a flat expanse of land which only the western hill could have provided. Furthermore, the eastern edge of the hill is adjacent to the Temple Mount and higher in altitude—two characteristics attributed to the Seleucid citadel.

Opponents of this proposed location point out that there is very little archaeological or historical evidence supporting the establishment of a Hellenistic polis within Jerusalem, let alone sited on the western hill which appears to have been only sparsely populated during the Hellenistic period. Excavations in today’s Jewish Quarter display evidence of habitation from the First Temple Period, as well as renewed Hasmonean and Herodian settlement, but scant evidence of Hellenistic occupation. Research into the dispersal of stamped Rhodian amphorae handles has revealed that over 95% of these handles found in Jerusalem were excavated from the City of David, indicating the city had not yet expanded to the western hill during Seleucid rule. Furthermore, the western hill is separated from the Temple Mount and the City of David by the steep Tyropoeon Valley—a distinct tactical disadvantage for any force that may have been required to intervene in events within the temple precincts or heavily populated eastern sectors of Jerusalem.

North of the Temple
The Acra was not the first Hellenistic stronghold in Jerusalem. Sources indicate that an earlier citadel, the Ptolemaic Baris, had also occupied a location overlooking the Temple’s precincts. Although the exact location of the Baris is still debated, it is generally accepted to have stood north of the Temple Mount on the site later occupied by the Antonia Fortress. The Baris fell to Antiochus III at the turn of the 2nd century BCE and is absent from all accounts of the Maccabean Revolt. Despite the narratives which have the Acra constructed within a very short time-span, it was nevertheless formidable enough to weather long periods of siege. These factors, coupled with references in which the Baris was itself called an acra, have led some to suggest that the Baris and the Acra were in fact the same structure. Although both 1 Maccabees and Josephus seem to describe the Acra as a new construction, this may not have been the case. Antiquities of the Jews 12:253 may be translated to give the sense that the “impious or wicked” had “remained” rather than “dwelt” in the citadel, which could be taken to mean that the Acra had been standing before the revolt and that only the Macedonian garrison was new.

Koen Decoster proposes that Josephus wrote of “a citadel in the lower part of the city” to an audience that would have been familiar with the Jerusalem of the 1st century CE—a city that did feature two citadels: the Antonia Fortress and the Herodian palace. As Josephus’ Roman Jerusalem had already expanded to the higher western hill, “a citadel in the lower city” could have referred to anything located east of the Tyropoeon Valley, including the Antonia which stood north of the Temple and did indeed rise above and dominate it. In his view, this is the place Josephus must have had in mind when he wrote of the Acra.

Opponents of a northern location counter that this site is not supported by the historical sources, and that this would place the Acra away from Jerusalem’s population center. Unlike its predecessor and successor citadels, it was not meant as a defence against external threat, but rather to oversee the inhabited Jewish parts of the city, a role incompatible with a proposed northern location.

A fortified compound https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acra_%28fortress%29?wprov=sfla1



The Acra or Akra (Hebrew: חקרא‎‎ or חקרה, Ancient Greek: Ἄκρα) was a fortified compound in Jerusalem built by Antiochus Epiphanes, ruler of the Seleucid Empire, following his sack of the city in 168 BCE. The fortress played a significant role in the events surrounding the Maccabean Revolt and the formation of the Hasmonean Kingdom. It was destroyed by Simon Maccabeus during this struggle.

For other uses, see Acra (disambiguation).
Quick facts: Alternate name, Location …
The exact location of the Acra, critical to understanding Hellenistic Jerusalem, had been a matter of lengthy discussions. Historians and archaeologists had proposed various sites around Jerusalem, relying mainly on conclusions drawn from literary evidence. This approach began to change in the light of excavations which commenced in the late 1960s. New discoveries had prompted reassessments of the ancient literary sources, Jerusalem’s geography and previously discovered artifacts. Yoram Tsafrir had interpreted a masonry joint in the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount platform as a clue to the Acra’s possible position. During Benjamin Mazar’s 1968 and 1978 excavations adjacent to the south wall of the Mount, features were uncovered which may have been connected with the Acra, including barrack-like rooms and a huge cistern. In November 2015 the Israel Antiquities Authority announced the likely discovery of the Acra in a different location, south-west of the Temple Mount and north-west of the City of David.

The Ancient Greek term acra was used to describe other fortified structures during the Hellenistic period. The Acra is often called the Seleucid Acra to distinguish it from references to the Ptolemaic Baris as an acra and from the later quarter in Jerusalem which inherited the name Acra.

History
Background
Following Alexander the Great’s death in 323 BCE, Judea was contested between the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt, and the Seleucid Empire based in Syria and Mesopotamia. Seleucid emperor Antiochus III’s victory over Egypt in the Battle of Panium brought Judea under Seleucid control. The Jewish population of Jerusalem had aided Antiochus during his siege of the Baris, the fortified base of Jerusalem’s Egyptian garrison. Their support was rewarded with a charter affirming Jewish religious autonomy, including barring foreigners and impure animals from the Temple’s precincts, and an allocation of official funds for the maintenance of certain religious rituals in the Temple. Despite being allowed religious freedom, many Jews were enticed by and adopted elements of the prestigious and influential Greek lifestyle. The imperial culture offered a route to political and material advancement, and this led to the formation of Hellenistic elites among the Jewish population. Hellenization produced tensions between observant Jews and their brethren who had assimilated Greek culture.

