22 May 2016

Caesarea Maritima (Israel)

Caesarea Palaestinae (today usually called Caesarea Maritima) was located in Judea, the present Israel, between the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa. The original settlement was called Stratonos pyrgos, Straton's Tower. Roman rule dates back to 63 BC.

In the late first century BC the Jewish king Herod the Great extended the city and gave it the name Caesarea, in honour of the emperor Augustus (Caesar Augustus). In the early first century AD Judea became a province of Rome, with Caesarea as residence of the Roman governors. One of these was Pontius Pilatus, who gave the order to build a temple in honour of the emperor Tiberius. Under Vespasian the city became Colonia Prima Flavia Augusta Caesarea. The city was a centre of early Christianity.

Herod constructed a large port called Sebastos (Greek for Augustus). There was no natural shelter, so the harbour was built in the open sea, enclosing around 100,000 m2. Herod furthermore erected a palace overlooking the sea, store buildings, markets, public buildings, temples and an aqueduct bringing water from Mount Carmel into the city. During the empire the harbour was confronted by technical difficulties pertaining to the mortar of the hydraulic concrete and suffered from seismic activity and a tsunami.

See also:
- A Jewish port for the Emperor", also available in Dutch.

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