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Aelia Capitolina

Aelia Capitolina (Latin in full: Colonia Aelia Capitolina) was a city built by the emperor Hadrian in the year 131, and occupied by a Roman colony, on the site of Jerusalem, which was in ruins when he visited his dominion known as Syria Palæstina.

"Aelia" came from Hadrian's nomen gentile, Aelius, while "Capitolina" meant that the new city was dedicated to Jupiter Capitolinus, to whom a temple was built on the site of the former Jewish temple, the Temple Mount. The establishment of Aelia Capitolina resulted in the failed Bar Kokhba's revolt of 132-135. Jews were forbidden to live in or even visit the city, except for Tisha B'Av. The Sanhedrin relocated to Jamnia. Roman enforcement of this prohibition continued through the fourth century. The city was without walls, protected by a light garrison of the Tenth Legion, during the Late Roman Period. The detachment at Jerusalem, which apparently encamped all over the city’s western hill, was responsible for preventing Jews from returning to the city.

The urban plan of Aelia Capitolina was that of a typical Roman town wherein main thoroughfares crisscrossed the urban grid lengthwise and widthwise.

The original thoroughfare, flanked by rows of columns and shops, was about 73 feet (22 meters) wide (roughly the equivalent of a present-day six lane highway). The Hadrianic Cardo Maximus of Aelia terminated somewhere in the area of the present David Street.

The Latin name "Aelia" is the source of the Arabic term Iliya (إلياء), an early Islamic name for Jerusalem.

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