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Title: Gaza: A City of Many Battles - (From the Family of Noah to the Present Day)
Author: Dowling, Theodore Edward
Language: English
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[Illustration: FROM GAZA TO ASCALON]








On Tuesday in Easter week, 1912, accompanied by the Rev. J. Khadder,
Assistant Chaplain of St. Luke's Mission, Haifa, I left that town for
El-Kaisâriyeh (Cæsarea), where we were entertained at the Orthodox
Greek rented house belonging to a Bosnian landlord. On reaching Jaffa I
secured a fresh carriage on April 12, for Gaza, reaching that city in
nine and a half hours,--an unusually quick journey. During my visit of
ten days there I was the guest of the Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Sterling, in
the Church Missionary Society's compound. Nothing could have exceeded
their kind hospitality, and I am greatly indebted to them for valuable
local information. Mrs. Sterling used her typewriter for producing my
Chapter XXI on the "History of the C.M.S. Gaza Mission," 1878-1913.

The aged and scholarly German, Father Gatt, one of the Latin Clergy
attached to the Roman Catholic Patriarchate of Jerusalem, who came
to Gaza thirty-three years ago from Austria, and ministers to eighty
souls, lent me three printed articles on Gaza, and cheerfully added
to my limited knowledge of the city. He mentioned that a History of
Gaza has been printed by Dr. Martin A. Meyer, and published at New
York in 1907, but I had not the advantage of seeing this book. After
my manuscript was completed early in 1912, I procured a copy, and
have during 1913 taken the liberty of incorporating some additional
information from its contents, for which I am grateful.

Mr. A. A. Knesevich, H.B.M. Consular Agent at Gaza--of Austrian
parentage--lent me five of his official printed Reports, notes from
which are included under the heading of "The Key of Syria," Chapter XIX.

It will be noticed in Chapter XVII that I am also indebted to Mr. Emil
G. Knesevich, for photographs of an "Old Sarcophagus at Gaza," but
unfortunately, they have not proved sufficiently clear for reproduction.

Mr. Habeeb el-Khouri, the C.M.S. Catechist, not only accompanied me to
the Great Mosque, but supplied me with information.

Miss Kate Sandreczka translated articles in German bearing on the
history of the city.

At a short distance from Mayoumas, the maritime quarter of Gaza, on the
north-west side, are the ruins of Thedah (or Tedûn) the site of the
ancient Hellenistic town of Anthedon, lately discovered by Père Gatt.
Alexander Jannæus took it along with Gaza. In company with Dr. Sterling
I visited this spot, enveloped in sand, on April 18, where we found
broken pieces of marble, ornamented glazed pottery, and ancient glass
scattered in every direction. Excavations for hewn stone have not been
infrequent here.

Augustus gave this port to Herod the Great, who rebuilt it, and changed
its name into that of Agrippeion, after his friend Marcus Agrippa.

Anthedon was an early archiepiscopal see, in Palestina Prima, and I am
familiar with the few specimens of its coinage during the reigns of
Elagabalus (A.D. 218-222), and Alexander Severus (A.D. 222-235). Since
the days of the Muslim occupation there is no mention of this town,
and its name does not appear in Holy Writ.

Among the Hellenistic towns in Schürer's _The Jewish People in the Time
of Jesus Christ_, Division II, vol. i, pp. 72-3, there is additional
information on Anthedon, (Ἀνθηδών).[1]

On the following afternoon I visited Djebel el-Mountâr, a hill, two
hundred and seventy feet high, about two miles from the city towards
the south-east. It is the "hill that is before Hebron" (Judges xvi.
3) to which Samson carried during the night one of the gates of the
city. He did not carry the gate as far as Hebron, which is upwards of
twelve hours' ride, but he went in the direction of Hebron. It was a
superhuman feat to tear away the gate posts, and carry them across to
the top of a neighbouring hill.

It is interesting to compare Josephus' account of this episode with
that of the sacred historian. In his _Antiquities_, Book V, section 10,
Whiston's edition, the following passage occurs--

"Samson held the Philistines in contempt, and came to Gaza, and took up
his lodgings in a certain inn. When the rulers of Gaza were informed of
his coming hither, they seized upon the gates, and placed men in ambush
about them, that he might not escape without being perceived; but
Samson, who was acquainted with their contrivances against him, arose
about midnight, and ran by force upon the gates, with their posts and
beams, and the rest of their wooden furniture, and carried them away on
his shoulders, and bore them to the mountain that is over Hebron, and
there laid them down."[2]

The hill is covered with Muslim tombs, and over-topped by a Weli,
dedicated to Aly-el-Mountâr--"Aly the Tower of Defence." Marnas was
originally worshipped here.

The extensive view well repays the ascent, for on a clear day the
mountains of Hebron may be seen. The sea is visible. There is a fine
view of Gaza, and the extensive plain is under cultivation. Due south
on the coast is the site Deir el-Belah (Convent of Dates), where the
body of St. Hilarion was said to be finally buried.

Napoleon Bonaparte camped here with his army one night towards the end
of February 1799, and on the following morning continued his march
towards Jaffa.

I gladly avail myself of this opportunity to express my delight and
astonishment at finding such an exceptionally well managed native
girls' school in the C.M.S. compound. And no wonder, when Miss Smithies
instructs the four native female teachers, the two monitresses, and
the four half-monitresses, twice every weekday! My experience is that
the most useful boys' school in Syria is at Sidon, under the American
Congregationalists, and Gaza may well be proud of its girls' school,
for there is nothing to approach its varied excellence in Palestine.

The misgovernment of Gaza and its district is worse under the Young
Turks than under the late _régime_. But the C.M.S. mission work in the
Gaza compound is indeed a bright spot in the city, and the persistent
Christian teaching--boldly proclaimed--is bearing fruit in unexpected
quarters. Holy enthusiasm is bound to tell in the course of time.

It seems more common for the younger boys of the poorer class in Gaza,
than in other parts of Palestine, to have their hair fancifully
shaved. One has a tuft on the top of the skull; another a small ring of
hair. Some small fellahin boys have the hair growing quite long over
the back of the neck, while the whole crown is well shaved. The tuft of
hair implies that Mohammed will pull them into heaven. Another theory
is that this tuft is left for the benefit of the resurrection angel,
who will facilitate their resurrection from the grave.

It will be noticed that I have made free use of Dr. George Adam Smith's
_Historical Geography of the Holy Land_, twelfth edition, 1906.

Mr. Miltiades N. Assimacopoulos, B.C., of Acre (Ptolemais), has
rendered me invaluable assistance in looking up references, arranging
the Index, and typewriting portions of the manuscript for the press.

The indulgent reader will kindly remember that this book has been
compiled under peculiar circumstances. There is no public reference
library in this Muslim town of Haifa, and the authorities who have been
consulted on Gaza are not agreed as to several dates in its chequered

My thanks are due to the Rev. R. J. E. Boggis, B.D., St. Mary
Magdalene's Vicarage, Barnstaple, for carefully correcting the
proof-sheets, as well as those of _The Orthodox Greek Patriarchate of

_St. Luke's Mission, Haifa-under-Mt. Carmel, Palestine,
September 5, 1913._


[1] See also _The Historical Geography of the Holy Land_, 1902, p. 189.

