Caesarea Maritima (Acts 10)

Caesarea Maritima (also called Caesarea Augusta), located near the site of modern Tel Aviv, is to be distinguished from Caesarea Phillipi, located north of the Sea of Galilee. Caesarea Maritima was constructed by Herod the Great from 22 to 10 B.C. Built to be one of the great cities of the Roman Empire, Caesarea was renowned for its beauty. The city boasted a temple dedicated to Agustus Ceasra, a large hippodrome, a theatre (including an inscription that mentions Pontius Pilate) is pictured below, large waterfront warehouses and a sewer system. Five major roads led into Caesarea. Its harbour, Sebastos, was an engineering wonder that included artificial breakwaters and features that mitigated silt accumulation and wave damage. Ships entering the harbour passed through an entryway flanked by colossal statutes of the imperial family. Underwater archaeology was carried out in the harbour area by the Caesarea Ancint Harbour Excavation Project (CAHEP) during the 1980’s.

Paul often travelled by way of the port at Caesarea (Acts 9:30. 18:22, 21:8, 27:2) and was guarded in Herod’s Praetorium there during the last two years of procurator Antonius Felix’s governorship (ca. A.D. 58-59). Caesarea, the Roman headquaters for the province, maintained a large Roman garrison. Vespasian and Titus used the city as a base of operations for the Roman army during the war of A.D. 66-72 against the Jews.

Both Christians and Jews established schools of higher education in Caesarea Maritima. Christian scholars who worked there include Origen, Pamphilus and the church historian Eusebius. Numerous remains from the later Byzantine, Crusader and Muslim periods have also been excavated there.

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