Why was ancient Israel renamed Palestine?

| Linda Brown | History

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In ancient times, the Israelite kingdom was called Judae. After suppressing the Jewish rebellion in Judea, the Roman Emperor Hadrian decided to punish the Jewish population By: 

  • Exiling the vast majority of Jews to all corners of the empire. 
  • Forbidding the practice of Jewish religious decrees.  
  • Building a pagan city – ‘Aelia Capitolina’ – on the ruins of Jerusalem.
  • And …. renaming ‘Judea’, ‘Palestine’. 

Hadrian’s goal was to obliterate any connection between the Jewish people and the Holy Land.  

He failed. The Jewish connection to the Holy Land did not diminish and they kept it in their hearts, in songs and prayers.  

However, it took 2000 years for the jews to regain independence in the territory Hadrian renamed Palestine, now known as the state of Israel.   

 

Bonus fact: Hadrien chose to name it ‘Palestine’ in reference to the Philistines, a nation of greek origin who lived in the southern coastal plain of Canaan, between the 12th century BCE and 6 century BCE.   

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And for those of you who are keen to know more about the aforementioned Jewish rebellion, here is some more:

The Bar Kochba rebellion was the last great revolt of the Jews against the rule of the Roman Empire. It took place during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (132-136 AD) and was the third Jewish uprising in the Roman Empire in about sixty years. It was preceded by the Great Revolt (70-66) and the Diaspora Revolt (117-115). These revolts were brutally suppressed by Roman rule and resulted in the destruction of many Jewish communities and cities (including that of Jerusalem); hundreds of thousands of Jews killed and many of those who survived were exiled or sold into slavery. In addition, the status of the Jewish religion was degraded throughout the empire.

The rebellion was headed by Shimon Bar Kochba with the support of Rabbi Akiva, who even declared him a Messiah. In the early stages of the rebellion, the rebel army gained considerable success. They defeated the Roman garrison in Judea, seized vast territory in the mountainous center of the Land of Israel, and established them as an independent Jewish government that Bar Kochba headed, bearing the title of ‘President of Israel’.

All Roman attempts to suppress the rebellion failed during the first two years. The tide seemed to turn against the rebels with the arrival of Commander Julius Severus. Over the next two years, the Romans waged a cautious and devastating campaign against the rebels, gradually reducing the area under their control and pushing them to a small area. At the end of 135, Beitar, the last stronghold of the rebels, fell after a long siege, and Bar Kochba was killed. Suppression of the rebellion was apparently complete in the first months of 136

The destruction caused by the suppression of the uprising was tremendous, and researchers estimate that at least hundreds of thousands of Jewish rebels and civilians were killed during and hundreds of settlements were destroyed. Although some Jewish presence in Judea  (renamed Palestine) maintained, it took 2000 years and the establishment of the state of Israel to fully recover. 

The losses of the Roman military forces who participated in the suppression of the rebellion were also heavy, and the battle in Palestine was probably the most difficult of all the military systems conducted during Hadrian’s reign. The rebellion was the last major confrontation between the Jews in Palestine and the Roman Empire, although small-scale Mary operations continued afterward. The years of the Bar Kochba revolt were the last time that Jewish independence took place in the territory of Palestine until the establishment of the State of Israel.  

And for those of you who are keen to know more about the aforementioned Jewish rebellion, here is some more:

The Bar Kochba rebellion was the last great revolt of the Jews against the rule of the Roman Empire. It took place during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (132-136 AD) and was the third Jewish uprising in the Roman Empire in about sixty years. It was preceded by the Great Revolt (70-66) and the Diaspora Revolt (117-115). These revolts were brutally suppressed by Roman rule and resulted in the destruction of many Jewish communities and cities (including that of Jerusalem); hundreds of thousands of Jews killed and many of those who survived were exiled or sold into slavery. In addition, the status of the Jewish religion was degraded throughout the empire.

The rebellion was headed by Shimon Bar Kochba with the support of Rabbi Akiva, who even declared him a Messiah. In the early stages of the rebellion, the rebel army gained considerable success. They defeated the Roman garrison in Judea, seized vast territory in the mountainous center of the Land of Israel, and established them as an independent Jewish government that Bar Kochba headed, bearing the title of ‘President of Israel’.

All Roman attempts to suppress the rebellion failed during the first two years. The tide seemed to turn against the rebels with the arrival of Commander Julius Severus. Over the next two years, the Romans waged a cautious and devastating campaign against the rebels, gradually reducing the area under their control and pushing them to a small area. At the end of 135, Beitar, the last stronghold of the rebels, fell after a long siege, and Bar Kochba was killed. Suppression of the rebellion was apparently complete in the first months of 136

The destruction caused by the suppression of the uprising was tremendous, and researchers estimate that at least hundreds of thousands of Jewish rebels and civilians were killed during and hundreds of settlements were destroyed. Although some Jewish presence in Judea  (renamed Palestine) maintained, it took 2000 years and the establishment of the state of Israel to fully recover. 

The losses of the Roman military forces who participated in the suppression of the rebellion were also heavy, and the battle in Palestine was probably the most difficult of all the military systems conducted during Hadrian’s reign. The rebellion was the last major confrontation between the Jews in Palestine and the Roman Empire, although small-scale Mary operations continued afterward. The years of the Bar Kochba revolt were the last time that Jewish independence took place in the territory of Palestine until the establishment of the State of Israel.