Antonio Ciseri’s Martyrdom of the Maccabees (1863), depicting an episode from Antiochus IV’s (seated) persecution of the Jews.
Antiochus IV Epiphanes ascended the Seleucid throne in 175 BCE. Shortly afterward, Epiphanes was petitioned by Jason for appointment to the position of High Priest of Israel—an office occupied by his brother Onias III. Jason, himself thoroughly Hellenized, furthermore promised to increase the tribute paid by the city and to establish within it the infrastructure of a Greek Polis, including a gymnasium and an ephebion. Jason’s petition was granted, yet after a 42-month rule he was ousted by Antiochus and forced to flee to Ammon. In the meantime, Antiochus IV had launched two invasions of Egypt, in 170 BCE and again in 169 BCE, and routed the Ptolemaic armies. Antiochus’ victories were short-lived. His intent to unify the Seleucid and Ptolemaic kingdoms alarmed the rapidly expanding Roman state, which demanded that he withdraw his forces from Egypt. With Antiochus engaged in Egypt, a false rumor spread in Jerusalem that he had been killed. In the ensuing uncertainty, Jason gathered a force of 1,000 followers and attempted to take Jerusalem by storm. Although the attack was repulsed, when word of the fighting reached Antiochus in Egypt, he suspected his Judean subjects of exploiting his setback as an opportunity to revolt. In 168 BCE, Antiochus IV Epiphanes marched on and sacked Jerusalem, looting the temple treasury and killing thousands of its residents. Reversing his father’s policy, Antiochus IV issued decrees outlawing traditional Jewish rites and persecuting observant Jews. Temple rituals were discontinued, Jewish observance of Sabbath prohibited, and circumcision outlawed.

Construction
To consolidate his hold on the city, monitor events on the Temple Mount and safeguard the Hellenized faction in Jerusalem, Antiochus stationed a Seleucid garrison in the city:

And they built the city of David with a great and strong wall, and with strong towers, and made it a fortress [Greek: Acra] for them: And they placed there a sinful nation, wicked men, and they fortified themselves therein: and they stored up armour, and victuals, and gathered together the spoils of Jerusalem; And laid them up there: and they became a great snare. And this was a place to lie in wait against the sanctuary, and an evil devil in Israel.
— 1 Maccabees 1:35–38.
The name Acra derived from the Greek acropolis and signified a lofty fortified place overlooking a town. In Jerusalem, the word came to symbolize anti-Jewish paganism: a fortress of the “impious and wicked”. Dominating both the city and the surrounding countryside, it was occupied not only by a Greek garrison but by their Jewish confederates as well.

The Seleucid suppression of Jewish religious life met with considerable resistance among the native population. While Antiochus was occupied in the east during 167 BCE, a rural priest, Mattathias of Modiin, raised a rebellion against the empire. Both the Seleucid administration and the local Hellenized faction failed to grasp the magnitude of the revolt. In 164 BCE Judas Maccabaeus liberated Jerusalem and reconsecrated the Temple. Although the surrounding city had fallen, the Acra and its inhabitants held out. Maccabaeus besieged the fortress, whose inhabitants sent an appeal to the Seleucid king (now Antiochus V) for assistance. A Seleucid army was dispatched to put down the revolt. When it laid siege to Beth-Zur, Maccabaeus was forced to abandon his siege of the Acra and face Antiochus in battle. In the subsequent Battle of Beth-Zechariah, the Seleucids won their first victory over the Maccabees, and Maccabaeus was forced to withdraw. Spared from capitulation, the Acra persisted as a Seleucid stronghold for 20 more years during which it weathered several Hasmonean attempts to oust the Greek garrison.

Destruction

Judas besieging the Acra (Alba Bible, 1430)
Judas was killed in 160 BCE and succeeded by his brother Jonathan, who attempted to build a barrier to cut off the Acra’s supply line. Jonathan had already assembled the manpower required for the task when he was forced to confront the invading army of Seleucid general Diodotus Tryphon at Beth Shan (Scythopolis). Having invited Jonathan to a friendly conference, Tryphon had him seized and murdered. Jonathan was succeeded by another brother, Simon, who besieged and finally captured the Acra in 141 BCE.

Two sources provide information about the ultimate fate of the Acra, although their accounts are contradictory in places. According to Josephus, Simon razed the Acra after ousting its inhabitants, and then quarried the hill on which it had stood to render it lower than the temple, purge the city of its evil memory and deny it to any future occupier of Jerusalem. The account appearing in 1 Maccabees paints a different picture:

And Simon decreed that every year they should celebrate this day with rejoicing. He strengthened the fortifications of the temple hill alongside the citadel [Greek: Acra], and he and his men dwelt there.
— 1 Maccabees 13:52.
Thus in this version, Simon did not immediately demolish the Acra, but instead had it occupied and may even have resided within it himself. 1 Maccabees does not mention its ultimate fate. The fortress had been built as an internal checkpoint to monitor and control Jerusalem and its population. If situated in the City of David as most scholars agree, its location would have added very little to Jerusalem’s defenses against external threats. It may have fallen out of use and been dismantled around the end of the 2nd century BCE following the construction of the Hasmonean Baris and Hasmonean Palace in Jerusalem’s upper city.

Bezalel Bar-Kochva (he) offers a different theory: The Acra was still standing in 139 BCE when Antiochus VII Sidetes demanded it back from Simon, along with Jaffa and Gezer, two Hellenized cities Simon had captured. Simon was willing to discuss the two cities but made no mention of the Acra. It was at this point that he must have sealed its fate, as a way to deny the Seleucids any future claim or hold on Jerusalem. Thus, when Antiochus VII subdued the city during Hyrcanus I’s reign, each and every one of his demands were met—except the one demanding the stationing of a Seleucid garrison in the city. Hyrcanus may have been able to reject, and Antiochus to drop, this demand because there was nowhere to billet the garrison, as the Acra would no longer have been standing. This explanation places the razing of the Acra somewhere in the 130s BCE.

