Caesarea Maritima was founded (22–10/9 bce) by Herod (1) the Great. Named after Caesar Augustus, Herod’s patron, it served as the administrative capital and main port of his kingdom of Judaea, later the Roman province of Syria-Palaestina. Herod’s building projects are described in detail by Flavius Josephus (AJ 15.331–341; BJ 1.408–415). Many of its structures have been uncovered in the archaeological excavations carried out at the site since the 1950s. In 71 ce, Caesarea became a Roman colony and Latin became the official language. A praetorium for the financial procurator provinciae was erected there by Vespasian and Titus in 77/78 ce. In the 2nd–4th centuries it was a prosperous city where Gentiles, Jews, Samaritans, and Christians lived side by side. It was a centre of intellectual activity.Caesarea (2) in Palaestina (Qisri, Qisrin in the Rabbinic sources), also known as Caesarea Maritima, was founded (22–10/9bce) by .
After the Babylonian exile, Jews returned to their city under Cyrus I and rebuilt their temple in Jerusalem in 539 bce. Jerusalem eventually became the only monotheistic centre within the Greco-Roman world. Most Jews regarded their temple as the only temple to Yahweh. Three annual pilgrimages from the entire Mediterranean basin marked the city’s life cycle. The temple grew rich through donations, tithes, and a voluntary tax given by Jews. The city of the Second Temple Period was run according to a set of Jewish religious laws. Antiochus IV attempted to mould it into a Greek-style polis and instigated the Maccabean revolt (167–160 bce). The riches of the temple allured Hellenistic and Roman rulers alike, whereas the unique religious character of Jewish Jerusalem posed continuous political challenges. Indeed, the city was besieged, and the temple occasionally plundered by a succession of Hellenistic and Roman conquerors. Jerusalem and the temple flourished under Herod and his dynasts (Plin. HN 5.