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PHILOTERIA or Sennabris (Khirbet el-Kerak) Israel.

A town built by Ptolemy II on part of the mound of Khirbet el-Kerak (Talmudic Beit Yerah) on the SW shore of the Sea of Galilee. Josephus (BJ 3.447; 5.445) called it Sennabris.

The fortified town built in the Hellenistic period had an area of ca. 125 ha and a wall ca. 1.6 km around, built on a socle of basalt 4.5-6.3 m wide and 3.6 m high, with mud brick above. The wall was strengthened by alternating rectangular and round towers. Some private houses have also been found. Close to the lake was a Roman fort (54 x 54 m), with corner towers and a gate on the S protected by two towers. Within the fort were remains of a synagogue, built when the fort was in ruins. It was a basilica (30.6 x 19.8 m), with a niche in its S wall, facing Jerusalem. The nave had a mosaic pavement, with designs of plants and lions. On one of the column bases Jewish symbols were engraved. A bath was found in another area. The latest building on the site was a Christian basilican church, built in the 5th c., rebuilt in A.D. 528-29, and destroyed at the beginning of the 7th c.


F. M. Abel, Géographie de la Palestine II (1938) 284; B. Maisler et al., IEJ 2 (1952) 165-73; P. Bar-Adon, ibid. 3 (1953) 132; 4 (1954) 128-29; 5 (1955) 273; P. Delougaz & R. C. Haines, A Byzantine Church at Khirbat al-Karak (1960); M. Avi-Yonah, The Holy Land (1966) 37, 70, 138.


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