Location

1903 map of Jerusalem, identifying the Acra with the entire south eastern hill.
The location of the Acra is important for understanding how events unfolded in Jerusalem during the struggle between Maccabean and Seleucid forces. This has been the subject of debate among modern scholars. The most detailed ancient description of the nature and location of the Acra is found in Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews, where it is described as residing in the Lower City, upon a hill overlooking the Temple enclosure:

…and when he had overthrown the city walls, he built a citadel [Greek: Acra] in the lower part of the city, for the place was high, and overlooked the temple; on which account he fortified it with high walls and towers, and put into it a garrison of Macedonians. However, in that citadel dwelt the impious and wicked part of the multitude, from whom it proved that the citizens suffered many and sore calamities.
— Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 12:252–253
The location of the “lower part of the city”, elsewhere referred to as the “Lower City”, at the time of Josephus (1st century CE) is accepted to be Jerusalem’s south-eastern hill, the original urban center traditionally known as the City of David. Lying to the south of the Temple Mount, however, the area exposed today is significantly lower than the Mount itself. The top of the Mount is approximately 30 metres (98 ft) above the ground level at the southern retaining wall of the later Herodian-era expansion of the Temple enclosure. The elevation decreases to the south of this point. Josephus, a native of Jerusalem, would have been well aware of this discrepancy, yet is nevertheless able to explain it away by describing how Simon had razed both the Acra and the hill on which it had stood. Archaeological research south of the Temple Mount, however, has failed to locate any evidence for such large scale quarrying. On the contrary, excavations in the region have uncovered substantial evidence of habitation from the beginning of the first millennium BCE down to Roman times, casting doubt on the suggestion that during Hellenistic times the area was significantly higher than it was at the time of Josephus or that a large hill had been cleared away. This had led many researchers to disregard Josephus’ account and his placing of the Acra, and suggest several alternate locations. Since 1841, when Edward Robinson proposed the area near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as the site of the Acra, at least nine different locations in and around the Old City of Jerusalem have been put forward.

Western hill
Several researchers have attempted to place the Acra in the Upper City on Jerusalem’s western hill, within the area currently occupied by the Old City’s Jewish Quarter. These propositions seek to locate the Acra within Antiochia, the Hellenistic polis established in Jerusalem according to 2 Maccabees. This conjectural new city would have been hippodamic in plan and therefore would have required a flat expanse of land which only the western hill could have provided. Furthermore, the eastern edge of the hill is adjacent to the Temple Mount and higher in altitude—two characteristics attributed to the Seleucid citadel.

Opponents of this proposed location point out that there is very little archaeological or historical evidence supporting the establishment of a Hellenistic polis within Jerusalem, let alone sited on the western hill which appears to have been only sparsely populated during the Hellenistic period. Excavations in today’s Jewish Quarter display evidence of habitation from the First Temple Period, as well as renewed Hasmonean and Herodian settlement, but scant evidence of Hellenistic occupation. Research into the dispersal of stamped Rhodian amphorae handles has revealed that over 95% of these handles found in Jerusalem were excavated from the City of David, indicating the city had not yet expanded to the western hill during Seleucid rule. Furthermore, the western hill is separated from the Temple Mount and the City of David by the steep Tyropoeon Valley—a distinct tactical disadvantage for any force that may have been required to intervene in events within the temple precincts or heavily populated eastern sectors of Jerusalem.

North of the Temple
The Acra was not the first Hellenistic stronghold in Jerusalem. Sources indicate that an earlier citadel, the Ptolemaic Baris, had also occupied a location overlooking the Temple’s precincts. Although the exact location of the Baris is still debated, it is generally accepted to have stood north of the Temple Mount on the site later occupied by the Antonia Fortress. The Baris fell to Antiochus III at the turn of the 2nd century BCE and is absent from all accounts of the Maccabean Revolt. Despite the narratives which have the Acra constructed within a very short time-span, it was nevertheless formidable enough to weather long periods of siege. These factors, coupled with references in which the Baris was itself called an acra, have led some to suggest that the Baris and the Acra were in fact the same structure. Although both 1 Maccabees and Josephus seem to describe the Acra as a new construction, this may not have been the case. Antiquities of the Jews 12:253 may be translated to give the sense that the “impious or wicked” had “remained” rather than “dwelt” in the citadel, which could be taken to mean that the Acra had been standing before the revolt and that only the Macedonian garrison was new.

Koen Decoster proposes that Josephus wrote of “a citadel in the lower part of the city” to an audience that would have been familiar with the Jerusalem of the 1st century CE—a city that did feature two citadels: the Antonia Fortress and the Herodian palace. As Josephus’ Roman Jerusalem had already expanded to the higher western hill, “a citadel in the lower city” could have referred to anything located east of the Tyropoeon Valley, including the Antonia which stood north of the Temple and did indeed rise above and dominate it. In his view, this is the place Josephus must have had in mind when he wrote of the Acra.

Opponents of a northern location counter that this site is not supported by the historical sources, and that this would place the Acra away from Jerusalem’s population center. Unlike its predecessor and successor citadels, it was not meant as a defence against external threat, but rather to oversee the inhabited Jewish parts of the city, a role incompatible with a proposed northern location.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acra_%28fortress%29?wprov=sfla1



The Acra or Akra (Hebrew: חקרא‎‎ or חקרה, Ancient Greek: Ἄκρα) was a fortified compound in Jerusalem built by Antiochus Epiphanes, ruler of the Seleucid Empire, following his sack of the city in 168 BCE. The fortress played a significant role in the events surrounding the Maccabean Revolt and the formation of the Hasmonean Kingdom. It was destroyed by Simon Maccabeus during this struggle.

For other uses, see Acra (disambiguation).
Quick facts: Alternate name, Location …
The exact location of the Acra, critical to understanding Hellenistic Jerusalem, had been a matter of lengthy discussions. Historians and archaeologists had proposed various sites around Jerusalem, relying mainly on conclusions drawn from literary evidence. This approach began to change in the light of excavations which commenced in the late 1960s. New discoveries had prompted reassessments of the ancient literary sources, Jerusalem’s geography and previously discovered artifacts. Yoram Tsafrir had interpreted a masonry joint in the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount platform as a clue to the Acra’s possible position. During Benjamin Mazar’s 1968 and 1978 excavations adjacent to the south wall of the Mount, features were uncovered which may have been connected with the Acra, including barrack-like rooms and a huge cistern. In November 2015 the Israel Antiquities Authority announced the likely discovery of the Acra in a different location, south-west of the Temple Mount and north-west of the City of David.

The Ancient Greek term acra was used to describe other fortified structures during the Hellenistic period. The Acra is often called the Seleucid Acra to distinguish it from references to the Ptolemaic Baris as an acra and from the later quarter in Jerusalem which inherited the name Acra.

