Judea or Judæa (Hebrew: יהודה, Standard "Yəhuda" Tiberian "Unicode|Yəhûḏāh", "praised, celebrated"; Greek: Ιουδαία, "Ioudaía"; Latin: "Iudaea") is the mountainous southern part of the historic
Land of Israel(Hebrew: ארץ ישראל " Eretz Yisrael"), an area now divided between Israeland the West Bank(itself partly under Palestinian Authority administration and Israeli military rule).
The name "Judea" is a Greek and Roman adaptation of the name "
Judah", which originally encompassed the territory of the Israelitetribe of that name and later of the ancient Kingdom of Judah. The area was the site of the Hasmonean Kingdomand the later Kingdom of Judea, a client kingdomof the Roman Empire. In modern times, the name "Yehudah" may be used by Hebrew speakers to refer to a large southern section of Israel and the West Bank, or in the combined term Judea and Samariato refer specifically to the West Bankarea south of Jerusalem.
Location and historical boundaries
The original boundaries were "Bethsûr" (near
Hebron), on the south; Beth-horon(today Beit 'Ur al Fawka on the West Bank), on the north; Latrunor Emaüs, on the west (22 kilometres west of Jerusalem); the Jordan Riveron the east. The classical historian Josephusused a more expanded definition, encompassing the lower half of what is now the West Bankin the north down to Beer Shebain the south, and bordered on the east and west by the Mediterranean and the Jordan river.
Judea is a mountainous and arid region, much of which is considered to be a
desert. It varies greatly in height, rising to an altitude of 1,020 m (3,346 ft) in the south at Mount Hebron, 19 miles (30 km) southwest of Jerusalem, and descending to as much as 400 m (1,312ft) "below" sea level in the east of the region. Major urban areas in the region include Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Gush Etzion(including Beitar Illitand Efrat), Jerichoand Hebron.
Geographers divide Judea into several distinct regions: the Hebron hills, the Jerusalem saddle, the
Bethelhills and the Judean desert east of Jerusalem, which descends in a series of steps to the Dead Sea. The hills are distinct for their anticlinestructure. In ancient times the hills were forested, and the Biblerecords agriculture and sheep farming being practiced in the area. Animals are still grazed today, with shepherds moving them between the low ground to the hilltops (which have more rainfall) as summer approaches, while the slopes are still layered with centuries-old stone terracing. The region dried out over the centuries and much of the ancient tree cover has since disappeared.
Human settlement in Judea stretches back to the
Stone Ageand the region is believed by paleoanthropologists to have been one of the routes through which " Homo sapiens" travelled out of Africa to colonise the rest of the world around 100,000 years ago. Archaeological evidence of human settlement dates back 11,000 years in the case of the city of Jericho, believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the world. In historic times, the region was inhabited by a number of peoples, most famously the Israelites. Judea is central to much of the narrative of the Torah, with the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaacand Jacobsaid to have been buried at Hebronin the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
Judea was ruled by the
Kingdom of Judah, a client kingdomof Persia, and later the Seleuciddynasty of Greece who were eventually expelled from the region by Judas Maccabeus. The Maccabean family established the Hasmoneandynasty of Kings who ruled in Judea for over a century.
Judea lost its independence to the Romans in the 1st century BCE, by becoming first a tributary kingdom, then a province, of the Roman Empire. The Romans had allied themselves to the Maccabees and interfered again in 63 BCE, following the end of the
Third Mithridatic War, when general Gnaeus Pompeius Magnusstayed behind to make the area secure for Rome. Queen Alexandra Salomehad recently died, and a civil war broke out between her sons, Hyrcanus IIand Aristobulus II. Pompeius restored Hyrcanus but political rule passed to the Herodianfamily, first as procuratores and later as client kings. Eventually, the Jews rose against Roman rule in 66 CE in a revolt that was unsuccessful. Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 CE and much of the population was killed or enslaved.