[2] See Chapter XV on the architectural character of the Gaza Temple of


  CHAP.                                              PAGE

       DEDICATION                                       v
       PREFACE                                        vii
       CONTENTS                                      xiii
       LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS                           xv
       AUTHORITIES CONSULTED                         xvii
         TESTAMENT REFERENCES TO GAZA                  19
         FROM 1503 B.C. TO A.D. 1913                   28
           SECTION I (1503 B.C.-30 B.C.).
          SECTION II (A.D. 41-A.D. 1913).
    IV NOTES ON GAZA COINS                             41
     V THE JEWS AT GAZA                                46
    VI THE SAMARITANS                                  48
   VII SOME EARLY BISHOPS                              50
         (1) OF GAZA.
         (2) OF MAYOUMAS.
   VIII THIRTEEN MARTYRS AT GAZA                       56
     IX ST. HILARION                                   58
      X SOZOMEN--CHURCH HISTORIAN                      61
          "EUDOXIANA"                                  64
   XIII THE CRUSADERS AT GAZA                          66
    XIV THE PASHAS OF GAZA                             70
    XVI THE GAZA JUPITER                               74
   XVII AN OLD SARCOPHAGUS AT GAZA                     76
    XIX GAZA--THE KEY OF SYRIA                         82
     XX GARDENS--OLIVE GROVES--BIRDS, ETC.             87
   XXII EL ARÎSH AND C.M.S. MISSION                    93


      I PUBLIC GAMES AT GAZA                           97
          OF GAZA, A.D. 401                           110
    III BIBLICAL REFERENCES                           115
        INDEX                                         117


                                           _To face page_
  FROM GAZA TO ASCALON[3]                  _Frontispiece_
  NATIVES WITHIN THE C.M.S. COMPOUND                   90


[3] Reduced and reproduced by permission of The Palestine Exploration


_A Dictionary of Classical Antiquities_, _etc._, 1891.
ALFORD'S _Greek Testament_, vol. ii, 1861.
_Apocrypha_, revised version of, 1895.

BÆDEKER'S _Palestine and Syria_, 1906.
BARING-GOULD, REV. S., _Lives of the Saints_.
BELL'S _The Saints of Christian Art_ ("The Great Hermits"), 1902.
_Bible Educator, The_, vols. i and iii (no date).
_Bible, Holy, The._
BRIGHT'S _The Age of the Fathers_, 2 vols., 1903.

_Cambridge Companion to the Bible_, 1905.
CONDER'S _Syrian Stone Lore_, 1886.
CONDER'S _Tent Work in Palestine_, vol. ii, 1878.

_Dictionary of Christian Antiquities_, vol. i, 1875.

_Encyclopædia Britannica_, vol. x (ninth edition), 1879.
EUSEBIUS' _Ecclesiastical History_, 1851.

FLINDERS PETRIE'S _Egypt and Israel_, 1911.

GEIKIE'S _The Holy Land and the Bible_, vol. i, 1887.
GUY LE STRANGE'S _Palestine under the Muslims_, 1890.

Handbooks of the C.M.S. Missions. _The Palestine Mission_, 1910.
HASTINGS' _Dictionary of the Bible_, 1904.
HEAD'S _Historia Numorum_, 1887.
HILL'S _Life of Porphyry_, 1913.

_Josephus_ (Whiston's), edited by Dr. Margoliouth, 1906.
_Jottings and Snapshots from Gaza, S. Palestine_, Nos. 1-3, 1908-1910.

MADDEN'S _Coins of the Jews_, 1881.
MEISTERMANN'S _Fr. Barnabas' New Guide to the Holy Land_, 1907.
METAXAKIS on the Madaba Map, in _Nea Sion_, 1907.
MEYER'S _History of the City of Gaza_, 1907.
MURRAY'S _Dictionary of Christian Biography_, 1911.
MURRAY'S _Handbook of Syria and Palestine_, Part I, 1868.

NEALE'S _History of the Holy Eastern Church_, Part I, 1850.
NEALE'S _History of the Holy Eastern Church_, "The Patriarchate
  of Alexandria," vol. i, 1847.
NEALE'S _Lent Legends_, 1905.
NEALE'S _The Patriarchate of Antioch_, 1883.

OLIPHANT'S (LAURENCE) _Haifa_, or _Life in Modern Palestine_, 1887.

PORTER'S _The History of Beirût_, 1912.
PUSEY'S _Commentary on the Minor Prophets_, 1879.

_Quarterly Statement_ of the Palestine Exploration Fund--various.

ROBERTSON'S _History of the Christian Church_, vol. i, 1854.
ROBERTSON'S _Biblical Researches in Palestine_, vol. ii, 1856.

SAYCE'S _Patriarchal Palestine_, 1912.
SCHÜRER'S _History of the Jewish People in the time of Christ_,
  vols. i, ii, 1898.
SMITH'S (GEORGE ADAM) _The Historical Geography of the Holy Land_, 1902.
STEVENSON'S _The Crusaders in the East_, 1907.

WORSDWORTH'S _Greek Testament_, "The Acts of the Apostles," 1860.
WORDSWORTH'S _The Ministry of Grace_, 1901.




There are twenty _Old Testament_ allusions to Gaza; certainly one
reference in the _Deutero-Canonical_ books; and one more in the _Acts
of the Apostles_.

1. Genesis x. 19.--_The border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as
thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza._ Thus Gaza is among the earliest of
the Canaanitish cities mentioned in Genesis. The reference in this
early chapter, which transports us into the dim dawn of human history,
is a presumption of its extreme antiquity, and like its distant
neighbour Sidon suggests its being among the most ancient cities of
the world. Even before Abraham left his fatherland Gaza stood on the
southernmost border of Canaan. Its important strategic position on the
frontier of Egypt has contributed to its long-continued existence.

Gaza, like Damascus, is mentioned both in the _Book of Genesis_, and in
the _Acts of the Apostles_.

2. Joshua x. 41.--_Joshua smote them from Kadeshbarnea even unto Gaza._

Gaza became celebrated as one of the five royal cities of the

Politically, there were five _principal_ centres: the cities of
Ashdod, Gaza, Askelon, Gath, and Ekron (1 Sam. vi. 16, 17).

Unlike its neighbours Gath and Askelon, Gaza has survived the various
changes of history. Ashdod is now the mud village of Esdûd. The modern
name of Askelon is 'Askalân.[4] The site of Gath is uncertain. Ekron
is identified with 'Akîr, near a station on the railway from Jaffa to

3. Joshua xi. 22.--_There were none of the Anakims left in the land of
the children of Israel; only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there

Joshua only partially subdued this remarkable people, who seem to have
been akin to the Rephaim and other gigantic races alluded to in the Old
Testament. It was not contemplated that, under any circumstances, the
"dispossession" alluded to in Numb. xxxiii. 51-3, would be _at once_
completed, as plainly intimated in Exodus xxiii. 29, 30.[5]

4. Joshua xv. 20 and 47.--_This is the inheritance of the tribe of
Judah ... Gaza with her towns and her villages._

Although the tribe of Judah, to whom the city fell, subdued it, yet
they appear to have held it but a short time.[6]

5. Judges i. 18.--_Judah took Gaza with the coast thereof._

This victory of Judah _alone_ over the chief cities of Palestine is
a proof that the subsequent oppression of Israel by the Philistines
was due to the sins of Israel. The five lords of the Philistines not
only regained possession of their own territory, but also increased in
strength, and, at length, extended their jurisdiction in turn over the
Israelites (Judges iii. 1-5).

"The Philistines appear to have come into the maritime plain of Syria
either shortly before or shortly after Israel left Egypt."--_G. A.

6. Judges vi. 3-5.--_When Israel had sown, the Midianites came up, and
the Amalekites, and the children of the east, ... and they encamped
against them ... till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for

A new apostasy, punished by the oppression of Midian, is here
introduced. This invasion came from the south-east and extended over
the whole land "unto Gaza" in the south-west.

7. Judges xvi. 1-4.--_Then went Samson to Gaza._

8. Judges xvi. 21-31.--_The Philistines took him, and put out his eyes,
and brought him down to Gaza._

Gaza had been the scene of Samson's sin (verses 1 and 2). It is now
made the scene of his punishment.

After forty years of oppression, Samson appeared as the champion and
avenger of his people. The tragic close of his life has given Gaza an
imperishable fame.

