, LXX.; Ἰάμνια
), a city of the Philistines, assigned to the tribe of Judah in the LXX. of Joshua 15.45 (Γέμνα
); but omitted in the Hebrew, which only mentions it in 2 Chron.
in the English version), as one of the cities of the Philistines taken and destroyed by king Uzziah.
It is celebrated by Philo Judaeus as the place where the first occasion was given to the Jewish revolt under Caligula, and to his impious attempt to profane the temple at Jerusalem. His account is as follows:--In the city of Iamnia, one of the most populous of Judaea, a small Gentile population had established itself among the more numerous Jews, to whom they occasioned no little annoyance by the wanton violation of their cherished customs.
An unprincipled government officer, named Capito, who had been sent to Palestine to collect the tribute, anxious to pre-occupy the emperor with accusations against the Jews before their well-grounded complaints of his boundless extortion could reach the capital, ordered an altar of mud to be raised in the town for the deification of the emperor. The Jews, as he had anticipated, indignant at the profanation of the Holy Land, assembled in a body, and demolished the altar. On hearing this, the emperor, incensed already at what had lately occurred in Egypt, resolved to resent this insult by the erection of an equestrian statue of himself in the Holy of Holies. (Philo, de Legat. ad Caium, Op.
vol. ii. p. 573.)
With respect to its site, it is assigned by Josephus to that part of the tribe of Judah occupied by the children of Dan (Ant.
5.1. 22); and he reckons it as an inland city. (Ant.
14.4.4, B. J.
1.7.7.) Thus, likewise, in the 1st book of Maccabees (10.69, 71), it is spoken of as situated in the plain country; but the author of the 2nd book speaks of the harbour and fleet of the lamnites, which were fired by Judas Maccabaeus; when the light of the conflagration was seen at Jerusalem, 240 stadia distant.
The apparent discrepancy may, however, be reconciled by the notices of the classical geographers, who make frequent mention of this town. Thus Pliny expressly says, “Iamnes duae: altera intus,” and places them between Azotus and Joppa (5.12); and Ptolemy, having mentioned Ἰαμνητῶν,
“the port of the Iamnites,” as a maritime town between Joppa and Azotus, afterwards enumerates Iamnia among the cities of Judaea. From all which it is evident that Iamnia had its Majuma, or naval arsenal, as Gaza, Azotus, and Ascalon also had. (Le Quien, Oriens Christ.
vol. iii. col. 587, and 622.) The Itinerary of Antoninus places it 36 M. P. from Gaza, and 12 M. P. from Diospolis (or Lydda); and Eusebius (Onom. s. v. Ἰάμνεια
) places it between Diospolis and Azotus. Its site is still marked by ruins which retain the ancient name Yebna,
situated on a small eminence on the west side of Wady Rûbîn,
an hour distant from the sea. (Irby and Mangles, Travels,
p. 182.) “The ruins of a Roman bridge,” which they noticed, spanning the Nahr-el-Rûsbîa
and the sea, was doubtless built for the purpose of facilitating traffic between the town and its sea-port.