Thought this was kind of interesting.
I was watching a show on TV about Herod the Great, it told how he had seized Kingship by intrigue, not being in the Jewish Royal bloodline, but he teamed up with Rome in order to seize the kingdom.
Anyway, thought that was interesting, so I did a little research.
Here is the question, How many temples were ever built? I thought 2, but it seems it was 3
What temple was destroyed in 70 AD? I had always thought it was the 2nd temple. But it appears it was the 3rd temple.
Now we know there was the temple built during Solomons time - the 1st temple
And we know there was the temple built by Zerubbabel - the 2nd temple
But what of the third - well this one is referred to as Herods Temple
Here are some things from wikipedia on Herod's Temple.
Herod's Temple in Jerusalem was a massive expansion of the Temple Mound along with a completely new and much larger Temple. Herod the Great's expansion project began around 19 BCE. The project by Herod began with the building of giant underground vaults upon which the temple would be built so it could be larger than the small flat area on top of Mount Moriah. Ground level at the time was at least 20 ft. (6m) below the current level, as can be seen by walking the Western Wall tunnels. The edge of this platform remains everywhere; part of it forms the Western Wall.
Although the Second Temple was completely removed with a New "Third" Temple built to replace it; this Temple (destroyed in 70 AD by Rome) is not commonly taught to be the Third Temple as the Sacrifices never ceased throughout the construction process. Each stone for the New Temple also had to be carved and ready for construction before demolition of the Second Temple could take place.
In 1948, Jordan destroyed the Jewish Quarter and much more of the wall was revealed along the southern side. In 1967, Israel took control of Old Jerusalem (and the Temple Mount) from Jordan. It was found that the wall extended all the way around Temple Mount and is part of the city wall near the Lion's Gate. Thus, the Western Wall is not the only remaining part of the Temple. Currently, "Robinson's arch" remains as the beginning of an arch that spanned the gap between the top of the platform and the higher ground farther away. This was used by the priests as an entrance. Commoners entered through the still-extant, but now plugged, gates on the southern side which led through beautiful colonnades to the top of the platform. One of these colonnades is still extant and reachable through Temple Mount.
The Temple itself was probably located on the site of what today is the Dome of the Rock. The gates let out close to Al-Aqsa. The Temple was destroyed by Roman troops under Titus in 70 CE. (The most complete ancient account of this event is The Jewish War, by Flavius Josephus.) The Roman and Byzantine governors built palaces out of the rubble, as well as a Temple of Jupiter and a Church, but it was not until the Dome of the Rock was built between 687 and 691 that the last remnants of the Temple were taken down.
Herod's Temple was one of the biggest construction projects of the first century BC, comparable to some of the seven wonders of the world.
Herod was interested in perpetuating his name for all eternity through building projects, and his construction program was extensive. He had magnificent palaces in Masada, Caesarea and Tiberias. Herod built temples for various pagan gods to serve the gentile populations, which were paid for by heavy taxes on the local Jewish population.
But his masterpiece was to be the Temple of Jeruselem. The old temple, built by Zerubbabel nearly half a millennium before, despite frequent renovation, most notably by the Maccabees in the century before, was still run down and rather small. (The precinct at the beginning of the Second Temple period is said to have been 50 meters by 150 meters, an area comparable to or smaller than an American city block.) So in 20 BCE, Herod announced that the old temple would be torn down and replaced with something truly magnificent. The Cohanim, or Jewish priesthood, as well as the rest of the population, were skeptical, requiring Herod to quarry all the stones required for the project before the destruction of the Post-Exile structure could begin.
An agreement was made between Herod and the Jews--the sacrificial rituals, called korbanot, were to be continued unabated for the entire time of construction, and the Temple itself would be constructed by the Cohanim.
Mt. Moriah had a plateau at the northern end, and steeply declined on the southern slope. It was Herod's plan that the entire mountain be turned into a giant square platform. To do this, a trench was dug around the mountain, and huge stone "bricks" were laid--the largest measuring 44.6 feet by 11 feet and weighing 628 tons, while most were in the range of 2.5 by 3.5 by 15 feet. It is believed that the stones were transported from the quarry on specialized carts. As the mountainside began to rise, the western side was carved away to a vertical wall and bricks were carved to create a virtual continuation of the brick face, which was continued for a while until the northern slope reached ground level. Part of the Antonian hill to the north of Moriah was annexed to the complex and the area between was filled up with landfill.
The Southern wall was designed as a grand entrance. Recent archeological digs have found thousands of "Mikvas" (ceremonial bathtubs) for the ritual purification of the worshippers, as well as the grand stairway leading to the now blocked entrance.
Inside the walls, the platform was supported by a series of vaulted archways, now called "Solomon's stables" which still exist and whose current renovation by the Palestinian authority is extremely controversial.
As for the temple itself, it was made, not of local stone, as was the rest of the complex, but imported white marble, which was in sharp contrast to the entire city and gleamed in the daylight.
Legend has it that the construction of the entire complex lasted only three years, but other sources such as Josephus say that it took far longer, although the Temple itself may have taken that long. It is possible that the complex was only a few years completed when the future Emperor Titus burnt the place to the ground in 70 CE.
Herod's Temple, mmm, the same Herod who killed all those babie trying to kill Jesus. Interesting.
Anyway I thought this was interesting, as I didn't know this. (maybe I'm the only one though