        "Samson hath quit himself
  Like Samson, and heroically has finished
  A life heroic."--_Milton._

The famous Dagon, or the "Fish-god," who had a temple at Gaza (Judges
xvi. 21-5), was a national, and not merely a local god among the
Philistines. During the Maccabean wars Jonathan destroyed the temple
of Dagon at Azotus (1 Macc. x. 84). He was eminently the god of

9. 1 Samuel vi. 17.--_The golden emerods which the Philistines returned
for a trespass offering unto the LORD ... for Gaza one._

During the "seven months" the sacred chest was, no doubt, located in
each of the five Philistine cities, in the Dagon temple, which each of
the cities possessed.

The god Dagon was worshipped at Gaza and Ashdod, and the goddess
Derketo at Askelon. It has been assumed that the two divinities were
akin. According to Lucian, Derketo was worshipped under the form of a
woman with the body and tail of a fish, fish being sacred to her, and
was probably identical with Atargatis, in 2 Macc. xii. 26. Hence Dagon
was supposed to have been the male counterpart of Derketo. This view,
however, Prof. Sayce now repudiates, preferring to regard Dagon as a
purely agricultural deity.

10. 2 Kings xviii. 8.--_Hezekiah smote the Philistines, even unto Gaza,
and the borders thereof._

The entire land of Philistia was ravaged by the Judæan forces.

After continual wars under the Judges, with Saul (1 Sam. xiv. 52, xxxi.
1), and David (2 Sam. v. 17-25), the Philistines appear to have been
subdued by the latter, and Gaza became the border of Solomon's kingdom
"on this side of the river" (1 Kings iv. 21, 24). In verse 24 Azzah,
or rather ‘Azza, is the more correct spelling of Gaza. There is a
reference to Gaza under the name of Azzah in Deut. ii. 23, and 1 Chron.
vii. 28 (R.V.). With this exception the R.V. adopts the reading Gaza.

In Joshua xv. 47 "the river of Egypt" (A.V.) refers to the desert
stream, one mile wide, which still occasionally flows in the valley
called El Arîsh, twelve hours' ride south of Gaza. Palm trees are
abundant in the bed of this torrent. See Gen. xv. 18; Joshua xv. 4; 1
Kings viii. 65; Is. xxvii. 12.

11. 1 Chronicles vii. 28.--_And their possessions were ... unto Gaza
and the towns thereof._

The passage refers to Ephraim's habitations, but this is a doubtful
reading. The Revised Version of the Old Testament reads _Azza_, in the
margin _Ayyah_.

12. Jeremiah xxv. 17-20.--_Then took I the cup at the LORD'S hand, and
made all the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me: to wit
... all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and
Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod._

The words describe the act of the prophet as in the ecstasy of vision.
One by one the nations are made to drink of the cup of the wrath
of Jehovah. Among them are four of the cities of the Philistines,
including Gaza.

13. Jeremiah xlvii. 1.--_The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the
prophet against the Philistines, before that Pharaoh smote Gaza._

This passage probably refers to Pharaoh Necho II's (610-594 B.C.) first
advance to Carchemish in 609 B.C. Having defeated and killed Josiah,
King of Judah, at Megiddo, he advanced to the Euphrates, and on his
return smote the city of Kadytis which is probably Gaza.

14. Jeremiah xlvii. 5.--_Baldness is come upon Gaza._

The reference is to the destruction which Nebuchadrezzar inflicted upon
the whole Syrian seaboard from Sidon to Gaza after Pharaoh Necho's
defeat at Carchemish in 604 B.C. (Jeremiah xlvi. 2).

Gaza had to recognise the supremacy of Babylon. "Baldness" is the sign
of mourning (Micah i. 16).

Destroyed again and again, its situation has always secured its being

15. Amos i. 6, 7.--_Thus saith the LORD; for three transgressions
of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof;
because they carried away the whole captivity, to deliver them up to
Edom: but I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, which shall devour
the palaces thereof._

The proceedings of Philistia against Judah are here represented by
Gaza as the principal city. See 2 Chron. xxi. 16-17, which implies
a veritable sack of Jerusalem. The extreme barbarity of which Judah
complained was that her children were delivered up to her old
implacable enemy, Edom.

16. Zephaniah ii. 4.--_Gaza shall be forsaken ... and Ekron shall be
rooted up._

There is a play on the meaning of these words, "Gaza (Azzah = strong)
shall be forsaken (âzab)" and "Ekron (deep-rooting) shall be rooted up
(âkar)," similar to that in Micah i. 10, _et seq._

The chastisement of Philistia is prophesied in verses 4-7. "The
fulfilment of the prophecy is not tied down to time" (Pusey, _Minor

17. Zechariah ix. 5.--_Gaza shall see it, and be very sorrowful.... The
king shall perish from Gaza._

Well might Gaza fear and tremble on hearing of the destruction of Tyre.

Gaza was taken by Alexander the Great after a siege of two months.[7]
When he subdued it, he ordered all the men to be slaughtered without
quarter, and carried away all the women and children into bondage, 332
B.C. New colonists settled within the city, which now ceased to be a
Philistine centre, only to become a Greek one.

Gaza must have been at this time a city of great strength, for
Alexander's Greek engineers acknowledged their inability to invent
engines of sufficient power to batter its massive walls. Alexander
himself was severely wounded in the shoulder during a sortie of this

Special mention is made by Hegasias (a contemporary of Alexander) of
the "King" of Gaza being brought alive to Alexander after the captivity
of the city. The name of the governor of the garrison at Gaza was

In Pusey's _Commentary on the Minor Prophets_--Amos i. 6, 7; Zephaniah
ii. 4; Zechariah ix. 5, there is much additional information concerning
the prophecies against Gaza.

Gaza is there described as first Canaanite; then Philistine; then,
at least after Alexander, Edomite; after Alexander Jannæus, Greek;
conquered by Abu-Bekr the first Khalif, it became Mohammedan; it was
desolated in their civil wars until the crusaders rebuilt its fort;
then again Mohammedan.

1. 1 Maccabees xi. 61, 62.--_From whence he_ [Jonathan] _went to Gaza,
but they of Gaza shut him out; wherefore he laid siege unto it, and
burned the suburbs thereof with fire, and spoiled them. Afterward, when
they of Gaza made supplication unto Jonathan, he made peace with them,
and took the sons of their chief men for hostages._

After the death of Alexander, the territory of Gaza became for two
centuries the battlefield between the Egyptian, Syrian, and Jewish
armies. Twice (315 and 306 B.C.) Antigonus took the city from Ptolemy
I. The latter re-took it twice at the point of the sword, and for a
century it remained under the power of Egypt.

The Syrians again devastated it in 198 B.C.

Jonathan Maccabeus (the wary), the Jewish leader and high priest
(161-143 B.C.) laid siege to its suburbs, and forced the inhabitants to
sue for terms (1 Macc. xi. 61, 62).

2. 1 Maccabees xiii. 43-8.--_In those days Simon camped against
Gaza,_[8] _and besieged it round about; he made also an engine of war,
and set it by the city,_[9] _and battered a certain tower, and took it._

Simon the Maccabee, Ethnarch, and High Priest, 142-135 B.C., laid
siege to the fortress of Gaza, and expelled the heathen inhabitants.
Shortly afterwards he appointed his third son, John Hyrcanus I, as
commander-in-chief of all his forces.

1. Acts viii. 26.--_And the angel of the LORD spake unto Philip,
saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down
from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert._

There is only one New Testament reference to Gaza, and it has given
rise to much controversy.

The pronoun αὕτη may either relate to ὁδὸν (way) or
to Gaza. If the former, then it is the _way_ which is desert; if the
latter, it is the _city_. If we apply it to the city it is difficult
to reconcile the statement with the facts of history; unless we regard
the phrase "which is desert" as a parenthetic explanation of St. Luke's
written soon after the destruction of Gaza by the Jews in A.D. 66.