History
Background
Following Alexander the Great’s death in 323 BCE, Judea was contested between the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt, and the Seleucid Empire based in Syria and Mesopotamia. Seleucid emperor Antiochus III’s victory over Egypt in the Battle of Panium brought Judea under Seleucid control. The Jewish population of Jerusalem had aided Antiochus during his siege of the Baris, the fortified base of Jerusalem’s Egyptian garrison. Their support was rewarded with a charter affirming Jewish religious autonomy, including barring foreigners and impure animals from the Temple’s precincts, and an allocation of official funds for the maintenance of certain religious rituals in the Temple. Despite being allowed religious freedom, many Jews were enticed by and adopted elements of the prestigious and influential Greek lifestyle. The imperial culture offered a route to political and material advancement, and this led to the formation of Hellenistic elites among the Jewish population. Hellenization produced tensions between observant Jews and their brethren who had assimilated Greek culture.

Antonio Ciseri’s Martyrdom of the Maccabees (1863), depicting an episode from Antiochus IV’s (seated) persecution of the Jews.
Antiochus IV Epiphanes ascended the Seleucid throne in 175 BCE. Shortly afterward, Epiphanes was petitioned by Jason for appointment to the position of High Priest of Israel—an office occupied by his brother Onias III. Jason, himself thoroughly Hellenized, furthermore promised to increase the tribute paid by the city and to establish within it the infrastructure of a Greek Polis, including a gymnasium and an ephebion. Jason’s petition was granted, yet after a 42-month rule he was ousted by Antiochus and forced to flee to Ammon. In the meantime, Antiochus IV had launched two invasions of Egypt, in 170 BCE and again in 169 BCE, and routed the Ptolemaic armies. Antiochus’ victories were short-lived. His intent to unify the Seleucid and Ptolemaic kingdoms alarmed the rapidly expanding Roman state, which demanded that he withdraw his forces from Egypt. With Antiochus engaged in Egypt, a false rumor spread in Jerusalem that he had been killed. In the ensuing uncertainty, Jason gathered a force of 1,000 followers and attempted to take Jerusalem by storm. Although the attack was repulsed, when word of the fighting reached Antiochus in Egypt, he suspected his Judean subjects of exploiting his setback as an opportunity to revolt. In 168 BCE, Antiochus IV Epiphanes marched on and sacked Jerusalem, looting the temple treasury and killing thousands of its residents. Reversing his father’s policy, Antiochus IV issued decrees outlawing traditional Jewish rites and persecuting observant Jews. Temple rituals were discontinued, Jewish observance of Sabbath prohibited, and circumcision outlawed.

Construction
To consolidate his hold on the city, monitor events on the Temple Mount and safeguard the Hellenized faction in Jerusalem, Antiochus stationed a Seleucid garrison in the city:

And they built the city of David with a great and strong wall, and with strong towers, and made it a fortress [Greek: Acra] for them: And they placed there a sinful nation, wicked men, and they fortified themselves therein: and they stored up armour, and victuals, and gathered together the spoils of Jerusalem; And laid them up there: and they became a great snare. And this was a place to lie in wait against the sanctuary, and an evil devil in Israel.
— 1 Maccabees 1:35–38.
The name Acra derived from the Greek acropolis and signified a lofty fortified place overlooking a town. In Jerusalem, the word came to symbolize anti-Jewish paganism: a fortress of the “impious and wicked”. Dominating both the city and the surrounding countryside, it was occupied not only by a Greek garrison but by their Jewish confederates as well.

The Seleucid suppression of Jewish religious life met with considerable resistance among the native population. While Antiochus was occupied in the east during 167 BCE, a rural priest, Mattathias of Modiin, raised a rebellion against the empire. Both the Seleucid administration and the local Hellenized faction failed to grasp the magnitude of the revolt. In 164 BCE Judas Maccabaeus liberated Jerusalem and reconsecrated the Temple. Although the surrounding city had fallen, the Acra and its inhabitants held out. Maccabaeus besieged the fortress, whose inhabitants sent an appeal to the Seleucid king (now Antiochus V) for assistance. A Seleucid army was dispatched to put down the revolt. When it laid siege to Beth-Zur, Maccabaeus was forced to abandon his siege of the Acra and face Antiochus in battle. In the subsequent Battle of Beth-Zechariah, the Seleucids won their first victory over the Maccabees, and Maccabaeus was forced to withdraw. Spared from capitulation, the Acra persisted as a Seleucid stronghold for 20 more years during which it weathered several Hasmonean attempts to oust the Greek garrison.

Destruction

Judas besieging the Acra (Alba Bible, 1430)
Judas was killed in 160 BCE and succeeded by his brother Jonathan, who attempted to build a barrier to cut off the Acra’s supply line. Jonathan had already assembled the manpower required for the task when he was forced to confront the invading army of Seleucid general Diodotus Tryphon at Beth Shan (Scythopolis). Having invited Jonathan to a friendly conference, Tryphon had him seized and murdered. Jonathan was succeeded by another brother, Simon, who besieged and finally captured the Acra in 141 BCE.

Two sources provide information about the ultimate fate of the Acra, although their accounts are contradictory in places. According to Josephus, Simon razed the Acra after ousting its inhabitants, and then quarried the hill on which it had stood to render it lower than the temple, purge the city of its evil memory and deny it to any future occupier of Jerusalem. The account appearing in 1 Maccabees paints a different picture:

And Simon decreed that every year they should celebrate this day with rejoicing. He strengthened the fortifications of the temple hill alongside the citadel [Greek: Acra], and he and his men dwelt there.
— 1 Maccabees 13:52.
Thus in this version, Simon did not immediately demolish the Acra, but instead had it occupied and may even have resided within it himself. 1 Maccabees does not mention its ultimate fate. The fortress had been built as an internal checkpoint to monitor and control Jerusalem and its population. If situated in the City of David as most scholars agree, its location would have added very little to Jerusalem’s defenses against external threats. It may have fallen out of use and been dismantled around the end of the 2nd century BCE following the construction of the Hasmonean Baris and Hasmonean Palace in Jerusalem’s upper city.

