Sunday, October 30, 2011

Crucifixion in Ancient Jerusalem

Roman soldiers were crucifying 500 Jews a day in the run-up to the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70. Alexander Jannaeus, a much-loathed Jewish king of the first century B.C., after slaughtering 50,000 of his own people, celebrated his victory “by cavorting with his concubines at a feast while watching 800 rebels being crucified around the hills.” Crucifixion was so common in the ancient world that Jews and gentiles alike had taken to wearing nails from victims as charms, anticipating what became a Christian tradition.

- From Caliphs, Crusaders, and the Bloody History of Jerusalem; a book review of Jerusalem: The Biography, by Simon Sebag Montefiore.

The nytimes review says this book is "impossible to put down."

“A fittingly vast and dazzling portrait of Jerusalem, utterly compelling from start to finish.” —The Sunday Times (U.K.)