- Dec 2009
Ammianus Marcellinus records that Julian set out to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Was this an attempt to patronize the ancestral religions of the Empire? Or was he building yet another Roman temple on the site of the Jewish temple? Does anyone know of any other sources that record this attempt?
"His desire to leave a monument to perpetuate the memory of his reign led him to think in particular of restoring at enormous expense the magnificent temple in Jerusalem, which, after much bitter fighting during its siege first by Vespasian and then by Titus, had finally been stormed with difficulty. Alypius of Antioch, who had once governed Britain as the praetorian prefect's deputy, was placed in charge of this project. He set to work boldly, assisted by the governor of the province, but repeated and alarming outbursts of fire-balls near the foundations made it impossible to approach the spot. Some of the workmen were burnt to death, and the obstinate resistance of the fiery element caused the design to be abandoned." - Ammianus Marcellinus 23.1