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NEA´POLIS

NEA´POLIS, II. In Asia.


1.

An important city of Palaestine, commonly supposed to be identical with the SICHEM or SHECHEM of the Old Testament. Thus Epiphanius uses the names as synonymous (ἐν Σικίμοις, τοῦτ̓ ἔστιν ἐν τῇ νυνὶ Νεαπόλει, adv. Haeres. lib. iii. tom. i.p. 1055, comp. 1068). Eusebius and St. Jerome, however, place Sichem (Σικίμα, Συκὲμ, Συχὲμ) in the suburbs of Neapolis (Onomast. s. vv. Terebinthus, Sychem); and Luz is placed near to, and, according to the former, viii. M. P., according to the latter, iii. M. P., from Neapolis (s. v. Λούζα), which would imply a considerable interval between the ancient and the modern city. In order to reconcile this discrepancy, Reland suggests that, while the ancient city gradually decayed, the new city was extended by gradual accretion in the opposite direction, so as to widen the interval; and he cites in illustration the parallel case of Utrecht and Veehten. (Palaestina, pp. 1004, 1005.) Another ancient name of this city occurs only in one passage of St. John's Gospel (4.5), where it is called Sichar (Σιχάρ); for although St. Jerome maintains this to be a corrupt reading for Sychem (Epitaph. Paulae, Ep. lxxxvi. Op. tom. iv. p. 676, Quaest. in Genes. c. xlviii. ver. 22, tom ii. p. 545), his correction of what he allows was an ancient and common error, even in his age, has no authority in any known codex or version. Another of its ancient names which has exercised the ingenuity of the learned, occurs in Pliny, who reckons among the cities of Samaria, “Neapolis quod antea Mamortha dicebatur” (5.13), evidently a mistake for Mabortha, which Josephus gives for the native name of Neapolis (B. J. 4.8.2); unless, as Reland conjectures, both readings are to be corrected from coins, which he shrewdly remarks are less liable to corruption than MSS., and which read Morthia (Μορθία), which that learned writer takes to be the classical form of the Hebrew word Moreh, which was associated with Sichem, both in the Old Testament and the Rabbinical commentaries. (Gen. 12.6; Deut. 11.30; Reland, Dissertationes Miscell. pars i. pp. 138--140.) The same writer explains the name Sichar, in St. John, as a name of reproach, contemptuously assigned to the city by the Jews as the seat of error (the Hebrew HEBREW signifying mendacium, falsum), and borrowed from the prophet Habakkuk, where the two words Moreh Shaker (HEBREW) occur in convenient [p. 2.412]proximity, translated in our version, “a teacher of lies” (2.18). The time when it assumed its new name, which it still retains almost uncorrupted in Nablûs, is marked by the authors above cited and by the coins. Pliny died during the reign of Titus, under whom Josephus wrote, and the earliest coins bearing the inscription ΦΛΑΟΥΙ. ΝΕΑΡΟΙ. ΣΑΜΑΡ. are of the same reign.

Sichem is an exceedingly ancient town, and is frequently mentioned in the history of the earliest patriarchs. It was the first place of Abraham's sojourn on coming into the land of Canaan, and there he built an altar to the Lord. (Gen. 12.6.) The connection of Jacob with the place is marked by the traditionary well still called by his name, and referred to as an undoubtedly authentic tradition, eighteen centuries ago,--that is, at the expiration of about half the period that has elapsed since the time of the patriarch (Gen. 33.18, xxxiv.; St. John, 4.5, 6, 12); nor need the authority of the other local tradition of Joseph's tomb be questioned, as he was certainly deposited there on the coming in of the Israelites, and the reverence paid by them to their fathers' sepulchres forbids us to suppose that it could fall into oblivion. (Gen. 1. 25; Josh. 34.32.) That tomb was probably situated in the “parcel of a field” where Jacob had spread his tent, which he had bought of the children of Hamor, Shechems' father, for a hundred pieces of money, but which the patriarch himself represents as taken (probably recovered) “from the Amorites with his sword and with his bow” (Gen. 48.22), and which he retained as pasture-ground for his cattle after his removal from that vicinity (37.12--14). In the division of the land, it fell to the tribe of Ephraim, and is described as situated in Mount Ephraim; it was a Levitical city, and one of the three cities of refuge on the west of Jordan. (Josh. 20.7, 21.20, 21.). There it was that Joshua assembled the national convention shortly before his death (24.1, 25); at which time “he took a great stone and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the Lord” (ver. 26), proving that the tabernacle was then at Shechem, probably in the identical place, the memory of which the Samaritan tradition has perpetuated to this day. [EBAL; GERIZIM.] The pillar erected by Joshua continued to be held in veneration throughout the time of the Judges ; there the Shechemites “made Abimelech king, by the plain (|| oak) of the pillar that was in Shechem,” --his own birthplace, and the scene of his father Gideon's victory over the Midianites (Judges, 7.1, 8.31, 9.6) ; and there it was that the Israelites assembled to make Rehoboamking. (1 Kings, 12.1 ; 2 Chron. 10.1.) The remainder of its history is so identified with that of its sacred Mount Gerizim that it has been anticipated under that article. There can be little doubt that this is the city of Samaria mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, where Philip preached with such success, and which furnished to the Church one of its earliest and most dangerous adversaries, and its first and most distinguished apologist. Not that Simon Magus was a native of Neapolis, but of a village of Samaria named Gitton (Γιττῶν, Just. Mart. Apol. 1.36; comp. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 2.13), but Neapolis was the principal theatre of his sorceries. Justin Martyr was a native of the city, according to Eusebius (ἀπὸ Φλαυίας νέας πόλεως Συρίας τῆς Ραλαιστίνης, Hist. Eccles. 2.13). Sichem is placed by Eusebius and St. Jerome, x. M. P. from Shilo, which agrees well with the interval between Silûn and Nablûs. (Onomast. s. v. Σηλώ.) But it must be observed, that these authors distinguish between the Sychem of Ephraim, near the sepulchre of Joseph,--which, having been destroyed and sown with salt by Abimelech, was restored by Jeroboam (comp. Judges, 9.45, with 1 Kings, 12.25), who, Josephus says, built his palace there (Ant. 8.8.4),--and the city of refuge in Mount Ephraim, which they assign to Manasseh, and, with strange inconsistency, immediately identify with the preceding by the fact that Joseph's bones were buried there. (Onomast. s. v. Συχέμ.) The author of the Jerusalem Itinerary places it xl. M. P. from Jerusalem.

