SAMARIA , an
See also:ancient city of
See also:Palestine . The name Samaria is derived through the Gr . Zaia6peia from the
See also:Hebrew 0-0,, " an outlook
See also:hill," or rather from the Aramaic
See also:form 170, whence. also comes the
See also:Assyrian form Samirina . According to r
See also:Kings xvi . 24,
See also:king of
See also:Israel, bought Samaria from a certain Shemer (whose name is said to be the origin of that of the city), and transferred thither his capital from Tirzah . But the city, as a superficial inspection of the site shows, must have existed as a settlement long before Omri, as potsherds of earlier date lie scattered on the
See also:surface . The city was occupied by Ahab, who here built a
See also:temple to "
See also:Baal " (r Kings xvi . 32) and a palace of ivory (r Kings xxii . 39) . It sustained frequent sieges during the troubled
See also:history of the Israelite
See also:kingdom .
See also:Hadad II. of
See also:Syria assaulted it in the reign of Ahab, but was repulsed and obliged to allow the Israelite traders to establish a quarter in
See also:Damascus, as his predecessor Ben-Hadad I. had done in Samaria (f Kings xx . 34) .
Ben-Hadad II. in the
See also:time of Jehoahaz again besieged Samaria, and caused a
See also:famine in the city; but some panic led them to raise the
See also:siege (2 Kings vi., vii.) . The history of the city for the following 120 years is that of Israel ( see JEws) . In 727 died Tiglath-Pileser, to whom the small kingdoms of W .
See also:Asia had been in vassalage; in the case of Israel at least since
See also:Menahem (2 Kings xv . 19) . He was succeeded by Shalmaneser IV., and the king of Israel, with the
See also:rest, attempted to revolt . Shalmaneser accordingly invaded Syria, and in 724 began a three-years' siege of Samaria (2 Kings xvii . 5) . He died before it was completed, but it was finished by
See also:Sargon, who reduced the city, deported its inhabitants, and established within it a mixed multitude of settlers (who were the ancestors of the
See also:Samaritans) . These
See also:people themselves seem. to have joined a revolt against the Assyrians, which was soon quelled . The next event we hear of in the history of the city is its
See also:conquest by
See also:Alexander the
See also:Great (331 B.C.), and later by
See also:Ptolemy Lagi and
See also:Demetrius Poliorcetes . It quickly recovered from these injuries: when
See also:Hyrcanus besieged it in 120 B.C. it was " a very strong city " which offered a vigorous resistance (Jos .
See also:Ant. xiii . X . 2) . It was rebuilt by
See also:Pompey, and restored by Aulus
See also:Gabinius: but it was to Herod that it owed much of its later
See also:glory . He built a great temple, a hippodrome and a street of columns surrounding the city, the remains of which still arrest the
See also:attention . It was renamed by him Sebaste, in
See also:honour of
See also:Augustus: this name still survives in the modern name Sebusteh.'
See also:Philip here preached the
See also:gospel (Acts viii . 5) . The rise of Neapolis (
See also:Shechem) in the neighbourhood caused the decay of Sebaste . It was quite small by the time of
See also:Eusebius . The crusaders did some-thing to develop it by establishing a bishopric with a large
See also:church, which still exists (as a mosque) ; here were shown the tombs of Elisha,
See also:Obadiah and St John the Baptist . From this time onward the
See also:village dwindled to the poor dirty place it is to-
See also:day . The site of Samaria is an enormous
See also:mound of accumulation, one of the largest in Palestine .
In some places it is estimated the debris is at least 4o ft. deep . The crusaders' church remains almost intact, and numerous fragments of carved
See also:stone are built into the village houses, beneath which in some places are some interesting tombs . The hippodrome remains in the valley below, and the columns of the street of columns are in very
See also:order . The walls can be traced almost all
See also:round the
See also:town: at the end of the mound opposite the modern village are the dilapidated ruins of a large
See also:gate . The site stands in the very centre of Palestine, and, built on a steep and almost isolated hill, with a long and spacious
See also:plateau for its
See also:summit, is naturally a position of much strength, commanding two of the most important roads—the great N. and S. road which passes immediately under the E.
See also:wall, and the road from Shechem to the maritime plain which runs a little to the W. of the city . The hill of Samaria is separated from the surrounding mountains (Amos iii . 9) by a
See also:rich and well-watered plain, from which it rises in successive terraces of fertile
See also:soil to a height of 400 or 50o ft . Only on the E. a narrow
See also:saddle, some 200 ft. beneath the plateau, runs across the plain towards the mountains; it is at this point that the traveller coming from Shechem now ascends the hill to the village of Sebusteh, which occupies only the extreme E. of a terrace beneath the hill-to,behind the crusaders' church, which is the first thing that attracts the
See also:eye as one approaches the town . The hill-top, the longer
See also:axis of which runs W. from the village, rises 145o ft. above the
See also:sea, and commands a superb view towards the Mediterranean, the mountains of Shechem and
See also:Hermon . Excavations under the auspices of Harvard University began here in 19o8 . (R . A .
S . M.) i Accentuated on the second syllable .
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