—1. Cæsarea by the Sea:

Ancient city of Palestine; called in early times "Strato's Tower" (Στράτωνος πύργος, Josephus, "Ant." xiii. 11, § 2; xiv. 4, § 4; xv. 8, § 5; xix. 8, § 2; idem, "B. J." i. 3, § 4; i. 21, § 5; Strabo, xvi. 758; Pliny,"Historia Naturalis," v. 14). In rabbinic sources (Meg. Ta'an. iii.; Meg. 6a; Sifre, Deut. 51; Yer. Sheb. 36c) the name is frequently corrupted (it is only once written correctly, Tosef., Sheb. iv. 11) as ; in a later source (piyyuṭ for the second Sabbath of Ḥanukkah) the name has even been corrupted into (B. Beer, in "Monatsschrift," 1860, ix. 113). Herod the Great transformed the insignificant place into an important city, naming it Cæsarea (Καιράρεια) in honor of Emperor Augustus. Still the old name survived; Strabo and Pliny continue to call the city "Strato's Tower," while Ptolemy and Epiphanius use the singular expression "Cæsarea of Strato." To distinguish it from other cities of the same name, it was also called "Cæsarea by the Sea" (παράλιος Καισάρεια, "Ant." xiii. 11, § 2; idem, "B. J." iii. 9, § 1; έπὶ ϑαλάττῃ = "ad mare," ib. vii. 1, § 3; vii. 2, § 1); on coins it is called ΚΑΙΣΑΠΙΑ Ἡ ΠΠΟΣ ΣΕΒΑΣΤΩ ΛΙΜΕΝΙ. Later writers call the city "Cæsarea of Palestine" (Cæsarea Palæstinæ = Καισάρεια έπὶ Παλαισρίνῃ, Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl." v. 22, or Καισάρεια τῆς Παλαιστίνης, ib. vii. 12). In the Talmud, the Midrash, and the Targum it is very frequently called "Ḳesri" (); the expression "Ḳesri, the daughter of Edom" (Meg. 6a), meaning that Cæsarea is the outpost of the Roman empire. In the same Talmudic passage is a sentence of R. Abbahu, who lived in the third century at Cæsarea, according to which "Ekron," that "shall be rooted up" (Zeph. ii. 4), means "Cæsarea"; but this probably expresses merely the wish of the Jews that Cæsarea, a city that they hated, should be uprooted (), with no intent of identifying it with Ekron (Schwarz, "Tebu'ot ha-Areẓ," p. 66b). It is possible, however, that there is here also an allusion to the old name Sharshon (); while the assumption that there were two Ekrons, one of which was identical with Cæsarea (Friedmann, in Luncz, "Jerusalem," v. 109), is wholly unfounded. The Rabbis speak of it disguisedly as "Magdiel" (Gen. R. lxxxiii.).

Location. Ruins of Cæsarea.(From a photograph by Bonfils.)

Mannert determines the location of Cæsarea as 66° 15' E. long. and 32° 30' N. lat. Josephus speaks of it as lying in Phenicia, between Joppa and Dora ("Ant." xv. 9, § 6). It was 600 stadia (75 miles) distant from Jerusalem ("Ant." xiii. 11, § 2; "B. J." i. 3, § 5); 36 miles (a day's journey, Acts xxi. 8) from Ptolemais (Abulfeda); and 30 miles from Joppa (Edrisi). The soil was sandy ("it is situated in the midst of sand," says the Talmud, Meg. 6a; compare "Ant. xv. 9, § 5), but so fertile that the region was called the land of life" (Meg. 6a). The following are mentioned as products of the soil: "etrogim"—that is, pomegranates of Cæsarea (Tosef., Maksh. iii. 10); Cæsarean grain (Tos., Dem. iv. 23); a woolly moss growing on stones (Yer. Kil. 32a; Yer. Shab. 4c). As merchandise are mentioned the beds of Cæsarea (Yer. Ber. 6a; Yer. Ned. 40c; Yer. M. Ḳ. 83a). The city lay close by the sea, and had a good harbor, which was constructed by Herod, and is often mentioned ("Ant." xv. 9, Ḳ 6, λιμήυ; Yer. Giṭ.43b). This harbor was as large as the Piræus, and had a deep channel and "a double station for the ships" ("Ant." l.c.). The rocky shore, which is frequently mentioned (Gen. R. x. 7; Lev. R. xxii. 4), was laid out as a promenade (Eccl. R. v. 8). Large subterranean passages and canals led from the city to the harbor ("Ant." l.c.); and perhaps these are the vaults mentioned in the Talmud (Yer. Naz. 56a). The city had imposing streets (ib.) and theaters ("Ant." l.c.), and, on its eastern side, a magnificent gateway (τετράπυλον, Tosef., Oh. xviii. 13), through which the road led to the vineyards (ib.). The Rabbis considered Cæsarea as the frontier of Palestine toward the west, and in questions dealing with Jewish law its harbor was held not to belong to the land of Israel. Tombs of heathens were supposed to lie east and west of the city, and hence these regions were declared unclean, although opinions on the question were divided (Yer. Giṭ. 43b; Yer. Dem. 21a; compare Büchler, in "Jew. Quart. Rev." xiii. 654 et seq. and Krauss, ib. xiv. 745).

