CAESAREA PHILIPPI (sĕs'a-rē'a fĭ-lĭp'ī, Caesarea of Philip). A town at the extreme northern boundary of Palestine, about thirty miles (fifty km.) inland from Tyre and fifty miles (eighty-three km.) SW of Damascus. It lies in the beautiful hill country on the southern slopes of Mount Hermon and was probably near the scene of Jesus' transfiguration (cf.
CAESAREA PHILIPPI sĕs ə re’ a fĭl’ ə pī (Καισαρεία Φιλιππι). The town of was one of the centers of the Decapolis, lying some fifty m. SW of Damascus in fine hill country on the southern slopes of Hermon. It is coolly situated at a height of 1,150 ft., on the easternmost of the four sources of the Jordan. George Adam Smith, the great geographer of Pal., wrote one of his purple passages of description on the site. He described “a deep gorge, through which there roars a headlong stream....An old Roman bridge takes you over....through a tangle of trees, brushwood and fern you break into sight of a high cliff....In the cliff is a cavern. Part of the upper rock has fallen, and from the debris of boulders and shingle below there bursts and bubbles along a line of thirty feet a full-born river. The place is a very sanctuary of waters....As you stand within the charm of it...you understand why the early Semites adored the Baalim of the subterranean waters even before they raised their gods to heaven and thanked them for the rain. This must have been one of the chief dwellings of the Baalim—perhaps Baal-gad of the (
When the Greeks came and flooded into the area after Alexander, alert as ever for the deity of the place, they founded a shrine for Pan and called it Paneion (Jos. Ant. X. iii. 1; BJ XXI. iii), and the district Paneas. The name survives in modern Banias. Here, as always, pursuing his dual policy of placating the Jews and the Romans at the same time, the first Herod built a temple to Rome and Augustus in commemoration of the fact that Augustus assigned the town to his royal domains. Its exact position is unknown for the Rom. remains are meager. Herod’s son, Philip the tetrarch, also in Augustus’ principate, adorned the town and renamed it Caesarea Philippi to honor the prince and to distinguish the foundation from his father’s similarly named port on the coast of Pal. a.d. 70. The Crusaders had a stronghold there from a.d. 1130 to 1165.gave some attention to the town in Nero’s principate, actually renaming it Neronias, a name which failed to survive. Its last use, according to the coinage, was in the time of . At Caesarea, Titus celebrated gladiatorial shows after the fall of Jerusalem in
The NT importance of Caesarea is that, in its environs, Christ gave His last teaching to the apostles (
G. A. Smith (sup. cit.) (1902); J. H. Kitchen, Holy Fields, 45-47.