From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

(Καισάρεια or Καισάρεια Σεβαστή, named in honour of Augustus; known also as Caesarea Palaestinae , and in modern Arabic as el-Kaiṣârîyeh  ; to be distinguished clearly from Caesarea Philippi )

Caesarea was situated on the Mediterranean coast, 32 miles N. of Joppa, 25 S. of Carmel, and 75 N.W. of Jerusalem. It was once the chief port of Palestine. It was rebuilt by Herod the Great on the site of ‘Straton’s Tower’ (Jos. Ant . xv. ix. 6). The city is closely associated with the history of the Apostolic Church, being especially notable as the place where the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the Gentiles ( Acts 10:45). The name occurs in Acts only. Philip the deacon seems to have resided at Caesarea ( Acts 8:40;  Acts 21:8;  Acts 21:16). St. Paul was sent hence to Tarsus ( Acts 9:30). Cornelius, a Roman centurion, influenced by a vision to send to Joppa for St. Peter, here became the first convert of the Gentiles ( Acts 10:1;  Acts 10:24;  Acts 11:11). Here Herod Agrippa I. died ( Acts 12:19). Here St. Paul landed on his way from Ephesus ( Acts 18:22), being later escorted hither on his return from Jerusalem ( Acts 23:23;  Acts 23:33), and here he was imprisoned for two years, and tried before Festus ( Acts 25:1;  Acts 25:4;  Acts 25:6;  Acts 25:13).

In apostolic times Caesarea was politically the capital of the province of Judaea , and the residence of the Roman procurators. Tacitus describes it as ‘the head of Judaea ’ ( Hist . ii. 78). Among its inhabitants there were both Jews and Greeks. The city was elaborately beautified with temples, theatres, palaces, arches, and altars. It was especially famous for its harbour (Jos. Ant . xv. ix. 6). Aqueducts supplied the inhabitants with water from Carmel and the Crocodile River. In the 3rd cent. a.d., it became the seat of a famous school of theology, in which Origen taught; also of the bishopric of Syria, Eusebius being the most celebrated of these occupying the office. Under the Arabs it unfortunately lost its former prestige and rapidly degenerated. At the time of the Crusades it was rebuilt by Baldwin ii. Saladin took it in 1187. In 1251 it was re-fortified by St. Louis. Finally, in 1265, it was completely destroyed by the Sultan Bibars, since whose time it has remained in ruins.

Little is now left to mark the ancient city. Porter, writing in 1865, says: ‘I saw no man. The Arab and the shepherd avoid the spot’ ( Giant Cities , 235). Thomson also ( Land and Book , i. 72) speaks of it as ‘absolutely forsaken.’ Since 1889, however, a few Bosnians have settled among the ruins and carried on a small trade in brick. Most of the stones of the ancient city were used by Ibrahim Pasha in constructing the new fortifications at Acre. To the missionary, Caesarea is one of the most interesting spots on earth, having been the cradle of the Gentile Church.

Literature.-Josephus, Ant . xiv. iv. 4, xvii. xi. 4, Bellum Judaicum (Josephus) i. xxi. 5, ii. ix. 1; G. A. Smith, Historical Geography of the Holy Land (G. A. Smith) 138ff., article‘Caesarea’ in Encyclopaedia Biblica , i. 617; C. R. Conder, article‘Caesarea’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) , i. 337, Tent Work in Palestine , new ed., 1887, pp. 107-110; Schürer, History of the Jewish People (Eng. tr. of GJV).] , index, s.v.  ; SWP [Note: WP Memoirs of Survey of Western Palestine.]ii. [1882], sheet x.; Baedeker, Palestine and Syria 5, 1912, p. 237ff.; A. Neubauer, Géog. du Talmud , 1868; G. Le Strange, Palestine under the Moslems , 1890, p. 474; H. B. Tristram, Bible places , 1897, p. 75; J. L. Porter, The Giant Cities of Bashan , 1873, p. 233ff.; W. M. Thomson, The Land and the Book , 1881, i. 69ff.; W. Smith, Dict. of the Bible 2, article‘Caesarea.’

George L. Robinson.

Holman Bible Dictionary [2]

Because of the lack of natural harbor between Sidon and Egypt, a Sidonian king, Abdashtart established an anchorage in the 4th century B.C. It became known as Strato's Tower, using the king's Greek name. A fortified town developed on this site. The first literary record is from the archive of the Egyptian Zenon who put in there for supplies in 259 B.C. The Hasmonean ruler Alexander Jannaeus brought it under Jewish control in 96 B.C., but Pompey returned it to Gentile rule in 63 B.C. The Jewish community apparently continued to thrive. Mark Anthony gave it to Cleopatra, but Octavian or Augustus defeated Antony at Actuim and placed Caesarea under Herod in 30 B.C.

Herod determined to build a fine port facility and support it by a new city. The harbor, which he named Sebastos (Latin, Augustus), was a magnificently engineered project. The southern breakwater was built of huge mortared stones placed in a semicircle about 2000 feet long, and the northern one is of similar construction almost 900 feet long. Great statues of Augustus and Roma were erected at the entrance. An inner harbor appears to have been dug into the land where mooring berths and vaulted warehouses were constructed. Josephus described the construction of the harbor and accompanying city in grandiose detail. The city was Hellenistic in design and style and named Caesarea for Caesar. In addition to the many buildings a platform was raised near the harbor upon which a temple was built for Caesar with a Colossus of Caesar.

