Ashkelon

Ashkelon in Wikipedia

Ashkelon (also Ashqelon) Arabic عسقلان ˁAsqalān (Hebrew: אַשְׁקְלוֹן‎ (audio) (help·info); Latin: Ascalon; Akkadian: Isqalluna) is a coastal city in the South District of Israel on the Mediterranean coast, 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of Tel Aviv. The ancient seaport of Ashkelon dates back to the Neolithic Age. In the course of its history, it has been ruled by the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Israelites, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Persians, the Egyptians and the Crusaders, until it was destroyed by the Mamluks in 1270. The Arab village of al-Majdal (Arabic: المجدل‎, Hebrew: אל-מג'דל, מגדל‎), was established nearby in the 16th century, under Ottoman rule. In 1918, Ashkelon became part of the British Mandate for Palestine. In the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Majdal was the forward position of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force based in Gaza.[2] The village was occupied by Israeli forces on November 5, 1948, by which time most of the Arab population had fled. In 2009, the population of Ashkelon was 111,900.[1] Etymology The name Ashkelon is probably Western Semitic, derived from the root shkl, lit. "to weigh," attesting to its importance as a center for mercantile activities. Ashkelon is mentioned in the Egyptian Execration Texts of the 11th dynasty as "Asqanu." [3] The shallot and scallion derive from their name from Ashkelon. [edit]History Neolithic era The Neolithic site of Ashkelon is located on the Mediterranean coast, 1.5 km (0.93 mi) north of Tel Ashkelon. It is dated radiometrically (14C) to ca. 7900 bp (uncalibrated), to the poorly known Pre-Pottery Neolithic C phase of the Neolithic. It was discovered and excavated in 1954 by French archaeologist Jean Perrot. In 1997–1998, a large scale salvage project was conducted at the site by Yosef Garfinkel on behalf of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and nearly 1,000 sq.m were examined. A final excavation report was published in 2008. In the site over a hundred fireplaces and hearths were found and numerous pits, but no solid architecture, except for one wall. Various phases of occupation were found, one atop the other, with sterile layers of sea sand between them. This indicates that the site was occupied on a seasonal basis. The main finds were enormous quantities of animal bones (ca. 100,000) and 20,000 flint artifacts. Usually at Neolithic sites flints far outnumber animal bones. The bones belong to domesticated and non-domesticated animals. When all aspects of this site are taken into account, it appears to have been used by pastoral nomads for meat processing. The nearby sea could supply salt necessary for the conservation of meat. [edit]Canaanite settlement Ashqelon as mentioned on Merneptah Stele: iskeluni-(using hieroglyphs n, and two-determ.) Ancient sarcophagus in Ashkelon Ashkelon was the oldest and largest seaport in Canaan, one of the "five cities" of the Philistines, north of Gaza and south of Jaffa (Yafa). The city was originally built on a sandstone outcropping and has a good underground water supply. It was relatively large as an ancient city with as many as 15,000 people living inside walls a mile and a half (2.4 km) long, 50 feet (15 m) high and 150 feet (50 m) thick. Ashkelon was a thriving Middle Bronze Age (2000–1550 BCE) city of more than 150 acres (61 ha), with commanding ramparts including the oldest arched city gate in the world, eight feet wide, and even as a ruin still standing two stories high. The thickness