The modern town of Nablûs is situated in a valley lying between Mount Ebal on the N., and Mount Gerizim on the S., giving to the valley a direction from E. to W. On the E., the Nablûs valley opens into a much wider valley, about 2 miles from the town; this valley is called Erd-Mûkhna Where the Nablûs valley meets the Erd-Mûkhna, at the NE. base of Mount Gerizim, is Jacob's well, and, hard by the well, is the traditionary site of Joseph's tomb, both of them close to the Moslem village of Askar, situated at the SE. base of Mount Ebal. Possibly this Askar may mark the site of ancient Sychar, the names present only an anagrammatical variation. This would satisfy the language of Eusebius and St. Jerome, cited at the commencement of the article, and remove the obvious difficulty of supposing the well so far distant from the city as is Nablûs, particularly as Nablûs abounds with running streams, and there are copious fountains between it and the well. One of these, not noticed by any traveller, situated about mid-way between the well and the town, in the middle of the valley, is called ‘Ain Daphné, so named, no doubt, at the time when Greeks inhabited Neapolis, from the infamous fountain and grove near Antioch. The modern Nablûs is a large and well-built town, containing a population of from 12,000 to 14,000 souls, almost entirely Mohammedans; the Samaritans having been reduced to something under 200 of all ages ani both sexes. (Raumer, Palästina, pp. 144--148, notes; Robinson, Bib. Res. vol. iii. pp. 95--136.)

The coins of Neapolis are very frequent under the emperors from Titus to Volusianus. The common inscription is ΦΛ. ΝΕΑΞΡΟΛΕΩΞ, more rarely ΦΛΑΟΥ, as in the one below, in which is also added, as in many examples, the name of the region. The more usual emblem on the reverse is a temple situated on the summit of a mountain, to which is an ascent by many steps. The temple is doubtless that mentioned by Damasius as Διὸς Ὑψίστου ἁγιώτατον ἱερὸν (ap. Phot. Bibl. p. 1055), the steps those alluded to by the Bordeaux Pilgrim in A.D. 333:--“Ascenduntur usque ad summum montem gradus numero CCC.” On the coins of Titus, however, before the Mount Gerizim was introduced, a palm, as in the example below, was the type; or a laurel, with

COIN OF NEAPOLIS IN PALESTINE.

[p. 2.413]

the name of the city written among its branches. (Eckhel, vol. iii. pp. 433--435: see GERIZIM Vol. I. p. 992. a.) [G.W]


2.

A town of Colchis, south of Dioscurias, and north of Phasis, on the river Chobos or Chorsos. (Scyl. p. 27; Ptol. 5.10.2.)


3.

A town on the coast of Ionia, south of Ephesus, on the road between Anaea and Marathesium. It was a small place which at first belonged to the Ephesians, and afterwards to the Samians, who received it in exchange for Marathesium. (Strab. xiv. p.639.) Most writers identify its site with the modern Scala Nova, at a distance of about three hours' walk from the site of ancient Ephesus; but Col. Leake (Asia Minor, p. 261) believes that this place marks the site of the ancient Marathesium, and that the ancient remains found about halfway between Scala Nova and Tshangli, belong to the ancient town of Neapolis. (Comp. Tournefort, Letters, xx. p. 402; Fellows, Journal of an Exc. in As. Min. p. 271, who identifies Neapolis with Tshangli or Changli itself.)


4.

A town in Caria, between Orthosia and Aphrodisias, at the foot of Mount Cadmus, in the neighbourhood of Harpasa. (Ptol. 5.2.19; Hierocl. p. 688.) Richter (Wallfahrten, p. 539) identifies it with the modern Jenibola, near Arpas Kalessi, the ancient Harpasa. Another town of the same name is mentioned on the coast of Caria by Mela (1.16) and Pliny (5.29); and it is clear that this cannot be the same town as that near Harpas ; it is probably only another name for New Myndus [MYNDUS].


5.

A town in Pisidia, a few miles south of Antioch. (Ptol. 5.4.11; Hierocl. p. 672.) Pliny (5.42) mentions it as a town of the Roman province of Galatia, which embraced a portion of Pisidia. Franz (Fünf Inschriften, p. 35) identifies its site with Tutinek, where some ancient remains still exist. [L.S]


6.

A small place situated on the Euphrates, at the distance of 14 schoeni (about 40 miles) below Besechana. Bitter has tried, but unsuccessfully (if the present numbers be correct) to identify it with Maida. (Isid. Mans. Parth. 1.12, ed. Müller, 1855.) [V]

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