Bezalel Bar-Kochva (he) offers a different theory: The Acra was still standing in 139 BCE when Antiochus VII Sidetes demanded it back from Simon, along with Jaffa and Gezer, two Hellenized cities Simon had captured. Simon was willing to discuss the two cities but made no mention of the Acra. It was at this point that he must have sealed its fate, as a way to deny the Seleucids any future claim or hold on Jerusalem. Thus, when Antiochus VII subdued the city during Hyrcanus I’s reign, each and every one of his demands were met—except the one demanding the stationing of a Seleucid garrison in the city. Hyrcanus may have been able to reject, and Antiochus to drop, this demand because there was nowhere to billet the garrison, as the Acra would no longer have been standing. This explanation places the razing of the Acra somewhere in the 130s BCE.

Location

1903 map of Jerusalem, identifying the Acra with the entire south eastern hill.
The location of the Acra is important for understanding how events unfolded in Jerusalem during the struggle between Maccabean and Seleucid forces. This has been the subject of debate among modern scholars. The most detailed ancient description of the nature and location of the Acra is found in Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews, where it is described as residing in the Lower City, upon a hill overlooking the Temple enclosure:

…and when he had overthrown the city walls, he built a citadel [Greek: Acra] in the lower part of the city, for the place was high, and overlooked the temple; on which account he fortified it with high walls and towers, and put into it a garrison of Macedonians. However, in that citadel dwelt the impious and wicked part of the multitude, from whom it proved that the citizens suffered many and sore calamities.
— Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 12:252–253
The location of the “lower part of the city”, elsewhere referred to as the “Lower City”, at the time of Josephus (1st century CE) is accepted to be Jerusalem’s south-eastern hill, the original urban center traditionally known as the City of David. Lying to the south of the Temple Mount, however, the area exposed today is significantly lower than the Mount itself. The top of the Mount is approximately 30 metres (98 ft) above the ground level at the southern retaining wall of the later Herodian-era expansion of the Temple enclosure. The elevation decreases to the south of this point. Josephus, a native of Jerusalem, would have been well aware of this discrepancy, yet is nevertheless able to explain it away by describing how Simon had razed both the Acra and the hill on which it had stood. Archaeological research south of the Temple Mount, however, has failed to locate any evidence for such large scale quarrying. On the contrary, excavations in the region have uncovered substantial evidence of habitation from the beginning of the first millennium BCE down to Roman times, casting doubt on the suggestion that during Hellenistic times the area was significantly higher than it was at the time of Josephus or that a large hill had been cleared away. This had led many researchers to disregard Josephus’ account and his placing of the Acra, and suggest several alternate locations. Since 1841, when Edward Robinson proposed the area near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as the site of the Acra, at least nine different locations in and around the Old City of Jerusalem have been put forward.

Western hill
Several researchers have attempted to place the Acra in the Upper City on Jerusalem’s western hill, within the area currently occupied by the Old City’s Jewish Quarter. These propositions seek to locate the Acra within Antiochia, the Hellenistic polis established in Jerusalem according to 2 Maccabees. This conjectural new city would have been hippodamic in plan and therefore would have required a flat expanse of land which only the western hill could have provided. Furthermore, the eastern edge of the hill is adjacent to the Temple Mount and higher in altitude—two characteristics attributed to the Seleucid citadel.

Opponents of this proposed location point out that there is very little archaeological or historical evidence supporting the establishment of a Hellenistic polis within Jerusalem, let alone sited on the western hill which appears to have been only sparsely populated during the Hellenistic period. Excavations in today’s Jewish Quarter display evidence of habitation from the First Temple Period, as well as renewed Hasmonean and Herodian settlement, but scant evidence of Hellenistic occupation. Research into the dispersal of stamped Rhodian amphorae handles has revealed that over 95% of these handles found in Jerusalem were excavated from the City of David, indicating the city had not yet expanded to the western hill during Seleucid rule. Furthermore, the western hill is separated from the Temple Mount and the City of David by the steep Tyropoeon Valley—a distinct tactical disadvantage for any force that may have been required to intervene in events within the temple precincts or heavily populated eastern sectors of Jerusalem.

North of the Temple
The Acra was not the first Hellenistic stronghold in Jerusalem. Sources indicate that an earlier citadel, the Ptolemaic Baris, had also occupied a location overlooking the Temple’s precincts. Although the exact location of the Baris is still debated, it is generally accepted to have stood north of the Temple Mount on the site later occupied by the Antonia Fortress. The Baris fell to Antiochus III at the turn of the 2nd century BCE and is absent from all accounts of the Maccabean Revolt. Despite the narratives which have the Acra constructed within a very short time-span, it was nevertheless formidable enough to weather long periods of siege. These factors, coupled with references in which the Baris was itself called an acra, have led some to suggest that the Baris and the Acra were in fact the same structure. Although both 1 Maccabees and Josephus seem to describe the Acra as a new construction, this may not have been the case. Antiquities of the Jews 12:253 may be translated to give the sense that the “impious or wicked” had “remained” rather than “dwelt” in the citadel, which could be taken to mean that the Acra had been standing before the revolt and that only the Macedonian garrison was new.

Koen Decoster proposes that Josephus wrote of “a citadel in the lower part of the city” to an audience that would have been familiar with the Jerusalem of the 1st century CE—a city that did feature two citadels: the Antonia Fortress and the Herodian palace. As Josephus’ Roman Jerusalem had already expanded to the higher western hill, “a citadel in the lower city” could have referred to anything located east of the Tyropoeon Valley, including the Antonia which stood north of the Temple and did indeed rise above and dominate it. In his view, this is the place Josephus must have had in mind when he wrote of the Acra.

Opponents of a northern location counter that this site is not supported by the historical sources, and that this would place the Acra away from Jerusalem’s population center. Unlike its predecessor and successor citadels, it was not meant as a defence against external threat, but rather to oversee the inhabited Jewish parts of the city, a role incompatible with a proposed northern location.

