6 PICTURESQUE PALESTINE.
was ten times as high in price at Caesarea Philippi as it was at Gischala, John had a lame
quantity which was stored at the latter place taken to the former, where he realised on it
vast sum. The transaction shows the shrewdness of the man, and also his unprincipled
character; for he pretended to do it that the Jews of Caesarea Philippi (see page 348) mio-ht
not be obliged to use that which was prepared by foreigners, which necessity did not exist
and also that he had authority from the governor of Galilee, which was directly contrary to
fact (Josephus, " Life," xiii. 3).
In a.d. 67, after the destruction of Jotapata, and Galilee was practically subdued, King
Agrippa II. invited Vespasian to Caesarea Philippi, and entertained him "in the best manner
his resources permitted." Here the Roman general " rested his troops for twenty days, and
enjoyed himself in festivities, presenting thank-offerings to God for his success " (" Wars," iii.
9, 7). This was in midsummer, and his son Titus was with him during this interval of
relaxation from their work of conquest. Three years later, in a.d. 70, after Vespasian had
gone to Rome, Titus, who had taken Jerusalem, went to Caesarea Philippi, and remained some
time exhibiting various shows. Very many of the Jewish prisoners were brought hither at this
time, and destroyed in the most violent and cruel manner. " Some were thrown to wild beasts,
while others in large bodies were compelled to encounter one another in combat" (" Wars,"
vii. 2, 1). These scenes and deeds of blood, which the Romans enjoyed and looked upon as
sport, only add to the chequered history of this ancient place, which has witnessed almost every
variety of fortune that cities or men can experience. During the reign of Diocletian there
existed here a large community of Jews, and they are said to have been severely treated by
the emperor. In the fourth century it was the seat of a bishop, who was subject to the
Archbishop of Antioch. The extant coins of Panias cover a period of nearly two hundred
and fifty years. Coins of Herod Philip exist with the head of the Roman emperor upon them,
although this is said to have been in violation of the Mosaic law. On the reverse of these
coins a temple is figured, which may have been intended to represent the one at Pamum
already referred to, built by Herod the Great of white marble, in B.C. 20, and dedicated to
Augustus (" Wars," i. 21, 3).
Caesarea Philippi has special claims upon our attention from the fact that it was visited by
our Lord. It was here that Christ questioned his disciples as to his own character: " Whom
do men say that I the Son of man am?" (Matt, xvi.) The majority of those who have
studied most carefully the gospel history agree in placing near here the scene 0
Transfiguration. This single fact would make it one of the most sacred places in the 0 >
Land. It had natural beauty and wealth; it had costly public buildings, temples, and mar
gods. Emotions of a peculiar character are wakened in the mind when we consider tie
that Jesus of Nazareth looked upon all these things. On the one hand were the military powe
of Rome and pagan idolatry in its most fascinating forms, and on the other Christ an
disciples, a humble band ; but the Master utters to one of them the notable words :
art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell sha