Ancient Caesarea Archaeological Ruins


Was Caesarea the capital of the Roman Empire in the time of Jesus?

This painted sketch reveals why Caesarea was the eastern capital of the Roman Empire. The harbor was a spectacle, and one of the wonders of the ancient world.

In 10 B.C. Augustus Caesar decided to rebuild a small coastal station called Strato's Tower into a new city, which would be renamed Caesarea Maritima, in honor of Augustus. He allotted the task to the architectural mastermind Herod the Great. Herod built a harbor at Caesarea that would become one of the wonders of the ancient world. He built a massive breakwater which formed a horseshoe of protection around the whole bay. On the coast he built some of the most impressive works of architecture in the Roman world.  He built an amphitheater, a citadel, a palace, a hippodrome, city walls and gates, paved squares with huge statues, and other marvels of Graeco-Roman civilization. It was here in Caesarea where the prefect Pontius Pilate lived, the foundation of his house was on a rock in the middle of the harbor and is still there to this day.

Caesarea was also a spectacular location to build a city, because it was right in the center of the Plain of Sharon, one of the most fertile areas in the world. Centuries of rains from the clouds formed by the nearby Mediterranean Sea showered the Judean hills, and brought plenty of rich soil  to irrigate the plain where Caesarea was situated. The climate was always fairly warm and never out of control. Oranges, figs, lemons, grapes, almonds, and even olives in the hills, grew in abundance.  Anyone coming into Judea from anywhere in the Graeco-Roman world would marvel at this awesome Jewish city with all the spectacles of Hellenistic art, architecture and culture.  It became the administrative center of the Roman procurators of the province of Judea, and also became the headquarters of the Roman legions. Caesarea was indeed a thriving place during the first century A.D., during the time of Jesus and the apostle Paul.

Acts 21:8 - And the next [day] we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was [one] of the seven; and abode with him.

Acts 25:6 - And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought.

Acts 8:40 - But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.

The ancient harbor at Caesarea is important in the study of Biblical archaeology, and many artifacts are still being discovered. There have been extensive excavations in this ancient city which are still going on today, much of which are underwater explorations.


Caesarea Maritima is located along the Mediterranean coast of Israel. There are numerous remains which can be seen today from the time of Herod. The theater, the bath houses, the hippodrome, the Pontius Pilate Stone inscription and more.


The Theater at Caesarea was built by Herod the Great. The ruins reveal that the architecture was truly amazing. It was wonderfully constructed and existed during the time of Jesus Christ and Paul the Apostle.


Ancient ruins like this can be seen all around Caesarea, going back beyond the time of Jesus. These columns were made of granite from Sinai and marble from Italy which revealed the immense wealth that was present at Caesarea.


Galina in front of the ruins of the Hippodrome at Caesarea. Many chariot races were performed here. The long forum contained spectators all around, many of them were awaiting collisions and deaths around the treacherous turns.


Replica of the famous Pontius Pilate Inscription was discovered in the theater at Caesarea. It was a first century A.D. dedication stone with an inscription to Tiberius Caesar from Pontius Pilate, governor (prefect) of Judea.


Nissim, the chief antiquities dealer at Caesarea for the State of Israel. His collection of artifacts were spectacular: coins, gold, silver, bronze, jewelry, weapons, pottery, statues, glass, etc. He shared with me many stories about the ruins and excavations at Caesarea and other places.

 


Some Scriptures mentioning "Caesarea"

Acts 10:1 - There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian [band],

Acts 23:23 - And he called unto [him] two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night;

Mark 8:27 - And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?

Acts 12:19 - And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that [they] should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and [there] abode.

Acts 21:8 - And the next [day] we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was [one] of the seven; and abode with him.

Acts 25:6 - And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought.

Acts 8:40 - But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.

Acts 10:24 - And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.

Acts 21:16 - There went with us also [certain] of the disciples of Caesarea, and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, with whom we should lodge.

Acts 25:4 - But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly [thither].

Acts 25:13 - And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus.

Matthew 16:13 - When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

Acts 23:33 - Who, when they came to Caesarea, and delivered the epistle to the governor, presented Paul also before him.

Acts 25:1 - Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem.

Acts 9:30 - [Which] when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.

Acts 18:22 - And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.

Acts 11:11 - And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me.

 


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Hebrew History

Ancient Jerusalem

First Century Jerusalem

The Impregnable Strength of Jerusalem

Map of Jerusalem

Jerusalem - Heart Message

Ancient Sketches

 

Fallen Empires - Archaeology and the Bible

Archaeology Discoveries and the Ancient Biblical World 

The Black Obelisk. In the 1840's a British man named Austen Henry Layard had a desire to travel to the Middle East and dig around some of the strange looking mounds near the City of Mosul. He had heard many tales about things being found in these mounds. He was looking for any trace of evidence that would lead him to the lost city of Nineveh, the capital of the ancient Assyrian Empire. Little did he know that one of his discoveries would turn Europe upside down with excitement. He discovered a black limestone monument which is known today as The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III. This discovery brought a new authenticity and historicity to some of the stories in the Bible. It also gained him the support of the British Museum, and all the finances he needed to continue his excavations, and become known as "The Father of Assyriology."

The Pilate Inscription. It wasn't long ago when many scholars were questioning the actual existence of a Roman Governor with the name of Pontius Pilate, the procurator who ordered Jesus' crucifixion. In June 1961 Italian archaeologists led by Dr. Frova were excavating an ancient Roman amphitheatre near Caesarea-on-the-Sea (Maritima) and uncovered this interesting limestone block. On the worn face is a monumental inscription which is part of a larger dedication to Tiberius Caesar which clearly says that it was from "Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea."

