Sepphoris in Wikipedia

Tzippori (Hebrew: צִפּוֹרִי, ציפורי‎), also known as Sepphoris, Dioceserea and Saffuriya (Arabic: صفورية‎, also transliterated Safurriya and Suffurriye) is located in the central Galilee region, 6 kilometers (4 mi) north-northwest of Nazareth, in modern-day Israel.[1] The site holds a rich and diverse historical and architectural legacy that includes Assyrian, Hellenistic, Judean, Babylonian, Roman, Byzantine, Islamic, Crusader, Arabic and Ottoman influences. Interest on the part of Biblical archaeologists is related to the belief in Christian tradition that the parents of the Virgin Mary, Anna and Joachim, were natives of Tzippori, at the time a Hellenized town.[2] Notable structures at the site include a Roman theater, two early Christian Churches, a Crusader fortress that was renovated by Daher El-Omar in the 18th century, and upwards of forty different mosaics.[2] Tzippori once served as a center of Jewish religious and spiritual life in the Galilee; remains of a 6th century synagogue have been uncovered in the lower section of the site. In the 7th century, it came under the rule of the Arab caliphates like much of the rest of Palestine. Successive Arab and Islamic imperial authorities ruled the area until the end of the first World War I, with a brief interruption during the Crusades. Until the forcible expulsion of its inhabitants by Israeli forces in 1948-1949[citation needed], Saffuriya was an Arab village. The Israeli moshav Tzippori was established adjacent to the site in 1949, and the area occupied by the former Arab village was designated a national park in 1992. Moshav Tzippori falls under the jurisdiction of Jezreel Valley Regional Council, and in 2006 had a population of 616. History - Early history -- Although the date of the city's establishment is a point of some dispute, it is at least as old as the 7th century BCE, when it was fortified by the ancient Assyrians, and subsequently served as an administrative center in the region under Babylonian, Hellenistic and Persian rule. Throughout this time period, the city was known as Sepphoris. In 104 BCE, the Hasmoneans settled there under the leadership of either Alexander Jannaeus or Aristobulus I.[3] The city was called Tzippori and may have derived from the Hebrew word for 'bird,' tsippor, perhaps because of the bird's-eye view the hilltop provides. The Hasmonean Kingdom was divided into five districts by the Roman pro-consul Gabinius and Sepphoris came under the direct rule of the Romans in the year 37 BCE, when Herod the Great captured the city from Mattathaias Antigonus reportedly at the height of a snowstorm.[4] Tzippori of the time of Jesus was a large, Roman-influenced city and hotbed of political activism. Archaeological evidence supports the idea that Jesus, while living in Nazareth, did most of his business in Tzippori.[5] After Herod's death in 4 BCE, the Jewish inhabitants of Tzippori rebelled against Roman rule and the Roman army moved in under the command of the Roman Governor in Syria, Varus. Completely destroying the city, the Roman army then sold many of its inhabitants into slavery.[4] Herod's son, Herod Antipas was made Tetrarch, or governor, in 1 CE, and proclaimed the city's new name to be Autocratis, or the "Ornament of the Galilee."[6] A ancient route linking Tzippori to Legio, and further to the south to Sebaste-Samaria, is believed to have been paved by the Romans around this time.[7] The inhabitants of Autocratis did not join the resistance against Roman rule in the First Jewish Revolt of 66 CE Rather, they signed a pact with the Roman army and opened the gates of the city to the Roman general Vespasian upon his arrival in 67 CE[4] They were then rewarded for this allegiance by having their city spared from the destruction suffered by many other Jewish cities, including Jerusalem. Coins minted in the city at the time of the First Revolt carried the inscription Neronias and Eirenopolis, "City of Peace." After the revolt, symbolism used on the coins was little different from other surrounding pagan city coins with depictions of laurel wreaths, palm trees, caduceus', and ears of barley.[6] Just prior to the Bar Kokhba revolt, the city's name was changed yet again to Diocaesarea. Following the Bar Kokhba revolt in 132–135, many Jewish refugees settled there, turning it into the center of religious and spiritual life in the Galilee. Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi, one of the compilers of the Mishnah, a commentary on the Torah, moved to Tzippori, along with the Sanhedrin, the highest Jewish religious court.[8] Before moving to Tiberias by 150 CE, Jewish academies of learning, Yeshivot, were now based there. Diocaeserea, so named in honor of Zeus and the Roman Emperor, became not only a center of spiritual and religious study, but also a busy metropolis of trade because of its proximity to important trade routes through the Galilee region. Diocaesarea was destroyed by the Galilee earthquake of 363, but rebuilt soon afterwards, and retained its importance in the greater Jewish community of the Galilee, both socially, commercially, and spiritually. Jews and pagan Romans lived peacefully alongside one another during the Byzantine period, and the city welcomed a number of Christians, as well...

Read More