Duby Tal/Moni Haramati/Albatross

The double domes of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in the foreground, and the distant golden Dome of the Rock dominate this aerial view of the roofs of Jerusalem’s Old City. One of these buildings stands on the site of a temple erected by the Romans in the second century A.D. But which one?

In 130 A.D., 60 years after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple, Emperor Hadrian (117–137 A.D.) established the city as a Roman colony called Aelia Capitolina. The name Aelia commemorated his family, and Capitolina recalled the temple dedicated to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva that stood on the Capitoline Hill in Rome (compare with model of Jerusalem’s Old City). As a Roman colony, Aelia Capitolina was entitled to erect its own temple to Jupiter and his companions. No remains of this structure have been discovered, but several ancient historians and pilgrims recorded descriptions of it. A careful reading of their conflicting reports allows author Jerome Murphy-O’Connor to deduce where the Roman temple stood.