of the walls was so great that the mudbrick Bronze Age gate had a stone-lined tunnel-like barrel vault, coated with white plaster, to support the superstructure: it is the oldest such vault ever found. The Bronze Age ramparts were so capacious that later Roman and Islamic fortifications, faced with stone, followed the same footprint, a vast semicircle protecting Ashkelon on the landward side. On the sea it was defended by a high natural bluff. Within the huge ramparts, in the ruins of a sanctuary, a votive silver calf was found in 1991. During the Canaanite period, a roadway more than 20 feet (6.1 m) in width ascended the rampart from the harbor and entered a gate at the top. Nearby, in the ruins of a small ceramic tabernacle was found a finely cast bronze statuette of a bull calf, originally silvered, 4 inches (100 mm) long. Images of calves and bulls were associated with the worship of the Canaanite gods El and Baal. The Amarna letters correspondence of Ashkelon/(Ašqaluna), of 1350 BC, contains seven letters to the Egyptian pharaoh, from its 'King'/mayor: Yidya. Yidya was the only ruler of Ašqaluna during the 15–20-year time period. One letter from the pharaoh to Yidya was discovered in the early 1900s. Philistine settlement The Philistines conquered Canaanite Ashkelon about 1150 BC. Their earliest pottery, types of structures and inscriptions are similar to the early Greek urbanised centre at Mycenae in mainland Greece, adding weight to the hypothesis that the Philistines were possibly one of the populations among the "Sea Peoples" that upset cultures throughout the eastern Mediterranean at that time. Ashkelon became one of the five Philistine cities that were constantly warring with the Israelites and the Kingdom of Judah. According to Herodotus, its temple of Venus was the oldest of its kind, imitated even in Cyprus, and he mentions that this temple was pillaged by marauding "Scythians" during the time of their sway over the Medes (653–625 BCE). When this vast seaport, the last of the Philistine cities to hold out against Nebuchadnezzar finally fell in 604 BCE, burnt and destroyed and its people taken into exile, the Philistine era was over.[citation needed] Roman era Ashkelon was soon rebuilt. Until the conquest of Alexander the Great, Ashkelon's inhabitants were influenced by the dominant Persian culture. It is at this archaeological layer that excavations have found dog burials. It is believed the dogs may have had a sacred role, however evidence is not conclusive. After the conquest of Alexander in the 4th Century BCE, Ashkelon was an important Hellenistic seaport. Queen Cleopatra VII used Ashkelon as her place of refuge when her brother and sister exiled her in 49 BCE. She organized an army on the site but did not need to use it due to Julius Caesar's arrival in Alexandria. Jewish era The Jews of Judea Province drove the Greeks out of the region in the Maccabean Revolt, which lasted from 167-160 CE. The Hasmonean Kingdom was then established, and Ashkelon became part of it. The Hasmonean kingdom fell in 37 BCE, and the area was placed under the rule of Herod the Great, a Jewish client king of the Roman Empire. Ashkelon may have even been his birthplace. Josephus states Ashkelon was not ceded to Herod the Great in 30 BC[4], yet he built monumental buildings there: bath houses, elaborate fountains and large colonnades.[5] The city remained loyal to Rome during the First Jewish Revolt, 66–70 CE, and in the following centuries it grew to be an important centre. It appears on a fragment of the 6th century CE Madaba Map.[citation needed]...

