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The History of Jerusalem (Hardback)

Its Origins to the Early Middle Ages

Ancient History Colour Books P&S History

By Alan J Potter
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 256
Illustrations: 22 black and white maps & diagrams
ISBN: 9781526783295
Published: 29th October 2020



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Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world, with evidence of an original settlement dating back more than 4,000 years. Vitally important was the constant supply of water provided by the Gihon Spring, in a land that normally only experienced rainfall from November to March. Since then this Middle Eastern city has been attacked and devastated on numerous occasions.

Former rulers include King David, who established the City of David, and his son Solomon, who expanded Jerusalem and built the first Great Temple on Mount Moriah. Destruction 2,600 years ago saw most of the inhabitants exiled to Babylon, but as the Jewish diaspora returned, the Temple and the city were rebuilt. Wars between the Ptolemaic and Seleucid successors of Alexander the Great seemed endless, but the resistance of the Maccabee brothers eventually led to the glorious reign of the Hasmonean kings

Roman interference and the enforcement of the despotic Herod the Great as king led inevitable to the catastrophic Jewish/Roman wars and Jerusalem was once again destroyed. Christianity eventually facilitated a reinvigorated Byzantine Jerusalem becoming one of the world’s most beautiful cities. The bubonic plague was survived, but a new low saw the Persians sack the city before Heraclius triumphantly returned Christ’s True Cross to Jerusalem.

The History of Jerusalem: Its Origins to the Early Middle Ages is the first of its kind to examine in detail the rich history of Jerusalem during antiquity up to the year 630 CE. This in-depth account goes further than other volumes in terms of the breadth and scale of events covered, and it will appeal to those looking for an unbiased, but critical appraisal of the colourful history of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas.

I found this a thoroughly engrossing read I couldn't put down.

NetGalley, Shelly Myers

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Jerusalem: cradle of three most influential world religions, a place that has no equivalent in catalytic power of religions, beliefs, lifestyles, history, and politics.
Interestingly, all 3 religions are claiming the "City" and sacral parts of it and the book makes a successful attempt to bring up the history of each religion, its references and importance of certain parts of the city, and their connections with the development of religions and separate influential individuals. It is a cumulative history of the city, the idea, legend, and influence on people's lives.
Definitely a great read for anyone interested in esoteric history, the history of religion, cultures, history of the middle ages.


Alan Potter succinctly relates the evolution of Jerusalem from its earliest occupation as a remote and safe hill-top settlement into the world’s single most important religious city. All those wishing to grasp the stages of this important development will benefit from this lucid and careful narrative, one based on the primary sources and relevant modern literature and backed up with clear plans and maps.

Professor Michael Whitby, Classical Historian, University of Birmingham

A very informative study of the history of Jerusalem. It is clear that the book is well researched.

NetGalley, Jill Pecq

No other city compares with ancient, historic, exotic, fascinating and mysterious Jerusalem and her Temple on the Mount, repeatedly attacked, destroyed and rebuilt. Jerusalem survived plagues and severe droughts, good kings and bad, and is much venerated to this day.

In about 1,000 BC, King David secured Jerusalem with a likely population of about 2,000. Migrants had began moving inland from the coast and a mix of cultures and traditions necessitated a ruler. King David planned the unparalleled temple but it was built under his son, Solomon. Jerusalem was strategically situated with solid steep protection on three sides and near the Gihon Spring and became the Jewish capital.

This book highlights the history of Jerusalem in great detail and thoroughness. We learn about Israel and Judah and Assyrian threat and how Hezekiah returned Jerusalem to Jewish tradition and destroyed pagan idols and sites. One of the most crucial construction undertakings was tunneling through rock from Gihon Spring to Siloam Pool and enclosed the area with another wall.

We learn details about Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians' massive destruction and Nehemiah's rebuilding. Then came the Ptolemies, Seleucids, Romans, Herod the Great and emperors and the looting of 70 AD and later the Muslims.

Whew! So much detail. The maps and illustrations really help. At times the details become difficult to focus on but simultaneously very interesting.

Those interested in the history of Jerusalem and Israel will appreciate this.
I surely did.

NetGalley, Brenda Carleton

About Alan J Potter

Alan Potter, born in 1949 in Romford, contracted acute polio at the age of two. Permanently thereafter he would have to wear ankle-to-thigh length callipers in order to walk. He has two children, Paul and Alison, from his 1982 marriage with Sue, a midwife working in London, but originally from Bethlehem, adjacent to Jerusalem! Alan became a Stock Broker and after a successful career looking after client funds, he retired in 2012 to pursue his fondness for history.

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