Psephenus Tower

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The tower of Psephenus (also spelled as Psephinus) was a fortification tower located on the north-western corner of Jerusalem's third wall. This tower may have been built by Herod Agrippa I (41–44 CE) who began building the third wall.


Fifteen days of constant attack on the wall between the Western gate and the Psephenus Tower, saw the Roman siege engines breach Jerusalem. Josephus also mentions the Tower Psephinus saying, "But wonderful as was the third wall throughout, still more was the tower Psephinus, which rose at its northwest angle and opposite to which Titus encamped. For, being seventy cubits high, it afforded from sunrise a prospect embracing both Arabia and the utmost limits of Hebrew territory as far as the sea." (Josephus Wars).


circa 10 CE

According to the Jewish historian Josephus, this tower was 115 feet [35 meters] high and he maintains that from it one could see the Mediterranean Sea to the west and the mountains of Transjordan to the east. The latter seems more plausible than the former. The Tower of Psephinus may have been located in what today is “west Jerusalem”—near the “Russian Compound” but no archaeological remains have been found to-date.

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