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(467 words)

Author(s): Wenning, Robert
[German Version] The thesis of a Decapolis founded by Pompey in 63 bce as a Hellenistic bastion against the Arabs in the East is outmoded. A self-concept as Decapolis (Gk “ten cities”) arose only in the middle of the 1st century ce when a few cities of Coelesyria attempted to escape new Herodian sovereignty by proclaiming their autonomy in the Provincia Syria (cf. the beginning of minting municipal coins with the city Tyche: Canatha 38/39, Skythopolis 39/40 [Beth-Shean], Gerasa and Hippos 67/68 ce; only Gadara, rebuilt by Pompey, minted coins from 63 bce on). In the …


(206 words)

Author(s): Wenning, Robert
[German Version] (Σοβατα, Isr. Ḥorvat Šivṭā, Arab. As-Subēta), Byzantine city in the Negeb. It was a Nabatean settlement in the late 1st century ce (pottery, a Nabatean inscription); architecture in the form of houses and stables appears in the 4th/5th centuries. It was an agricultural city (wine presses) and a pilgrimage center, with three churches. In the center is the south church (mid-4th cent., initially monoapsidal, later triapsidal) with a baptistery and a mosque attached on the north side (coexistence). Its …

Nabatean Kingdom

(898 words)

Author(s): Wenning, Robert
[German Version] The first historical witness to the Nabateans in 311 bce (Diodorus Siculus Geographia 2.48f.; 19.94–100) describes them as a nomadic tribe responsible for trade along the Frankincense Road from Dedan in northern Arabia to Gaza. Their origin remains obscure (see Knauf). In the late 3rd century at the earliest, a process began that turned major trading posts into permanent tent settlements, with domestic architecture beginning in the early Roman period (Petra). Possibly it is wrong to speak of a Nabatean kingdom until the late 2nd century bce, when some of the Nabate…


(331 words)

Author(s): Wenning, Robert
[German Version] (῞Ιππος, Jewish Aramaic סוסיתה/“mare,” Israeli Susita, in Arabic Qalʾat el Ḥiṣn) is a city 2 km from the eastern bank of the Sea of Galilee, named for its hill form (370 m elevation), connected with the Golan via a ridge. On the shore south of ‘En Gev, two jetties form an artificial harbor. Alexander Jannaeus conquered Seleucid Antiochia in 83/80 bce. In 63, Pompey assimilated Hippos into the province of Syria. The first autonomous coins date to 37 (with Tyche). Hippos was subject to Herod from 30 to 4, then again part of the province of S…


(243 words)

Author(s): Wenning, Robert
[German Version] (Arab. el-Ḫalaṣa, Isr. Ḥalūṣā) near the Besor in the Negeb, founded by the Nabateans along the Araba-Oboda-Gaza branch of the incense road in the 3rd century bce. The oldest Nabatean inscription, found in Elusa, mentions a king Aretas (identity with 2 Macc. 5:8, 169 bce doubtful). Excavations (the Colt Expedition, 1938, and A. Negev 1973, 1979–80) have uncovered a theater (1st/2nd cent. with continuity into the 6th cent.), a wine press, tombs, and a large cathedral (largest basilica in the Negeb, c. 350 ce, three aisles, approx. 17.70 × 39.45m with an atrium …


(249 words)

Author(s): Wenning, Robert
[German Version] (Νεσ[σ]άνα, modern Heb. Nizzana, Arab. Ḥafir el-ʿAugā), city in the Negev, 52 km southwest of Beer-Sheba, on the old route to Egypt; excavations were conducted by the Colt Expedition (1935–1937) and by Dan Urman (1987–1991). Nessana was founded by the Nabateans in the late Hellenistic period. Ruins ¶ from the 1st century ce were discovered under the North Church. The city prospered in Byzantine times, with the fortress (85 × 35 m), the North Church (St. Sergius and St. Bacchus, last quarter of the 4th cent.), and the South Church (Maria Theotokos, c. 565ce) on the acropol…


(464 words)

Author(s): Wenning, Robert
[German Version] (Gk Πέτρα/ Pétra, “Rock,” Nab. Ramqu, “Shining”). According to the information given by Diodorus Siculus about what the Greeks took when they looted Petra in 311 bce, Petra should be identified with Khirbat as-Selaʿ, not the modern Petra, inhabited by Edomites (Edom) from the 7th to the 5th century bce. Around the mid-2nd century bce, Petra became the tribal center of the nomadic Nabateans. Until the Augustan period, Petra remained a tent city; then houses were built. There were also some 700 cliff dwellings. The densely settled city…


(251 words)

Author(s): Wenning, Robert
[German Version] (Μάμψις, Isr. Mamshit, Arab. Kurnub) town in the Negev on the road from Beer-Sheva (Beer-Sheba) to Araba, mentioned in sources of the 2nd–6th centuries; excavated by Shimon Applebaum (1956), Avraham Negev (1965–1967, 1971–1972, 1990), and Talli Erickson-Gini (1993–1994). Founded by the Nabateans c. 70 ce as an open settlement, it survived till the time of Hadrian. Important for knowledge of Nabatean dwellings built of local limestone, since timber was lacking; even roofs and shelves were made of stone. Distinctive features …

Bozrah (Hauran, Syria)

(361 words)

Author(s): Wenning, Robert | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. Pre-Christian Period – II. Christian Archaeology I. Pre-Christian Period Bozrah (or Bostra; Arab. Bushra ash-Sham), in the southeast of the Hauran, is a crossroads of many long-distance routes. It is mentioned in Egyptian texts from the 2nd millennium. First settled in the Early Bronze Age, it was captured by Judas Maccabeus (Maccabees) (1 Macc 5:28). In the 1st century bce and the 1st century ce, it was on the edge of the Nabatean territory in southern Auranitis and was the site of an important …


(5,942 words)

Author(s): Schulz, Hermann | Wenning, Robert | Kuhnen, Hans-Peter | Hachlili, Rachel | Köpf, Ulrich | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Archaeology – III. Old Testament – IV. Judaism – V. Christianity – VI. Missiology – VII. Funerary Art I. Religious Studies A burial manifests and represents the culture-bound nature of personality and religious traditions that shape community; consequently, it is also a key to the metaphysics of cultural and civil religion. The history of research in religious studies is associated on many levels with the problem of burial. Studies examine agreements and differences …