Visual History of the World




From Prehistoric to Romanesque  Art
Gothic Art
Renaissance  Art
Baroque and Rococo Art
The Art of Asia
Neoclassicism, Romanticism  Art
Art Styles in 19th century
Art of the 20th century
Artists that Changed the World
Design and Posters
Classical Music
Literature and Philosophy

Visual History of the World
First Empires
The Ancient World
The Middle Ages
The Early Modern Period
The Modern Era
The World Wars and Interwar Period
The Contemporary World

Dictionary of Art and Artists


The Ancient World

ca. 2500 B.C. - 900 A.D.


The epics of Homer, the wars of Caesar, and temples and palaces characterize the image of classic antiquity and the cultures of ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. They are the sources from which the Western world draws the foundations of its philosophy, literature, and, not least of all, its state organization. The Greek city-states, above all Athens, were the birthplace of democracy. The regions surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and great parts of Northwest Europe were forged together into the Roman Empire, which survived until the time of the Great Migration of Peoples. Mighty empires also existed beyond the ancient Mediterranean world, however, such as those of the Mauryas in India and the Han in China.


Alexander the Great



Judea and Arabia before the Romans

CA.1100 B.C.-136 A.D.


Herod the Great and His Successors

Herod the Great conclusively did away with the rule of the Maccabees and allied himself with Rome. Following rebellions by the Jews, Judea was completely integrated into the Roman Empire.

see also collection:
David Roberts "A Journey in the Holy Land"

David Roberts


7 Herod the Great was from a family that was loyal to the Romans; his father Antipater had been appointed procurator over Judea by Julius Caesar.

Herod eliminated the last of the Maccabees and assumed the throne in 37 B.C. Although he married the Maccabean princess Mariamne, his rule was secularly oriented, following the Roman model.

Herod suppressed the religious agitators in the land, as well as intrigues in his palace, and was thus able to maintain peace. Under him Judea's economy blossomed, as evidenced not least by his monumental construction projects.

7 The taking of Jerusalem by Herod the Great, 36 BC, by Jean Fouquet.


He had the 10 temple erected anew, yet his attempts to culturally unify the Jews ultimately failed.

10 Temple in Jerusalem


The birth of Jesus Christ falls within his reign, but the 11 murder of innocent children of which he was accused is probably a Christian myth.

11 The Holy Innocents by Giotto


Upon his death in 4 B.C., Herod's kingdom was divided among his three sons, the Tetrarchs.

One of them, Herod Antipas (ruled 4 .-39 a.d.), who received Galilee and Peraea, is known to this day for his marriage to his niece and sister-in-law Herodias and the dance of his stepdaughter, 9 Salome, performed for the head of John the Baptist.

see also collection:

9 Salome dancing in front of king Herod Antipas, by Benozzo Gozzoli

see also: Salome - Beardsley's Vision


His nephew, Herod Agrippa I, ruled once more over the reunited realm of Herod the Great with great support of Judaism and as a friend of the Romans from 41 to 44.

In 66 a.d., Jewish religious zealots initiated a revolt against Roman rule. The king, Agrippa II, who while of Jewish faith had been raised in Rome, sided with the Romans against the zealots.

The revolt led the Roman emperor Titus to seize control of Jerusalem and to order the 12 destruction of the temple in 70 a.d.

12 Destruction of the temple of Jerusalem
by the Romans under Titus, 70A.D.



Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem by Francesco Hayez, 1867.
Depicting the destruction and looting of the Second Temple by the Roman army.


Titus' triumph after the First Jewish-Roman War was celebrated with the Arch of Titus in Rome,
which shows the treasures taken from the Temple in Jerusalem, including the Menorah.

The last stronghold of the Jewish zealots, 8 Masada, fell in 73 a.d. after the suicide of all the defenders.

Judea was made a Roman province with limited autonomy. But even that was permanently lost after the revolt of Bar Kokhba in 132-135, led by the Jewish military commander Simon Bar Kokhba, establishing the independent state of Israel. The Jewish people were then driven out of Judea by the Romans three years later into the Diaspora.

8 The ruins of Masada, in the background the Dead Sea




The Rebellion of Bar Kokhba

Simon Bar Kokhba ("the Son of the Star") led the last revolt of the Jews against the Romans in 132 a.d. The catalyst was the ban on circumcision and the Roman attempt to construct a temple to Jupiter in Jerusalem.
Bar Kokhba captured Jerusalem and ruled as "prince of Judea," with messianic traits as defined by ancient Jewish laws, in 135 .d. he was vanquished by superior Roman strength at Bethar. Thereafter the Jews were forbidden to enter Jerusalem.

Silver coins (tetra drachmas), distributed by Bar Kokhba



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