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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature

Gadara

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Gad´ara was the chief city or metropolis of Peræa, lying in the district termed Gadaritis some small distance from the southern extremity of the Sea of Galilee, sixty stadia from Tiberias, to the south of the river Hieromax, and also of the Scheriat-al-Mandhur. It was fortified, and stood on a hill of limestone. Its inhabitants were mostly heathens. After the place had been destroyed in the domestic quarrels of the Jews, it was rebuilt by Pompey, in order to gratify Demetrius of Gadara, one of his freedmen. Augustus added Gadara, with other places, to the kingdom of Herod; from which, on the death of that prince, it was sundered, and joined to the province of Syria (Josephus, De Bell, Jud. ii. 6. 3). At a later period it was the seat of an episcopal see.

Most modern authorities find Gadara in the present village of Om-keis. The hill on which it stood was full of caverns, which were used for tombs. The summit of the hill commands a very fine view.

The city formed nearly a square. The upper part of it stood on a level spot, and appears to have been walled all round, the acclivities of the hill being on all sides exceedingly steep. The eastern gate of entrance has its portals still remaining. Among the ruins Buckingham found a theater, an Ionic temple, a second theater, besides traces and remnants of streets and houses. The prevalent orders of architecture are the Ionic and the Corinthian.

Burckhardt also found near Gadara warm sulphurous springs. According to Epiphanius, a yearly festival was held at these baths.

Gadara is the scene of the miracle recorded in;; . Buckingham's remarks on this event are well worth quoting:—'The accounts given of the habitation of the demoniac from whom the legion of devils was cast out here struck us very forcibly, while we ourselves were wandering among rugged mountains, and surrounded by tombs still used as dwellings by individuals and whole families. A finer subject for a masterly expression of the passions of madness in all their violence, contrasted with the serenity of virtue and benevolence in him who went about doing good, could hardly be chosen for the pencil of an artist; and a faithful delineation of the rugged and wild majesty of the mountain scenery here on the one hand, with the still calm of the waters of the lake on the other, would give an additional charm to the picture.' One of the ancient tombs was, when our traveler saw it, used as a carpenter's shop, the occupier of it being employed in constructing a rude plow. A perfect sarcophagus remained within, which was used by the family as a provision-chest.

 

 

 

 

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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Gadara'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/kbe/g/gadara.html.

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