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One of the most important stations on the Via Maris. Its ancient name, Aphek, appears on Egyptian name lists and in Biblical literature. It is situated in the borderland between the plain of Sharon and the hills of Samaria, in the midst of a fertile plain, rich in springs, about 18 km to the NE of Tel-Aviv.

In Early Hellenistic times a fort was built on the site as a blockhouse on the border between the districts of Samaria and the Sharon. At this period it was named Pegai, on account of its abundant springs. About 132 B.C. the fort was conquered by John Hyrcanus (Joseph. AJ 16.142). At this time it was known also as Arethuse. After the conquest of Judea by the Romans, it was among the towns rebuilt in 63 B.C. by Pompey (Joseph. BJ 1.155-57). After his ascent to the throne, Herod the Great built on the site a new town, naming it Antipatris in honor of his father Antipater (Joseph. BJ 1.417). Antipatris became the center of a populous district and was still in existence in the Late Roman period. The Pilgrim of Bordeaux (25:21) refers to it as a road station 16 km from Lydda. It declined in the Byzantine period.

Antipatris is identified with the large mound named Râs el-'Ain (Tel Aphek), on top of which are now extensive remains of a Turkish citadel built on the remains of a Crusader castle. To the Roman period belongs a mausoleum. It consists of an open court, a vestibulum, and a single burial chamber in which one ornamented sarcophagus was, discovered.


A. Eitan, “Tel Aphek,” Israel Exploration Journal 12 (1962) 149-50; M. Avi-Yonah, The Holy Land from the Persian to the Arab Conquests (536 B.C. to A.D. 640). A Historical Geography (1966); A. Eitan, “A Sarcophagus and an Ornamental Arch from the Mausoleum at Rosh Ha'ayin,” Eretz-Israel 8 (1967) 114-18.


hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 16.142
    • Flavius Josephus, The Jewish War, 1.155
    • Flavius Josephus, The Jewish War, 1.417
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