After Archelaus was removed in 6 A.D., Caesarea became the capital of the province of Judea and served as the official home of the procurators. Hostilities between the Jewish and Gentile population apparently had been a way of life in this city. One of the public outbreaks resulted in the desecration of the synagogue Knestha d'Meredtha in 66 A.D. which precipitated the Jewish-Roman War. Vespasian gave it the status of Colony. The city had a long history of both Jewish and Christian presence and some scholastic conflict between the two. A Rabbinic school was founded by Bar Qappara in the third century, and one student (Yohanvan bar Nappaha) of that school founded the academy of Tiberias. It was already the seat of a bishop when the great Christian scholar Origen established residence there in 231. His successor, Pamphilius, built on that reputation and founded a library that was second only to Alexandria. Eusebius, the first church historian, became bishop in 314. The city slowly decreased in importance and moved from Byzantine to Arab control in 640. The port became unusable, but the city still thrived because of agriculture. The coming of the Crusaders in 1101 began a series of struggles that ended in 1265 when the Mameluke Beibars totally destroyed the city. Muslim refugees from Bosnia settled there from 1878 until 1948.

The city appears in the book of Acts as a place of witness, travel, and the seat of government. Philip, having witnessed to the Ethiopian eunuch, is mentioned as arriving at Caesarea after a preaching mission. Peter led a centurion, Cornelius, who was stationed there to become a Christian ( Acts 10:1 ). Paul had several reported contacts with the city as a port ( Acts 9:30;  Acts 18:22; and perhaps  Acts 21:8 ) and a place of imprisonment and trial ( Acts 23:23 ,  Acts 25:1-7 ). Herod Agrippa I had a residence there and died there ( Acts 12:19-23 ).

The first formal archaeology of the site was a surface survey done by the Palestine Exploration Fund in 1873, directed by Conder and Kitchener. Modern farming and highway building produced numerous inscriptions and other artifacts; but, except for Ory's work on the synagogue (1945) and Yeivin's project in the Byzantine area, little archaeology took place until 1959. Since that time, nearly constant work has been carried out in the vicinity both on land and sea. This twelfth and thirteenth century Crusader city is very impressive. The theater excavation, 1959-1964, demonstrated a series of remodelings and constant use until a sixth century Byzantine fort was built over the site. After excavation, the theater was reconstructed and is used regularly by various performance groups. The so-called “Pilate stone” was found in secondary usage as a step in the theater. This very important discovery is the one artifact that places Pontius Pilate in Palestine and confirms the historical reports. The excavated synagogue, near the location of Strato's Tower, may be the “Synagogue of Revolt.” The final installation to be mentioned is the aqueduct system made up of a high level aqueduct, dating from Herodian times, bringing water from springs on Mt. Carmel for human consumption, and a low level aqueduct directing water from a dam on the Zerga River perhaps for irrigation and other lesser purposes. Recent discoveries of note include vaulted warehouses, an underwater shipwreck, and a Mithraeum.

George W. Knight

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [3]

CÆSAREA (mod. Kaisariyeh ). A city rebuilt by Herod the Great on the site of Straton’s Tower, on the coast of Palestine, between Joppa and Dora. Its special features were a large harbour protected by a huge mole and by a wall with 10 lofty towers and colossi; a promenade round the port, with arches where sailors could lodge; a temple of Augustus raised on a platform, and visible far out at sea, containing two colossal statues of Rome and the Emperor; a system of drainage whereby the tides were utilized to flush the streets; walls embracing a semicircular area stretching for a mile along the sea-coast; two aqueducts, one of them 8 miles in length, displaying great engineering skill; a hippodrome; an amphitheatre capable of seating 20,000 persons; a theatre; a court of justice, and many other noble structures. The city took 12 years to build, and Herod celebrated its completion (b.c. 10 9) with sumptuous games and entertainments which cost £120,000. Herod used the port for his frequent voyages. Here he condemned to death his two sons Alexander and Aristobulus. After the banishment of Herod’s successor Archelaus, Cæsarea became the official residence of the Roman procurators of Palestine (broken only by the brief interval during which it was under the independent rule of Herod Agrippa I., who met his tragic death here in b.c. 44 [  Acts 12:20-23 ]). The fifth of these, Pontius Pilate, ordered a massacre in the hippodrome of Cæsarea of those Jews who had flocked to implore the removal from Jerusalem of the profane eagle standards and images of the Emperor recently introduced. Only on their baring their necks for death and thus refusing to submit, did Pilate revoke the order, and direct the ensigns to be removed. Christianity early found its way here, Philip probably being the founder of the Church (  Acts 8:40 ), while Paul passed through after his first visit to Jerusalem (  Acts 19:31 ). Cæsarea was the scene of the baptism of Cornelius (  Acts 10:1-48 ). Here also the Holy Spirit for the first time fell on heathen, thus inaugurating the Gentile Pentecost (v. 44). Paul may have passed through Cæsarea (  Acts 18:22 ) at the time when numbers of Jewish patriots, captured by Cumanus, had here been crucified by Quadratus, legate of Syria. It was at Cæsarea that Paul’s arrest in Jerusalem was foretold by Agabus (  Acts 21:8-14 ). Here he was imprisoned for two years under Felix (  Acts 23:1-35 ). During that time a riot broke out between Greeks and Jews as to their respective rights, and Felix ordered a general massacre of the Jews to be carried out in the city. On the recall of Felix, Nero sent Porcius Festus, who tried Paul (  Acts 25:9 ) and also allowed him to state his case before Herod Agrippa II. and Berenice (  Acts 26:1-32 ). The wickedness of the last procurator, Gessius Florus, finally drove the Jews into revolt. A riot in Cæsarea led to a massacre in Jerusalem, and simultaneously 20,000 of the Jewish population of Cæsarea were slaughtered. During the Great War, Cæsarea was used as the base for operations, first by Vespasian, who was here proclaimed Emperor by his soldiers (a.d. 69), and latterly by his son Titus, who completed the destruction of Jerusalem. The latter celebrated the birthday of his brother Domitian by forcing 2500 Jews to fight with beasts in the arena at Cæsarea. The city was made into a Roman colony, renamed Colonia Prima Flavia Augusta Cæsarensis , released from taxation, and recognized as the capital of Palestine.

