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GOPHNA

GOPHNA (Γόφνα, Joseph.; Γούφνα, Ptol.), a town of Palaestine, situated in the country of Bernjamin. It gave its name to one of the ten toparchies (Γοφνιτικὴ τοπαρχία, Joseph. B. J. 3.3.5; “toparchia Gophnitica,” Plin. Nat. 5.14). Josephus reckons it second in importance to Jerusalem, and usually joins it with Arcabatta. It was one of four cities taken by Cassius and reduced to slavery (Ant. 14.11.2), but restored to freedom by a decree of Marcus Antonius, after the battle of Philippi (12. § § 2, 3). It was taken by Vespasian in his last campaign in Palaestine (B. J. 4.9.9), and, as Titus marched on Jerusalem by way of Caesareia and Samaria, he passed through Gophna (5.2.1). Eusebius makes it the φάραγζ Βότρυος, Vallis Botri, or Eshcol of Holy Scripture,--its name being identical in signification,--(from HEBREW, a vine), which proves the fertility of the place in his days. He places it 15 miles from Jerusalem, on the road to Neapolis (Nablouse), in near agreement with the Peutinger Tables, which state the distance at 16 miles. The site is still marked by an inconsiderable Christian village, retaining its ancient name unchanged, pronounced by the natives Jufna. It is situated in a deep basin formed by the concurrence of several valleys, and surrounded on all sides by hills. Considerable traces of the Roman road between this town and Jerusalem, are to be seen to the south of the village. The soil around is remarkably fertile, and its grapes are celebrated throughout the country. (Robinson, Bib. Res. vol. iii. pp. 77--79.)

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