caesarea Summary and Overview
caesarea in Easton's Bible Dictionary
(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.
caesarea in Smith's Bible Dictionary
#Ac 8:40; 9:30; 10:1,24; 11:11; 12:19; 18:22; 21:8,16; 23:23,33; 25:1,4,6,13| was situated on the coast of Israel, 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.
caesarea in Schaff's Bible Dictionary
CAESARE'A , the chief Roman city of Palestine in New Testament times. It was on the Mediterranean, about 44 miles south of Acre, and 47 miles in a direct line north-west of Jerusalem. It had a harbor protected by an artificial wall or breakwater. History -- Originally it was called "Strato's Tower." Herod the Great built a city there, b.c. 10, and named it in honor of Augustus Caesar. Herod Agrippa I. died there. Acts 12:19-23. Philip the evangelist lived there, Acts 8:40; Acts 21:8, Ex 17:16, and Cornelius, Acts 10:1-24. Paul frequently visited it, Acts 9:30; Josh 18:22; Acts 21:8; Acts 23:33; was in bonds there two years, Acts 24:27; it was the official residence of Festus and of Felix. Vespasian was declared emperor there. It had a learned school and an episcopal see; was the birthplace of Procopius; the residence for a time of Origen; of Eusebius, the historian, who was bishop of Caesarea; was a noted city in the time of the Crusades; was twice rebuilt by the Christians; fell into decay; and is now in ruins. It is called Knisnrieh. Large quantities of the building stones have been carried to other towns and used for building. Stanley calls it the most desolate site in Palestine, with no signs of human life, and the nearest road passes at a distance from the extensive ruins.
caesarea in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
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:; 11:11). 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 Israel. 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 Israel. 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.