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Caesarea Philippi

Caesarea Philippi is the name of a town 95 miles north of Jerusalem, 35 miles southwest from Damascus, 1150 feet above sea level. It was the south base of Hermon, and at an important source of the Jordan.

It does not certainly appear in the Old Testament history, though identifications with Baal-Gad and (less certainly) with Laish (Dan) have been proposed. It was certainly a place of great sanctity from very early times, and when foreign religious influences intruded upon Palestine, the cult of its local numen gave place to the worship of Pan, to whom was dedicated the cave in which the copious spring feeding the Jordan arises.

It was long known as Fanium or Panias, a name that has survived in the modern Banias.

When Herod the Great received the territory from Augustus, 20 BC, he erected here a temple in honour of his patron; but the re-foundation of the town is due to his son, Philip the Tetrarch, who here erected a city which he named Caesarea in honour of Tiberius, adding Philippi to immortalize his own name and to distinguish his city from the similarly-named city founded by his father on the sea-coast.

Here Christ gave His charge to Peter (Matt. xvi. 13). Many Greek inscriptions have been found here, some referring to the shrine. Agrippa II changed the name to Neronias, but this name endured but a short while. Titus here exhibited gladiatonal shows to celebrate the capture of Jerusalem. The Crusaders took the city in 1130, and lost it to the Moslems in 1165.

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

Caesarea Philippi should not be confounded with Caesarea Maritima, also in Palestine or with Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia.

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