Some refer ἔρημος to the _ancient city_ destroyed by
Alexander, and affirm that the new city occupied a different site.

The words αὕτη ἐστὶν ἔρημος, however, were probably intended
to describe the Roman highway on which St. Philip the Evangelist should
find the Eunuch. There were then, as now, several roads leading from
Jerusalem to Gaza. Two traversed the rich plain of Philistia; but one
ran to Eleutheropolis (Beit Jibrîn), and thence direct through an
uninhabited waste to Gaza.

See Alford's _Greek Testament_ on Acts viii. 26, and Wordsworth's
_Greek Testament_ on the same passage, which he thus explains: "Go
by the road which leads to Gaza--which is desert; Almighty GOD has
something for thee to do there. He can enable thee to do the work of an
Evangelist, not only in the city of Samaria, but in the wilderness of

Note on Acts viii. 38.--Deacons in the early Church, notwithstanding
the precedent of St. Philip, were not usually allowed to baptise alone.
Wordsworth's _The Ministry of Grace_, p. 161.


[4] In Judith ii. 28; 1 Macc. x. 86, xi. 60; both in A.V. and R.V.
Askelon is called Ascalon.

[5] Ethnology of the Bible. _The Bible Educator_, vol. iii, pp. 197-200.

[6] See also _The Historical Geography of the Holy Land_, 1902, p. 189.

[7] See Josephus, _Antiq. Jews_, XI. 8, 4, section 325.

[8] The Revised Version of the Apocrypha reads "against Gazara." See
Josephus, _The Jewish War_, Book I, Chap. II, section 2 (50).

[9] In the Old Testament the distinction between a town and a village
is not generally defined. The former, as a rule, was an inhabited
place surrounded by a wall. The latter, one that is not so enclosed
(Lev. xxv. 29-31). Towns themselves, however, are also sometimes
distinguished as walled and unwalled (Deut. iii. 5; Esther ix. 19).
The New Testament and Josephus uniformly distinguish between
πόλις and κώμη (an unwalled village, opposite to a fortified
city).--Schürer, II. i. 154.



_Section_ I (1503 B.C. to 30 B.C.)[11]

1503-1449 B.C.--Eighteenth Dynasty. In the twenty-second year of his
reign, 1481 B.C. (according to Sayce), Thothmes III made his first
determined attempt to subdue Canaan. Gaza was occupied with much
difficulty. The fortress of the Prince of Gaza is mentioned in the
great expedition of Thothmes III.

_c._ 1444 B.C.--Eighteenth Dynasty. Amen-hetep II, successor of
Thothmes III, has hieroglyphic inscriptions in Gaza, which have been
lately discovered. They show that a temple had been built by this
Egyptian king to the goddess An Mut.

_c._ 1366 B.C.--Nineteenth Dynasty. Seti Mer-en Ptah I, the father of
Rameses II, drove the Beduins before him from the frontiers of Egypt to
those of Canaan, and established a line of fortresses and walls along
"the way of the Philistines," which ran by the way of the shore to Gaza

1348-1281 B.C.--Nineteenth Dynasty. Rameses II, User-Maāt-Ra (the
Great), continued to hold Gaza till at least 1292, or later.

_c._ 1225 B.C.--Twentieth Dynasty. Rameses III, Hik-An, captured Gaza,
but it does not seem to have remained long in the possession of the
Egyptians (Sayce).

734-732 B.C.--Tiglath-pileser III, the founder of the second Assyrian
Empire, plundered Gaza, and made it subject to Assyria. It soon
revolted against its new masters, relying, no doubt, upon help from
Egypt, but in vain.

_c._ 720 B.C.--Hanno, King of Gaza, called to his aid So (Shabaka),
King of Egypt (2 Kings xvii. 4), against the Assyrian general Sargon,
and commenced that gigantic struggle between Asia and Egypt, of which
Gaza was the centre. Sargon chastised the rebels. In 715 B.C. Rabshakeh
(the title of the officer sent by Sennacherib) reproached Hezekiah:
"Thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, upon Egypt;
whereupon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: So is
Pharaoh King of Egypt unto all that trust on him" (2 Kings xviii. 21).

701 B.C.--Gaza remained subject to Sennacherib, the Assyrian king.
Sennacherib died in 681 B.C. Tirhakah, the last king but one of the
twenty-fifth (Ethiopian) dynasty, began to reign in 691 B.C. (2 Kings
xix. 9).

674 B.C.--Esar-haddon, son of Sennacherib, one of the greatest Assyrian
kings, retained Gaza (2 Kings xix. 37).

662 B.C.--One of Asshûr-bani-pal, King of Assyria's expeditions
enveloped the east coast of the Mediterranean, including Gaza, which
rendered him submission.

609 B.C.--Pharaoh Necho II took Gaza by force after the fall of the
Empire of the Sargonides (Jeremiah xlvii. 1).

The Hellenistic population after this period became more numerous.

"The eight days' march across the sands from the Delta requires that,
if an army came up that way into Syria, Gaza, being their first relief
from the desert, should be in friendly hands. Hence the continual
efforts of Egypt to hold the town."--_G. A. Smith._

624-596 B.C.--After some three generations of the dominion of
Babylonia, Egypt once more spread its power. The sturdy Psamtek I
(Psammetichus, "the lion's son") had, from 624-596, held the south of
Palestine, including Gaza.

529 B.C.--Cambyses (Ahasuerus) King of Persians and Medes, after the
fall of Babylon, set out for the conquest of Egypt. Gaza alone dared
to resist him, and was not subdued till after a very long siege. There
seems, however, to be considerable doubt as to Cambyses, the son of
Cyrus. Xerxes is certainly the Ahasuerus of Ezra iv. 6, and of the Book
of Esther.

332 B.C.--"Gaza was strong enough to resist for two months a siege of
Alexander the Great, during which he was wounded. It was ultimately
taken by storm, but not entirely destroyed. Bates, the Persian, who
defended the city against Alexander, employed Arab mercenaries."--_G.
A. Smith._

All the maritime towns, save Tyre and Gaza, appear to have welcomed
Alexander the Great and accepted his policy.

Gaza, next to Tyre, was the most important fortress in the
Philistinian-Phœnician coast. Plutarch (_c._ A.D. 66), telling the
story of its siege by Alexander, calls it "the biggest city of Syria."

After this siege, Gaza became more and more a Greek centre. New
colonists settled within the city, which ceased to be a Philistine
centre. Josephus expressly designated it a πόλις Ἑλληνίς.

315 B.C.--Gaza was conquered by Antigonus, King of Asia, having been
wrested from Ptolemy I, Soter, of Egypt (323-285), who had seized
Philistia and garrisoned Gaza in 320 B.C.

312 B.C.--The city fell again into the hands of Ptolemy I, in
consequence of his victory over Demetrius, the son of Antigonus.

In the same year, however, he renounced the possession of Cœle-Syria,
and on his retreat had the most important fortresses, Gaza among them,

240 B.C.--The sovereignty over these districts changed several times
during the decades next following, till at length they were for a
longer period in the possession of the Ptolemies.

218-217 B.C.--Gaza, like the rest of Syria, was temporarily in the
possession of Antiochus III (the Great). He is mentioned in 1 Macc.
viii. 6-8. Becoming engaged in a quarrel with Egypt, he made four
successive expeditions from Antioch to that country, in each case
passing down the coast of Syria, inflicting misery on its inhabitants.

198 B.C.--Cœle-Syria came permanently under the dominion of the
Seleucidæ, through the victory of Antiochus the Great at Panias. Gaza
was conquered after a difficult siege.

The sway of the Seleucidæ is evidenced by a silver coin of Demetrius I,
Soter, 162-150 B.C., minted at Gaza.

