Herod expanded the Baris to become a camp for the Romans and renamed it for Mark
Antony. This expanded camp (the tower of Antonia) is what is called the “temple mount” today.
Herod also expanded Solomon’s temple in the City of David. Tacitus said the temple had a
fountain of water that ran perpetually and the mountains were hollowed underground, describing
the Gihon Spring water system, enclosed by the temple.
Herod expanded the Greek place of exercise under the tower of the temple to become the
Xystus. Hence, it can be located in the lower Tyropoeon Valley, where Josephus says “the city
lay near the temple in the manner of a theater.” This configuration does not describe the
topography near the alleged temple mount, where the ridge across from it in the upper
Tyropoeon Valley is straight.
Josephus’s account of Simon ben Giora’s possessions during the rebellion preceding the
siege of Titus describes the area south of the temple, including the old wall where it bent from
Siloam to the east, the palace of the king of Adiabeni, the fountain (Gihon Spring), the Acra
which was “none other than the lower city,” and the palace of Queen, which was in the middle of
the lower city. All of these features pertain to the southeastern hill only.