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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Eleutherop´olis, a place not named in Scripture, but which was an episcopal city of such importance in the time of Eusebius and Jerome, that they assumed it as the point whence to estimate the distances and positions of other cities in Southern Palestine. It continued to be a great city until the sixth century: but after that all traces of it were lost. In recent times, however, Professor Robinson has identified it with Beit-Jibrin, a village of moderate size, the capital of a district in the province of Gaza. In and around this village are ruins of different ages, more extensive and massy than any which had been seen in Palestine, excepting the substructions of the ancient temple at Jerusalem and the Haram at Hebron. These ruins consist principally of the remains of a fortress of immense strength, in the midst of an irregular rounded enclosure, encompassed by a very ancient and strong wall. This outer wall is built of large squared stones, uncemented. Along this wall on the inside, towards the west and north-west, is a row of ancient massive vaults with fine round arches, apparently of the same age as the wall itself, and both undoubtedly of Roman origin. In the midst of the area stands an irregular castle, the lower parts of which seem to be as ancient as the exterior wall, but it has obviously been built up again in modern times. An inscription over the gate shows that it was last repaired by the Turks A.H. 958 (A.D. 1551), nearly two years after the present walls of Jerusalem were built. Remains of ancient walls and dwellings extend up the valley; and at the distance of twenty minutes from the present village are the ruins of an ancient church, bearing the name of Santa Hanneh (St. Anne). Only the eastern end is now standing, including the niche of the great altar and that of a side chapel, built of large hewn stones of strong and beautiful masonry. Beit-Jibrin is twenty miles east of Askelon, and thirteen miles east-north-east from Hebron.





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Eleutheropolis'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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