called Akko on the coast S of Tyre, refounded by Ptolemy II Philadelphos (285-246 B.C.). According to Isaeus
and Demosthenes, there was an Athenian merchant colony there as early as the 4th c. B.C. In Hellenistic times
Ptolemais was an important strategic site. It passed under
Seleucid control in the 2d c. B.C. and became the main
base of the Syrian Greeks against the Jews during the
Maccabaean wars, and of the Romans in the Jewish wars
of Vespasian, Titus, and Hadrian in the 1st and 2d c.
A.D. Claudius gave it the title of colony. The Moslems
took it in A.D. 638. The town was completely destroyed
at the end of the Crusades and rebuilt at the end of the
18th c. The aqueduct visible to the NE dates from ca.
There are virtually no ancient remains. The ramparts,
the temples of gods known from the town's coinage, the
gymnasium built by Herod the Great, the public baths
where, according to the Michnah, the rabbi Gamaliel did
not fear to bathe himself underneath a statue of Aphrodite, have all disappeared.
N. Makhouly & C. N. Johns, Guide to
(1946); H. Seyrig, “Divinités de Ptolemaïs,” Syria
39 (1962) (Antiquités syriennes