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CHARACOMA (Χαράκωμα, or Χαρακμῶβα, Ptol.), a city of Arabia Petraea mentioned by Ptolemy (5.17.5), the Kir of Moab of Isaiah (15.1), and the Χάρακα of 2 Mace. 12.17, the Hebrew ayin, signifying wall or fortress, as the Greek name does a fosse. The site of this ancient fortress of the Moabites is still occupied by a town of the same name. Kerak is situated about 20 miles to the east of the southern bay of the Dead Sea, and is “built upon the top of a steep hill, surrounded on all sides by a deep and narrow valley, the mountains beyond which command the town.” (Burckhardt, Travels, p. 379; Irby and Mangles, pp. 361--368.) It was a place of considerable importance in the time of the Crusaders, who built here a strong fortress, the origin of the modern Seraglio, and called it Mons Regalis. (Robinson, Bib. Res. vol. ii. pp. 565--570.)


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