AD 70

Not long after the death of Christ on Friday, 30th. March, AD 36, there followed the lengthy and brutal occupation by the Romans of Judah in general, and Jerusalem in particular. Once again, the Jews rebelled. As a result, Emperor Vespasian sent Titus to restore order. This he did though not without heavy bloodshed in the face of fierce Jewish opposition which finally centred upon their defence of Jerusalem. The Roman soldiers, in their rage, plundered and destroyed the Temple despite Caesar's specific orders forbidding this. It was never rebuilt. A graphic personal eye-witness account may be found in the writings of Flavius Josephus, himself a Jew, who was a former military general, and then historian and diplomat. At one stage, he was employed as a peace negotiator between the Romans and the Jews. It was almost providential that Josephus was allowed to remove all the sacred scrolls from the Temple before its demolition. Whilst tragically the scrolls have since been lost, Josephus at least had full reference to them to help write up large parts of ancient history with considerable accuracy and authority. His work is still available for study.

Once the Romans had done their worst, all Jews were banished from the whole of Jerusalem for the next 150 years. Thereafter, the area within the citadel walls was retained for the exclusive use of Gentiles until the Muslim onslaught in AD 638 under Calif Umar el-Sharif. This took place in September AD 622, just 16 years after the founding of the Muslim religion by Mohammed Ibn Abdullah (AD 570-632); a one-time commercial caravan master.

By AD 691, Calif Abdul Malik had cleared the area within the citadel and erected the Mosque of Sakhra (Dome of the Rock) immediately adjacent to the original site of Solomon's Temple. Years later the Al Aksa Mosque was added opposite and equally close to that site.