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GADARA (τὰ Γάδαρα: Eth. Γαδαρεύς, fem. Γαδαρίς), Eth. Gadareus, a city of Palestine, accounted the capital of Peraea by Josephus (B. J. 4.7.3), to the SE. of the sea of Tiberias, and 60 stadia distant from the town of Tiberias, on the confines of Tiberias, and of the region of Scythopolis (Vita, § § 65. 9). It is placed by Pliny (5.16) onthe river Hieromax, now the Yarmak; and the district which took its name from it, the Γαδαρήνων γή of the Evangelists (St. Mark, 5.1; St. Luke, 8.26), was the eastern boundary of Galilee (B. J. 3.3.1). Polybius, who records its capture by Antiochus, calls it the strongest city in those parts (5.71, and ap. J. AJ 12.3.3). It was restored by Pompey (Ant. 14.4.4), having been shortly before destroyed, and was the seat of one of the five Sanhedrims instituted by Gabinius (Ant. 14.5.4), which is the more remarkable, as it is reckoned one of the Grecian cities (πόλεις Ἑλληνίδες), on which account it was exempted from the jurisdiction of Archelaus (Ant. 17.13.4, B. J. 2.6.3), and subjected to the prefecture of Syria, although it had oeen granted as a special grace to Herod the Great (B. J. 1.20.3). It was one of the first cities taken by the Jews on the outbreak of the revolt (2.18.1), which act was soon afterwards revenged by its Syrian inhabitants ( § 5); but Vespasian found it in occupation of the Jews, on his first campaign in Galilee, when he took it, and slaughtered all its adult inhabitants, and burnt not only the city itself, but all the villages and towns in the neighbourhood (3.7.1). It seems to have been again occupied by the Jews, for, on his next campaign in Galilee, it was voluntarily surrendered to the Romans; a measure prompted by a desire of peace, and by fear for their property, for Gadara was inhabited by many wealthy men (4.7.3). This last observation is in some measure confirmed by the existing remains of the city, among which are the ruins of stately private edifices, as well as of important public buildings.

Om Keiss, the ancient Gadara, is situated in the mountains on the east side of the valley of the Jordan, about 6 miles SE. by E. of the sea of Galilee, and to the south of the river Yarmak, the Hieromax of Pliny. The ruins are very considerable. “The [p. 1.923]walls of the ancient Gadara are still easily discerinible. Besides the foundations of a whole line of houses, and the remains of a row of columns which lined the main street on either side, there are two theatres, on the north and west sides of the town, one quite destroyed, but the latter in very tolerable preservation, and very handsome; near it the ancient pavement, with wheel-tracks of carriages, is still visible. Broken columns and capitals lie in every direction, and sarcophagi to the east of the town, where is the necropolis, the tombs of which are by far the most interesting antiquities of Om Keiss. The sepulchres, which are all under ground, are hewn out of the live rock, and the doors, which are very massy, are cut out of immense blocks of stone; some of these are now standing, and actually working on their hinges.” (Irby and Mangles, p. 297; Lord Lindsay, vol. ii. pp. 96, 97; Traill's Josephus, vol. i. p. 35, vol. ii. p. 88, and the Plates there referred to.)

The hot springs and baths of Gadara were celebrated in ancient times, and reckoned second only to those of Baiae, and with which none other could be compared. (Eunap. Sardian. ap. Reland, Palaest. p. 775.) They are mentioned in the Itinerary of Antoninus Martyr: “In parte ipsius civitatis, miliario tertio, sunt aquae calidae quae appellantur thermae Heliae, ubi leprosi mundantur;” and again: “Ibi est etiam fluvius calidus qui dicitur Gadarra, et descendit torrens, et intrat Jordanem, et ex ipso ampliatur Jordanis et major fit” (ap. Reland, l.c.). Eusebius and St. Jerome are more accurate; they describe the hot springs as bursting forth from the roots of the mountain on which the city is built, and having baths built over them. (Onomast. s. vv. Αἰθάμ and Γάδαρα, cited by Reland, p. 302.) They were visited by Captains Irby and Mangles. “They are not so hot as those of Tiberias. One of them is enclosed by palm-trees in a very picturesque manner. The ruins of a Roman bath are at the source; we found several sick persons at these springs, who had come to use the waters.” (Travels, p. 298.)


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