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Asphaltitis limne
(256 words)

[German version]

‘Asphalt Lake’ is the name of the 1000 km2 rift valley lake, which does not drain away and in its northern part is approximately 400 m below sea level, into which the Jordan flows, mentioned in Diodorus (2.48.6ff.; 19. 98f.), Josephus (BI 4.436-482) and Plinius (HN 5.72). Tectonic movements had caused the pure bitumen (oxydized petroleum) lying in great quantities at the bottom of the Asphaltitis limne to rise to the surface, where it was gathered in lumps (Str. 16.42f.; Jos. BI 4.8.4; Nabataeans' asphalt trade[1]). The older biblical names ‘Se…

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Köckert, Matthias (Berlin), “Asphaltitis limne”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 21 June 2021 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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