Copper Coin of Agrippa II., Struck at Cæsarea.Obverse: ΝΕΠωΝΙΑΔ. . . . ΚΑΤCΑΠΙ ΑΓΠΙΠΑ with turreted female head. Reverse: ΒΑ[C ΑΓΠ ΕΤ]ΟϒC ΑΙΤΟϒ ΚΑΙ , two cornucopias, in the middle a caduceus.(After Madden, "History of Jewish Coinage.")Population.

The original population of Cæsarea was probably pagan—at first Phenician, and then Greek. From the time of the Maccabees, Jews are mentioned as residing there; and as their number steadily increased they tried to gain possession of the city, frequent quarrels resulting between pagans and Jews. Herod's temples and theaters testify to his endeavors to preserve the pagan character of the city. He built here a temple of Augustus, the statue by which it was surmounted representing Zeus Olympus, while another, Hera, represented Rome ("Ant." xv. 9, § 6; "B. J." i. 21, §§ 5, 8).

The first dramatic festivals in honor of Augustus were held 12 B.C. ("Ant." xvi. 5, § 1; "B. J." i. 21, § 8). The emperor's temple (καισάρειον), or "Sebastos temple" (Σεβαστεῖον), as it is called by Philo ("Legatio ad Cajum," xxxviii.), lay on a hill opposite the harbor, which was also dedicated to Augustus (ὁ λιμήν Σεβαστός, "Ant." xvii. 5, § 1; "B. J." i. 31, § 3); the full name of the city was therefore "Cæsarea Sebaste" ("Ant." xvi. 5, § 1; Ammianus Marcellinus, xiv. 8). On the coins of Cæsarea, which are mentioned also in the Talmud ('Ab. Zarah 6b), dating mostly from the second and third centuries, are found the names of many gods: Zeus, Poseidon, Apollo, Hercules, Dionysus, Athena, Nike, and especially the Phenician goddess Astarte. The worship of the Egyptian Serapis is due to the fact that from the time of Vespasian there was, in addition to the Greeks, a large colony of Romans at Cæsarea. The restoration of a temple of Hadrian (Αδριανεῖον) is mentioned even in Christian times. English explorers have recently discovered the ruins of a temple at Cæsarea.

Character of Jewish Cæsarea.

The Jews of Cæsarea were completely Hellenized, and in the third century the Shema' prayer was said in Greek (Yer. Soṭah 21b). In Talmudic times there was here a large Jewish population with many synagogues. Besides the "brothers" (Yoma 53b; Ta'an. 24b; Pesiḳ. 171b), the "rabbis" of Cæsarea are very often mentioned (Yer. Dem. 22c). The teachers of the Law, Nasa (Lam. R., Introduction, No. 26), Mana, 'Ulla, Adda, Idi, Taḥlifa, Abba, Hezekiah, Jacob, Ḥanina, and Abbahu, either came from Cæsarea or lived there (see Bacher, "Die Gelehrten von Cæsarea," in "Monatsschrift," xlv. 298 et seq.). Abbahu appeared as the antagonist of Christianity, which at an early date had found adherents in Cæsarea. He directed a college and officiated as judge (Bacher, "Ag. Pal. Amor." ii. 92). R. Jose (Isi) of Cæsarea speaks of the Christianized Jews of that city (Eccl. R. vii. 26). The Christian library of Cæsarea is of great importance for Biblical science. But the Christians themselves at an early date speak of Cæsarea as being a Jewish city (Clement, "Recognitiones," ii. 37, iii. 65, v. 4).


