previous next


On leaving Pelusium we come to the Camp of Chabrias1, Mount Casius2, the temple of Jupiter Casius, and the tomb of Pompeius Magnus. Ostracine3, at a distance of sixty-five miles from Pelusium, is the frontier town of Ara- bia. (13.) After this, at the point where the Sirbonian Lake4 becomes visible, Idumæa and Palæstina begin. This lake, which some writers have made to be 150 miles in circumference, Herodotus has placed at the foot of Mount Casius; it is now an inconsiderable fen. The towns are Rhinocolura5, and, in the interior, Rhaphea6, Gaza, and, still more inland, Anthedon7: there is also Mount Argaris8. Proceeding along the coast we come to the region of Samaria; Ascalo9, a free town, Azotus10, the two Jamniæ11, one of them in the in- terior; and Joppe12, a city of the Phœnicians, which existed, it is said, before the deluge of the earth. It is situate on the slope of a hill, and in front of it lies a rock, upon which they point out the vestiges of the chains by which Andromeda was bound13. Here the fabulous goddess Ceto14 is worshipped. Next to this place comes Apollonia15, and then the Tower of Strato16, otherwise Cæsarea, built by King Herod, but now the Colony of Prima Flavia, established by the Emperor Vespasianus: this place is the frontier town of Palæstina, at a distance of 188 miles from the confines of Arabia; after which comes Phœnice17. In the interior of Samaria are the towns of Neapolis18, formerly called Mamortha, Sebaste19, situate on a mountain, and, on a still more lofty one, Gamala20.

1 Strabo places this between Mount Casius and Pelusium.

2 See C. 12 of the present Book. Chabrias the Athenian aided Nectanebus II. against his revolted subjects.

3 Its ruins are to be seen on the present Ras Straki.

4 Now called the Sabakat Bardowal. It lay on the coast of Egypt, east of Mount Casius, and it is not improbable that the boundary-line between Egypt and Palæstina or Idumæa ran through the middle of its waters. It was strongly impregnated with asphaltus. A connection formerly existed between it and the Mediterranean, but this being stopped up, it gradually grew smaller by evaporation and is now nearly dry.

5 The present Kulat-el-Arich or El Arish, situate at the mouth of the brook El-Arish, called by the Scriptures the "river of Egypt." Its name signifies in Greek, "cutting off of noses," and is probably derived from the fact of its having been the place of exile for criminals who had been so mutilated, under the Æthiopian kings of Egypt. Poinsinet suggests however that the name means the "town of the circumcised."

6 The place on its site is still called Refah, but it was really situate on the coast. Gaza has been already mentioned in a Note to C. 12, p. 423.

7 Anthedon was on the coast of Palestine, although Pliny says to the contrary. It was situate about three miles to the south-west of Gaza, and was destroyed by Alexander Jannæus. In the time of Julian it was addicted to the worship of Astarte, the Syrian Venus. According to Dupinet the present name of its site is Daron.

8 Brotier says that this is the same as the Mount Gerizim of Scripture, but that was situate in Samaria, a considerable distance from the southern coast of Palæstina. Pliny is the only author that mentions it.

9 The Ascalon of Scripture, one of the five cities of the Philistines, situate on the coast of the Mediterranean, between Gaza and Jamnia. In early times it was the seat of the worship of Derceto, a fish with a woman's head. The ruins, which still bear the name of Askulân, are very extensive, and indicative of great strength. The shalot or scallion was originally a native of this place, and thence derived its name.

10 The Ashdod of Scripture. It was one of the five cities of the Philistines and the chief seat of the worship of Dagon. Herodotus states that it stood a siege of twenty-nine years from Psammetichus, king of Egypt. It was afterwards taken and retaken several times. It was situate between Ascalon and Jamnia, and its site is indicated by the modern village of Esdad, but no ruins of the ancient city are visible.

11 One of these was a city of the Philistines, assigned to the tribe of Judah in the fifteenth Chapter of Joshua, 45, according to the Septuagint version, but omitted in the Hebrew, which only mentions it in 2 Chron. xxvi. 6 (where it is called Jabneh in the English version), as one of the cities of the Philistines taken and destroyed by King Uzziah. The place of this name that lay in the interior, is probably the one spoken of by Josephus as in that part of the tribe of Judah occupied by the children of Dan, as also in the 1 Maccabees, x. 69–71. The one was probably the port of the other. The ruins of the port still retain the name of Yebora, and are situate on an eminence about an hour's distance from the sea, on the banks of the river Rûbin.

12 Or Joppa of Scripture, now called Yâfa or Jaffa. The timber from Lebanon intended for both the first and second Temples was landed here. It was taken and retaken more than once during the wars of the Maccabees, and was finally annexed by Pompey to the Roman province of Syria. It is mentioned several times in the New Testament in connection with Saint Peter. In the Jewish war, having become a refuge for pirates, it was taken by Cestius and destroyed, and even the very ruins were demolished by Vespasian. It was afterwards rebuilt, and in the time of the Crusades was alternately in the hands of the Christians and the Moslems.

13 To be devoured by the sea monster, from which she was delivered by Perseus, who had borrowed for the occasion the talaria or winged shoes of Mercury. In B. ix. c. 4, Pliny states that the skeleton of the monster was exhibited at Rome by M. Æmilius Scaurus, when he was Curule Ædile.

14 Probably the same as Derceto or Atargatis, the fish-goddess with a woman's head, of the Syrians.

15 Situate between Cæsarea and Joppa. It is probable that it owed its name to the Macedonian kings of either Egypt or Syria. Arsûf, a deserted village, but which itself was of considerable importance in the time of the Crusades, represents the ancient Apollonia.

16 The site of the Turris Stratonis was afterwards occupied by Cæsarea, a city on the coast, founded by Herod the Great, and named Cæsarea in honour of Augustus Cæsar. It was renowned for the extent and magnificence of its harbour, which was secured by a breakwater of stupendous construction. For some time it was considered the principal city of Palestine and the chief seat of the Roman government. Although it again changed its name, as Pliny states, it still retained its name of Cæsarea as the Metropolitan See of the First Palestine. It was also of considerable importance during the occupation of the Holy Land by the Crusaders. Its ruins are still visible, but have served as a quarry for many generations, and Jaffa, Sidon, Acre and Beyrout have been supplied with stones from this site. Massive remains of its mole or break-water and its towers still exist.

17 Or Phœnicia.

18 By some regarded as the Scriptural town of Sichem, but by others as a distinct place, though in its immediate vicinity. Its present name is Naplous or Nabolos, situate between Mounts Ebal and Gerizim. Its proper name under the Romans was Flavia Neapolis. It was the birth-place of Justin Martyr.

19 The city of Samaria, so called from Shemer, the owner of the hill which Omri, King of Israel, purchased, about B.C. 922, for its site. Herod greatly renovated this city, which he called Sebaste, in honour of his patron Augustus, in Greek "Sebastos." Its site is now occupied by a poor village, which bears the name of Sebustieh.

20 A town of Palæstina, frequently mentioned by Josephus as remarkable for the strength of its fortifications, and situate on the Lake Tiberias, opposite to Tarichæa. After a spirited defence, it was taken by Vespasian, who slaughtered 4000 of the survivors, upon which 5000 threw themselves from the walls, and were dashed to pieces below. The site had been forgotten for nearly eighteen centuries, when Lord Lindsay discovered it on a lofty hill on the east of Lake Tiberias, and nearly opposite the town of that name. It is now called El-Hossn, and the ruins of the fortifications are very extensive.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
922 BC (1)
hide References (15 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: