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Palestine in Late Antiquity$
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Hagith Sivan

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199284177

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199284177.001.0001

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Urban Stories: Caesarea, Sepphoris, Gaza

Urban Stories: Caesarea, Sepphoris, Gaza

(p.302) 8 Urban Stories: Caesarea, Sepphoris, Gaza
Palestine in Late Antiquity

Hagith Sivan (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the urban landscape in Caesarea Maritima (capital of Palestine), Sepphoris, and Gaza in late antiquity. Caesarea's gates, the scene of unburied and mutilated corpses of Christians at the dawn of the fourth century, formed an integral part of the urban layout. They embodied on the one hand the unity of the Caesarean community, and provided, on the other hand, a political and military symbol. At Sepphoris, as in Caesarea, the mute gesture of pillars and gutters joined in a social activity that paid tribute to humans with exceptional merit. Like the urbanites themselves, essential elements of the city's architecture mourned the passing of a notable wit or celebrity martyrs. Gaza provides the modern historian of Palestinian cities in late antiquity with the ability to focus on two formative moments in its history: the appearance of Christianity in the city (mid-late 4th century) and the parallel prosperity of monasticism and rhetoric in the late 5th and early 6th century.

Keywords:   Christians, Jews, urban landscape, architecture, urbanism, Caesarea Maritima, Sepphoris, Gaza

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