MARITIME CITIES OF PALESTINE. 12;
short space of ten or twelve years, and was inaugurated with great pomp and splendour in the
twenty-eighth year of his reign, b.c. 12. There were musical performances, public games,
single combats, and combats with wild beasts; horse races also, and " such sports and shows as
used to be exhibited at Rome and other places."
The multitude of people who came to the city to witness its inauguration were entertained
in public inns and at public tables ; and Herod ordered that the festival should be celebrated
every five years, in honour of Augustus Caesar, to whom the city was dedicated. " It contained
sumptuous palaces and splendid edifices, all built of white stone brought from a distance," now
represented by shapeless mounds, fallen columns, and dislocated masses of masonry.
There was a theatre of stone, and in the south quarter " an amphitheatre also, capable
of holding a vast number of men, and conveniently situated for a prospect of the sea."
But the greatest work was the harbour, which had a double station for ships, and which
Josephus compares to the Piraeus at Athens. Its mole, the ruins of which still exist, extending a
great distance into the sea on the southern side of the harbour (see page 108), was constructed
of huge stones, and was originally, according to Josephus, " two hundred feet wide. One half
was left as a breakwater, but the other half had upon it a wall with several towers, die largest of
which was named Drusus, after a son-in-law of Caesar, who died young." The great blocks
of granite and the marble columns lying in the water are no doubt fragments of these structures.
There were vaulted hostelries for the sailors and a terraced walk all round the harbour, where
stood, on an elevation, a temple of polished stone, which could be seen from a gnat distance,
and wherein were two statues, one of Rome and one of Caesar. Of this temple a portion of the
foundation wall remains, and Lieutenant Conder says " its white stones contrast with the brown
sandstone blocks of the later builders, and attest Josephus's accuracy in describing the materials
as brought, at great expense, from a distance." There are a great number of prostrate
columns in the sea, upon a reef on the north side of the harbour (see page 109).
Caesarea soon became the most important city in Palestine, and its chief port. It was
the official residence of the Herodian kings and of the Roman procurators.
Repeated mention is made of Caesarea in the Acts of the Apostles, especially in
connection with St. Paul, who visited this place several times, and was detained here in prison
for two years. At Caesarea, Vespasian was declared Emperor, a.d. 70, and he bestowed upon
the city the privileges of a Roman colony. The imperial coinage of Caesarea extends from
the reign of Augustus Caesar (from whom the city derived its name) to Gallienus, a.d. 268.
At the commencement of the third century Caesarea was created a bishopric, and was soon
afterwards famous for its public school, in which for a time Origen taught.
Eusebius, the celebrated ecclesiastical historian, was Bishop of Caesarea early in the fourth
century, and towards its close the city was visited by Sta. Paula, the friend of Jerome. It is
recorded that she saw the house of the centurion Cornelius, which had been converted into a
church, and the house of Philip, with the chambers of his four daughters. In the sixth century
the Greek historian Procopius was established here as professor of rhetoric.