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Market town at the N end of the mountains of the Hauran, on the road from Damascus to Dionysias (Soueida) and Bostra, the home of the emperor Philip the Arab (A.D. 244-49), who made it into a city.

The town was the usual large quadrilateral, and the cardo (the main axis of traffic) and the decumanus (on a steep slope) are well preserved. A tetrapylon marked their crossing. Large public baths and the piers and arches of an aqueduct are visible in the SE district, while the columns of the portico of a hexastyle temple stand to the W, on the N side of the decumanus. The Philippeion, the temple of the imperial family, is a little farther S, and nearby is a theater built of basalt, partly against the hill. All the arcades of the exterior facade, the scaenae frons, and the greater part of the hemicycle are preserved. The entrances, corridors, vomitoria, and stairways are well arranged.

Polychrome mosaic pavements have been found in the houses, depicting individuals or vast allegorical or mythological tableaus. They date from the middle of the 3d c. A.D. and some of them are now in the Damascus museum and in the Soueida museum.


H. C. Butler, AAES Pt. II, Architecture and other Arts (1903)MPI; R. E. Brünnow & A. v. Domaszewski, Die Provincia Arabia III (1909)MPI; M. Dunand, Syria 7 (1926)I; E. Frézouls, “Les théâtres romains de Syrie,” Annales archéologiques de Syrie 2 (1952)I; P. Coupel & id., Le Théâtre de Philippopolis en Arabie (1956) = Bibliothèque archéologique et Historique 63 (1956); E. Will, “Une nouvelle mosaïque de Chahba-Philippopolis,” Annales archéologiques de Syrie 3 (1953)I.


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