Between Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal, a colony of Roman
veterans founded by Vespasian after the Second Temple
was destroyed. The new town was built on the site of an
earlier one, of which only the name, Mabartha, is known
(Joseph. BJ 4.449
). Pliny (HN 5.69
), mentioning Samaria,
gives the earlier name in a corrupted form, Mamorta.
In A.D. 72 the city established an era of its own, by which
it dated its coins to the middle of the 3d c. A.D. On many
of the coins the temple on Mt. Gerizim is portrayed. In
A.D. 244 Philip the Arab raised the town to the rank of a
colony, naming it Colonia Iulia (or Sergia) Neapolis.
Christian sources refer frequently to Neapolis. It was
the seat of a bishop, and two of its bishops participated
in the councils of Ancyra (314) and Nicaea (325). In
the Early Byzantine period the majority of the inhabitants of Neapolis were, however, Samaritans, who oppressed the Christian minority. In the 4th c. the Samaritans built a synagogue. In the 6th c. Neapolis is still
described as a large city on the Medaba mosaic map,
where its walls are shown with a gate on the E, opening
on a large market. From the market one colonnaded
street, intersected by another, passes through the middle
of the town. At the intersection of the two streets a domed
building rested on four columns. A nymphaeum and a
large church are also shown in other quarters of the city.
The remains of the ancient town are still hidden below
the modern town of Nablus, a name which has preserved
the ancient form. There have been no excavations.
F. M. Abel, Géographie de la Palestine
II (1938) 396-97; M. Avi-Yonah, The Holy Land trom
the Persian to the Arab Conquests
(536 B.C. to A.D.
640). A Historical Geography (1966).