Several Church Councils were held at Cæsarea. It was from a.d. 200 to 451 the residence of the Metropolitan bishop of Palestine. Origen taugh there, and Eusebius was its bishop from a.d. 313 to 340. It was the birthplace of Procopius, the historian. In a.d. 548 the Christians were massacred by the Jews and Samaritans. In 638 it surrendered to the Moslems under Abu Obeida. It was recovered in 1102 by Baldwin I., who massacred the Saracens in the mosque, once the Christian cathedral. The loot contained the so-called ‘Holy Grail’ of mediæval legend. Saladin recaptured Cæsarea in 1187, but it was retaken by Richard I. in 1192. The city, however, was so ruined that when restored it covered only one-tenth of the original ground. In 1251 Louis IX. fortified it strongly. In 1265 it was stormed by Sultan Bibars, who utterly demolished it. To-day it is a wilderness of dreary ruins, tenanted only by a few wandering shepherds.

G. A. Frank Knight.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [4]

a city and port of Palestine, built by Herod the Great, and thus called in honour of Augustus Caesar. It was on the site of the tower of Strato. This city, which was six hundred furlongs from Jerusalem, is often mentioned in the New Testament. Here it was that Herod Agrippa was smitten of the Lord for not giving God the glory, when the people were so extravagant in his praise. Cornelius the centurion, who was baptized by St. Peter, resided here,  Acts 10:1 , &c; and also Philip the deacon, with his four maiden daughters. At Caesarea the Prophet Agabus foretold that Paul would be bound and persecuted at Jerusalem. Lastly, the Apostle himself continued two years a prisoner at Caesarea, till he was conducted to Rome. When Judea was reduced to the state of a Roman province, Caesarea became the stated residence of the proconsul, which accounts for the circumstance of Paul being carried thither from Jerusalem, to defend himself.

Dr. E. D. Clarke's remarks upon this once celebrated city will be read with interest: "On the 15th of July, 1801, we embarked, after sunset, for Acre, to avail ourselves of the land wind, which blows during the night, at this season of the year. By day break, the next morning, we were off the coast of Caesarea; and so near with the land that we could very distinctly perceive the appearance of its numerous and extensive ruins. The remains of this city, although still considerable, have long been resorted to as a quarry, whenever building materials are required at Acre. Djezzar Pacha brought from hence the columns of rare and beautiful marble, as well as the other ornaments of his palace, bath, fountain, and mosque, at Acre. The place at present is inhabited only by jackals and beasts of prey. As we were becalmed during the night, we heard the cries of these animals until day break. Pococke mentions the curious fact of the former existence of crocodiles in the river of Caesarea. Perhaps there has not been in the history of the world an example of any city, that in so short a space of time rose to such an extraordinary height of splendour as did this of Caesarea; or that exhibits a more awful contrast to its former magnificence, by the present desolate appearance of its ruins. Not a single inhabitant remains. Its theatres, once resounding with the shouts of multitudes, echo no other sound than the nightly cries of animals roaming for their prey. Of its gorgeous palaces and temples, enriched with the choicest works of art, and decorated with the most precious marbles, scarcely a trace can be discerned. Within the space of ten years after laying the foundation, from an obscure fortress, it became the most celebrated and flourishing city of all Syria. It was named Caesarea by Herod, in honour of Augustus, and dedicated by him to that emperor, in the twenty-eighth year of his reign. Upon this occasion, that the ceremony might be rendered illustrious, by a degree of profusion unknown in any former instance, Herod assembled the most skilful musicians, wrestlers, and gladiators, from all parts of the world. This solemnity was to be renewed every fifth year. But, as we viewed the ruins of this memorable city, every other circumstance, respecting its history was absorbed in the consideration that we were actually beholding the very spot where the scholar of Tarsus, after two years' imprisonment, made that eloquent appeal, in the audience of the king of Judea, which must ever be remembered with piety and delight. In the history of the actions of the holy Apostles, whether we regard the internal evidence of the narrative, or the interest excited by a story so wonderfully appalling to our passions and affections, there is nothing that we call to mind with fuller emotions of sublimity and satisfaction. ‘In the demonstration of the Spirit and of power,' the mighty advocate for the Christian faith had before ‘reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come,' till the Roman governor, Felix, trembled as he spoke. Not all the oratory of Tertullus; not the clamour of his numerous adversaries; not even the countenance of the most profligate of tyrants, availed against the firmness and intrepidity of the oracle of God. The judge had trembled before his prisoner; and now a second occasion offered, in which, for the admiration and the triumph of the Christian world, one of the bitterest persecutors of the name of Christ, and a Jew, appeals, in the public tribunal of a large and populous city, to all its chiefs and its rulers, its governor and its king, for the truth of his conversion founded on the highest evidence."