161-143 B.C.--During the leadership and high-priesthood of Jonathan
"the wary" (who sided with Antiochus VI, son of Alexander Balas,
against the faithlessness of Demetrius I), he lost no time in bringing
the entire territory between Gaza and Damascus into subjection, with
the assistance of Jewish and Syrian troops. Jonathan's history is
one of constant intrigue, and his successes were due to craft and
duplicity, rather than to valour and wisdom.

Gaza only yielded after Jonathan had recourse to forcible measures.
He compelled the citizens to give hostages, and took them with him to

Gaza at this time had a Council of 500 members.

141 B.C.--Gaza, the last of the Philistine towns not conquered by the
Jews, was taken by Simon III, Ethnarch and High Priest. He is described
in 1 Maccabees ii. 65, as "A man of counsel." A beautiful picture of
him is to be found in 1 Maccabees xiv. 4-16.

96 B.C.--Gaza fell into the hands of King Alexander Jannæus, the third
son of Hyrcanus, high priest, and a prince of the Maccabean line.
He took the city after a year's siege, though at last only through
treachery. He gave the inhabitants up to the sword, and entirely
demolished the city.

"It was not till 96 B.C. that Jews actually crossed her walls, but in
that year the pent-up hatred of centuries burst in devastation upon
her."--_G. A. Smith._

65 B.C.--When Pompey the Great conquered Syria, Gaza obtained her
freedom. He arranged that the Roman general, A. Gabinius, Governor of
Syria, should divide Judæa into five parts. Gabinius rebuilt Gaza 57
B.C. which was once more securely inhabited, and allowed it to resume
its ancient prosperity under the power of Rome.[12] The newly built
"maritime" and free city began a "new era" from the time of Pompey.
According to some few authorities the ancient city was then forsaken,
and the new town built somewhat farther southwards, possibly close to
its harbour.

30 B.C.--Augustus, when in Egypt, handed Gaza over to King Herod
I, of Philistine origin, who placed over this "maritime city" his
brother-in-law, the Idumean Costobar. In favour of his _Ascalon_
descent are certain allusions of Herod I to that city. At the death of
Herod the Great, Gaza, still called a "maritime city," was annexed once
more by Augustus to the province of Syria.[13]

Two of the passes through the Judæan and the Samaritan hills were
strongly fortified by Herod I, who also held the tolls at Gaza, for
Arabia by Petra and for Egypt. Gaza is the outpost of Africa, and the
door of Asia.

_Section_ II (A.D. 41-1913)

A.D. 41-54.--During the reign of Claudius, Gaza is spoken of as an
important city by the Spanish geographer Pomponius Mela, with whom
agree Eusebius and St. Jerome.

A.D. 66.--During the government of the fourteenth and last Judæan
Procurator, Gessius Florus, Gaza was burned by the rebellious Jews.
This destruction could have been but temporary, for there exist coins
of Gaza, struck in honour of Vespasian and following emperors, which
show that the city was still a place of importance soon after the
destruction of Jerusalem.

The independence of the city is proved by the fact that Gaza had then
its own independent kalendar.

A.D. 129-130.--Special tokens of favour were bestowed upon Gaza by
Hadrian. The twenty-two coins of Gaza (the new era), as described in
detail by De Saulcy, _Numismatique de la Palestine_, pp. 215-18, refer
to Hadrian's residence within the city. Dr. Coles, of Haifa, possesses
a large number of Hadrian's Gaza coins.

"In the second and third centuries Gaza became a prosperous centre of
Greek commerce and culture. Her schools were good, but her temples
were famous, circling round the Marneion.... The schools of Gaza in
philosophy and rhetoric grew more and more distinguished. Students, it
is said, left Athens to learn the Attic style in Philistia, and even
Persia borrowed her teachers." --_G. A. Smith._

_c._ A.D. 300-371.--St. Hilarion, the first hermit of Palestine, was
born at Thabatha, five miles from Gaza. (The reader is referred to
Chapter IX for the Life of St. Hilarion.)

A.D. 307.--Copies of the Holy Scriptures had escaped their general
destruction under Diocletian's Edict, and were still in use at Gaza
when persecution raged there in this year.

A.D. 308.--St. Sylvanus, Bishop of Gaza, and others were martyred on
May 4, during the persecution of Maximianus I.

A.D. 330.--Asclepas, Bishop of Gaza, who was accused of being "secretly
tainted with Arianism," was deserted by the majority of the devout
clergy and laity, and deposed, A.D. 341, but afterwards he received
full acquittal.

Asclepas was present at the first Œcumenical Council of Nicæa, A.D. 325.

_c._ A.D. 335.--Constantine the Great rewarded the inhabitants
of Mayoumas, the port of Gaza, for their unanimous adoption of
Christianity, by erecting their town into "the city of Constantia"
(Κωνστάντεια). It seems that this emperor, finding the inland
city authorities obdurately pagan, gave a separate Constitution to its
sea-town, but Julian (A.D. 361-363) took these privileges away.

A.D. 361.--At Mayoumas, the port of Gaza, the whole population was
enthusiastically devoted to the Christian Faith, whereas Gaza was
remarkable for its intense hatred.

Julian the Apostate's accession, A.D. 361, was the signal for an
intensified persecution. He made Constantia again tributary to Gaza,
but on his death its independence was restored.

A.D. 386.--St. Jerome and St. Paula, as early Christian pilgrims, after
travelling among the Egyptian hermits, visited Gaza before returning to

_c._ A.D. 401.--Eight heathen temples were destroyed through the
influence of the Empress Eudoxia. As late as the fourth century an idol
named Marnas was worshipped in the city.

In the Roman Imperial period commencing 27 B.C., the chief deity of the
city was Marnas, Lord of heaven and sun and moon, as his name
(מר = Lord) implies. He was originally a Shemitic deity, being,
however, more or less disguised in a Greek garment.

A.D. 406.--On Easter Day St. Porphyrius consecrated the Church of Gaza,
named after the Empress Eudoxia.

St. Porphyrius, a Greek ecclesiastic, after living five years as a
hermit in the Thebaid of Egypt, went with his disciple Marcus to
Jerusalem, and finally became Bishop of Gaza.

(For further particulars about St. Porphyrius, see Chapter VII.)

A.D. 541.--At the Council of Gaza, Pelagius (the first Pope of that
name, A.D. 555-560) then a deacon, and Roman Legate at Constantinople,
was sent by order of the Emperor Justinian I (the Great) with letters,
ordering the deposition of Paul,[14] the twenty-ninth Patriarch of
Alexandria, which was accordingly carried out. This local Council
was attended by Ephraim, Patriarch of Antioch, Peter, Patriarch of
Jerusalem, the Metropolitan of Ephesus, and some other Prelates. Zoilus
succeeded Paul in the Throne of St. Mark.

The story of the fall of Paul is involved in much confusion. He was
consecrated by St. Menas, Patriarch of Constantinople, this being the
first instance of an Alexandrian Patriarch being consecrated from the
Throne of Constantinople. He held his see for about two years, from
A.D. 539-541.

A.D. 635.--Gaza fell into the hands of Abu-Bekr, the general of the
first Khalif, Omar, after a decisive battle with the Byzantine army. It
was one of the first points of attack during this invasion, and about
this date the city became Muslim.

The city was regarded as an important place by the Muslims, because
Hashim ibn Abd Manaf, Mohammed's grandfather was buried there. About
this date we hear little more of Muslim Gaza, except as its being the
birthplace of Mohammed ibn Idris ash-Shâfiy, the founder of a Muslim
sect, and the Great Doctor of the Law.

About the end of the sixth century, or the beginning of the seventh,
Robinson (_Biblical Researches in Palestine_, vol. ii, p. 42) states
that "Gaza was visited by Antoninus Martyr, who describes it as
splendid and delicious; and its inhabitants as noble, liberal, and
friendly to strangers."

A.D. 672.--Gaza was visited by a great earthquake.

A.D. 796.--The city was laid waste during a furious civil war among the
various Arab tribes inhabiting the country.

During the many wars between the Muslim rulers of Egypt and Syria,
which preceded the Crusades, Gaza again suffered greatly.

A.D. 867.--Bernard the Wise--a Breton monk--describes Gaza as "very
rich in all things."

A.D. 1149.--Baldwin III built a fortress at Gaza, in order to cut off
the approach to Ascalon from the south.

The defence of the castle was entrusted to the Knights Templars.

The great buildings of Palestine are not to be ascribed to the Jews
(for they were not a great building people), but to the Byzantine and
Crusading Christian epochs.

A.D. 1170.--The Crusading castle at Dârûm (Deir el Belâh), three hours
south of Gaza, was unsuccessfully stormed by Saladin.

A.D. 1170.--On December 20, Saladin made a dash on Gaza, but did not
get possession of the citadel. He entered the city, and killed several
of the inhabitants.

A.D. 1177.---At this date there were many Knights Templars in Gaza.

A.D. 1187.--Gaza passed into the hands of Saladin, after the Battle of
Hattin on July 5.

A.D. 1192.--During the Third Crusade King Richard destroyed the Castle
of Dârûm at Whitsuntide.

The walls of Gaza were dismantled after Richard Cœur de Lion's peace
with Saladin in 1193.

A.D. 1238.--Defeat of the Crusaders at Gaza.

A.D. 1239.--Muslims were surprised in the neighbourhood of Gaza by
Theobald, Count of Champagne and King of Navarre.

A.D. 1242.--During May, the Knights Templars and their Muslim allies
defeated the Egyptian army, who were driven back to Gaza.

A.D. 1244.--The Christian and Saracen armies were annihilated by the
Kharezmians in the valley of Gaza.

A.D. 1250.--King Louis IX and the Mameluke Emirs released their
prisoners at Gaza.

A.D. 1260.--A garrison was stationed in Gaza by the Turkish invaders.

A.D. 1332.--Sir John Maundeville, a native of St. Albans, speaks of
Gaza as "a gay and rich city; and it is very fair, and full of people,
and is but a little distance from the sea." Like other cities of old,
it was, for fear of pirates, built at some distance, about two and a
half miles, from the sea.

A.D. 1370.--The Franciscan friar, John of Naples, martyred at Gaza.

A.D. 1432.--Bertrandon de la Brocguière, a knight in the service of the
Duke of Burgundy, speaks of pilgrims being harshly treated in Gaza.

A.D. 1516.--The Turks crushed the Mamelukes at Gaza. This victory
opened Egypt to Selim I of Constantinople. Egypt thus became a Pashalik
of the Turkish Empire, and remained so until its conquest by Napoleon
Bonaparte in 1799, when its Jewish inhabitants fled from the city.

A.D. 1584.--Samaritans are known to have lived in Gaza at this date,
and possessed a synagogue. Two large baths in the city belonged to
them. One of them still bears the name of "the Bath of the Samaritans."
In 1907 an inscription was found at Gaza with a Biblical text, in
Samaritan characters. The writing is not ancient, and it is still in
the possession of the Muslim finder. During the occupancy of the Pashas
of Gaza, one of them (of the fourth family Ridwan) desired to procure
the inn and bath belonging to the Samaritan community. The owner
objected, and gave them to the Muslims for the benefit of the Great
Mosque. The Pasha consequently was indignant, and hanged the Samaritan
at the gate of the inn. From the end of the sixteenth century we hear
nothing more of the Samaritans at Gaza. (For additional information see
also Chapter VI.)

A.D. 1771.--Ali Bey, a slave, obtained great power in Egypt, and
occupied Gaza.

A.D. 1796.--Arabs destroyed Gaza during a civil war.

A.D. 1799.--Napoleon Bonaparte took Gaza in February, having crossed
the desert with about 13,000 men.

"Napoleon has emphasised the indispensableness of Gaza, whether in the
invasion or the defence of the Nile valley."--_G. A. Smith._

A.D. 1831.--Mohammed Ali, a native of Roumelia, attacked Gaza in
November, without being resisted.

A.D. 1839.--A great plague broke out in Gaza, and carried off large
numbers of its inhabitants.

A.D. 1878.--The Church Missionary Society commenced work at Gaza.


[10] Some of these events in the first section are not referred to
either in the Old Testament or the Books of the Maccabees.

[11] Perhaps the earliest notice of Gaza is contained in the
Tel-el-Amarna tablets in a letter from a local Governor, who then held
it for Egypt.

[12] _Ant._, XIV. iv. 4; _Bell. Jud._, I. vii. 7.

[13] _Bell. Jud._, I. xx. 3, and II. vi. 3.

[14] Paul was a native of Tarsus. He became a monk or abbot of the
famous Upper Egyptian Rule of Tabenna, founded by St. Pachomius, _c._
A.D. 340.



In early times the Beduins of the desert were glad of a market in Gaza
for their spices and frankincense. In fact, according to Dr. Meyer
(from whom I freely quote), the foundation of Gaza is most probably
associated with the Minæans in their development of the frankincense
trade. Extensive remains have been found in Central and Southern
Arabia, which have been ascribed to these Minæans. Mr. Edward Glaser
maintains that this people existed from about the seventeenth century
B.C., and that the Sabæans followed them in the occupancy of those
regions. If this be allowed, it seems to follow that Gaza was founded,
or at least augmented, by this early Arabian people.

The wealth of the Minæan kingdom was derived chiefly from the
transportation of frankincense and other spices from the East, and
from Southern Arabia, which the caravans carried through the desert to

In 674 B.C. Esar-haddon, son of Sennacherib, undertook a campaign
against the Arabian tribes, put an end to the Minæan kingdom, and
secured control of the spice-trade route.

During the Persian period (539-332 B.C.) Gaza was the chief centre of
the frankincense trade.

According to Dr. Birdwood in his article on "The Perfumes of the
Bible," _Bible Educator_, vol. i, p. 378, "it is very surprising that
so great a weight of evidence in favour of frankincense being produced
in Arabia and Africa should ever have been set aside for the idle fancy
that India was the source of the olibanum (ὁ λίβανος) commerce."


[15] See Isaiah lx. 6, and Jeremiah vi. 20.



An article of mine, entitled, "Notes on Gaza Coins," appeared in the
_Quarterly Statement_ of the Palestine Exploration Fund, April 1912.
Since that date my attention has been drawn to an additional coin
referred to by Dr. Meyer in his _History of the City of Gaza_, Chap.
XVI. He begins by mentioning that an early coin attributed to Gaza is
the so-called Jehovah coin of the British Museum. This coin is found
in the printed catalogue of 1814, although purchased about fifty years
previous. On palæographical and archæological grounds it is assigned
to about 400 B.C. On the obverse appears a head with a helmet; on the
reverse, a figure seated in a chariot, with a bird in his hand. Above
the figure, in Phœnician characters, are the three letters (יהו). A
bearded head, wearing a mask, is also to be found on the reverse.

The coinage of Gaza in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. has been
identified by M. Six, and consists of darics and smaller coins of Attic
weight and of various types.

In Nehemiah vii. 70, the Revised Version of the Old Testament reads
thus: "The Tirshatha gave to the treasury a thousand darics of gold,"
whereas the Authorised Version has "a thousand drams of gold."

The gold daric and siglos (silver shekel) are the first coins that can
possibly have had legal currency in Palestine.

In the second half of the fifth century B.C., the wealthy commercial
cities on the Mediterranean seaboard had begun to issue silver money
under their native kings. The great maritime city of Gaza was among the
principal trade centres of this period.

