Achaemenid Settlements > Jerusalem

Achaemenid Jerusalem


During the Achaemenid Empire, Jerusalem was part of the province of Yehud, which was under Persian control. Following the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 586 BCE, many Jews were exiled to Babylon. However, after Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered Babylon in 539 BCE, he issued a decree allowing the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild their temple in Jerusalem. This marked the beginning of Persian rule over Jerusalem.

Reconstruction of the Temple:

Under the decree of Cyrus the Great, Zerubbabel, a Jewish leader, led the first group of exiles back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.Construction of the Second Temple began around 520 BCE and was completed in 516 BCE, during the reign of Darius I, a subsequent Persian king.

Political Administration:

Jerusalem and the surrounding region of Yehud were part of the larger Persian province of Beyond the River (Trans-Euphrates), which included territories west of the Euphrates River. The Persian king appointed a governor, known as a "pehah" or "pasha," to oversee the administration of Yehud and ensure the collection of tribute and taxes.

Religious Life:

The reconstruction of the temple in Jerusalem had significant religious and cultural implications for the Jewish community. The temple served as the central place of worship and sacrifice, and its completion marked a spiritual renewal for the Jewish people.

Economic and Social Life:

Persian rule brought stability and economic prosperity to Jerusalem and the region of Yehud. Trade and commerce flourished, and the city experienced a period of growth and development.

Cultural Influence:

Persian rule had a lasting impact on the culture and religious practices of Jerusalem and the Jewish people. Persian elements, such as administrative practices, artistic motifs, and religious concepts, influenced Jewish society during this period. In summary, during the Achaemenid period, Jerusalem was part of the Persian province of Yehud and experienced a period of rebuilding and renewal under Persian rule. The reconstruction of the temple and the return of the Jewish exiles marked a significant chapter in the history of Jerusalem and the Jewish people.


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