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [5]

1. Named also Sebaste (i.e. of Augustus, in whose honor Herod the Great built it in ten years with a lavish expenditure, so that Tacitus calls it "the head of Judaea".) Also Stratonis, from Strato's tower, and Palaestinae, and Maritime. The residence of Philip the deacon and his four prophesying daughters ( Acts 8:40;  Acts 21:8;  Acts 21:16). Also the scene of the Gentile centurion Cornelius' conversion ( Acts 10:). Herod Agrippa I died there ( Acts 12:19-23). Paul sailed thence to Tarsus ( Acts 9:30); and arrived there from his second missionary journey ( Acts 18:22), also from his third  Acts 21:8); and was a prisoner there for two years before his voyage to Italy ( Acts 24:27;  Acts 25:1;  Acts 25:4;  Acts 25:6;  Acts 25:13).

It was on the high road between Tyre and Egypt; a little more than a day's journey from Joppa on the S. ( Acts 10:24), less than a day from Ptolemais on the N. ( Acts 21:8.) About 70 miles from Jerusalem, from which the soldiers brought Paul in two days ( Acts 23:31-32) by way of Antipatris. It had a harbor 300 yards across, and vast breakwater, (the mole still remains,) and a temple with colossal statues sacred to Caesar and to Rome. Joppa and Dora had been previously the only harbors of Palestine. It was the Roman procurators' (Felix, Festus, etc.) official residence; the Herodian kings also kept court there. The military head quarters of the province were fixed there. Gentiles outnumbered Jews in it; and in the synagogue accordingly the Old Testament was read in Greek.

An outbreak between Jews and Greeks was one of the first movements in the great Jewish war. Vespasian was declared emperor there; he made it a Roman colony, with the Italian rights. It was the home of Eusebius, the scene of some of Origen's labors, and the birthplace of Procopius. Now a desolate ruin, called Kaisariyeh; S. of the mediaeval town is the great earthwork with its surrounding ditch, and a stone theater within, which Josephus alludes to as an amphitheater.

2. Caesarea Philippi. Anciently Paneas or Panium (from the sylvan god Pan, whose worship seemed appropriate to the verdant situation, with groves of olives and Hermon's lovely slopes near); the modern Bahias. At the eastern of the two sources of the Jordan, the other being at Tel-el-Kadi (Dan or Laish, the most northerly city of Israel). The streams which flow from beneath a limestone rock unite in one stream near Caesarea Philippi. There was a deep cavity full of still water there. Identified with the Baal Gad of Old Testament Herod erected here a temple of white marble to Augustus. (See Baal GAD.) Herod's son Philip, tetrarch of Trachonitis, enlarged and called it from himself, as well as Caesar, Caesarea Philippi. Agrippa II called it Neronias; but the old name prevailed. It was the seat of a Greek and a Latin bishopric in succession.

The great castle (Shubeibeh) built partly in the earliest ages still remains the most striking fortress in Palestine. The transfiguration probably took place on mount Hermon. which rears its majestic head 7,000 feet above Caesarea Philippi. The allusion to "snow" agrees with this, and the mention of Caesarea Philippi in the context ( Matthew 16:13;  Mark 8:27;  Mark 9:3). The remoteness and privacy of Caesarea Philippi fitted it for being the place where Jesus retired to prepare His disciples for His approaching death of shame and His subsequent resurrection; there it was that Peter received the Lord's praise, and afterward censure. The transfiguration gave them a foretaste of the future glory, in order to prepare them for the intermediate shame and suffering.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [6]

A few years before the time of Christ, Herod the Great built a new city on the Mediterranean coast and named it Caesarea, in honour of the Roman Emperor. It was a magnificent city, but today only a few of its ruins remain.

The Palestine coast south of Mt Carmel had no good sites for harbours, because of the shallow waters and sandy shores. Herod therefore built an expensive artificial harbour for Caesarea, and the city soon became an important port. Being situated on the main north-south coastal road that linked Phoenicia and Egypt, the city developed into a prosperous centre for inland and overseas trade. It was also an important centre of administration from which the Herods, and later the Romans, governed the region ( Acts 12:19;  Acts 23:33;  Acts 25:1-6).

When the Jews persecuted the early Christians and forced them to leave Jerusalem ( Acts 8:1;  Acts 8:4), Philip the evangelist went to live in Caesarea ( Acts 8:40;  Acts 21:8). The apostle Peter helped the work, and soon a church was established there. An early convert was a Roman centurion, Cornelius ( Acts 10:1;  Acts 10:24;  Acts 10:44-48). Later the apostle Paul also helped the church. He passed through Caesarea on a number of occasions and was for a time imprisoned there ( Acts 9:30;  Acts 18:22;  Acts 21:8;  Acts 21:16;  Acts 23:23-35;  Acts 24:24-27;  Acts 25:1-13).

This coastal city of Caesarea is not to be confused with the inland town of Caesarea Philippi. The latter was in the hill country of northern Galilee ( Matthew 16:13; see Caesarea Philippi ).

