Caesarea

(Palestinae), a city on the shore of the Mediterranean, on the
great road from Tyre to Egypt, about 70 miles northwest of
Jerusalem, at the northern extremity of the plain of Sharon. It
was built by Herod the Great (B.C. 10), who named it after
Caesar Augustus, hence called Caesarea Sebaste (Gr. Sebastos =
"Augustus"), on the site of an old town called "Strato's Tower."
It was the capital of the Roman province of Judaea, the seat of
the governors or procurators, and the headquarters of the Roman
troops. It was the great Gentile city of Israel, with a
spacious artificial harbour. It was adorned with many buildings
of great splendour, after the manner of the Roman cities of the
West. Here Cornelius the centurion was converted through the
instrumentality of Peter (Acts 10:1, 24), and thus for the first
time the door of faith was opened to the Gentiles. Philip the
evangelist resided here with his four daughters (21:8). From
this place Saul sailed for his native Tarsus when forced to flee
from Jerusalem (9:30), and here he landed when returning from
his second missionary journey (18:22). He remained as a prisoner
here for two years before his voyage to Rome (Acts 24:27; 25:1,
4, 6, 13). Here on a "set day," when games were celebrated in
the theatre in honour of the emperor Claudius, Herod Agrippa I.
appeared among the people in great pomp, and in the midst of the
idolatrous homage paid to him was suddenly smitten by an angel,
and carried out a dying man. He was "eaten of worms" (12:19-23),
thus perishing by the same loathsome disease as his granfather,
Herod the Great. It still retains its ancient name Kaiseriyeh,
but is now desolate. "The present inhabitants of the ruins are
snakes, scorpions, lizards, wild boars, and jackals." It is
described as the most desolate city of all Israel.