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Timeline of Ancient IsraelShare

c. 1200 BCEIsraelites settle in Canaan.
c. 1020 BCESaul anointed first king of Israel.
c. 1000–961 BCEKing David rules over a united Israel.
c. 965 BCEKing Solomon begins building the First Temple in Jerusalem.
c. 922 BCEThe united Israelite kingdom splits in two—the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
722 BCESargon II of Assyria conquers the Northern Kingdom and exiles many of the inhabitants.
586 BCENebuchadnezzar II of Babylonia conquers Judah, destroys the Temple, and exiles thousands to Babylon.
538 BCEKing Cyrus of Persia conquers Babylonia and allows Jews to return to the land of Israel (though many choose to remain in Babylonia).
c. 516 BCEThe Second Temple is built in Jerusalem.
332 BCEAlexander the Great conquers the Persian Empire, including the land of Israel.
3rd century BCEEarly Jewish prayer houses are documented in the Diaspora.
c. 167 BCEThe Maccabean revolt against the Syrian Greeks achieves relative independence for the Jews. The holiday of Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Temple.
63 BCEThe Roman Empire controls the land of Israel; the area called Judea (including Jerusalem) becomes a client kingdom of Rome.
37 BCEKing Herod of Judea refurbishes the Second Temple.
6 CERome annexes Judea.
66 CEThe first Jewish revolt against Rome begins.
68 CERabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai receives permission from Roman authorities to establish a rabbinical academy in the coastal city of Yavneh. This helps set the stage for the emergence of modern rabbinic Judaism.
70 CEThe Romans destroy Jerusalem and the Second Temple.
132–135 CEShimon bar-Kokhba leads the second Jewish revolt against Rome. Roman Emperor Hadrian eventually crushes the rebellion and expels the Jews from Jerusalem.
c. 210 CERabbi Yehudah ha-Nasi edits the Mishnah.
c. 400 CEThe Palestinian Talmud is completed.
c. 499 CEThe Babylonian Talmud is completed.

Note: Scholars disagree on the exact dates of some events in Israel’s ancient history. The dates in this chronology are drawn from the Encyclopedia Judaica, CD-ROM, version 1.0. (Jerusalem: Judaica Multimedia, 1997) and The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land (Jerusalem: The Israel Excavation Society & Carta, 1993).