Herodotus, _c._ 484-409 B.C. (iii. 5), mentions Gaza as scarcely
inferior in size to Sardes, the capital of the kingdom of Lydia.

The influence of Athens at this date is strikingly shown by the coins
of Gaza, which not only imitate the type and legend of the coins of
Athens, but are struck on the Attic standard.

On March 20, 1912, at a meeting of the British Academy, in the rooms of
the Royal Society, Mr. G. F. Hill, of the British Museum, read a paper
on "Some Cults of Palestine in the Græco-Roman Age," from which the
following passage is extracted--

"The coinage of Gaza entirely confirms and amplifies the evidence which
has of late been accumulating concerning the primitive connection
of the Philistine cities with Crete. The name of the great Gazæan
god Marnas, who offered such stubborn resistance to Christianity, is
probably not Syrian but Cretan. He is the Cretan Zeus, a young god,
with a goddess resembling the huntress Artemis for his consort, just
as in Crete there seems to be a connection between the young Zeus
Velchanos and the goddess Britomartis, who is Artemis. Gaza was a
Minoan foundation, and Minos--himself a form of the Cretan Zeus--was
worshipped at Gaza, which, indeed, was actually called Minoa."[16]

After the capture of Gaza by Alexander the Great, 332 B.C., regal coins
were struck there with the frequent monogram Γ͞Α, both under
Ptolemy II, Philadelphus, 285-246 B.C., Ptolemy III, Euergetes I,
246-221 B.C., and Demetrius I, Soter, of Syria, 162-150 B.C.

The autonomous bronze money of Gaza dates from an era commencing 61
B.C. Of this period no silver money of Gaza is extant.

The imperial coins of Gaza from Augustus to Gordian bear two different
sets of dates; the first Gaza era beginning 61 B.C., the second
beginning A.D. 129. The second era probably commemorates the visit
of Hadrian to Gaza.[17] On some of the coins these two eras appear
concurrent. These imperial coins, with inscriptions ΓΑΖΑΙΩΝ,
ΓΑΖΑ, etc., have usually the addition of the Phœnician letter [mem],
from which the Swastica, the characteristic mark on Gaza coins, is
possibly derived, the initial representing the divinity Marnas. The
Temple of Marnas was called the Marneion.[18]

"In the last days of paganism the great god of Gaza, now known as
Marnas (our lord), was regarded as the god of rains, and invoked
against famine. That Marnas was lineally descended from Dagon is
probable, and it is therefore interesting to note that he gave oracles,
that he had a circular temple, where he was sometimes worshipped by
human sacrifices, that there were wells in the sacred circuit, and that
there was also a place of adoration to him, situated, in old Semitic
fashion, outside the town. Certain _Marmora_ in the temple, which might
not be approached, especially by women, may perhaps be connected with
the threshold which the priests of Dagon would not touch with their
feet"[19] (1 Sam. v. 5).

Herod Agrippa I became King of Judæa A.D. 41, and possessed the
entire kingdom of Herod the Great. Among the coins of Agrippa I under
Claudius, Madden (_Coins of the Jews_, p. 137, No. 2) reproduces a coin
which probably represents a ceremony taking place in the temple of the
god Marnas at Gaza. "There were in Gaza eight temples of the Sun, of
Venus, of Apollo, of Proserpine, and of Hecate; that which is called
Heroon, or of the Priests, that of the Fortune of the City, called
Τυχεῖον, and that of Marneion, which the citizens said is the
Cretan-born Jupiter, and which they considered to be more glorious than
any other temple in existence."

Dr. Donald Coles, of Haifa, has, in his collection of over one hundred
specimens of Gaza coins, an exceptionally interesting coin of Hadrian,
A.D. 130, in excellent condition, re-struck under Simon Bar-Cochab,
A.D. 132-135. This Hadrian bronze coin is quoted in De Saulcy's
_Numismatique de la Terre Sainte_, p. 215, No. 1, and the re-struck
coin during the Revolt of the Jews, A.D. 132-135 is reproduced on Plate
XV, No. 4, in his _Recherches sur la numismatique judaïque_.

It was not unusual for these Simon Bar-Cochab coins to be re-struck
from Ascalon, and other current coinage.

Among all the writers in the _Quarterly Statement_ of the P. E. F. from
1894-1901 on the Swastica, or Fylfot, not one of them seems to be aware
that the Swastica is constantly found as the distinguishing mint-mark
of Gaza, _e.g._ on Plate XI of _Numismatique de la Palestine_, Gaza
coins, there are both the sign [swastica sign] of the male Swastica,
and the more common [swastica sign] female Swastica, revolving in the
opposite direction on the reverse of coins of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius,
Lucius Verus, Faustina Junior and Lucilla, Julia Domna, Plautilla,

The Swastica is an Eastern symbol of the Sun, and is occasionally known
as Gammadion, and mystic Fylfot. The latest idea formed regarding the
Swastica is, that it may be a form of the old wheel symbolism, and
that it represents the solar system. It is often connected with the
Sun, as in the Island of Melos, first colonised by Phœnicia. Its great
diffusion in Eastern Asia is due to its being a Buddhist emblem, "the
wheel of the law."

In the Catacombs at Rome it is well known on the tunic of the Good
Shepherd, and on the garments of the Fossores, a class of men employed
in the offices of Christian sepulture, and in opening fresh graves and

The Triskelia, or Three Legs of the Isle of Man, and some Syracuse
coins in the reign of Agathocles, 317-289 B.C., and other towns in
Sicily, are only variants of the Swastica.

Dr. Albert Churchward, in _The Signs and Symbols of Primordial Man_
(London: Swan, Sonnenschein & Co., Ltd., 1910), supplies a mint of
valuable information scattered throughout this learned work. On page 44
he states that this Swastica was also the most sacred sign amongst the
British Druids. Page 115 (figure 49) shows the Mexican Kalendar in form
of a Swastica Cross. On page 261 the Swastica is said to be frequently
found on stones in Devonshire, and a good specimen is in the museum at

"It is a fact that prehistoric man of the two hemispheres had the
knowledge to spin fibre and thread, to wind it on bobbins (see spindle
wheels found in museums) having the same sign on them wherever found,
viz. the Swastika [swastika sign]" (p. 44).

"This symbol has probably a wider range than any other that has been
preserved from prehistoric times" (p. 352).

Dr. Churchward states, in _Primordial Man_, p. 187, that the recent
discoveries of Flinders Petrie at Abydos tend to show that the Druids
derived the Swastika from Egypt more than 20,000 years ago!!!

On April 16, 1912, a few poor specimens of Roman bronze coins struck at
Gaza were brought to me in that city, but the local finds seem to have
become nearly exhausted.

A representation of the temple Tychæon erected to the Fortune of the
City occurs on a coin of Antoninus and Marcus Aurelius (shortly before
A.D. 161), which shows a tetrastyle temple. (Most of the temples
depicted on the Gaza coins are distyle.) The goddess of the town, as
well as the heifer, also appear on this coin.


[16] On some coins the word ΜΕΙΝΩ occurs. It refers to Minoa,
the legendary name of Gaza, with reference to its foundation by Minos
of Crete.--_Meyer._

[17] Hadrianus, A.D. 117-138, favoured Gaza with several visits from
A.D. 123-135. This probably accounts for De Saulcy (_Numismatique de
la Terre Sainte_, Paris, 1874) being able to describe, on pp. 215-18,
twenty-two Gaza coins of this reign.

[18] _Historia Numorum_, Head, p. 680.

[19] _Encyclopædia Britannica_, "Philistines," pp. 755-6, vol. xviii,
ninth edition.



There is no record to show that the Jews obtained any stronghold in
Gaza during Pagan times.

Pompey liberated Gaza _c._ 65 B.C., which had been subjected to the
Jews since the times of the Maccabees, and restored the city to its

With the institutions of Pompey, the freedom of the Jewish people,
after having existed for scarcely eighty years, if we reckon it as
beginning in 142 B.C., was completely overthrown.

