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The Acra was a fortress or citadel built in Jerusalemmarker by Antiochus Epiphanes, ruler of the Seleucid Empire, after his conquest of the city in 168 BCE. According to Josephus, it stood on a hill higher than the Temple and was garrisoned by Greek soldiers. Its exact location is now unknown, but is generally believed to have been in the northern part of the City of Davidmarker, near the contemporary southern wall of the Temple Mountmarker.

The first stage of the liberation of Jerusalem by the Maccabees in 164 BC was incomplete, as they gained possession of the city and the temple but the Hellenistic garrison and local supporters of the Seleucids held out in the Acra for a considerable time. It withstood the efforts of both Judas and Jonathan Maccabeus to subjagate it, eventually yielding to Simon Maccabeus in 141 BC.

After reduction of the fortress the Maccabees demolished the Acra and leveled the hill on which it had stood, thereby finally securing the position of Judeamarker as an independent kingdom.

However, the name "Acra" persisted as a popular name for this part of Jerusalem for many years later, and is so attested in later sources.


  1. Josephus,Jewish Antiquities XII 252-253
  2. Wightman G. J. 1990. Temple Fortresses in Jerusalem Part I: The Ptolemaic and Seleucid Akras. Bulletin of the Anglo-Israeli Archaeological Society 9, pp. 29 – 40.

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