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AELANA (τὰ Αἴλανα, Strab. p. 768; Αἰλανή J. AJ 8.6.4; Ἐλάνα, Ptol. 5.17.1; Αἴλανον, Steph. B. sub voce Αἰλάς, Procop. B. Pers. 1.19; in O. T. ELATH in LXX. Αἰλάθ, Αἰλών: Eth. Αἰλανίτης: Akaba), an Idumaean town in Arabia Petraea, situated at the head of the eastern gulf of the Red Sea, which was called after this town Aelaniticus Sinus. It was situated 10 miles E. of Petra (Euseb. Onom. s. v. Ἡλάθ), and 150 miles SE. of Gaza (Plin. Nat. 5.11. s. 12). It was annexed to the kingdom of Judah, together with the other cities of Idumaea, by David (2 Sam. 8.14), and was one of the harbours on the Red Sea, from which the fleet of Solomon sailed to Ophir (1 Kings, 9.26; 2 Chron. 8.17); but it subsequently revolted from the Jews, and became independent. (2 Kings, 14.22.) It continued to be a place of commercial importance under the Romans, and was the head quarters of the tenth legion. (Hieron. Onom.; Not. Imp.) It was the residence of a Christian bishop, and is mentioned by Procopius in the sixth century as inhabited by Jews, who, after having been for a long time independent, had become subject to the Romans in the reign of Justinian. (Procop. B. Pers. 1.19.) The site of Aelana is now occupied by a fortress called Akaba, in which a garrison is stationed, because it lies on the route of the Egyptian pilgrims to Mecca. (Niebuhr, Beschreibung von Arabien, p. 400; Rüppel, Reise in Nubien, p. 248; Laborde, Jowrney through Arabia Petraea, vol. i. p. 116.)

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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 8.6.4
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 5.11
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