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PELLA (Khirbet Fahil) Jordan.

Town on the S slopes of the Gilead ca. 12.8 km SE of Scythopolis (Beisan). It is known from early Egyptian historical texts as Pehal, and evidence indicates that it was also settled in the Iron Age. Veterans of Alexander the Great's army founded the Greek settlement, naming it for the birthplace of Alexander in Macedonia. Polybios (5.70) mentions it among the cities conquered in 218 B.C. by Antiochos the Great, and during the Hellenistic period Pella was known as a center of Greek culture. Alexander Jannaeus conquered it after several futile attempts in 80 B.C., and the inhabitants who refused to convert to Judaism left the city (Joseph. AJ 13.397). Pompey conquered Pella, then freed it and made it part of the Decapolis (AJ 14.75). Gabinius, the procurator of Syria, rebuilt it, and Pliny (HN 5.16.70) mentions its famous spring. The city was destroyed in the war against the Romans in A.D. 66. In the late Roman and Byzantine periods, however, it was an important Christian center.

There are remains of the Israelite, Hellenistic, and early Roman periods, and four churches of the Byzantine era.


F. M. Abel, Géographie de la Palestine II (1938) 405-6; M. Avi-Yonah, The Holy Land (1966) 40, 69, 74, 175.


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