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Travel to Ashkelon

Ashkelon or Ashqelon is a city on the Mediterranean coast of Israel, 50 Km (40 minutes by bus) to the south of Tel Aviv. Ashkelon is one of the oldest cities in Israel and has history that goes back more than 5,000 years. Ashkelon is especially famous for its history as one of ancient Philistines major cities and in the biblical story of Samson. The ruins of many civilizations such as the Canaanites and Byzantines are located underneath the city. Many artifacts that have been recovered in archaeological digs are on display around the city. Good samples can be seen in the national park and in Afridar center. The city has been part of Israel since the 1948 independence war. Since then, the city has become a center for several waves of Jewish immigrants ("olim"). Newcomers from Iraq, Morocco, the ex-USSR and Ethiopia are the majority population. Since most of them came with little or no money, the city socio-economy status has generally been low. In recent years, its seaside location has attracted wealthier populations. But the occasional rockets that have been launched towards Ashkelon from Gaza in recent years have put a new damper on its growth. On the south-facing windows of newly constructed apartment buildings, you can see sliding metal covers designed to minimize the damage caused by bombardments. Note that the beach line in Ashkelon is by far cleaner than the ones in the central region of Israel, and there are few lovely hotels along it.

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Canaanite History of Ashkelon

Ashkelon was the oldest and largest seaport in Canaan, one of the "five cities" of the Philistines, north of Gaza and south of Jaffa (Yafa). The city was originally built on a sandstone outcropping and has a good underground water supply. It was relatively large as an ancient city with as many as 15,000 people living inside walls a mile and a half (2.4 km) long, 50 feet (15 m) high and 150 feet (50 m) thick. Ashkelon was a thriving Middle Bronze Age (2000–1550 BCE) city of more than 150 acres (61 ha), with commanding ramparts including the oldest arched city gate in the world, eight feet wide, and even as a ruin still standing two stories high. The thickness of the walls was so great that the mudbrick Bronze Age gate had a stone-lined tunnel-like barrel vault, coated with white plaster, to support the superstructure: it is the oldest such vault ever found. The Bronze Age ramparts were so capacious that later Roman and Islamic fortifications, faced with stone, followed the same footprint, a vast semicircle protecting Ashkelon on the landward side. On the sea it was defended by a high natural bluff. Within the huge ramparts, in the ruins of a sanctuary, a votive silver calf was found in 1991. During the Canaanite period, a roadway more than 20 feet (6.1 m) in width ascended the rampart from the harbor and entered a gate at the top. Nearby, in the ruins of a small ceramic tabernacle was found a finely cast bronze statuette of a bull calf, originally silvered, 4 inches (100 mm) long. Images of calves and bulls were associated with the worship of the Canaanite gods El and Baal. The Amarna letters correspondence of Ashkelon/(Ašqaluna), of 1350 BC, contains seven letters to the Egyptian pharaoh, from its 'King'/mayor: Yidya. Yidya was the only ruler of Ašqaluna during the 15–20-year time period. One letter from the pharaoh to Yidya was discovered in the early 1900s.

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Philistine History of Ashkelon

The Philistines conquered Canaanite Ashkelon about 1150 BC. Their earliest pottery, types of structures and inscriptions are similar to the early Greek urbanised centre at Mycenae in mainland Greece, adding weight to the hypothesis that the Philistines were possibly one of the populations among the "Sea Peoples" that upset cultures throughout the eastern Mediterranean at that time. Ashkelon became one of the five Philistine cities that were constantly warring with the Israelites and the Kingdom of Judah. According to Herodotus, its temple of Venus was the oldest of its kind, imitated even in Cyprus, and he mentions that this temple was pillaged by marauding "Scythians" during the time of their sway over the Medes (653–625 BCE). When this vast seaport, the last of the Philistine cities to hold out against Nebuchadnezzar finally fell in 604 BCE, burnt and destroyed and its people taken into exile, the Philistine era was over.

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Roman and Jewish History of Ashkelon

Roman era Ashkelon was soon rebuilt. Until the conquest of Alexander the Great, Ashkelon's inhabitants were influenced by the dominant Persian culture. It is at this archaeological layer that excavations have found dog burials. It is believed the dogs may have had a sacred role, however evidence is not conclusive. After the conquest of Alexander in the 4th Century BCE, Ashkelon was an important Hellenistic seaport. Queen Cleopatra VII used Ashkelon as her place of refuge when her brother and sister exiled her in 49 BCE. She organized an army on the site but did not need to use it due to Julius Caesar's arrival in Alexandria. [edit] Jewish era The Jews of Judea Province drove the Greeks out of the region in the Maccabean Revolt, which lasted from 167-160 CE. The Hasmonean Kingdom was then established, and Ashkelon became part of it. The Hasmonean kingdom fell in 37 BCE, and the area was placed under the rule of Herod the Great, a Jewish client king of the Roman Empire. Ashkelon may have even been his birthplace. Josephus states Ashkelon was not ceded to Herod the Great in 30 BC[4], yet he built monumental buildings there: bath houses, elaborate fountains and large colonnades.[5] The city remained loyal to Rome during the First Jewish Revolt, 66–70 CE, and in the following centuries it grew to be an important centre. It appears on a fragment of the 6th century CE Madaba Map.[Wikipedia]

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