Thursday, August 4, 2011

Allah – By Jove! – Jerusalem Acropolis

Allah – By Jove! – Jerusalem Acropolis

Muhammad’s “night journey” to the “farthest temple” seems to be the only claim the Muslims have to the Noble Sanctuary and or Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Since there were supposedly no standing buildings there on Temple Mount at the time of Muhammad’s dream, it is possible the “farthest temple” might not be in Jerusalem.

The present Dome of the Rock with the iconic gold dome on the Noble Sanctuary may or may not be a recycled Church of Sacred Wisdom built by Constantine.  Constantine in turn may have recycled a forecourt structure of Hadrian’s Temple of Jupiter complex on the destroyed previous Temple Mount complex, defunct as of 70 C.E..

If this is all confusing to you, it has been to me trying to figure out what this cultural dispute over the disputed real estate aka Temple Mount aka Nobel Sanctuary is all about.  In fact depending on which side you talk to, once you use the term TM or NS, the party you are talking to assumes your opinion and position on the negotiating end of things and shuts you out if you use their wrong term.

So, in the case of the disputed real estate in the vicinity of Solomon’s alleged temple site and Muhammad’s alleged night journey and on a raised man made stone platform or acropolis, I will, from this point in time forward, also refer to the area as Hadrian’s Temple of Jupiter Complex or HTJC or just plain Jerusalem Acropolis.

Bar Kochba's rebellion and occupation of the Jupiter Temple as the Third Jewish Temple around 132 C.E. is generally not recognized as fact and remains speculation until historical proof is found which is not likely. Titus scraped the acropolis clean in 70 C.E., followed by Hadrian and his vanity building project - Roman vision thing, followed by Constantine's turning the place into a quarry followed by the Arabs continuing the quarrying process to build their own sacred structures.  

Hadrian is also universally known for Hadrian’s Wall in Scotland, to the Pantheon in Rome, to his massive Smithsonian like private pleasure dome summer palace, at Tivoli, outside Rome to the greatest (biggest) temple ever built to Jupiter in Baalbek Lebanon, to his new unfinished Constantinople like project of Aelia Capitolina aka the former Jerusalem.  So much major construction and so little time.  Poor Hadrian.

Back to Temple Mount or I should say acropolis/HTJC.  I have read many, many Jewish, Christian theories on where the original Solomon/Herod temple stood on the HTJC acropolis area.  

And in most of these documents about the HTJC acropolis, they assume you know the north, south, east, orientation of the geography in question.  I have never been to Jerusalem so I got lost quite a few times reading about all this so-called dusty history mixed with more speculation more than with hard provable facts.

There is a theory and I will hopefully correctly attribute it to a Tuvia Sagiv that states something like the great builder Hadrian’s floor plan for Jupiter’s temple in Baalbek (above, below) may have the same architectural flow and or same floor plan in the Aelia Capitolina acropolis dedicated to Jupiter in the former Jerusalem.

The theory goes something like Hadrian was known to duplicate a lot of things.  It is said that he had a copy of the circular marble Cnidus Greece shrine including a copy of the famous Aphrodite by Greek sculptor Praxiteles.  Some tourists take home postcards or snapshots.  Hadrian brought home whole temples or duplicated them at his Tivoli palace.

So it is not so far-fetched that maybe the Aelia Capitolina Jupiter complex in the former Jerusalem might match the Baalbek complex as well to some exact degree.

The forecourt structure in Baalbek is six sided or hexagonal.  The same forecourt in the HTJC may have been eight sided or octagonal and match the base blueprint of the present Dome of the Rock shrine.  Just a theory. 

The thing is that the theory I have seen has no measurements. Beyond that the visual proportions of the forecourt, full court and temple of Jupiter seem to match this theory on a visual level.  So not only does the Dome of the Rock seem to fit as a later structure built on a forecourt structure, the famous Al Aqsa Mosque (below) at the far southern end of the Jerusalem acropolis would seem to have been built on the foundations of the Temple of Jupiter torn down by Constantine in need of stone for massive Christian shrine building as in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the totally defunct, later built by Justinian, Nea Church (left - above). 

These two structures, the recycled temple of Venus/Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Nea Church framed both ends of the grand boulevard, the Cardo Maximus, the massive  new main north south road of Hadrian’s new Roman city, Aelia Capitolina.  The long term city plan started by Hadrian continued up until the Arab conquest.

Constantine when he legalized Christianity with the Edict of Milan of 313 C.E., also decriminalized Judaism as part of that act of tolerance to all religions.  Rather than let the Jews have Temple Mount back to compete with his new designer religion of Christ(ianity), he sacked all the building stones of Hadrian’s acropolis to follow through on the original design and building of the new Roman city next to the acropolis.  This put the Jewish question back into political limbo.

The Church of Sacred Wisdom recycled into the Dome of the Rock may have not been standing at the time of the prophet’s night dream, earthquakes and all that.  The Nea Church, the biggest church in Christendom outside of maybe the Vatican Hill structure fell down and into disuse for many centuries not out of Islamic destruction but because of earthquakes.  A theory states that many of the stones of the Jewish temple first went into the building of the Jupiter temple before they made their way all up in time into the Nea Church as well as into the entire infrastructure of Roman, Byzantine and Medieval Jerusalem.

To the point is that there is not much left of the Jewish Temple there on the Jerusalem Acropolis.  Many historians agree that the original Jewish temple building and forecourt faced east and is probably able to fit in front of the al Aqsa Mosque if reconstructed after archeological digs, scientific studies etc.  Truth also is that if the original Solomon Temple thingy gets reconstructed for the tourists, religious fanatics etc. it would not only be in front of Al Aqsa but forty feet lower than that mosque. 

While the Christians and Jews who want the second/first coming and in fact the end of the world, they would destroy the Dome of the Rock and Al Asqa to have a dominant Jewish only complex. Truth is that all standing at present major structures should be allowed to remain in presence of a reconstructed Jewish Temple below the present high point or grade of Hadrian’s Jupiter Temple Complex or acropolis.

In fact, image above points to the fact that Jews already and by tradition worship at the Western Wall below where the original Jewish temple once stood.  Image above of the Jerusalem Acropolis, left is Western Wall aka the Wailing Wall.  Dome of the Rome, top center,  Al Aqsa Mosque, bottom right.

What I envision if not getting a fully rebuilt temple, perhaps the old Jewish temple might be ghosted in structural steel to show its original presence, not unlike the Benjamin Franklin House in Philadelphia (below) where they have no historic evidence of what it actually looked like, though the foundation is still there. 

Will it be a functioning temple again? I don’t know.  I for one would object to animal slaughter. 

Anyway, maybe an eternal flame in the old Holy of Holies and for privacy, maybe an enclosed dome like covering like that of the British Museum Library courtyard.  Will not have to rub elbows with your neighbors.

Use your imagination.  It is time to unite that region in something other than mutual hatred.

Pleasant dreams.