A number of Samaritans also lived at Cæsarea. The Samaritan prophet Simon Magus worked mischief there. The Cuthæans of Cæsarea disputed with R. Abbahu (Yer. 'Ab. Zarah 44d). When, on the death of the latter, the columns of Cæsarea trickled water, as if they were mourning for him (Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl." viii. 9), the Cuthæans declared, to spite the Jews, that it was because the columns were out of repair (Yer. 'Ab. Zarah 42c; M. Ḳ. 25b). A Samaritan chronicle (Neubauer, "Chronique Samaritaine," p. 18, Paris, 1873) erroneously identifies Cæsarea with Dora. In 484 and 548 the Samaritans instigated bitter riots against the Christians.


Only the old name, "Strato's Tower," gives any clue to the earliest history of Cæsarea. Renan ("Mission de la Phénicie," p. 790) and, after him, Hildesheimer connect Strato with the Phenician name Astarte. But D. Oppenheim and Neubauer have demonstrated the probability that "Strato" was the name of a person, indeed, that of the founder of the city; and it is a fact that Strato is named as such in Justinian's "Novellæ" (103 pref.). Stark ("Gaza," p, 451) thinks that the Ptolemies founded Strato's Tower; but Schürer is of opinion that it was founded by the Sidonians in Persian times. In the fourth century B.C. there were two kings of Sidon by the name of Strato, one of whom probably founded the fort Strato's Tower. The first geographical writer who mentions the "Tower" is Artemidorus (about 100 B.C.; Stephen of Byzantium, s.v. Δῶρος). About the same time, Aristobulus I. caused his brother Antigonus to be murdered there ("Ant." xiii. 11, § 2). The "tyrant" Zoilus, who had usurped the government of Strato's Tower and of Dora, and hadmade common cause with the Cyprian king Ptolemy Lathyrus, drove Alexander Jannæus from the country, which he apportioned among the Jews ("Ant." xiii. 12, §§ 2-4).

Strato's Tower now belonged to the Jewish king ("Ant." xiii. 15, § 4); and it is probably this conquest which is mentioned in rabbinic sources (Meg. Ta'an. iii.). Pompey liberated the city ("Ant." xiv. 4, § 4; "B. J." i. 7, § 7), and Augustus presented it to Herod ("Ant." xv. 7, § 3; "B. J." i. 20, § 3), who transformed it into a metropolis, changed its name to "Cæsarea," and called the harbor "Sebaste." Cæsarea remained a fortress ("Ant." xv. 8, § 5); but Herod cared more for beautifying the city, and built many magnificent edifices of white stone for the citizens. Within twelve years the city was rebuilt, the work having neither wearied the king nor exhausted his resources ("Ant." xv. 9, § 5; "B. J." i. 21, § 5; i. 31, § 3). Cæsarea now became a flourishing city, and Josephus calls it the largest i n Judea ("B. J." iii. 9, § 1; Ammianus Marcellinus, l.c.). The Jews also recognized it as a rival to Jerusalem (Meg. 6a), and the Rabbis called it the "metropolis" of the kings (ib.), the term "kings" here signifying the Roman governors, who, after the death of Archelaus, administered Judea from this place. The governors Felix and Festus resided in Cæsarea (Acts xxiv. 27, xxv. 1). Agrippa I., who possessed the city for a short time, also had an administrator there (στρατηγός, "Ant." xix. 7, § 4), and died there. He also had coins struck in Cæsarea (Madden, "Jewish Coinage," pp. 107, 109). After his ' death the Cæsareans and Sebasteans vilified the memory of their benefactor, whom they hated for his Judaizing, and insulted his daughters, Mariamne and Drusilla. By the order of Emperor Claudius they were severely punished by the governor, Cuspius Fadus ("Ant." xix. 9, § 1). The city was also called "Judæae Caput" (Tacitus, "Historia," ii. 78), as being the seat of the Roman governors. It had a Roman garrison ("Ant." l.c.), which is also mentioned in the Talmud (Yer. 'Ab. Zarah 39c, τάξις). The large pagan population ("B. J." iii. 9, § 1) would not permit the Jews to share in the administration of the city. This resulted in sanguinary conflicts under the administration of Felix; and in the year 61 Nero declared the pagans to be the sole rulers ("Ant." xx. 8, § 9; "B. J." ii. 13, § 7; ii. 14, § 4), and at the same time he removed Felix from office. In 66 the Jews, because of an insult to their synagogue, began a battle with the Greeks in which much blood was shed, but they finally succumbed, and had to flee to the neighboring city of Narbota ("B. J." ii. 14, § 4, 5). These disturbances were the preliminary episodes of the Jewish war, upon the outbreak of which the pagans of Cæsarea fell upon the Jews and massacred them all, to the number of 20,000, in one hour ("B. J." ii. 18, § 1; vii. 8, § 7). The synagogue, where the rioting began, is probably the same which is called in Talmudic sources the "riotous synagogue of Cæsarea" (Yer. Sanh. 18a; Yer. Naz. 56a; Num. R. xii. 3; Lam. R. i. 3). The city itself is also called the "riotous city" (Cant. R. i. 5; Targ, Yer. Num. xxiv. 10). A Byzantine writer (Malalas, "Chronographia," ed. Bonn, x. 261) says that Vespasian turned this synagogue into an odeon; but the transformation (if it did take place) must have been by a later emperor, since the rabbinic sources of the third century still speak of this synagogue.

