Monday, June 30, 2008


Since I had heard so much from all the guides about the Decapolis, decided to look it up in Wikipedia...

The Decapolis was a group of ten cities on the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire in Jordan, Syria, and Palestine. The ten cities were not an official league or political unit, but they were grouped together because of their language, culture, location, and political status. The Decapolis cities were centers of Greek and Roman culture in a region that was otherwise Semitic (Nabatean, Aramean, and Jewish). With the exception of Damascus, the "Region of the Decapolis" was located in modern-day Jordan, one of them located west of the Jordan River in Palestine (modern day Israel). Each city had a certain degree of autonomy and self-rule.

The names of the traditional Ten Cities of the Decapolis come from the Roman historian Pliny the Elder (N.H. 5.16.74). They are:

1. Gerasa (Jerash)

2. Scythopolis (Beth-Shean), the only city on the western side of the Jordan River

3. Hippos (Hippus or Sussita)

4. Gadara (Umm Qays)

5. Pella (East of Irbid)

6. Philadelphia, modern day Amman, the capital of Jordan

7. Dion

8. Canatha (Qanawat)

9. Raphana

10. Damascus, the capital of modern Syria; Damascus was considerably north of the others and so is sometimes thought to have been an "honorary" member.

According to other sources, there may have been as many as eighteen or nineteen Greco-Roman cities counted as part of the Decapolis. For example, Abila is very often cited as belonging to the group.

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