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GADARA (Umm Qeis) Jordan.

City N of the Yarmuk river, in N Jordan, a Ptolemaic foundation. The Peutinger Table places it 16 miles from both Tiberias and Capitolias. In the Hellenistic period it was an important cultural center, and Meleager, Menippus, and Philodemos were born here (Strab. 16.759). It was the capital of the district of Galaaditis (Gilead), but became part of the Seleucid kingdom after the victory of Antiochus III. At that time it was also called Antiochia and Seleucia. It was conquered by Alexander Jannaeus, but freed by Pompey in 64 B.C. (Joseph. AJ 13.356). The city was rebuilt and joined the Decapolis. It minted coins from the time of Augustus to that of Gordian III, dating them from the time of Pompey. Augustus presented Gadara to Herod, but it was annexed to Syria after the monarch's death and ruled directly by a Roman proconsul. Matthew (8:28) mentions it as the place in which Jesus healed the demoniac. A late Roman inscription found on the site gives the name of the town as Colonia Valentiniana Gadara. In the territory of the city were well-known hot springs (Euseb. Onom. 74.10), and in the Byzantine period a synagogue was built nearby.


E. L. Sukenik, Ancient Synagogues in Palestine and Greece (1934) 81-82; F. M. Abel, Géographie de la Palestine 11 (1938) 323; M. Avi-Yonah, The Holy Land (1966) 40, 51, 69, 76, 80, 84, 89, 96, 102, 174.


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