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was a city of Galilee, rebuilt by Herod Antipas, and named by him in honor of the Emperor Tiberias. It is 68 miles N. by E. of Jerusalem, and is situated on the western shore of Lake Gennesareth, not far from where the Jordan issues from the lake. On the shore, about a mile south of the town, are the celebrated warm baths which the Roman naturalist record. ed among the greatest known curiosities in the world.
Tiberias was the capital of Galilee from the Romar conquest until the reign of Herod Agrippa II. Many of the inhabitants were Greeks and Romans, and foreign customs prevailed to such an extent as to give offence to the stricter Jews. Herod Antipas built here a palace, and established a race-course. In the Jewish war, which ended in the destruction of Jerusalem, Tiberias bore a conspicuous part, especially during the command of Josephus, in Galilee, who fortified this city. At that time there was here an immense Jewish proseucha—a house of prayer, in which he convened a public meeting of the people.
This city and Tarichæa still belonged to Agrippa, and Vespasian marched against them to subdue them again to his allegiance. On his approach to the city, the principal inhabitants went out and made their submission to him, and the Roman army occupied the town. They afterwards erected a fortified camp at Emmaus, which continued to be the headquarters during the siege of Tarichæa. That city was at length taken by troops under the command of Titus; great numbers of the inhabitants having escaped
by water in boats, Vespasian had boats built, pursued and overtook them, when a battle was fought, in which the Jews were totally overthrown. In this battle, and in the capture of the city, the slain amounted to 7,700, of whom 1,200, being too old or too young to labor or bear arms, were put to death in cold blood in the stadium of Tiberias.
Celebrated schools of Jewish learning flourished here through a succession of several centuries, and the Mishna was compiled here by the great Rabbi, Judah Hakkodesh (A.D. 190).
During the reign of Constantine this city passed into the possession of the Christians; and during the Crusades it was lost and won repeatedly by the different combatants. Since that time it has been possessed successively by Persians, Arabs, and Turks, and is now under the rule of the latter. During its occupation by the Crusaders they erected a church; in which the Arabs have since housed their cattle.
The modern town, Tubarîyeh, stands on a part of the site of the ancient city; and was half destroyed by an earthquake in 1837. It has now a population of only 2,500 inhabitants, one-fourth of whom are Jews, and the rest Mohammedans and Christians. The inhabitants now, as of old, draw a considerable portion of their subsistence from the lake, fish being quite plenty in it.
The walls of the town are little better than heaps of ruins, the castle is much shattered, and the whole place has an aspect of extreme wretchedness. South of the town are numerous ruins of a still more ancient city, probably Chinneroth, extending for a mile and a
half nearly to the hot springs.
The waters of these
springs are salt, and too hot for immediate use, but they are still much resorted to by invalids.
Cesarea was situated on the coast, 28 miles north of Joppa, and 66 from Jerusalem via Joppa.
In Strabo's time there was on this part of the coast merely a town, called "Strato's tower," with a landing-place. Afterwards Herod the Great built a city here, on which the utmost care and expense were lavished; a vast breakwater protected its harbor. Here the Herodian kings resided, also Festus Felix, and other Roman Procurators of Judea. Here were the headquarters of the military forces of the province. The population consisted chiefly of Jews, Greeks, and Romans. Constant feuds took place between the Jews and Greeks. At the Jewish synagogue the Old Testament was read in Greek.
At Cesarea, Vespasian was declared Emperor of Rome. This city was a place of considerable importance even as late as the time of the Crusades; but it is now utterly desolate, and its ruins have long been a quarry from which materials for building other towns have been drawn.
SOURCES OF THE JORDAN.
PANEAS, NOW BANIAS-SOURCES OF THE RIVER JORDAN. Paneas is 120 miles N. N. E. of Jerusalem, at the base of Mount Hermon.