After the war, Vespasian constituted Cæsarea a Roman province, but without the full "jus Italicum" (Pliny, "Historia Naturalis," v. 13, § 69; compare Justinian, "Digesta," 1. 15, §§ 1, 8). It is also called "colonia" on coins. At the time of Alexander Severus the title "metropolis" came into use, as also in the rabbinic sources, and on coins. The subterranean prisons of Cæsarea ("Diaeta," Esther R., Introduction) were much dreaded by the Jews, being fraught with peril for them (ib.). The city was destroyed by an earthquake in 128 (Eusebius, "Chronicon").

In the reign of Justinian the Jews made common cause with the Samaritans of Cæsarea, and harassed their Christian fellow-citizens. They even killed the governor, Stephan, July, 556 (Malalas, "Chronographia," p. 488; Theophanes, "Chronicon," i. 356). Under Heraclius it was estimated that there were 20,000 Jews in Cæsarea; and it was said that a Jew gave the city into the hands of the victoriously advancing Arabs (Weil, "Gesch. der Chalifen," i., Appendix, p. 2), by whom, according to the "Chronique Samaritaine" (p. 23), the city was looted. Benjamin of Tudela found only twenty Jewish families in Cæsarea, as against 200 Samaritans. In 1265 Cæsarea was completely destroyed by the sultan, Baibars. The destruction of Cæsarea is pictured in "Pal. Explor. Fund, Quarterly Statement," 1884, p. 147. Nothing now remains of it but a pile of ruins, that still bears the name "Kaisariyya."

  • Boettger, Lexicon zu Flavius Josephus, p. 70;
  • Neubauer, G. T. pp. 91-96;
  • Frankel, Mebo, p. 4;
  • Hildesheimer, Beiträge zur Geographic Palästina's, pp. 4-10, Berlin, 1886;
  • Rosenzweig, Jerusalem und Cæsarea, Berlin, 1890;
  • Edersheim, Jesus the Messiah, ii. 74;
  • Schürer, Gesch. 3d ed., ii. 104-108;
  • Krauss, Lehnwörter, ii. 536, 537;
  • idem, Zur Topogr. von C., in Jew. Quart. Rev. xiv. 745-751.
Its Names and Situation. —2. Cæsarea Philippi:

Ancient city of Palestine. According to the investigations of Gesenius, Raumer, and Robinson, this was the original site of the place Baal-gad,—i.e. where Gad was worshiped as the god of fortune (Isa. lxv. 11)—or of Baalhermon (I Chron. vi. 23). In Israelitic times the place was called "Dan," and the image made by Micah was worshiped here. Here, too, Jeroboam I. set up the golden calf. Not far distant was the place Tarnegola, which the Rabbis mention as being on the northern boundary (Tosef., Sheb. iv. 10; Yer. Sheb. 36c; Yer. Dem. 22d; Sifre, Deut. 51; Targ. Yer. ii. on Num. xxxiv. 15). Its name is probably connected with the idol Tarnegol ("fowl"), though other places of Palestine (Sepphoris and Phrugitha, for instance) were also called after birds. The place is also said to be identical with the Biblical Leshem (Josh. xix. 47) or Laish (Judges xviii. 29; Meg. 6a; Tan., Re'eh, 16). This, however, is very improbable. But Cæsarea Philippi is certainly identical with Paneas (Πανέας, Πανιάς, Παναίς), frequently mentioned by Greek as well as rabbinical authors (Josephus, "Ant." xv. 10, § 3; Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl." vii. 17; Sozomen, v. 21; Pliny, "Historia Naturalis," v. 15; Cedrenus, p. 305); the rabbinical writers indeedchiefly use the name "Paneas" (, also ; see the Talmudic dictionaries). But Πανείας is the name of the grotto sacred to Pan, on the neighboring mountain Panion (Philostorgius, vii. 3; compare Targ. Yer. Num. xxxiv. 11); hence, the significance of the place as the seat of a cult is preserved in the name, from which it follows that Paneas was originally inhabited by Syrian or Greek pagans. Ptolemy (v. 15, § 21) includes it in Phenicia.

