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JOPPA (Jaffa) Israel.

An ancient Canaanite port on the Mediterranean coast. The earliest mention of it in a Classical text is in the Periplus attributed to Skylax of Karyanda, now thought to be of the second half of the 4th c. B.C. He wrote that at Joppa “Andromeda was abandoned to the sea -monster.” In Persian and Early Hellenistic times Joppa belonged to the Sidonians. Under the Ptolemies it became autonomous (Diod. 19.93.7) and a local mint was established there. The Hasmoneans conquered the city and replaced its original population with Jews (I Macc. 13:11). It became the main harbor of their kingdom. After Pompey's conquest of Palestine in 63 B.C., Joppa became autonomous again, but it returned to the Jews after a short time (Joseph. AJ 14.205). After the accession of Herod the Great the city became part of his domain (Joseph. AJ 14.396). At the time of the Jewish War Vespasian granted autonomy to the city, naming it Flavia Joppe. The city flourished also in Late Roman and Byzantine times.

The ancient mound was excavated in the years between 1955 and 1966. The earlier occupation levels belong to the Late Bronze and Iron Ages; the latest to Late Roman and Byzantine times. Since the area is still densely populated, excavations were restricted. To the Persian period belongs part of a city wall, unearthed over a length of 12 m. It was dated by imported Attic pottery. To the Hellenistic period is dated a fortress of considerable size. From the Early Roman period and later, scanty remains of dwellings and burial caves were discovered.


J. Kaplan, “Jaffa,” Israel Exploration Journal 6 (1956) 259-60; 12 (1962) 149-50.


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