The Roman, Byzantine and Early Arab Periods

37 B.C.E.–324 C.E. – Roman Period

37 B.C.E–70 C.E. – Roman Period I (Herodian dynasty

4 B.C.E. – The Roman Proconsul Publius Quinctilius Varus assembles his army in Acre in order to suppress the revolts that break out in the country following the death of Herod.13

37 C.E. – Lucius Vitellius, Proconsul of Syria, departs from Acre to fight against the city of Petra in the land east of the Jordan River.

37 – 41 – During the reign of the Emperor Gaius Caligula, a Roman force, led by Petronius the governor of Syria, arrives at the Acre port. Caligula himself may have possibly visited Acre.

52 – 54 – During the rule of the emperor Claudius there is once more a building drive in Acre and veterans of the legions settled here. As a result Claudius granted Acre the title Colonia Claudia Felix Ptolemais.

56 – The Roman rulers in the Land of Israel engage in road building. A colony of discharged soldiers in Acre, then called Akko-Ptolemais, is mentioned on a monument of coastal limestone dedicated to the emperor Nero, placed along the Roman viae (highway).

59 – In the spring, Peter and Paul (Saul of Tarsus), Apostles of Jesus, spend a day in Acre.

66 – Gessius Florus, the Roman Procurator of Judea, conducts a massacre of the Jews living in Acre.

66/68 – Vespasian, the Roman military commander (soon to be emperor), accompanied by Josephus (Titus Flavius Josephus) sets forth from Acre to suppress the Jewish rebellion in the Galilee.

80 – The future emperor Titus arrives in Acre to aid his father Vespasian in conducting his protracted war in the Galilee against the Jewish rebellion there.

70–180 – Roman Period II

2nd and 3rd century – Rabban Gamliel II, Nasi (leader) of the Sanhedrin, resides in Acre for a period of time at the beginning of the 2nd Century, perhaps due to persecution by the Romans. The Amora (renowned Jewish scholar) Rabbi Abba of Akko is the leader of the Jewish community during the 2nd century. Later, Rabbis Shimon ben Yehuda, Yehuda ben Agra, Tanchum ben Hiyya, Abba, Hezekiah Akkaya, and Yitzhak resided in Acre.

130 –132 – The port of Acre is used as a base for the Roman Legions setting forth to suppress the Bar-Kochba revolt.

131 – The Roman emperor Hadrian visits Acre.

180–324 – Roman Period III

132–135 – Samaritans immigrate to Acre following the Bar-Kochba revolt and establish a Samaritan center. 14

190 – Clarus, the Bishop of Acre, participates in a council of Christian leaders. 15, 16

Beginning of the 3rd century – Rabbi Mana of Acre doesn’t hesitate to express his open opposition to Rabbi Yehudah’s judgments regarding Shmita, (in the Land of Israel, the one year in a seven-year cycle when all tilled land is fallow and debts are canceled). 17

231 – The Roman Emperor Alexander Severus probably passed through Acre on his way to war against the Sassanid Empire (Parthian kingdom?). 18

3rd century – 4th century – Acre is included within the domain of Tzippori. 19

324–451 – Byzantine Period I

325 – The Bishop Aeneas of Acre participates in the First Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical council of the Christian Church, called to resolve the nature of Jesus.

351 – Constantius Gallus, the Roman Consul in the Land of Israel, suppresses the Jewish rebellion (the War against Gallus), including the massacre of the Jews of Acre. 20

381 – The Bishop of Acre, ๐๗่เแๅ๑ participates in the second ecumenical council, the First Council of Constantinople.

425 – The Galilee is included within the area of Palaestina Secunda (the Galilee, the lower Jezreel Valley, the regions east of Galilee, and the western part of the former Decapolis with the seat of government at Scythopolis/Beit She’an), but Acre remains under Phoenician rule.

451–640 – Byzantine Period II

451 – Paulus (Paul) is the Bishop of Acre.

536 – John is the Bishop of Acre.

570 – A traveler from the Italian city of Piacenza comes to Acre.

614 – A major Jewish revolt against the Byzantines takes place.

616 – The Persians complete their conquest of the Land of Israel, including Acre. Under the Persians’ aegis, the Jews riot and turn upon the Christians and their churches in Acre, forcing the priest Leontinus to convert to Judaism. 21

622 – Muhammad sets out from Mecca, the city of his birth, and relocates in Medina.