A fortified compound https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acra_%28fortress%29?wprov=sfla1



The Acra or Akra (Hebrew: חקרא‎‎ or חקרה, Ancient Greek: Ἄκρα) was a fortified compound in Jerusalem built by Antiochus Epiphanes, ruler of the Seleucid Empire, following his sack of the city in 168 BCE. The fortress played a significant role in the events surrounding the Maccabean Revolt and the formation of the Hasmonean Kingdom. It was destroyed by Simon Maccabeus during this struggle.

For other uses, see Acra (disambiguation).
Quick facts: Alternate name, Location …
The exact location of the Acra, critical to understanding Hellenistic Jerusalem, had been a matter of lengthy discussions. Historians and archaeologists had proposed various sites around Jerusalem, relying mainly on conclusions drawn from literary evidence. This approach began to change in the light of excavations which commenced in the late 1960s. New discoveries had prompted reassessments of the ancient literary sources, Jerusalem’s geography and previously discovered artifacts. Yoram Tsafrir had interpreted a masonry joint in the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount platform as a clue to the Acra’s possible position. During Benjamin Mazar’s 1968 and 1978 excavations adjacent to the south wall of the Mount, features were uncovered which may have been connected with the Acra, including barrack-like rooms and a huge cistern. In November 2015 the Israel Antiquities Authority announced the likely discovery of the Acra in a different location, south-west of the Temple Mount and north-west of the City of David.

The Ancient Greek term acra was used to describe other fortified structures during the Hellenistic period. The Acra is often called the Seleucid Acra to distinguish it from references to the Ptolemaic Baris as an acra and from the later quarter in Jerusalem which inherited the name Acra.

History
Background
Following Alexander the Great’s death in 323 BCE, Judea was contested between the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt, and the Seleucid Empire based in Syria and Mesopotamia. Seleucid emperor Antiochus III’s victory over Egypt in the Battle of Panium brought Judea under Seleucid control. The Jewish population of Jerusalem had aided Antiochus during his siege of the Baris, the fortified base of Jerusalem’s Egyptian garrison. Their support was rewarded with a charter affirming Jewish religious autonomy, including barring foreigners and impure animals from the Temple’s precincts, and an allocation of official funds for the maintenance of certain religious rituals in the Temple. Despite being allowed religious freedom, many Jews were enticed by and adopted elements of the prestigious and influential Greek lifestyle. The imperial culture offered a route to political and material advancement, and this led to the formation of Hellenistic elites among the Jewish population. Hellenization produced tensions between observant Jews and their brethren who had assimilated Greek culture.

Antonio Ciseri’s Martyrdom of the Maccabees (1863), depicting an episode from Antiochus IV’s (seated) persecution of the Jews.
Antiochus IV Epiphanes ascended the Seleucid throne in 175 BCE. Shortly afterward, Epiphanes was petitioned by Jason for appointment to the position of High Priest of Israel—an office occupied by his brother Onias III. Jason, himself thoroughly Hellenized, furthermore promised to increase the tribute paid by the city and to establish within it the infrastructure of a Greek Polis, including a gymnasium and an ephebion. Jason’s petition was granted, yet after a 42-month rule he was ousted by Antiochus and forced to flee to Ammon. In the meantime, Antiochus IV had launched two invasions of Egypt, in 170 BCE and again in 169 BCE, and routed the Ptolemaic armies. Antiochus’ victories were short-lived. His intent to unify the Seleucid and Ptolemaic kingdoms alarmed the rapidly expanding Roman state, which demanded that he withdraw his forces from Egypt. With Antiochus engaged in Egypt, a false rumor spread in Jerusalem that he had been killed. In the ensuing uncertainty, Jason gathered a force of 1,000 followers and attempted to take Jerusalem by storm. Although the attack was repulsed, when word of the fighting reached Antiochus in Egypt, he suspected his Judean subjects of exploiting his setback as an opportunity to revolt. In 168 BCE, Antiochus IV Epiphanes marched on and sacked Jerusalem, looting the temple treasury and killing thousands of its residents. Reversing his father’s policy, Antiochus IV issued decrees outlawing traditional Jewish rites and persecuting observant Jews. Temple rituals were discontinued, Jewish observance of Sabbath prohibited, and circumcision outlawed.

Construction
To consolidate his hold on the city, monitor events on the Temple Mount and safeguard the Hellenized faction in Jerusalem, Antiochus stationed a Seleucid garrison in the city:

And they built the city of David with a great and strong wall, and with strong towers, and made it a fortress [Greek: Acra] for them: And they placed there a sinful nation, wicked men, and they fortified themselves therein: and they stored up armour, and victuals, and gathered together the spoils of Jerusalem; And laid them up there: and they became a great snare. And this was a place to lie in wait against the sanctuary, and an evil devil in Israel.
— 1 Maccabees 1:35–38.
The name Acra derived from the Greek acropolis and signified a lofty fortified place overlooking a town. In Jerusalem, the word came to symbolize anti-Jewish paganism: a fortress of the “impious and wicked”. Dominating both the city and the surrounding countryside, it was occupied not only by a Greek garrison but by their Jewish confederates as well.

The Seleucid suppression of Jewish religious life met with considerable resistance among the native population. While Antiochus was occupied in the east during 167 BCE, a rural priest, Mattathias of Modiin, raised a rebellion against the empire. Both the Seleucid administration and the local Hellenized faction failed to grasp the magnitude of the revolt. In 164 BCE Judas Maccabaeus liberated Jerusalem and reconsecrated the Temple. Although the surrounding city had fallen, the Acra and its inhabitants held out. Maccabaeus besieged the fortress, whose inhabitants sent an appeal to the Seleucid king (now Antiochus V) for assistance. A Seleucid army was dispatched to put down the revolt. When it laid siege to Beth-Zur, Maccabaeus was forced to abandon his siege of the Acra and face Antiochus in battle. In the subsequent Battle of Beth-Zechariah, the Seleucids won their first victory over the Maccabees, and Maccabaeus was forced to withdraw. Spared from capitulation, the Acra persisted as a Seleucid stronghold for 20 more years during which it weathered several Hasmonean attempts to oust the Greek garrison.

