Chapter 9:
Descriptions of Fort Antonia Part II

This chapter traces the evolution of Fort Antonia into its identities first as the Praetorium

in the Byzantine period, then as the Haram esh Sharif after the Muslim conquest, then as the

Temple Mount after the Crusader takeover, then back to the Haram esh Sharif, and then the

combined claim for it as the Haram esh Sharif/Temple Mount. Byzantine pilgrimage

descriptions show they distinguished the temple ruins with features associated with the

southeastern hill, notably the Gihon Spring, but they associated the Praetorium with features

consistent with the alleged temple mount, notably a large, square rock.

Accounts show the famous “Western Wall,” where the Jews moaned and lamented the

loss of the temple, stood among the ruins on the southeastern hill, near the city wall, and the

fountain of Siloam, where the attempted reconstructions of the temple had taken place. All the

ruins disappeared and accounts record the Jews then prayed at a synagogue on the Mount of

Olives, at the Eastern Gate of the alleged temple mount, in a synagogue in the city, and finally, in

the 16th century, at what is now called the Wailing Wall.