Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Heritage Civilization and the Jews
About the Series Historical Timeline Resources Lesson Plans Episodes
Timeline 3100 586 72 732 1492 1789 1925
The Power of the Word
586 BCE - 72 CE

With the end of the Babylonian exile, Jews return to Israel and rebuild the Temple. Jewish communities continue to grow within Israel and across the Eastern Mediterranean. The Macabbean rebellion restores the Jewish monarchy, which rules over Judea until the Romans destroy Jerusalem and the Second Temple. The Jews are again sent into exile.


Persia Conquers Babylon


Return to Israel

Cyrus of Persia enacts a new policy which allows exiles, including Judeans, to return to their homeland. Some Jews return to Judea but many remain in Babylon, where there is a thriving Jewish community.


Second Temple Completed

c. 450

Ezra and Nechemia

Ezra and Nechemia lead Jews back to Israel, rebuild Jerusalem and the Jewish community, and introduce religious practices such as regular public Torah readings.

c. 400

Classical Prophecy Ends with Book of Malachi


Trial and Execution of Socrates


Alexander the Great Defeats Persia, Conquers Israel

Hellenistic culture is introduced to Israel; Jews retain distinct practices and beliefs in Israel and throughout the eastern Mediterranean.


Death of Alexander; Emergence of Ptolemaic and Seleucid Control Over Israel


Rome Gains Control of Southern Italy


Hellinization of Israel

Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Seleucid ruler of Syrian, enforces Hellinization of Israel.


Maccabean Revolt

The Maccabees, the priestly family of the Hasmoneans, head the rebellion against the Seleucids and Hellenistic Jews. The festival of Hannukah celebrates the succesful revolt and the rededication of the Temple.


Hasmoneans Rule Over Independent State of Judah


Rome Annexes Judea, End of Hasmonian Regime


Caesar Assassinated

37- 4

Herod the Great

Herod, appointed king of Judea by Rome, is known for his grand building projects including the renovation of the Second Temple, the fortification of Masada, and the port of Caesarea.

30 CE

Jesus Crucified

66 – 73

Jewish Revolt Against Rome


Destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple

Titus, son of the Roman Emporer Vespasian, destroys Jerusalem and the Second Temple. Jews are sold into slavery and sent into exile. The synagogue begins to play a central role in Jewish life.



Masada, the last fortress of the Jews, falls to the Romans.

About the Series    |   Historical Timeline   |   Resources   |    Lesson Plans   |   Episodes