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [7]

Often called Caesarea of Palestine, situated on the coast of the Mediterranean sea, between Joppa and Tyre. It was anciently a small place, called the Tower of Strato, but was rebuilt with great splendor, and strongly fortified by Herod the Great, who formed a harbor by constructing a vast breakwater, adorned the city with many stately buildings, and named it Caesarea, in honor of Augustus. It was inhabited chiefly by Greeks, and Herod established in it quinquennial games in honor of the emperor. This city was the capital of Judea during the reign of Herod the Great and of Herod Agrippa I., and was also the seat of the Roman power while Judea was governed as a province of the empire. It was subject to frequent commotion between the Greeks, Romans, and Jews, so that on one occasion 20,000 persons are said to have fallen in one day.

It is noted in gospel history as the residence of Philip the evangelist,  Acts 8:40   21:8; and of Cornelius the centurion, the first fruits from the Gentiles,  Acts 10:1-48   11:1-18 Here Herod Agrippa was smitten by the angel of God,   Acts 12:20-23 . Paul several times visited it,  Acts 9:30   18:22   21:8,16; here he appeared before Felix, who trembled under his appeals,

  Acts 23:23   24:1-27; here he was imprisoned for two years; and after pleading before Festus and Agrippa, he sailed hence for imperial Rome,  Acts 25:26   27:1 . It is now a heap of ruins.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [8]

Caesare'a. Caesarea,  Acts 8:40;  Acts 9:30;  Acts 10:1;  Acts 10:24;  Acts 11:11;  Acts 12:19;  Acts 18:22;  Acts 21:8;  Acts 21:16;  Acts 23:23;  Acts 23:33;  Acts 25:1;  Acts 25:4;  Acts 25:6;  Acts 25:13, was situated on the coast of Palestine, on the line of the great road from Tyre to Egypt, and about halfway between Joppa and Dora.

The distance from Jerusalem was about 70 miles; Josephus states it in round numbers as 600 stadia. In Strabo's time, there was, on this point of the coast, merely a town called "Strato's Tower," with a landing-place, whereas, in the time of Tacitus, Caesarea is spoken of as being the head of Judea. It was in this interval that the city was built by Herod the Great.

It was the official residence of the Herodian kings, and of Festus, Felix and the other Roman procurators of Judea. Here also lived Philip the deacon and his four prophesying daughters. Caesarea continued to be a city of some importance, even in the time of the Crusades, and the name still lingers on the site ( Kaisariyeh ), which is a complete desolation, many of the building-stones having been carried to other towns.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [9]

Cæsarea ( Sĕs-A-Rç'Ah ). The chief Roman city of Palestine in New Testament times. It was on the Mediterranean, about 47 miles northwest of Jerusalem. It was first called "Strato's Tower." Herod the Great built a city there, b.c. 10, and named it in honor of Augustus Cæsar. Herod Agrippa I. died there,  Acts 12:19-23. Philip the evangelist lived there,  Acts 8:40;  Acts 21:8; and Cornelius, 10:1-24. Paul frequently visited it, 9:30; 18:22; 21:8; 23:33; was in bonds there two years, 24:27; it was the official residence of Festus and of Felix. It is now in ruins, and is called Kaisarieh.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [10]

A sea-port on the Mediterranean, about midway between Carmel and Joppa. The city was built by Herod the Great and named after Augustus his patron. It became the seat of the governors of Palestine, and the place where their army was quartered. Paul was sent thither to protect him from the intrigues of the Jews at Jerusalem.  Acts 23:23,33 . He was imprisoned there during two years.  Acts 25:1-13 . It was there that Peter opened the door to the Gentiles in the case of Cornelius and his friends.  Acts 10:1,24 . The harbour was massively built, with a breakwater and landing wharfs.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [11]

There are two places of this name spoken of in Scripture. Caesarea Philippi, supposed to have been built by Philip, no great distance from Zidon. This place is rendered memorable in the gospel, from Jesus passing near the coasts of it when Peter gave so blessed a testimony to the Godhead of his master. See  Matthew 16:13, etc The other Caesarea was in Palestine. Here lived Cornelius the Centurion. ( Acts 10:1-48)

Easton's Bible Dictionary [12]

 Acts 10:1,24 Acts 24:27 25:1,4,6,13

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [13]

( Καισάρεια , in the Targum קיסרין ), the name of several cities under the Roman rule, given to them in compliment of some of the emperors; especially of two important towns in Palestine.

1. Caesar '''''Ç''''' A Palaest '''''Î''''' Nae ( Καισάρεια Παλαιστίνης ) , or "Caesarea of Palestine" (so called to distinguish it from the other Caesarea), or simply Cesarea (without addition, from its eminence as the Roman metropolis of Palestine, and the residence of the procurator). The numerous passages in which it occurs ( Acts 8:40;  Acts 9:30;  Acts 10:1;  Acts 10:24;  Acts 11:11;  Acts 12:19;  Acts 18:22;  Acts 21:8;  Acts 21:16;  Acts 23:23;  Acts 23:33;  Acts 25:1;  Acts 25:4;  Acts 25:6;  Acts 25:13) show how important a place this city occupies in the Acts of the Apostles. It was situated on the coast of Palestine, on the line of the great road from Tyre to Egypt, and about half way between Joppa and Dora (Josephus, War, 1:21, 5). The journey of the apostle Peter from Joppa ( Acts 10:24) occupied rather more than a day. On the other hand, Paul's journey from Ptolemais ( Acts 21:8) was accomplished within the day. The distance from Jerusalem is stated by Josephus in round numbers as 600 stadia (Ant. 13:11, 2; War, 1:3, 5). The Jerusalem Itinerary gives sixty-eight miles (Wesseling, p. 600; see Robinson, Bib. Res. 3:45). It has been ascertained, however, that there was a shorter road by Antipatris than that which is given in the Itinerary a point of some importance in reference to the night- journey of Acts 23. (See Antipatris). The actual distance in a direct line is forty-seven English miles.

