Late Bronze Age (1550–1200 B.C.E.)

According to a rabbinic text (Mishnah, Arakin 9.6), Zippori (the Hebrew name for Sepphoris) was one of the cities fortified by Joshua during the conquest of Canaan. Excavations have not revealed a city from this period, however.

539 B.C.E.

Persian ruler Cyrus the Great conquers Babylon and allows the exiled Jews to return from their Babylonian captivity. Sepphoris may have been the site of a Persian garrison during the fifth and fourth centuries B.C.E.

200 B.C.E.

Seleucid ruler Antiochus III conquers Jerusalem. Sepphoris becomes the site of a Seleucid fort constructed by either Antiochus III or his successor, Antiochus IV. The fort bolsters the city’s reputation as a key stronghold in Galilee.

167 B.C.E.

Under the leadership of Judah Maccabee, the Jews mount a rebellion against the Seleucids, which culminates in the establishment of the Hasmonean dynasty in Judea. Archaeological evidence indicates the presence of a Jewish community at Sepphoris during the Hasmonean period.

63 B.C.E.

The Roman general Pompey conquers Syria-Palestine, but Sepphoris survives as a Hasmonean stronghold.

37 B.C.E.

The Romans appoint Herod ruler of Judea; he captures Sepphoris from Antigonus, the last Hasmonean king.

4 B.C.E.

Herod dies. At Sepphoris, Judas son of Ezekias leads a brief insurrection against Rome. The empire responds by burning Sepphoris and enslaving the rebels.

66–70 C.E.

The First Jewish Revolt against Rome (the Great Revolt). The inhabitants of Sepphoris adopt a pacifist position and welcome a Roman garrison into their city.

132–135 C.E.

The unsuccessful Second Jewish Revolt against Rome (the Bar-Kokhba Revolt) leads to mass migrations from southern Palestine into Galilee. The population shift brings an increased Hellenistic influence to Sepphoris.

138–161 C.E.

The Roman emperor Antoninus Pius reigns. Coins minted during his rule reveal a new Roman name for Sepphoris—Diocaesarea.

Third and Fourth Centuries C.E.

Greco-Roman influences become more widespread in Sepphoris. But the city is also a key rabbinic center, with numerous synagogues and Jewish ritual baths. A fourth-century message from Emperor Constantine, recorded by Epiphanius, indicates that Sepphoris remains a very Jewish city.