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A town on the Mediterranean coast, between Jaffa and Caesarea (Plin. HN 5.14), ca. 24 km from Jaffa. The Semitic-Phoenician name of the place was Rishpon, “the city of the god Resheph,” identified by the Greeks with Apollo. It is possible that Apollonia had already been conquered by John Hyrcanus I, but certainly by the time of Alexander Jannaeus it was incorporated into the Hasmonaean kingdom (Joseph. AJ 13.395). The city was freed by Pompey in 64 B.C. and was subsequently rebuilt by Gabinius (Joseph. BJ 1.166). Although there is no written evidence, it is certain that Apollonia was given to Herod at the beginning of his reign and received the status of a polis. After the destruction of the Temple it was once again made autonomous by Vespasian.

Apollonia was one of the few coastal cities that did not mint coins. It is possible therefore that during most of the Late Roman period, for which we have no written records, Apollonia was an insignificant town, and revived only in the Byzantine period when its name was changed from Apollonia to Sozusa, “City of the Savior (Hierocles Synecd. 719.5). It has not been excavated.


M. Avi-Yonah, The Holy Land from the Persian to the Arab Conquests (536 B.C. to A.D. 640). A Historical Geography (1966).


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