At the time of Herod the region of Πανιάς belonged to a certain Zenodorus (Zenon), after whose death (20 B.C.) Augustus presented it to Herod ("Ant." xv. 10, § 1; "B. J." i. 20, § 4). The domain of Zenon, together with some other districts, was taxed 100 talents ("B. J." ii. 6, § 3). Herod erected a magnificent temple in honor of Augustus in the vicinity of the grotto of Pan ("Ant." xv. 10, § 3; "B. J." i. 21, § 3); and Herod's son, the tetrarch Philip, transformed the place into an important city, calling it Καισάρεια, also in honor of the emperor ("Ant." xviii. 2, § 1; "B. J." ii. 9, § 1). But coins of the city are extant, dating from an independent and earlier era (about 3 B.C.). The Galilean Cæsarea was called Καισάρεια ἡ Φλίππου(Matt. xvi. 13; Mark viii. 27), to distinguish it from the Judean Cæsarea, while the rabbinic sources call it = Kesrion, in contradistinction to = Kesri; but as these sources are uncritical, the distinction is not always observed. The rabbinic sources state also that the designation "Paneas" continued in use.

It is indeed a question whether Paneas and Cæsarea were not two separate cities built near together. An ancient source (Mek. to Ex. xvii. 14 [ed. Friedmann, p. 55b]) mentions Kesrion as being situated below Paneas, from which it follows that they were two distinct cities. The name "Paneas" continued to be used to such an extent that through its form "Pania" the variants "Pamiya," "Apamiya," and "Aspamiya" () became current among the Rabbis; but these must be strictly separated from similar names.

Its History.

After the death of Philip the city was for a time under Roman jurisdiction; then in the hands of Agrippa I.; again under Roman governors; and, finally, it passed into the hands of Agrippa II. (53 C.E.), who called it Νερωνιάς, in honor of Nero ("Ant." xx. 9, § 4). This name, which is found on some coins, soon fell into disuse. At the time of the Jewish war the population was mostly pagan (Josephus, "Vita," xiii.). Vespasian and Titus spent their holidays there, and arranged games and festivals ("B. J." iii. 9, § 7; vii. 2, § 1).

From the second century the city is called Καισάρεια Πανίας (Ptolemy, v. 15, § 21; viii. 20, § 12), both by writers and on coins. But among the native population "Paneas" was probably the name chiefly used, and this form prevails in rabbinic writings as well as in those of the church fathers, and has been preserved under the form "Banias" to the present day. According to a legend the patriarch, and the most eminent among the Jews of Paneas appeared before Diocletian, who hated the Jews (Gen. R. lxiii. 8).

The city is important to Christianity as being one of the places visited by Jesus. It was the site of an old Christian monument (Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl." vii. 18), and was made a bishopric. It is also mentioned during the Crusades. At present the village of Banias contains about fifty miserable houses or huts, built within the ancient castle wall.

  • Boettger, Lexikon zu Flavius Josephus, p. 71;
  • Neubauer, G. T. p. 237;
  • Schürer, Gesch. 3d ed., ii. 158;
  • Krauss, Lehnwörter, ii. 537.
—3. Cæsarea in Cappadocia:

Capital of Cappadocia; originally named "Mazaga." It is mentioned in rabbinic writings either as Cæsarea of Cappadocia" or as "Mazaga-Cæsarea." R. Akiba here met a shipwrecked Jewish scholar (Yer. Yeb. 15d), probably R. Meïr (Yeb. 121a). R. Nathan also sojourned at Cæsarea (Yer. Yeb. 7d), where, it is further stated (ib. 4b), a Palestinian robber was executed. It is said that the Persian king Sapor massacred 12,000 Jews there (M. Ḳ. 26a). As Kaisari, the place is to-day a populous and flourishing city.

  • Rapoport, Bikkure ha-'Ittim, 1823, iv. 71;
  • Boettger, Lexikon zu Flavius Josephus, p. 180;
  • Lagarde, Mittheilungen, ii. 242;
  • Neubauer, G. T. p. 318;
  • Krauss, Lehnwörter, ii. 330, 537.
G.S. Kr.