ArticlePDF Available

Josephus’ “Cydasa of the Tyrians” (Tel Qedesh) in eastern Upper Galilee

Authors:

Abstract

Eastern Upper Galilee in the Roman period evidently housed two ethnic groups in an often hostile relationship (cf. Jos., BJ 3.35-40): in the north, a pagan population belonging to the chora of Tyre, which would have included Qedesh, and in the south a Jewish population. The two ethnic-based territories, which exhibit clear differences in their material culture, were separated by the deep ravine of Naḥal Dishon (wadi Hindaj). Other than urban temples, pagan temples, usually dated to the 2nd and 3rd c. A.D., are limited to the area north of Naḥal Dishon, while synagogues, which continued to be erected into the late-antique period, lie to its south. Qedesh lies 35 km southeast of the large metropolis of Tyre (fig. 1) across a rough mountainous area which made communication somewhat difficult.
© Journal of Roman Archaeology 31 (2018)
Josephus’ “Cydasa of the Tyrians”
(Tel Qedesh) in eastern Upper Galilee
Roi Sabar
Eastern Upper Galilee in the Roman period evidently housed two ethnic groups in an
often hostile relationship (cf. Jos., BJ 3.35-40): in the north, a pagan population belonging
to the chora of Tyre, which would have included Qedesh, and in the south a Jewish popu-
lation. The two ethnic-based territories, which exhibit clear dierences in their material
culture,1 were separated by the deep ravine of Naal Dishon (wadi Hindaj).2 Other than
urban temples, pagan temples, usually dated to the 2nd and 3rd c. A.D.,3 are limited to the
area north of Naal Dishon, while synagogues, which continued to be erected into the late-
antique period,4 lie to its south.5 Qedesh lies 35 km southeast of the large metropolis of Tyre
(g. 1) across a rough mountainous area which made communication somewhat dicult.
Until recently, the site was
best known for its well-
preserved and impressive
Roman remains set on the
eastern hill, some 200 m
east of the tell, that include
the best-preserved Roman
temple façade in Cis-Jor-
dan, along with two ne
mausolea and several
decorated sarcophagi,
probably part of the set-
tlement’s necropolis. The
present article aims to
address some key ques-
tions about the location
and layout of the Roman
selement. After review-
ing relevant historical
1 M. Aviam, “Distribution maps of archaeological data from the Galilee: an aempt to establish
zones indicative of ethnicity and religious aliation,” in J. Zangenberg, H. W. Aridge and
D. B. Martin (edd.), Religion, ethnicity and identity in ancient Galilee: a region in transition (Tübingen
2007) 115-32; D. Syon, Small change in Hellenistic-Roman Galilee: the evidence from numismatic site
nds as a tool for historical reconstruction (Jerusalem 2015) 87-101.
2 R. Frankel et al., Selement dynamics and regional diversity in ancient Upper Galilee (Jerusalem
2001) 111.
3 M. Fischer, A. Ovadiah and I. Roll, “The Roman temple at Kedesh, Upper Galilee: a preliminary
study,” Tel Aviv 11 (1984) 146-72; M. Aviam, Jews, pagans, and Christians in the Galilee: 25 years of
archaeological excavations and surveys: Hellenistic to Byzantine periods (Rochester, NY 2004) 14.
4 R. Hachlili, Ancient synagogues — archaeology and art: new discoveries and current research (Leiden
2013) 586-95. There is an ongoing debate regarding the date of Galilean synagogues: cf.
C. Spiegel, “Debating ancient synagogue dating: the implications of deteriorating data,” BASOR
376 (2016) 83-100.
5 Frankel et al. (supra n.2) g. 4.4. The northernmost Galilean synagogues are at ̒Alma and
Bara᾽am.
Fig. 1. Location of Tel Qedesh and other Roman sites (large circles indicate
urban sites, small circles rural sites (author).
This is the rst page only. On how to acquire
the full article please click this link.
... Whereas Aharoni's excavations were never published in detail, the Bronze and Iron Age remains of the site have not been explored since, and later excavations concentrated on Persian and Hellenistic period remains exposed on the lower mound (Herbert and Berlin 2003). Another branch of field exploration was devoted to an elongated hill located east of the mound (henceforth Qedesh East), where the remains of a monumental Roman temple and several elaborate mausolea attracted early as well as later excavations (Conder and Kitchener 1881, 226-230;Wilson 1881, 96-98;Fischer, Ovadiah, and Roll 1984;Sabar 2018). In addition, a small (0.8 ha) Chalcolithic-EBA site was previously identified ca. ...
