: Eth. Ἀκαῖος
), the ACCHO (Ἄκχω
) of the Old Testament (Judg. 1.31), the Akka
of the Arabs, a celebrated town and harbour on the shores of Phoenicia, in lat. 32° 54′, long. 35° 6′ E.
It is situated on the point of a small promontory, the northern extremity of a circular bay, of which the opposite or southern horn is formed by one of the ridges of Mount Carmel. During the period that Ptolemy Soter was in possession of Coele-Syria, it received the name of PTOLEMAIS
, Eth. Πτολεμαιεύς
), by which it was long distinguished.
In the reign of the emperor Claudius it became a Roman colony, and was styled COLONIA CLAUDII CAESARIS PTOLEMAIS, or simply COLONIA PTOLEMAIS; but from the time when it was occupied by the knights of St. John of Jerusalem, it has been generally known all over Christendom as St Jean d'Acre,
or simply Acre.
The advantages offered by the position of Acre were recognised from an early period by those who desired to keep the command of the Syrian coast, but it did not rise to eminence until after the decay of Tyre and Sidon. When Strabo wrote (p. 758), it was already a great city; and although it has undergone many vicissitudes, it has always maintained a certain degree of importance.
It originally belonged to the Phoenicians, and, though nominally included within the territory of the tribe of Asher, was never conquered by the Israelites.
It afterwards passed into the hands of the Babylonians, and from them to the Persians.
According to the first distribution of the dominions of Alexander it was assigned to Ptolemy Soter, but subsequently fell under the Seleucidae, and after changing hands repeatedly eventually fell under the dominion of Rome.
It is said at present to contain from 15,000 to 20,000 inhabitants.