In Strabo's time there was on this point of the coast merely a town called "Strato's Tower," with a landing-place ( Πρόσορμον Ἔχων ) , whereas, in the time of Tacitus, Caesarea is spoken of as being the head of Judaea ("Judaaee caput," Tac. Hist. 2:79). It was in this interval that the city was built by Herod the Great (Josephus, Ant. 15:9, 6; Strabo, 16:2, 27; Pliny, ''H. N'' . v. 15). The work was, in fact, accomplished in ten years. The utmostcare and expense were lavished on the building of Caesarea. It was a proud monument of the reign of Herod, who named it in honor of the Emperor Augustus. The full name was Ccesarea Sebaste ( Καισάρεια Σεβαστή , Joseph. Ant. 16:5, 1). It was sometimes called Cesarea Stratonis, and sometimes also (from its position) Maritime Ccesarea ( Παραλιός , Joseph. War, 3:9, 1, or Ἐπί Θαλάττῃ , ib. 7:1, 3). The magnificence of Cesarea is described in detail by Josephus in two places (Ant. 15:9; War, 1:21). The chief features were connected with the harbor (itself called Σεβαστὸς Λιμήν , on coins and by Josephus, Ant. 17:5, 1), which was equal in size to the Piraeus of Athens. The whole coast of Palestine may be said to be extremely inhospitable, exposed as it is to the fury of the western storms, with no natural port affording adequate shelter to the vessels resorting toit. To remedy this defect, Herod, who, though an arbitrary tyrant, did much for the improvement of Judaea, set about erecting, at immense cost and labor, one of the most stupendous works of antiquity. He threw out a semicircular mole, which protected the port of Caesarea on the south and west, leaving only a sufficient opening for vessels to enter from the north; so that, within the enclosed space, a fleet might ride at all weathers in perfect security. This breakwater was constructed of immense blocks of stone brought from a great distance, and sunk to the depth of 20 fathoms in the sea. Broad landing-wharves surrounded the harbor, and conspicuous from the sea was a tem. pie dedicated to Caesar and to Rome, and containing colossal statues of the emperor and the imperial city. Besides this, Herod added a theater and an amphitheatre; and, when the whole was finished, he fixed his residence there, and thus elevated the city to the rank of the civil and military capital of Judeea, which rank it continued to enjoy as long as the country remained a province of the Roman empire (see Dr. Mansford, Script. Gazetteer).

Vespasian was first declared emperor at Caesarea, and he raised it to the rank of a Rot man "colony" (q.v.), granting it, first, exemption from the capitation tax, and afterward from the ground taxes (the real jus Italicum). The place was, however, inhabited chiefly by Gentiles, though some thousands of Jews lived in it (Joseph.War, 3:9, 1; 3:14; Ant. 20:8, 7; Life, 11). It seems there was a standing dispute between the Jewish and Gentile inhabitants of Caesarea to which of them the city really belonged. The former claimed it as having been built by a Jew, meaning King Herod; the latter admitted this, but contended that he built it for them, and not for Jews, seeing that he had filled it with statues and temples of their gods, which the latter abominated (Joseph. War, 2:13,7). This quarrel sometimes came to blows, and eventually the matter was referred to the Emperor Nero, whose decision in favor of the Gentiles, and the behavior of the latter thereupon, gave deep offense to the Jews generally, and afforded occasion for the first outbreaks, which led to the war with the Romans (Joseph. War, 2:14). One of the first acts of that war was the massacre of all the Jewish inhabitants by the Gentiles to the number of 20,000 (ib. 2:18, 1). This city was the head-quarters of one of the Roman cohorts (q.v.) in Palestine.

Caesarea is the scene of several interesting circumstances described in the New Testament, such as the conversion of Cornelius, the first-fruits of the Gentiles (Acts 10); the residence of Philip the Evangelist ( Acts 21:8). It was here also, in the amphitheatre built by his grandfather, that Herod Agrippa was smitten of God and died ( Acts 12:21-23). From hence the apostle Paul sailed to Tarsus when forced to leave Jerusalem on his return from Damascus ( Acts 9:30), and at this port he landed after his second missionary journey ( Acts 18:22). He also spent some time at Caesarea on his return from the third missionary journey ( Acts 21:8;  Acts 21:16), and before lone was brought back a prisoner to the same place ( Acts 23:23;  Acts 23:33), where he remained some time in bonds before his voyage to Italy ( Acts 25:1;  Acts 25:4;  Acts 25:6;  Acts 25:13). After the destruction of Jerusalem, Caesarea became the spiritual metropolis of all Palestine; but, since the beginning of the 5th century, when the land was divided into three provinces, Palestina Prima, Secunda, and Tertia, it became the capital of only the first province, and subordinate to the bishopric of Jerusalem, which was elevated into a patriarchate with the rights of primacy over "the three Palestines." Caesarea is chiefly noted as the birthplace and episcopate of Eusebius, the celebrated Church historian, in the beginning of the 4th century, and was conspicuous for the constancy of its martyrs and confessors in the variouspersecutions of the Church, especially the last (Euseb. Hist. Eccl. viii, s. f.). It was also the scene of some of Origen's labors and the birthplace of Procopius. It continued to be a city of some importance even in the time of the Crusades. It still retains the ancient name in the form of Kaiseryeh, but has long been desolate. The most conspicuous ruin is that of an old castleat the extremity of the ancient mole.

