The “Camp of the Assyrians” and the Third Wall of Jerusalem

Edward Dąbrowa

On two occasions in his description of the siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE, Josephus mentions the “Camp of the Assyrians” as the area in which Titus’ quarters were located. The historian’s account suggests that the location of this site meant that it played an important role in the battles at the city walls. Scholars do not agree on where it was situated, despite the significance of this fact for accurate reconstruction of the progression of the siege of Jerusalem as well as determining the course of the so-called Third Wall. Analysis of the literary and archaeological evidence leads to the conclusion that the name “Camp of the Assyrians” refers to an area lying north-west of the present-day walls of Jerusalem, whose southern borders are demarcated by the remains of an ancient wall unearthed during archaeological excavations and identified by archaeologists as the Third Wall.
Słowa kluczowe: Jerusalem, Siege of Jerusalem (70 CE), “Camp of the Assyrians”, Third Wall, Second Wall, Damascus Gate, archaeology of Jerusalem


Ariel, D.T., Baruch, Y., Zilberbod, I. (2014), ‘Out of the North the Evil Shall Break Forth’: Numismatic Evidence for the Besiegers in Jerusalem during the First Jewish Revolt?, Israel Numismatic Research 9pp. 149-161.

Avi-Yonah, M. (1968), The Third and Second Walls of Jerusalem, Israel Exploration Journal 18: pp. 98-125.

Avi-Yonah, M. (1971), The Newly-Found Wall of Jerusalem and Its Topographical Significance, Israel Exploration Journal 21: pp. 168-169.

Bahat, D. (2008), Jerusalem, 21. The Northwestern Corner of the Old City; 22. The Knight’s Palace Hotel, in: E. Stern et al. (eds.), The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, vol. 5 (Supplementary Volume), Jerusalem – Washington, DCpp. 1821-1822.

Baruch, Y., Avni, G., Parnos, G. (2008), Jerusalem, 19. Herod’s Gate Area, in: E. Stern et al. (eds.), The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, vol. 5 (Supplementary Volume), Jerusalem – Washington, DC: pp1819-1821.

Ben-Arieh, S. (1976), The ‘Third Wall’ of Jerusalem, in: Y. Yadin (ed.), Jerusalem Revealed: Archaeology in the Holy City 1968-1974, Jerusalem: pp. 60-62.

Ben-Arieh, S., Netzer, E. (1974), Excavations along the ‘Third Wall’ of Jerusalem, 1972-1974Israel Exploration Journal 24: pp. 97-107.

Ben-Arieh, S., Netzer, E. (1979), Where is the Third Wall of Agrippa I?, Biblical Archaeologist 42: pp. 140-141.

Davies, G. (2011), Under Siege: the Roman Field Works at Masada, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 362: pp. 65-83.

Galor, K., Bloedhorn, H. (2013), The Archaeology of Jerusalem: From the Origins to the Ottomans, New Haven – London.

Geva, H. (1993a), Jerusalem. The Second Wall, in: E. Stern et al. (eds.), The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Landvol. 2, Jerusalem: p. 736.

Geva, H. (1993b), Jerusalem. The Third Wall, in: E. Stern et al. (eds.), The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, vol. 2, Jerusalem: pp. 744-745.

Geva, H. (1993c), Jerusalem. The “New City”, in: E. Stern et al. (eds.), The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, vol. 2, Jerusalempp. 745-746.

Geva, H. (1993d), Jerusalem, The Roman Period, in: E. Stern et al. (eds.), The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, vol. 2, Jerusalem: pp. 758-767.

Geva, H. (2011), On the “New City” of Second Temple Period Jerusalem: the Archaeological Evidence, in: K. Galor, G. Avni (eds.), Unearthing Jerusalem: 150 Years of Archaeological Research in the Holy City, Winona Lake, IN: pp. 299-312.

Hamrick, E.W. (1966), New Excavations at Sukienik’s “Third Wall”, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 183: pp. 19-26.

Hamrick, E.W. (1968), Further Notes on the “Third Wall”, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 192: pp. 21-25.

Hamrick, E.W. (1977), The Third Wall of Agrippa I, Biblical Archaeologist 40: pp. 18-23.

Hamrick, E.W. (1981), The Fourth North Wall of Jerusalem: ‘Barrier Wall’ of the First Century, A.D., Levant 13: pp. 262-266.

Hamrick, E.W. (1985), The Northern Barrier Wall, in Site T, in: A.D. Tushingham, Excavations in Jerusalem 1961-1967, vol. 1, Toronto: pp. 213-232.

Hamilton, R.W. (1940), Excavations against the North Wall of Jerusalem, Quarterly of the Department of Antiquities of Palestine 10: pp. 1-53.

