3,000 years of mass murder: Jerusalem’s bloody history, and how it shaped us all

February 13, 2012 at 04:09 (israel) ()

National Post | Full Comment

Seen by tourists, Jerusalem is a city of wonders. Seen by historians, it is a city of agonies.

Reading through the 3,000-year chronology presented in Simon Sebag Montefiore’s newly published Jerusalem: The Biography (excerpts from which will appear all this coming week on the Issues & Ideas pages of the National Post), one finds scarcely a century in which some substantial portion of the city’s population was not burned alive or crucified. During one 20-year stretch of Macedonian dominance in the 4th century AD, Jerusalem changed hands six times. In at least one case — Hadrian’s genocidal annihilation of the Jews following the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132-136 AD — the scale of the slaughter approached that of modern industrial genocides.

Jerusalem’s status as a holy city didn’t win its residents mercy. It had the opposite effect: Warlords and empire-builders were drawn to loot the Jewish Temple and the…

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