A great extent of ground is covered by the remains of the city. A low wall of gray stone encompasses these ruins, and without this is a moat now dry. Between the accumulation of rubbish and the growth of long grass, it is difficult to define the form and nature of the various ruins thus enclosed. Nevertheless, the remains of twoaqueducts, running north and south, are still visible. The one next the sea is carried upon high arches; the lower one, to the eastward, carries its waters along a low wall in an arched channel five or six feet wide. The water is abundant and of excellent quality, and the small vessels of the countryoften put in here to take in their supplies. Caesarea is, apparently, never frequented for any other purpose;even the high-road leaves it wide; and it has not been visited by most of the numerous travelers in Palestine. The present tenants of the ruins are snakes, scorpions, lizards, wild boars, and jackals. See G. Robinson's Travels, 1:199 Bartlett's Jerusalem, p. 6; Traill's Josephus, p. xlix; Conybeare and Howson's Life and Epistles of St. Paul, 2:279; Rosenm Ü ller, Alterth. II, 2:326 sq.; Reland, Palcest. p. 670 sq.; Otho, Lex Rabb. p. 108 -sq.; Thomson, Land and Book, 2:234 sq. Ritter, Erdk. 16:598 sq.; Wilson, Bible Lands, 2:250 sq.; Prokesch, Reise, p. 28 sq.; Sieber, De Ccesarec Palestince Episcopis (Lips. 1734); Wiltsch, Geography and Stat. of the Church, 1:53, 214 sq.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [14]

ses - a - rē´a , - za - rē´a ( Καισαρεία , Kaisareı́a ):

(1) Caesarea Palestina (pal-es-ti'na). The ancient name in the Arabic form Ḳaisarı̄yeh still clings to the ruins on the sea shore, about 30 miles North of Jaffa. It was built by Herod the Great on the site of Strato's Tower ( Ant. , Xiii , xi, 2; XV, ix, 6), and the name Caesarea Sebaste was given it in honor of Augustus (ibid., Xvi , v, 1). With his usual magnificence Herod lavished adornments on the city. He erected sumptuous palaces and public buildings, a theater, and amphitheater with prospect to the sea; while a spacious system of sewers under the city secured cleanliness and health. But "the greatest and most laborious work of all" was a magnificent harbor "always free from the waves of the sea," which Josephus says was not less than the Piraeus: this however is an exaggeration. It was of excellent workmanship, and all the more remarkable because the place itself was not suitable for such noble structures. The whole coast line, indeed, is singularly ill-fitted for the formation of harbors. The mighty breakwater was constructed by letting down stones 50 x 18 x 9 ft. in size into twenty fathoms deep. The mole was 200 ft. wide. Part was surmounted by a wall and towers. A promenade and dwellings for mariners were also provided. The work was done in ten or twelve years. It became the residence of the Roman procurator. It passed into the hands of Agrippa I; and here he miserably died ( Acts 12:19 ,  Acts 12:23 ). Here dwelt Philip the Evangelist ( Acts 8:40;  Acts 21:8 ). To Caesarea Peter was sent to minister to the Roman centurion Cornelius (Acts 10). Thrice Paul passed through Caesarea ( Acts 9:30;  Acts 18:22;  Acts 21:8 ); hither he was sent under guard from Jerusalem to escape danger from the Jews ( Acts 23:23 ); and here he was imprisoned till his final departure for Rome.

Riots between Gentiles and Jews in Caesarea gave rise to the war ( BJ , II, xiii, 7;. xiv, 4 f). Terrible cruelties were practiced on the Jews under Felix and Florus. Here Vespasian was hailed emperor by his soldiers. Titus here celebrated the birthday of his brother Domitian by setting 2,500 Jews to fight with beasts in the amphitheater. Eusebius was bishop of Caesarea (313-40 ad). In 548 ad a massacre of the Christians was organized and carried out by the Jews and Samaritans. The city passed into Moslem hands in 638. In the time of the Crusades it fell, now to the Christians and now to the Moslems; and was finally overthrown by Sultan Bibars in 1265 ad.

The cathedral stood on the site of a temple built by Herod, where the ruins are seen today; as are also those of two aqueducts which conveyed water from Nahr ez - Zerḳā . The landward wall of the Roman city was nearly 3 miles in length.

(2) Caesarea Philippi ( fi - lip´ı̄ ) (Καισαρεία ἡ Φιλίππου , Kaisareı́a hē Philı́ppou ). At the Southwest base of Mt. Hermon, on a rocky terrace, 1,150 ft. above sea-level, between Wādy Khashabeh and Wādy Za‛areh , lie the ruins of the ancient city. It was a center for the worship of Pan: whence the name Paneas, applied not only to the city, but to the whole district ( Ant. , XV, x, 3). It is possible that this may have been the site of ancient Baal-hermon; while Principal G. A. Smith would place Dan here ( HGHL , 480). The district was given by Augustus to Herod the Great 20 bc, by whom a temple of white marble was built in honor of the emperor. Paneas formed part of the tetrarchy of Philip. He rebuilt and beautified the town, calling it Caesarea as a compliment to Augustus, and adding his own name to distinguish it from Caesarea on the coast of Sharon ( Ant. , Xviii , ii, 1; BJ , II, ix, 1). From Bethsaida Jesus and His disciples came hither, and on the way Peter made his famous confession, after which Jesus began to tell them of His coming passion ( Matthew 16:13;  Mark 8:27 ). Some think that on a height near Caesarea Philippi Jesus was transfigured. See Transfiguration , Mount Of . Agrippa Ii renamed the town Neronias ( Ant. , XX, ix, 4). The ancient name however outlived both Caesare a and Neronias, and survives in the Arabic form Bāniās . The modern village, built among the ruins, contains 350 inhabitants. The walls and towers of which the remains are seen date from Crusading times. The castle, eṣ - Ṣubeibeh , crowns the hill behind the town, and must have been a place of strength from the earliest times. Its possession must always have been essential to the holding of the valley to the west. Immediately to the north of the town, at the foot of a steep crag, the fountain of the Jordan rises. Formerly the waters issued from a cave, Maghāret rās en - Neba‛ , "cave of the fountain head," now filled up with débris. Two niches cut in the face of the rock recall the idolatries practiced here in olden times. A shrine of el-Khudr stands on the west of the spring. With the rich soil and plentiful supplies of water, in a comparatively temperate climate, average industry might turn the whole district into a garden. As it is, the surroundings are wonderfully beautiful.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [15]