The Megiddo Seal Bearing King Jeroboam's Name. It is very interesting that the Jasper Seal, found at Tel Megiddo bearing the name of King Jeroboam who ruled in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, would contain the symbol for their rival, the Southern Kingdom of Judah. But in examining all of the circumstances involved and seeing what the Bible says it is no wonder that the prosperous and victorious Northern Kingdom of Israel would boast with a symbol of their enemy.

The Tomb of Cyrus the Great. An inscription on the tomb of the great Persian monarch read: "O man, whoever you are and wherever you come from, for I know that you will come--I am Cyrus, son of Cambyses, who founded the Empire of the Persians and was king of the East. Do not grudge me this spot of earth which covers my body." - Cyrus". Is it true that Isaiah the Hebrew prophet mention Cyrus by name almost 200 years before he was born?

Sennacherib's Hexagonal Prism. This amazing discovery excavated in Nineveh in the 1830 records the Assyrian king Sennacherib's 8th campaign, which includes his siege of Jerusalem during the reign of "Hezekiah the Judahite" in 701 BC. There are 500 lines of writing in the Akkadian language on this magnificent clay prism. Is the story true that it was purchased by an American from an antiquities dealer in Baghdad?

Coming Soon The Ishtar Gate of Babylon. During the last days of the southern kingdom of Judah the Jews were taken captive to a distant land called Babylon at the latter part of the 6th century BC. They passed through a beautiful entrance gate made of mud brick masonry and glazed skin which stood 47 feet tall, commonly referred to as the Ishtar Gate since its discovery at the turn of the 20th century near modern Baghdad, Iraq. The tall gate was dedicated to the gods by Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylonia who reigned from 605—562 BC). Is it true that Hitler had it transported to Berlin? Where is the Ishtar Gate now?

[Next] The Remains of Solomon's Temple

Biblical Archaeology

The Bible mentions many things about people, places and events that happened in history. The Bible also gives an accurate chronology of those people, places and events. What is amazing is that modern archaeology has confirmed that the Bible has never made one error, or given any clear contradictions in all of its text in matters of historical fact. The paintings and illustrations below of archaeological discoveries and ruins illustrate this emphatically.

Paintings By Bjanikka Ben and Maliyah Weston

Assyria

Weld Prism

Sargon I Bust

Hammurabi Stele

Colossal Lion of Assyria

Statue of Ashurnasirpal II

Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III

Close up of Jehu - Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III

Tiglath Pileser III (Pul)

Enemy Trod Under Foot

Sargon II with Staff in Hand

Sargon II Relief

Winged Bull - One Sided

Winged Bull - Two Sided

Assyrian Royal Guard Soldiers of Sennacherib

Lachish Captives Being Skinned Alive

Israelite Captives from Lachish

Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)

Stela of Ashurbanipal

Ruins of Ancient Assyria

Painting of Ancient Ashur

Israel

Moabite Stone

Beersheba Altar

Ivory Pomegranate Fake

Ossuary of Caiaphas

Proto Ionic Capital

El Amarna Letters

House of David Inscription

Korban Inscription

Lachish Letters

Megiddo Seal - Jeraboam Inscription

Pilate Inscription

Place of Trumpeting Inscription

Qumran Jar (Dead Sea Scrolls)

Siloam Inscription

Tel Dan Stele

Temple Warning Inscription

Uzziah Tablet Inscription

Stela of Baal

Gold of Ophir Inscription

Hazael King of Syria Statue

Ancient Caesarea Harbor

Ancient Caesarea Ruins

Ancient Hittite Ruins

Babylon

Striding Lion of Babylon 

Nebuchadnezzar II Cylinder

Lagash Rations Tablet

Ishtar Gate

Nebuchadnezzar II Brick

Babylonian Chronicle

Dragon of Marduk

Lion of Marduk

Detail of the Lion of Marduk

The Royal Standard of Ur

Persia

Tomb of Cyrus

Cyrus Cylinder

Ancient Persian Soldiers

Persepolis Lion

Darius Seated

Darius the Great (Up Close)

Ancient Persians

Ancient Persian Warriors at Susa

Egypt

Pharaoh Kneeling Before Bull

Amenophis II (Also Known as Thutmose-III)

Ramesses II

Shishak Smiting His Enemies

Apis the Sacred Bull of Memphis

Rosetta Stone

The Pyramids

Ramesses II Colossal Statue Painting

Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs

The Israel Stela

Pharaoh Merneptah Statue

Ancient Egyptian Sphinx

Ancient Egyptian Obelisk

Rome

Bust of Julius Caesar

Bronze Bust of Augustus

Bust of Augustus Caesar

Bust of Tiberius Caesar

Arch of Titus Menorah Relief - 1

Arch of Titus Chariot Relief - 2

Bust of Vespasian

Bust of Titus

Bust of Nero

Roman Legionary Camp

Roman Legion Bricks with Stamp

Ancient Roman Eagle

Ancient Roman Aqueduct

Ancient Roman Legions

Ancient Roman Milestone

The Arch of Titus

The Colosseum

Greece

Alexander the Great Bust

Antiochus IV Epiphanes Coin

The Parthenon Ruins

The Ancient Parthenon of Athens

Antiochus IV Epiphanes Bust

Alexander the Great Coin

Greek Macedonian Infantry Helmet

Ancient Persian Soldiers

Peoples

Canaanite

Chaldean

Cilician

Indian

Ionian

Mede

Persian

Philistine

(More to come)

Illustrated Bible History A growing database of images and sketches of the ancient world.
Bible Maps A growing database of maps for study and teaching.

Reconstructions Sketches of ancient cities & monuments from archaeology.

Archaeology Resources:

The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and the Bible by Holden and Geisler. 352 Pages, 2012

Biblical Archaeology

Bible History Online

The Story of the Bible


© Bible History Online (http://www.bible-history.com)

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