Destruction

Judas besieging the Acra (Alba Bible, 1430)
Judas was killed in 160 BCE and succeeded by his brother Jonathan, who attempted to build a barrier to cut off the Acra’s supply line. Jonathan had already assembled the manpower required for the task when he was forced to confront the invading army of Seleucid general Diodotus Tryphon at Beth Shan (Scythopolis). Having invited Jonathan to a friendly conference, Tryphon had him seized and murdered. Jonathan was succeeded by another brother, Simon, who besieged and finally captured the Acra in 141 BCE.

Two sources provide information about the ultimate fate of the Acra, although their accounts are contradictory in places. According to Josephus, Simon razed the Acra after ousting its inhabitants, and then quarried the hill on which it had stood to render it lower than the temple, purge the city of its evil memory and deny it to any future occupier of Jerusalem. The account appearing in 1 Maccabees paints a different picture:

And Simon decreed that every year they should celebrate this day with rejoicing. He strengthened the fortifications of the temple hill alongside the citadel [Greek: Acra], and he and his men dwelt there.
— 1 Maccabees 13:52.
Thus in this version, Simon did not immediately demolish the Acra, but instead had it occupied and may even have resided within it himself. 1 Maccabees does not mention its ultimate fate. The fortress had been built as an internal checkpoint to monitor and control Jerusalem and its population. If situated in the City of David as most scholars agree, its location would have added very little to Jerusalem’s defenses against external threats. It may have fallen out of use and been dismantled around the end of the 2nd century BCE following the construction of the Hasmonean Baris and Hasmonean Palace in Jerusalem’s upper city.

Bezalel Bar-Kochva (he) offers a different theory: The Acra was still standing in 139 BCE when Antiochus VII Sidetes demanded it back from Simon, along with Jaffa and Gezer, two Hellenized cities Simon had captured. Simon was willing to discuss the two cities but made no mention of the Acra. It was at this point that he must have sealed its fate, as a way to deny the Seleucids any future claim or hold on Jerusalem. Thus, when Antiochus VII subdued the city during Hyrcanus I’s reign, each and every one of his demands were met—except the one demanding the stationing of a Seleucid garrison in the city. Hyrcanus may have been able to reject, and Antiochus to drop, this demand because there was nowhere to billet the garrison, as the Acra would no longer have been standing. This explanation places the razing of the Acra somewhere in the 130s BCE.

Location

1903 map of Jerusalem, identifying the Acra with the entire south eastern hill.
The location of the Acra is important for understanding how events unfolded in Jerusalem during the struggle between Maccabean and Seleucid forces. This has been the subject of debate among modern scholars. The most detailed ancient description of the nature and location of the Acra is found in Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews, where it is described as residing in the Lower City, upon a hill overlooking the Temple enclosure:

…and when he had overthrown the city walls, he built a citadel [Greek: Acra] in the lower part of the city, for the place was high, and overlooked the temple; on which account he fortified it with high walls and towers, and put into it a garrison of Macedonians. However, in that citadel dwelt the impious and wicked part of the multitude, from whom it proved that the citizens suffered many and sore calamities.
— Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 12:252–253
The location of the “lower part of the city”, elsewhere referred to as the “Lower City”, at the time of Josephus (1st century CE) is accepted to be Jerusalem’s south-eastern hill, the original urban center traditionally known as the City of David. Lying to the south of the Temple Mount, however, the area exposed today is significantly lower than the Mount itself. The top of the Mount is approximately 30 metres (98 ft) above the ground level at the southern retaining wall of the later Herodian-era expansion of the Temple enclosure. The elevation decreases to the south of this point. Josephus, a native of Jerusalem, would have been well aware of this discrepancy, yet is nevertheless able to explain it away by describing how Simon had razed both the Acra and the hill on which it had stood. Archaeological research south of the Temple Mount, however, has failed to locate any evidence for such large scale quarrying. On the contrary, excavations in the region have uncovered substantial evidence of habitation from the beginning of the first millennium BCE down to Roman times, casting doubt on the suggestion that during Hellenistic times the area was significantly higher than it was at the time of Josephus or that a large hill had been cleared away. This had led many researchers to disregard Josephus’ account and his placing of the Acra, and suggest several alternate locations. Since 1841, when Edward Robinson proposed the area near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as the site of the Acra, at least nine different locations in and around the Old City of Jerusalem have been put forward.

Western hill
Several researchers have attempted to place the Acra in the Upper City on Jerusalem’s western hill, within the area currently occupied by the Old City’s Jewish Quarter. These propositions seek to locate the Acra within Antiochia, the Hellenistic polis established in Jerusalem according to 2 Maccabees. This conjectural new city would have been hippodamic in plan and therefore would have required a flat expanse of land which only the western hill could have provided. Furthermore, the eastern edge of the hill is adjacent to the Temple Mount and higher in altitude—two characteristics attributed to the Seleucid citadel.

Opponents of this proposed location point out that there is very little archaeological or historical evidence supporting the establishment of a Hellenistic polis within Jerusalem, let alone sited on the western hill which appears to have been only sparsely populated during the Hellenistic period. Excavations in today’s Jewish Quarter display evidence of habitation from the First Temple Period, as well as renewed Hasmonean and Herodian settlement, but scant evidence of Hellenistic occupation. Research into the dispersal of stamped Rhodian amphorae handles has revealed that over 95% of these handles found in Jerusalem were excavated from the City of David, indicating the city had not yet expanded to the western hill during Seleucid rule. Furthermore, the western hill is separated from the Temple Mount and the City of David by the steep Tyropoeon Valley—a distinct tactical disadvantage for any force that may have been required to intervene in events within the temple precincts or heavily populated eastern sectors of Jerusalem.

North of the Temple
The Acra was not the first Hellenistic stronghold in Jerusalem. Sources indicate that an earlier citadel, the Ptolemaic Baris, had also occupied a location overlooking the Temple’s precincts. Although the exact location of the Baris is still debated, it is generally accepted to have stood north of the Temple Mount on the site later occupied by the Antonia Fortress. The Baris fell to Antiochus III at the turn of the 2nd century BCE and is absent from all accounts of the Maccabean Revolt. Despite the narratives which have the Acra constructed within a very short time-span, it was nevertheless formidable enough to weather long periods of siege. These factors, coupled with references in which the Baris was itself called an acra, have led some to suggest that the Baris and the Acra were in fact the same structure. Although both 1 Maccabees and Josephus seem to describe the Acra as a new construction, this may not have been the case. Antiquities of the Jews 12:253 may be translated to give the sense that the “impious or wicked” had “remained” rather than “dwelt” in the citadel, which could be taken to mean that the Acra had been standing before the revolt and that only the Macedonian garrison was new.

