The Persian and Greek (Hellenistic) Periods

587 – 332 B.C.E. – The Persian Period

527 B.C.E. – The first breakwater at the port of Acre was built at the time of King Cambyses of Persia. Cambyses gathers an enormous fleet at the port of Acre prior to setting out to conquer Egypt. At this time Acre was still an independent Phoenician port city.

The 5th century B.C.E. – By the end of the Persian period, the sea level has fallen by approximately one meter below its present level, enlarging the land area westward and making possible a gradual development of the city descending from “Tel al-Fukhar” towards the plain at the tel’s base.

Beginning of the 4th century B.C.E – During this period the Hellenistic aqueduct to Acre is built.

393 – 380 B.C.E. – The name of Pharaoh Achoris appears on the base of an altar found at Acre.

358 – 338 B.C.E. – King Artaxerxes III of Persia assembles a large army at Acre for his war against Egypt.

332 – 152 B.C.E. – Hellenistic Period I

332 B.C.E. – Acre is conquered without a fight by the armies of Alexander the Great of Macedon. An Athenian trade colony is established.

End of the 3rd century – middle of the 2nd century B.C.E. – A recently discovered floor at the foot of the eastern Sea Wall beneath Burj al-Sultan has been dated to this period. This discovery took place during a project to restore the base of the wall at this spot. This discovery supports the assertion that at this period the sea level was lower by a meter or more than the present level. (Bulletin of the Israel Antiquities Authority 02/04/2009).

312 – 301 B.C.E. – During the period of the Wars of the Diadochi (the rival successors to Alexander the Great), Acre passes from one sovereignty to another until it remains under the rule of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt.

281 (or 261) B.C.E. – The name of the polis (city-state) Acre becomes Ptolemais. This name is derived from Ptolemy II Philadelphus, the ruler of Egypt 284-246 B.C.E.

259 B.C.E. – The Egyptian official Zeno of the Ptolemaic Kingdom, a field agent for the Egyptian Minister of Finances Apollonius, passed through Acre for the purpose of tax collection. The name of Acre (Ptolemais) is mentioned in the Papyrus Zeno attributed to this same official.

219 B.C.E. – When Theodotus of Aetolia, the Egyptian commander of the guard, betrays the Ptolemeans, Acre passes to the rule of the Seleucid Antiochus III.

200 B.C.E. – The Seleucid kings of Syria include Acre in the hipparchia (administrative district) of Shomron.

2nd century B.C.E. – Ptolemais and the Acre coast are mentioned in the writings of Strabo (the Greek geographer and historian of the 1st century B.C.E.) as a source of sand for the production of glass.

167 B.C.E. – Antiochus IV Epiphanes of the House of the Seleucids conquers Acre, awards it the status of a polis (city-state) and changes its name to Antiochia.

165 B.C.E. – Simon Maccabaeus (in Hebrew: Shimon ha-Maccabee) fails in his attempt to conquer Acre from the Seleucid Syrians.

163 B.C.E. – Simon Maccabaeus pursues his enemies to the walls of the city but fails to capture them.

153 B.C.E. –Alexander Balas, a Selucid and son of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, conquers Acre.

152 – 37 B.C.E. – Hellenistic Period II (Hasmonean Kingdom of Israel)

152 B.C.E. – Demetrius grants Acre to Jonathan Maccabaeus so that Jonathan will support Demetrius over Alexander Balas.

150 B.C.E. – Alexander Balas conquers Acre. Here he marries Cleopatra Thea, daughter of the king of Egypt.

142 B.C.E. – Jonathan Maccabaeus (the Hasmonean) visits Acre and is murdered by Diodotus Tryphon, general of the Seleucid army and a close associate of Alexander Balas.

142 – 131 B.C.E. – Cleopatra III, queen of Egypt, succeeds in conquering Acre and resides there from 129 to 126 B.C.E. Alexander Sidetes, son of Cleopatra Thea and Alexander Balas, visits Acre.

131/32 B.C.E. – The mint known as “Akko-Ptolemais” is established and begins to manufacture coins.

105 – 104 B.C.E. – The king of Judea, Alexander Yannai, lays siege to Acre but retreats before the army of Ptolemy Lathyros, ruler of Cyprus. Ptolemy Lathyros later withdraws following a pact between Cleopatra and Alexander Yannai.

95 – 71 B.C.E. – Acre is ruled by Cleopatra Selene I, daughter of Cleopatra III. At some time during this period Acre falls under the rule of Tigranes II (Tigranes the Great) of Armenia until he leaves the city in 71 B.C.E.

63 B.C.E. – Pompey (Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus) conquers the Land of Israel and the Roman period begins.

48 – 47 B.C.E. – The Roman ruler Julius Caesar passes through Acre on his way to Egypt.

40 B.C.E. – Parthians, coming out of Persia, invade the Land of Israel and rule Acre for a brieft period of time.

39 B.C.E. – Herod (Herod the Great), after his appointment as king of Judea, arrives in Acre from Rome. He establishes in Acre a gymnasium (a school for training in running, wrestling, javelin-throwing, etc.).  In the coming years he organizes in Acre elaborate ceremonies to honor Anthony and Cleopatra (37 B.C.E.) and Octavius (31 B.C.E.) upon their visits to the city.

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