Hennessy, J.B. (1970), Preliminary report on excavations at the Damascus Gate, Levant 2: pp. 22-27.

Kenyon, K.M. (1966), Excavations at Jerusalem 1965, Palestine Exploration Quarterly 98: pp. 73-88.

Kloner, A. (1986), The ‘Third Wall’ in Jerusalem and the ‘Cave of the Kings’ (Josephus War V 147), Levant 18, pp. 121-129.

Kloner, A. (2001), Archaeological Survey of Israel. Survey of Jerusalem: The Northeastern Sector, Jerusalem.

Kokkinos, N. (2015), Aspects of Jerusalem under Herod, Eretz-Israel (Ehud Netzer Volume) 31: pp. 79-109.

Küchler, M. (2007), Jerusalem. Ein Handbuch und Studienreiseführer zur Heiligen Stadt, Göttingen.

Lenoir, M. (2002), Le camp de la légion IIIa Cyrenica à Bostra. Recheres récentes, in: Ph. Freeman et al. (eds.), Limes XVIII. Proceedings of the XVIIIth International Congress of Roman Studies held in Amman, Jordan (September 2000), vol. 1, Oxford: pp. 175-184.

Magen, M. (2000), Excavations at the Damascus Gate, 1979-1984, in: H. Geva (ed.), Ancient Jerusalem Revealed. Reprinted and Expanded Edition, Jerusalem: pp. 281-286.

Magness, J. (2000), The North Wall of Aelia Capitolina, in: L.E. Stager, J.A. Greene, M.D. Cogan (eds.), The Archaeology of Jordan and Beyond. Essays in Honor of James A. Sauer, Winona Lake, IN: pp. 328-339.

Margalit, S. (1990), Jerusalem zur Zeit des Zweiten Tempels. Ein geschichtlicher und archäologischer Überblick, Jahrbuch des Deutschen Evangelischen Instituts für Altertumswissenschaft des Heiligen Landes 2: pp. 22-49.

McNulty, I.B. (1979), The North Wall Outside Jerusalem, Biblical Archaeologist 42: pp. 141-144.

Parker, S.Th. (2000), Roman Legionary Fortresses in the East, in: R.J. Brewer (ed.), Roman Fortresses and their Legions, Cardiff – London: pp. 121-138.

Paton, L.B. (1905), The Third Wall of Jerusalem and Some Excavations on Its Supposed Line, Journal of Biblical Literature 24: pp. 196-211.

Price, J.J. (1992), Jerusalem under Siege. The Collapse of the Jewish State 66-70 C.E., Leiden – New York – Köln.

Ross, W. (1942), The Four North Walls of Jerusalem, Palestine Exploration Quarterly 74: pp. 69-81.

Schmitt, G. (1981), Die dritte Mauer Jerusalem, Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina Vereins 97: pp153-170.

Strobel, A. (1974), Das römische Belagerungswerk um Machärus. Topographische Untersuchungen, Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina Vereins 90: pp. 128-184.

Sukienik, E.L., Mayer, L.A. (1930), The Third Wall of Jerusalem: An Account of Excavations, Jerusalem.

Sukienik, E.L., Mayer, L.A. (1944), Section of the Third Wall, Jerusalem, PEQ 76: pp. 145-151.

Tzafferis, V., Feig, N., Onn, A., Shukron, E. (2000), Excavations at the Third Wall, North of the Jerusalem Old City, in: H. Geva (ed.), Ancient Jerusalem Revealed. Reprinted and Expanded Edition, Jerusalem: pp. 287-298.

Ussishkin, D. (1979), The “Camp of the Assyrians” in Jerusalem, Israel Exploration Journal 29: pp. 137-142.

Ussishkin, D. (1995), The Water Systems of Jerusalem during Hezekiah’s Reign, in: M. Weppert, D. Timm (eds.), Meilenstein. Festgabe für Herbert Donner zum 16. Februar 1995, Wiesbaden: pp. 289-307.

Ussishkin, D. (2014), Sennacherib’s Campaign to Judah: the Archaeological Perspective with an Emphasis on Lachish and Jerusalem, in: I. Kalimi, S. Richardson (eds.), Sennacherib at the Gates of Jerusalem. Story, History and Historiography, Leiden – Boston: pp. 75-103.

Wightman, G.J. (1993), The Walls of Jerusalem: from the Canaanites to the Mamluks, Sydney.

Wilkes, J.J. (2000), Roman Legions and their Fortresses in the Danube Lands (First to Third Centuries AD), in: R.J. Brewer (ed.), Roman Fortresses and their Legions, Cardiff – London: pp. 101-119.