Koen Decoster proposes that Josephus wrote of “a citadel in the lower part of the city” to an audience that would have been familiar with the Jerusalem of the 1st century CE—a city that did feature two citadels: the Antonia Fortress and the Herodian palace. As Josephus’ Roman Jerusalem had already expanded to the higher western hill, “a citadel in the lower city” could have referred to anything located east of the Tyropoeon Valley, including the Antonia which stood north of the Temple and did indeed rise above and dominate it. In his view, this is the place Josephus must have had in mind when he wrote of the Acra.

Opponents of a northern location counter that this site is not supported by the historical sources, and that this would place the Acra away from Jerusalem’s population center. Unlike its predecessor and successor citadels, it was not meant as a defence against external threat, but rather to oversee the inhabited Jewish parts of the city, a role incompatible with a proposed northern location.

A fortified compound

How to: Cook and Eat an Artichoke | SimplyRecipes.com


Bon Appétit!

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Simply Recipes
How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke
by Elise Bauer

I can imagine, that if you didn’t grow up eating artichokes and if you were encountering them for the first time, they might seem a little intimidating. How one cooks and eats an artichoke is not obvious from its appearance. If you’ve always wondered how to cook and eat the darn things, here are the steps:

How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke
Prep: 5 minutes Cook: 35 minutes
When you are at the market buying artichokes, choose those in which the petals are still rather closed, not open. They will be more fresh and more tender than artichokes where the petals have opened. Also, artichokes that have been “frost kissed” are especially tender and delicious. They’ll look like they are a little burned by frost, so won’t be as pretty as those not frost bitten.
INGREDIENTS
1 or more large globe artichokes
2 cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf
1 slice of lemon

METHOD
HOW TO COOK AN ARTICHOKE
1. Cut of the tips of the petals: If the artichokes have little thorns on the end of the petals, take a kitchen scissors and cut of the thorned tips of all of the petals. This step is mostly for aesthetics as the thorns soften with cooking and pose no threat to the person eating the artichoke.

  1. Slice off the top of the artichoke: Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke. A serrated bread knife works great for this.
  2. Remove small petals at the base: Pull off any smaller petals towards the base and on the stem.

  3. Cut off excess stem: Cut off excess stem, leaving up to an inch on the artichoke. The stems tend to be more bitter than the rest of the artichoke, but some people like to eat them.
    Alternatively you can leave the whole long stem on the artichoke, just cut off the very end of the stem, and peel the tough outside layer of the stem with a vegetable peeler.

  4. Rinse the artichokes: Rinse the artichokes in running cold water. While you rinse them, open up the petals a little so that the water does get inside more easily. (This is where it helps to have cut off the thorny tips, it makes the artichoke easier to open without getting poked!)

  5. Set up a pot with some water, aromatics, and a steaming basket: In a large pot, put a couple inches of water, a clove of garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf (this adds wonderful flavor to the artichokes). Insert a steaming basket.

  6. Steam the artichokes: Place artichokes on top of the steaming basket. Cover the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.
    How to cook and eat an artichoke

Cook for 25 to 45 minutes or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off.
Note: artichokes can also be cooked in a pressure cooker (about 15-20 minutes cooking time). Cooking time depends on how large the artichoke is, the larger, the longer it takes to cook.

HOW TO EAT AN ARTICHOKE

Artichokes may be eaten cold or hot, but I think they are much better hot. They are served with a dip, either melted butter or mayonnaise. My favorite dip is mayo with a little bit of balsamic vinegar mixed in.
1. Pull off outer petals, one at a time. Dip white fleshy end in melted butter or sauce.

  1. Tightly grip the other end of the petal. Place in mouth, dip side down, and pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy, delicious portion of the petal. Discard remaining petal.
    Continue until all of the petals are removed.
  • With a knife or spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible fuzzy part (called the “choke”) covering the artichoke heart. The remaining bottom of the artichoke is the heart. Cut into pieces and dip into sauce to eat.
    My favorite artichoke dipping sauce? Some mayonnaise with a little balsamic vinegar stirred in. Some people like dipping artichoke leaves and the heart into melted butter or a vinaigrette.

  • Comments

    Julia Torockio
    I think the trick is if you are going to go through the ordeal of cooking them; it is prob best to make a bunch at a time, marinate them after cooking them then can or jar or freeze them. You then can add as much or as little to your sauces, pasta, or salads as you like. I just so happen to come by some free, 6, but buying them is prob is expensive, so for that reason: it is prob better to get already prepared and marinated in a jar. By the way; your pasta does not always have to have heavy sauces on them. A little butter and cheese and garlic can go a long way, just enough to flavor. I prefer now to actually taste my pasta and use a lot less sauce than I used to. I find your pasta does not have to be fully covered in a rich laden sauce to taste good or be pleasing to the eyes or palette.
    October 28, 2017
    Alison Emel
    Artichokes are amazing on their own, no sauce needed! I just steam them with lemon salt and a bay leaf..delicious with a glass of wine!
    September 19, 2017
    Jane
    i always did my artichokes in lemon, butter and salt. it surprises me that people find them pointless. to me when i eat artichokes it is fun. its like an event kind off. having to eat the petals to get to the heart. and yeah, artichokes are not healthy when dipped in things ! if you want to be healthy with artichokes try a vinaigrette dipping sauce.
    July 6, 2017
    S.K.
    Artichokes with fresh lemon or lime with mayo or a substitute is a delicacy- “hearts” pre cooked in jars-cans go well in summer salads {drain well}, lemon-greens -{gn-rd-yel }bell peppers, any other cool salad addys you choose.

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