Tribute to Caesar
© Angela M. Lobefaro - Explore -
Thanks to gadihext and to his very friendly family for the fantastic hospitality!
Caesarea was originally called Straton's Tower after its founder Straton, who is believed to have been a ruler of Sidon in the 4th century BCE. In 96 BCE the city was captured by Alexander Yannai and remained in the Hasmonean kingdom until it became an autonomous city by Pompey. After being for some time in the possession of Cleopatra, ruler of Egypt, it was returned by Augustus to Herod.
Once the site of a Phoenician port, over the course of 12 years Herod built Caesarea into the grandest city other than Jerusalem in Palestine, with a deep sea harbor (called Sebastos, i.e., Augustus in Greek), aqueduct, hippodrome and magnificent amphitheater that remain standing today. Herod renamed the city Caesarea in honor of the emperor. The population of Caesarea was half gentile and half Jewish, often causing disputes among the people. In 6 CE, Caesarea became the home of the Roman governors (Procurators) of Judea. The city remained the capital of Roman and Byzantine Palestine.