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date: 04 December 2020

Caesarea (2) in Palestinelocked

  • Edith Mary Smallwood
  •  and Tessa Rajak

Extract

Caesarea (2) in Palestine, under its original name of Strato's Tower (after a king of *Sidon), was captured by the *Hasmonean king Alexander Jannaeus in 103 bce, attached to the province of Syria by Pompey in 63, and given to *Herod (1) by Octavian in 30. Between c.22 and 10 bce, Herod rebuilt the city on a lavish scale, renaming it after the emperor, and constructing a huge artificial *harbour, now exposed through underwater archaeology. Tensions over the control of the constitution between the large Jewish minority and the Graeco-Syrian majority led to riots, and delegations were sent to Nero. His decision against the Jews was followed by the desecration of a synagogue. The ensuing massacre of 20,000 Jews, allegedly in a single day, sparked off the first Jewish revolt against Rome in 66 ce. The city was the administrative capital of *Judaea under the procurators and again after 70, with a vigorous commercial life and a Roman lifestyle.

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