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Hippos is an archaeological site in Israel, located on a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Between the 3rd century BC and the 7th century AD, Hippos was the site of a Greco-Roman city. Besides the fortified city itself, Hippos controlled two port facilities on the lake and an area of the surrounding countryside. Hippos was part of the Decapolis, or Ten Cities, a group of cities in Roman Palestine that were culturally tied more closely to Greece and Rome than to the Middle East. Established as Antiochia Hippos (Greek: Αντιόχεια του Ίππου) by Seleucid settlers, the city is named after the Greek language word for horse, Hippos, and a common name of Seleucid monarchs, Antiochus. The local Aramaic and Hebrew name, Sussita (Hebrew: סוסיתא‎), also means horse, while the Arabic name, Qal'at el-Husn, means "Fortress of the Horse." Other names include the alternate spelling Hippus and the Latinized version of the Greek name: Hippum. The precise reason why the city received this name is as yet unknown.[1] Location - Hippos was built on a flat-topped foothill 2 kilometers east of and 350 meters above the Sea of Galilee, 144 meters above sea level - near modern Kibbutz Ein Gev.[2] The site is just on the Israeli side of the 1949 UN-demarcated border between Syria and Israel. Hippos was part of a demilitarized zone between the Golan Heights and Israel proper, until Israel captured the former in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. History -- Hellenistic period -- Excavations in Hippos have revealed traces of habitation from as early as the Neolithic period.[3] The site was again inhabited in the third century BCE by the Ptolemies, though whether it was an urban settlement or a military outpost is still unknown.[1] During this time, Coele-Syria served as the battleground between two dynasties descending from Captains of Alexander the Great, the Ptolemies and the Seleucids. It is likely that Hippos, on a very defensible site along the border lines of the 3rd century BCE, was founded as a border fortress for the Ptolemies. The city of Hippos itself was established by Seleucid colonists, most likely in the second century BC. Its full name, Antiochia Hippos (Latin: Antiocheia ad Hippum), reflects a Seleucid founding. As the Seleucids took possession of all of Coele-Syria, Hippos grew into a full-fledged polis, a city-state with control over the surrounding countryside. Antiochia Hippos was improved with all the makings of a Greek polis: a temple, a central market area, and other public structures. The availability of water limited the size of Hellenistic Hippos. The citizens relied on rain-collecting cisterns for all their water; this kept the city from supporting a very large population. Hasmonean Period -- The Maccabean revolt resulted in an independent Jewish kingdom under the Hasmonean family in 142 BC. In c. 83-80 BC, Alexander Jannaeus led a Hasmonean campaign to conquer lands east of the Jordan River. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, Alexander forced the entire population of Hippos to convert to Judaism and be circumcised. Roman period -- Map of the Decapolis showing the location of Hippos (here spelled Hippus) In 63 BC the Roman general Pompey conquered Coele-Syria, including Judea, and ended Hasmonean rule. Pompey granted self- rule to roughly ten Greek cities on Coele-Syria's eastern frontier; this group, of which Hippos was one, came to be called the Decapolis and was incorporated into the Roman Provincia Syria.[1] Under Roman rule, Hippos was granted a certain degree of autonomy. The city minted its own coins, stamped with the image of a horse in honor of the city's name. Hippos was given to Herod the Great in 37 BC and returned to the Province of Syria in 4 BC. According to Josephus, during this time Hippos, a pagan city, was the "sworn enemy" of the new Jewish city across the lake, Tiberias. This raises questions, as Tiberius was not founded until approximately 25 years after Herod's death by his son, Herod Antipas, in honor of the Roman Emperor, Tiberius, in 20 A.D. However, Hippos must have had some Jewish residents in the city. Josephus reports that during the Great Jewish Revolt of AD 66-70, Hippos persecuted its Jewish population. Other Jews from Sussita participated in attacks on Magdala and elsewhere. Hippos itself fell under attack by rebels at least once. After the Romans put down the Bar Kokhba revolt, they created the province of Palaestina in 135, of which Hippos was a part. This was the beginning of Hippos' greatest period of prosperity and growth. It was rebuilt along a grid pattern, centered around a long Decumanus Maximus running east-west through the city. The streets were lined with hundreds of red granite columns imported from Egypt. The great expense required to haul these columns to Palestine and up the hill is proof of the city's wealth. Other improvements included a Kalybe (a shrine to the Emperor), a theatre, an odeon, a basilica,[4] and new city walls. The most important improvement, however, was the aqueduct, which led water into Hippos from springs in the Golan Heights, 50 km away. The water, collected in a large, vaulted cistern, allowed a large population to live in the city. Byzantine period - The imperial restructuring under the emperor Diocletian placed Hippos in the province of Palestina Secunda, encompassing Galilee and the Golan. When Christianity became officially tolerated in the Roman Empire, Palestine became the target of Imperial subsidies for churches and monasteries, and Christian pilgrims brought additional revenue. Industry expanded and more luxury goods became available to common people. Christianity came slowly to Hippos. There is no evidence of any Christian presence before the 4th century. A Byzantine- era pagan tomb of a man named Hermes has been found just outside the city walls, attesting to the relatively late presence of paganism here. Gradually, however, the city was Christianized, becoming the seat of a bishop by at least 359. One Bishop Peter of Hippos is listed in surviving records of church councils in 359 and 362...

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