634 – Yaakov the Apostate takes part in a religious controversy, noting that he torched a church in Acre and took part in the burning of both Jewish and Christian holy writings. Likewise, he points out that there is a Samaritan synagogue in Acre port. 22 It could be that the Samaritans had resided in Acre since the 2nd century. 23

636 – Acre is conquered for the first time by a Moslems army, commanded by Amr ibn al-Aas, and is now included within the district of Jordan. The former name Ptolemais (in use since the time of Alexander the Great) is revoked, reverting to the Arabic name, Akka.

640–1099 – Early Arabic Period

7th century – There is Samaritan neighborhood in Acre known as the Samaritan Ptolemais – Samothrace.

660–750 – The Umayyad Caliphate.

660 – Muawiyah I founds the reign of the Umayyad dynasty and Caliphate. He establishes in Acre a large shipyard and workshops for the building of marine vessels.

685 – Acre is laid ruin during one of the conflicts that characterizes the early Arab period. Acre is rebuilt on its ruins during the reign of the Umayyad ruler Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan (685-705).

692 – Acre is completely destroyed by the Byzantines.

723 – Saint Willibald, Bishop of Eichstätt in Bavaria, passes through Ptolemais (Acre) along with his companions, on their way to Lebanon. 24a

724–744 – Acre is destroyed during the time of Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik and he moves the shipyard to Tyre.

744–750 – Acre is completely rebuilt during the time of his successor Marwan ibn Muhammad ibn Marwan (Marwan II).

750–1258 – The Abbasid Caliphate

861 – The Abbasid Caliph Al-Mutawakkil relocates the shipyard to Acre from Tyre, reinforcess Acre with an army and naval ships, to prevent an attack from the Byzantines. He dies in this year. 25

881 – A tsunami strikes Acre.

868–884 – The Emir Ahmad ibn Ṭūlūn is the governor of Egypt. During his rule, in 878, the Moslem architect Abu Bakr builds the port of Acre and also the inner wall that will later be rebuilt by Dahr al-Omar.

969 – Control passes to the Shiite Fatimid Caliphate. Acre is at this time part of the district of Jordan.

975 – A Byzantine army arrives at Acre.

985 – The Moslem geographer and historian Al-Maqdisi describes Acre and its port from the period of ibn Ṭūlūn. The governor of Acre now is ๘โ’เ เ์ ๖๗์เแ้ Raja al_ of the ็๎ใเ๐้ํ tribe. 26

1019/20 –Abu Bakr เ์ๅเ๑่้ Khatib, the preacher of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque, writes his “Praises of Jerusalem” (Shivchei Yerushalayim), in which Acre too merits praise. This manuscript is later discovered in the al-Jazzar Mosque. 27

1031 – The family of Yoshiya ben Aaron , later the presiding rabbi of the rabbinic court Yeshivat Eretz Israel, resides in Acre. 28 Yoshiya is remembered for purchasing books in Acre. 24a

1031 – Acre possibly suffers slight damage from a tsunami following an earthquake.

1039/40 – Rabbi Avraham ben Solomon Gaon is active in a community near Ramla (a Galilee locale of this name), apparently referring to Acre. 29

1041 – Eliyahu ben Aaron copies a book while in Acre. The liturgical poet Aaron Hacohen ben Maryoun mentions the important Jewish community in Acre. 24a

1047 – The Moslem-Persian historian Nasir-i-Khusrau visits Acre. He notes: “On the first day I went to visit the tomb of Ake, the founder of the city.” 30 Likewise, he describes the port 31 and the splendid mosque. 32

1057 – Thamal, a Bedouin tribesman of the Banu-Kilab, is the ruler of Acre. 33

1063 – Acre may have been damaged by a small tsunami following an earthquake.

1067 – According to Arabic sources Acre suffers earthquake damage. 34

1071–1098 – Acre is serially transfered from one ruling dynasty to another: from the Fatimid rulers to the Turkoman-Seljuk rulers. Among the Turkoman rulers are เ๚๑้ๆ เแ๏ เๅ๗ and ๙๗์้ Among the Egyptian Fatimids: Badr al-Jamali. 35 His son and successor, the Wazir al-Malik al-Afdel, was born in Acre and possibly was the builder of the stronghold in the city’s southwest, where the Templars would later build their Citadel. 36

1083 – Evyatar ben Eliyahu Hacohen, head of the Yeshiva (Talmudic academy) of Tyre, passes through Acre on his way to Haifa. In the “Megilat Evyatar,” he emphasizes in his writings that the Jewish community of Acre was one of the most important in the Land of Israel. In the megillah (scroll) is mentioned: the scholar Muallem of Acre, the landowner Ephraim ben Yosef, the spice merchant al-Atar, and the sugar merchant Faraj of Acre.

1095 – Acre has a Jewish court of law and a center for Torah study. 37

1096 – The first Crusade is launched.

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