Bar Kochba revolt
The Jews rebelled again 70 years later under the leadership of Bar Kokhba and established the last Kingdom of Israel, which lasted three years, before the Romans managed to conquer the province for good, at a high cost in terms of manpower and expense.
After the defeat of Bar Kokhba (132-135 CE) the
Roman Emperor Hadrianwas determined to wipe out the identity of Israel-Judah-Judea, and began using the name "Palastina" to describe all the land of Israel. Until that time the area had been called "province of Judea" by the Romans. At the same time, he changed the name of the city of Jerusalemto " Aelia Capitolina". The Romans killed many Jews and sold many more into slavery; many Jews departed into the Jewish diaspora, but there was never a complete Jewish abandonment of the area.
Judea later became part of the Mandate for Palestine, when the territory was split between British-ruled Palestine and the autonomous Emirate of Transjordan Palestine (a territorial unit within the Mandate, later to become Transjordan, then the independent Kingdom of
Jordan). Jordan became independent in 1946, and the United Nationsformed a plan to partition the remaining British mandate of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states in 1947. Jordan captured most of the Arab Palestinian partition following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It was annexed by Jordan in 1950 (though this annexation was recognized only by the United Kingdomwith the exception of East Jerusalem) and remained part of Jordan until the 1967 Six-Day War, when it was captured by Israeli forces. This part of Judea is now generally known outside Israel as the West Bank — a name given to it by Jordan after 1948 denoting that Judea and Samaria are located to the west of the Jordan river, as opposed to most of the territory of Jordan.
, c.830s BCE.]
*18th century BCE? - 11th century BCE — province in
1004 BCE? — Jewish conquest
*11th century BCE -
930 BCE— part of the United Monarchy
930 BCE– 586 BCE— Kingdom of Judah
586 BCE- 539 BCE— Babylonian Empire
539 BCE- 332 BCE— Persian Empire
332 BCE- 305 BCE— Macedonian Empire of Alexander the Great
305 BCE- 198 BCE— Ptolemaics
198 BCE- 141 BCE— Seleucids
141 BCE- 37 BCE— The Hasmonean state in Israel established by the Maccabees, after 63 BCEunder Roman supremacy
37 BCE- 70 CE — Herodian Dynastyruling Judea under Roman supremacy (37 BCE-6 CE, 41-44 CE), interchanging with direct Roman rule (6-41, 44-66). This ended in the first Jewish Revoltof 66 - 73, which saw the Temple destroyed in 70.
*73 — Fall of
Bar Kokhba's revolt
*135 — Judea renamed
Syria Palaestinaby emperor Hadrian
*400–638 — Byzantine Christian province
*638 — Muslim rule established
*1099 — The Crusaders conquer the region
*1187 — Expulsion of the Crusaders from Judea and reassertion of Muslim rule
*1516 — Beginning of Ottoman rule
*1917 — Defeat of the Ottomans; beginning of British rule
*1919 — Incorporation into the Mandate for Palestine
United Nationspartition plan assigns most of Judea to an Arab state or corpus separatum
1948 Arab-Israeli Warleaves much of the area under the control of Jordan, though Israel controls the Shephelahand part of the Judean Desert near Ein Gedi
*1967 — Israel captures Judea in the
Six-Day Warand annexes parts of it. The annexation is not recognized by any country.
*1995 — As part of the
Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authorityreceives autonomy over much of the Arab population
* [http://www.dinur.org/1.html?rsID=219 The Jewish History Resource Center] Project of the Dinur Center for Research in Jewish History, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
* [http://www.Fsmitha.com/h1/ch17.htm Judea and civil war]
* [http://www.livius.org/ja-jn/jewish_wars/jwar01.htm The subjugation of Judea]
* [http://www.livius.org/jo-jz/judaea/judaea.htm Judaea 6-66 CE]
* [http://www.biblelandpictures.com/gallery/gallery.asp?categoryid=107 Judea photos]
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