Cæsare´a. There were two important towns in Palestine thus named in compliment to Roman emperors.

Caesarea Palestina

Cæsarea Palestina, or Caesarea of Palestine, so called to distinguish it from the other Caesarea, from its eminence as the Roman metropolis of Palestine, and the residence of the procurator. It was built by Herod the Great, with much of beauty and convenience, twenty-two years before the birth of Christ. Here he erected one of the most stupendous works of antiquity—a semicircular mole, which protected the port of Caesarea on the south and west, leaving only a sufficient opening for vessels to enter from the north; so that, within the enclosed space, a fleet might ride at all weathers in perfect security. The mole was constructed of immense blocks of stone brought from a great distance, and sunk to the depth of 20 fathoms in the sea. Besides this, Herod added many splendid buildings to the city: and when the whole was finished, which was within twelve years from the commencement of the undertaking, he fixed his residence there, and thus elevated the city to the rank of the civil and military capital of Judea, which rank it continued to enjoy as long as the country remained a province of the Roman empire. Vespasian raised Caesarea to the rank of a Roman colony, granting it first, exemption from the capitation tax, and afterwards, from the ground taxes. The place was, however, inhabited chiefly by Gentiles, though some thousands of Jews lived in it.

Caesarea is the scene of several interesting circumstances described in the New Testament, such as the conversion of Cornelius, the first-fruits of the Gentiles (Acts 10); the residence of Philip the Evangelist (); the journey thither of St. Paul; his pleading there before Felix; his imprisonment for two years; and his final pleading before Festus and King Agrippa (Acts 24). It was here also, in the amphitheatre built by his father, that Herod Agrippa was smitten of God and died ().

On the commencement of the war with the Romans, all the Jewish inhabitants of Caesarea, to the number of 20,000, were massacred by the Gentiles, who had long held them at feud.

In later times, Caesarea is chiefly noted as the birth-place and episcopate of Eusebius, the celebrated Church historian, in the beginning of the fourth century.

Caesarea is almost thirty-five miles north of Joppa or Jaffa, and fifty-five miles from Jerusalem. It still retains the ancient name in the form of Kaiseraih; but has long been desolate. The most conspicuous ruin is that of an old castle, at the extremity of the ancient mole. A great extent of ground is covered by the remains of the city. The water is abundant and of excellent quality; and the small vessels of the country often put in here to take in their supplies. Caesarea is, apparently, never frequented for any other purpose; even the high-road leaves it wide; and it has been visited by very few of the numerous travelers in Palestine. The present tenants of the ruins are snakes, scorpions, lizards, wild boars, and jackals.

Caesarea Philippi

Towards the springs of the Jordan, and near the foot of Isbel Shrik, or the Prince's Mount, a lofty branch of Lebanon, forming in that direction the boundary between Palestine and Syria Proper, stands a city originally called Banias, which was in later times much enlarged and beautified by Philip the tetrarch, who called it Caesarea in honor of Tiberius the emperor, adding the cognomen of Philippi to distinguish it from Caesarea of Palestine. It lay about 120 miles north from Jerusalem, and a day and a half's journey from Damascus (; ). Herod Agrippa also still further extended and embellished it. In compliment to the emperor Nero, its name was afterwards changed to Neronias; and Titus, after the overthrow of Jerusalem, exhibited some public games here, in which the Jewish prisoners were compelled to fight like gladiators. Under the Christians it was erected into a bishopric of Phoenicia. It has now resumed its original name of Banias, and has dwindled into a paltry and insignificant village, whose mean and destitute condition contrasts strikingly with the rich and luxuriant character of the surrounding country. It is said that many remains of ancient architecture are found in the neighborhood. The ruins of the castle of Banias, which appears to have been a work of the Saracens, crown the summit of the adjoining mountain, and display a wall 10 feet in thickness, by which the fortress was defended. The ruins of another fortified castle are visible on the south of the village, and a substantial bridge which conducts to it, inscribed with an Arabic legend, its date being of the age of the Crusades.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [16]

A Syrian seaport, 30 m. N. of Joppa, built in honour of Augustus Cæsar by Herod the Great, now in ruins, though a place of note in the days of the Crusades. Also

t the source of the Jordan, whence Christ, on assuring Himself that His disciples were persuaded of His divine sonship, turned to go up to Jerusalem, and so by His sacrifice perfect their faith in Him.