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MACHAERUS (Mukawar) Jordan.

One of the fortresses built by Alexander Jannaeus (Joseph. BJ 3.417) E of the Dead Sea, in the region previously conquered by John Hyrcanus. It was destroyed in 64 B.C. by Pompey. Pliny (HN 5.72), who states that Machaerus was one of the important fortresses of Judea, is possibly referring to the newer fortress built by Herod the Great and described by Josephus (BJ 7.173-77); he mentions the strong walls, the beautiful palace, the cisterns for the collection of water, and the stores of arms and food. John the Baptist was decapitated in the palace (Matt. 14; Mark 6; Joseph. AJ 18.116-19). After Herod's death Machaerus became part of the Peraea, and the fortress was finally destroyed by the Romans after a long siege (BJ 7. 190ff). It was on a mountain called el-Musheneq, where remains of Herod's fortress, the walls, the Roman siege works, and an aqueduct have been identified.


F. M. Abel, Géographie de la Palestine II (1938) 371-72; M. Avi-Yonah, The Holy Land (1966) 73, 101, 180.


hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 18.116
    • Flavius Josephus, The Jewish War, 3.417
    • Flavius Josephus, The Jewish War, 7.173
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 5.15
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