Article
The Early Bronze Age (ca. 3700–2500 b.c.) was an era of wide-ranging changes in the Southern and Central Levant, commonly interpreted in the context of the advent of urban structures in this region. Key elements in regional narratives of urbanization are large fortified sites viewed as regional centers, whose local history is often perceived as a paradigmatic expression of the entire process. Here we present the first stage of research at the site of Qedesh in the Galilee (Israel), that emerged as a large Levantine hub at the turn of the 4th millennium b.c. The study is based on systematic high-resolution surface survey followed by density analysis, probing, and small-scale excavations. Our research suggests that Qedesh was a hitherto unknown key player in the interregional trajectory of social complexification by virtue of its size (min. 50 ha), composite inner structure, and ecotonal location that enhanced connectivity within an economic network associated with the production and distribution of South Levantine Metallic Ware.
Article
In the Roman world a wide variety of funerary architecture was erected along the access roads of cities to catch the eye of passersby. In Hippos (Sussita in Aramaic) of the Decapolis, the most notable funerary structures stood along the city's main approach within the Saddle Necropolis. The most distinctive elements of the necropolis's architectural remains were a series of 13 large funerary podia-the focus of the 2020 excavations. The Hippos podia are unique in the Roman world, in their dating, their architecture, and their multiplicity. The architectural design of this series of structures may be the first evidence of necropolis planning and erection of funerary monuments by the polis itself within the Roman world. The article describes the freshly exposed Hippos podia, proposes reasoning for the choice of this particular type of construction, and analyzes similar funerary structures throughout the Roman world, with emphasis on the Roman East, where sarcophagi were widespread.
Article
Kedesh, ca. 15 km au nord de Safed, pres de la frontiere israelo-libanaise. La ville a connu son apogee aux II-III ss. apr. J.-C. (ou elle depend de Tyr). Un temple romain occupait la colline a l'Est du tell, aux restes bien conserves. Description: un vaste temenos ou enceinte sacree avec en son centre un temple monumental. Le peribolos du temenos est de plan rectangulaire. Le temple est constitue d'une cella rectangulaire et d'un portique. Trois entrees: au centre, au Nord et au Sud. La decoration de l'architecture continue la tradition hellenistique. D'apres les inscriptions grecques et l'iconographie, le temple etait dedie a Baalshamin, et a ete fonde en 117 ap. J.-C.
Book
Galilee has received attention far disproportionate to its size, because both the ministry of Jesus began in Galilee, and post-135 CE Judaism was centered there. This study maps the distribution of bronze coins found at some 250 sites in Galilee in the Hellenistic and Roman periods (c. 300 BCE–260 CE) and uses the pattern as an independent tool in evaluating historical processes in that region. Learning which coins were used as ‘small change’ by the Galilean population provides insight into the dynamics of its ethnic composition during this time span. Employing spatial analysis of coin finds, related numismatic understandings, and archaeological and historical evidence when available, the boundaries of Jewish Galilee are traced from the Hasmonean period onward. Drawing on the new ‘archaeology of ethnicity’ and the ‘archaeology of difference’ approaches, this study offers new insights and common sense answers to some of the controversial issues about first-century Galilee.
Distribution maps of archaeological data from the Galilee: an attempt to establish zones indicative of ethnicity and religious affiliation
  • M Aviam
M. Aviam, "Distribution maps of archaeological data from the Galilee: an attempt to establish zones indicative of ethnicity and religious affiliation," in J. Zangenberg, H. W. Attridge and D. B. Martin (edd.), Religion, ethnicity and identity in ancient Galilee: a region in transition (Tübingen 2007) 115-32;
Debating ancient synagogue dating: the implications of deteriorating data
  • C Spiegel
C. Spiegel, "Debating ancient synagogue dating: the implications of deteriorating data," BASOR 376 (2016) 83-100.