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