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Caesarea Maritima

Also known as “Caesarea as near Sebastos,” Caesarea of Straton, Caesarea of Palestine, Caesarea Palaestinae, Colonia Prima Flavia Augusta Caesariensis, Herodian Caesarea, Horvat Qesari, Kaisariyeh, Kessaria, “Metropolis of the province Syria Palaestina,” Migdal Shorshon, Qaisariya, Qaisariyeh, Qaysariyah, Qesari, Qisri, Qisrin, Strato's Tower, Straton's Caesarea, Straton's Tower, Turris Stratonis

Herod's Harbor

This site was insignificant until Herod the Great began to develop it into a magnificent harbor befitting his kingdom.  The harbor was built using materials that would allow the concrete to harden underwater.  The forty-acre harbor would accommodate 300 ships, much larger than the modern harbor existing today.

The Theater

Herod the Great also constructed a theater with a seating capacity of 3,500.  According to Josephus, this is where the death of Herod Agrippa occurred, as recounted in Acts 12.  The theater was covered with a skin covering (vellum), and visitors probably brought cushions with them to soften the stone seats.

Promontory Palace

Josephus called this a “most magnificent palace” that Herod the Great built on a promontory jutting out into the waters of Caesarea.  The pool in the center was nearly Olympic in size, and was filled with fresh water.  A statue once stood in the center.  Paul may have been imprisoned on the grounds of this palace (Acts 23:35).

The Aqueduct

The lack of fresh water at Herod’s new city required a lengthy aqueduct to bring water from springs at the base of Mount Carmel nearly ten miles away.  In order that the water would flow by the pull of gravity, the aqueduct was built on arches and the gradient was carefully measured.  Later Hadrian and the Crusaders would attach additional channels to Herod’s aqueduct.

Samaria and the Center

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Related Websites

Caesarea: From Roman City to Crusader Fortress (Israel MFA) Contains sections highlighting the Roman, Byzantine, Arab, and Crusader periods in the history of the site.  Includes several pictures alongside relevant text. A copy of this page is available at the Jewish Virtual Library.

Caesarea Maritima (BibArch.com) Features informative links within the text to other relevant articles within the site and a “words and phrases glossary.”  Also offers a “Scripture Summary” section.

Caesarea Maritima (Cornell Institute of Archaeology) A brief overview, discussing Cornell’s excavations there, and some of the history as narrated by the Bible and Josephus.

Rare Roman Period Multi-Colored Mosaic Uncovered (Israel MFA) This 2018 article discusses this recent find. Also reference this article, from Times of Israel.

Rare Gold Coins Found in Israeli City of Caesarea (BBC News) An article on the discovery of gold in Caesarea.

New Discoveries Unveiled at Caesarea Maritima (Biblical Archaeology Society) A 2017 article discussing discoveries including a “mother-of-pearl tablet inscribed with a seven-branched menorah.”

Caesarea (Virtual Israel Experience) An extension of the Jewish Virtual Library, this user-friendly page gives a readable account of the history of the site, along with a summary of the important archaeological finds, and modern features of the area.

Caesarea Maritima (Into His Own) A brief, encyclopedia-type article with multiple links to related topics for further study.

Caesarea (WebBible Encyclopedia, ChristianAnswers.Net) Interests the reader with both physically and biblically descriptive facts, including internal links to related topics.

Caesarea Maritima Mithraeum (Atlas Obscura) A discussion of the mithraeum, some of the surrounding mythology, and historical connections. Also includes some excellent photos.

Caesarea (Crystalinks) Reviews the historical and archaeological importance of this site with unique attention to interesting historical details.

Caesarea, Archaeology in Israel (Jewish Magazine) Provides the historical background of the city and its aqueduct, theatre, city walls, and harbor.

Caesarea (personal page) Limited text but features several unique pictures from 1992.

A Look at Caesarea Maritima and the Apostle Paul (personal page) A basic history of Caesarea, concentrating on connections to Paul.

What is Underwater Archaeology? (Nordic Underwater Archaeology) Introduces the concept of underwater archaeology for those more interested in the methods being used in Caesarea.

Constructing the Harbour of Caesarea on the Sea (originally published in The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology) Highlights on this site include a strikingly clear aerial photo, a reconstruction of how the harbor was constructed (find the photo here on National Geographic), and some technical information.

Sebastos: Herod’s Harbor at Caesarea Maritime (ResearchGate.net) Scroll down far enough, and you can read all of this 1983 article illustrated with black and white photos and sketched plans; packed with information.

Mystery of Caesarea’s Disappearing Port (Segula) A detailed article exploring the history of the harbor, including an explanation for why it looks like it does today.