A brief history

Archaeologist Dorothy Garrod's excavations (1929 - 34) of caves on the slopes of Mount Carmel showed that Palestine ( refers to present day Israel, Jordan and Palestine) was inhabited by the Neanderthals. The culture and tools of these Neanderthals groups were similar to the ones living in Europe. Excavations at Ain Mallaha and Jericho showed that a culture called Natufian existed during the Mesolithic Period (Middle Stone Age). Natufians lived in caves as did their Paleolithic predecessors and might have practiced primitive agriculture. During the Neolithic Period (New Stone Age - 7000 BCE) inhabitants there domesticated of animals, cultivated of crops, produced pottery and built permanent villages.

During Copper Age  (4th millennium BCE ) the Ghassulians immigrated to Palestine. Their origin is probably Jordan Valley. Pottery and copper axes from the excavations near Beersheba linked them to Tulaylat al-Ghassul site of Jordan. In late 4 th millennium  BCE a new population immigrated from the north. In time, all these peoples amalgamated into an early Bronze Age (3rd millennium) urban population of Palestine.

During early Bronze Age (c. 3000 BCE) the towns of Palestine had developed. There were different tribes. Some seminomadic pastoralists of the east hill country were called Amorites. The population of the plains and coast was called Canaanites. A group of people called Hyksos, possibly related to the Amorites, took control of northern Egypt in about 1630 BCE. The Hyksos might have been groups of people of Semitic origin, called the Habiru, or Hapiru (Egyptian 'Apiru). The term Habiru, meaning outsiders, was applied to nomads, fugitives, bandits, and workers of inferior status. It is etymologically related to Hebrew. Egyptians expelled the Hyksos into Palestine in the late Middle Bronze Age (c. 1550 BCE). The Habiru had established a military aristocracy in Palestine.

Around 1292 BCE, new migrants of monotheistic seminomadic Hebrew tribes called Israelites moved from the east into Palestine. Three other peoples were settling in Palestine at the time, the Edomites in the south, the Moabites east of the Dead Sea, and the Ammonites near the Syrian Desert east of Gilead. Another group of invaders from the Aegean sea called the Philistines conquered the coastal region of Palestine in the early 12 th century.  In the next hundred years, they replaced Canaanites from the coastal plains.  The Philistines were identified as Peleset, the mercenaries used by Ramses III of Egypt. Constant conflict with their neighbors made Israelite tribes unite under a strong tribal chieftain named Saul. He became King of Israel (c.1020 BCE). He defeated the Ammonites and the Philistines but was killed in battle against Philistines (c.1000 BCE). David became the King and decisively defeated the Philistines around  990 BCE and also conquered the three Hebrew states east of the Jordan River and enlarged Kingdom of Israel.

 Solomon became the King after the death of King David. During the reign of King Solomon (mid10th century), control was lost over outlying territories conquered by David. He also built the First Temple (957 BCE), the royal palace in Jerusalem  and  numerous fortified towns. Israelites were forced to submit to conscription in royal labor gangs. People of northern Israel revolted after King Solomon's death. Kingdom of Israel split into two states.  Northern part with ten tribes of Israel became the kingdom of Israel, and southern part with two tribes (Judah and Benjamin) became Kingdom of Judah with Jerusalem as capital.

Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III conquered Israel in 722 BCE which led to the partial dispersion of the 10 northern tribes and their gradual assimilation by other peoples (Legends thus refers to them as the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel). Judah with the two tribes of Israelites survived till 586 BCE. It was conquered by the Babylonian King Nebuchadrezzar in 586 BCE.  He destroyed the First Temple of Jerusalem and sent the inhabitants into exile in Babylon.

Cyrus II (c. 590-.529 BCE) of Persia conquered Babylon in 538 BCE. Cyrus II allowed Jewish exiles in Babylon to return to Jerusalem. He also decreed in c. 538 BCE to rebuild the First Temple of Jerusalem. The history of the Jews from that time onward is predominantly the history of the tribe of Judah which also absorbed Benjamin while in exile at Babylon.

Kings of Persia ruled Judaea till Alexander III defeated Darius III in 330 BCE.

Probably Persian Kings were the first to start minting coins in Judea as their use became widespread in Persian Empire.

Hyperlinks to the coin pages of Judaea are below:

Persian Rule (c.539 -330 BCE)

            Cyrus II c. 590-.529 BCE    to    Darius III c. 336-330 BCE

Greek Rule (330 - 160 BCE)

            Alexander III  333 - 303 BCE        Ptolemies 304 - 200 BCE         Seleucids 200 - 161 BCE

Hasmonaean Dynasty (160 - 37 BCE)

              John Hyrcanus I         Aristobulus I        Alexander Jannaeus         John Hyrcanus II         Aristobulus II          Mattathias Antigonus

Herodian Dynasty (34 BCE - 44 CE)

            Herod the Great 37 - 4 BCE        Herod Archelaus 4 BCE - 6 CE        Herod Philip 4 BC- 34 CE        Agrippa I 37-44 CE       Agrippa II 56 - 95 CE

Roman Procurators (5BCE - 65 CE)

            Coponius 6-9 CE       Marcus Ambibulus 9-12 CE       Valerius Gratus15-26 CE       Pontius Pilate 26-36 CE      Antonius Felix 52 -60 CE

First Revolt (66 - 70 CE)

Roman Rule (71 - 131 CE)

Second Revolt (132 - 135)

Roman Rule (136 - 590 CE)


Ancient Country List