Josephus says (_The Jewish War_, II. 18, 1) that after the people of
Cæsarea had slain about 20,000 Jews, and all the city was emptied of
its Jewish inhabitants, A.D. 66, the whole nation was greatly enraged,
so the Jews divided themselves into parties, utterly demolishing
Anthedon and Gaza.

Schürer (_History of the Jewish People in the Time of Christ_, II. vol.
i, p. 71), however, thinks that this must have been a very partial
destruction, for so strong a fortress as Gaza could not have been
actually destroyed by a band of insurrectionary Jews.

During the middle ages, the use of wine being forbidden to Muslims by
the Kûrản, it was manufactured in Gaza only by the Jews. This Jewish
wine trade remained in their hands exclusively for a lengthened period.
There was also a colony of wine-dealers in the harbour Mayoumas.

In February 1799 most of the Jews fled when the French troops under
Napoleon entered Gaza. Meyer says that in 1811 there were none left.
Their synagogue stood idle, and their cemetery was deserted.

There were supposed to be, in 1907, about one hundred and sixty Jews in
Gaza (of whom thirty were Sephardim).


[20] It will be noticed that this chapter does not refer to the
earliest connections of Jews with Gaza.



Meyer supplies some valuable information about the Samaritans in
Gaza on pages 71-2, from which I gratefully cull a few sentences. He
writes of their having settled there early, maintaining themselves as
a separate community till the modern period. A complete history is
impossible, because of the meagreness of the record. It is remarkable
how this little sect spread all over Palestine, and even into Egypt.
There are records of the Samaritans at Gaza from the fourth to the
seventeenth centuries. According to the Samaritan Chronicle of the High
Priest Eleazar, the territory of Palestine, and other parts of Syria
and Egypt, were assigned to various Samaritan families at the time of
Baba the Great (end of fourth century). That extending from Gaza to the
River of Egypt was given to Israel ben Machir, and Shalum was assigned
to it as Priest; the territory from Carmel to Gaza to Laib ben Becher,
with Joseph as its Priest. All the Samaritans who settled at Gaza were
of the tribe of Benjamin, excepting Mouzaf ben Mitpalel of the tribe of
Ephraim. The Martyr Paul of Gaza, _c._ A.D. 300, before his death at
Cæsarea, prayed for the Samaritans of his native town.

During the reign of Justinian, _c._ A.D. 529, the imperial troops once
occupied the city on the occasion of an uprising of the Samaritan
inhabitants of the district, and the citizens were greatly disturbed.
The Bishop Marcianus stepped into the breach, and settled the affair by
organising a militia to which the matters in dispute were referred.
The imperial troops were withdrawn, and peace was restored.

There were many Samaritans at Gaza in the seventh century. After the
Muslim conquest, A.D. 634, the Samaritans of Gaza deposited their
property with their high priest, and fled to the east.

The five hundred Samaritans who had been captured at Shechem by
Bazawash, governor of Demascus, _c._ A.D. 1137, were redeemed by a
co-religionist of Acre. Many of these settled in Gaza.

In A.D. 1674 the Samaritans living at Gaza addressed a letter to Robert
Huntington, who was deeply interested in their religion and literature.

Clermont-Ganneau reports the finding of a Samaritan liturgical
inscription at Gaza, but does not produce it either in the original
or in translation. Able also reports a fragment of a decalogue in the
Samaritan script of the Mohammedan period.

Among the _Gleanings from the Minute Books_ of the Jerusalem Literature
Society, November 1849, Mr. E. T. Rogers remarks that the Samaritans
are still quite a distinct set of people, as they were in the time of
our Saviour. They make no proselytes; never intermarry with people of
other sects, and are particularly clean as a people; none others are
known than those now in Nablus. Their principal distinction in the
oriental crowd is that they wear a crimson turban.

When the Rev. Dr. E. H. Thomson visited Nablus, in May 1898, he asked
after the fate of the Samaritan community that was still surviving in
Gaza when Baron Sylvestre de Sacy, _c._ 1829, corresponded with the
Samaritans of Nablus. He was informed that the community in Gaza had
ceased to exist some sixty years before. Now, at all events, these one
hundred and sixty Samaritans resident in Nablus are all that remain of
the Samaritan race and creed.

Mr. J. G. Pickard, writing from Gaza in _The Quarterly Statement_ P. E.
F., July 1873, reports on the newly discovered Samaritan Stone of which
the inscription is a passage in Deuteronomy iv. 29-31. It has been
suggested that this stone belonged to a Samaritan synagogue in Gaza.
The spot where the stone was discovered is about a mile and a half from
the sea shore.



Palestina Prima--Cæsarea, _Metropolis_.

_The Dictionary of Christian Antiquities_, p. 1631, mentions "Philemon
(1) Bishop of Gaza; commemorated February 14 (Basil Menol)."

_The Kalendar of the Byzantine Church_, on November 22, commemorates
"Philemon, Apostle."

The Jerusalem Archimandrite Meletius Metaxakis, (now Bishop of Kition,
Cyprus), in an article on the Madaba Mosaic Map, _Nea Sion_, May and
June 1907, p. 485, states that "according to _The Ecclesiastical
Treatise about the Seventy Disciples of the Lord_, Philemon, the
Apostle, to whom the Epistle of Paul is directed, became Bishop of

The legendary history of Philemon supplies nothing on which we can
rely. _The Apostolic Constitutions_ (vii. 46) relate that Philemon
became Bishop of Colosse, and died a martyr under Nero, but this is
not sustained by any other early testimony, and is expressly denied by
the author of the _Commentary on St. Paul's Epistles_, attributed to
Hillary. This tradition, therefore, which Dr. Meyer (p. 59) mentions,
apparently without hesitation, cannot, I think, be accepted.


_c_. A.D. 285. SYLVANUS. The first Christian martyr of Gaza whose name
is known. Having had his eyes put out, he was beheaded at the Copper
Mines of Phæno.

Commemorated May 4.

A.D. 325. Gaza was represented by a Bishop at the Council of Nicæa. He
is described as a Bishop "of _the Churches round Gaza_."

A.D. 341. ASCLEPAS.[21] His name occurs in the Minutes of the First
Œcumenical Council. He succeeded Sylvanus, but was deposed at a Council
of Antioch, and reinstated at a Council of Sardica.

He suffered many persecutions for the "Orthodox" faith.

A.D. 341. QUINTIANUS, an Arian usurper of the See of Asclepas.

A.D. 363. IRENÆUS (A.D. 363-393) was present at the Council of Antioch
A.D. 363. He built the Church of St. Irene in Gaza. The first church
built in Gaza itself was the work of St. Irenæus, who died _c._ A.D.
393, and whose feast is December 16.

A.D. 393. AENEIAS succeeded Irenæus. His episcopate lasted for a very
short period.

A.D. 395. PORPHYRIUS, the true restorer of Christianity in Gaza. His
life was written by his trusty deacon, Marcus. The text was published
at Leipsig in 1895. Porphyrius was born in Thessalonica, _c_. A.D. 347,
of a good family. After a Presbyterate of three years, in A.D. 395 he
was unwillingly consecrated Bishop of Gaza by John of Cæsarea.

"Porphyry sent Marcus to Constantinople, and obtained from the Emperor
a Decree closing the Temples of Gaza; Cynegius came to the city with
Christian police from Ascalon; the temples were closed, and the
consultation of their oracles was forbidden. Idolatry did not cease,
however; the oracles were still consulted, though surreptitiously, for
permitting which Cynegius was said to have received a large amount of
gold. The Christians were still persecuted, and Porphyrius therefore
determined on further measures. He went to Cæsarea, consulted with
the Archbishop John, and both of them set out for Constantinople in
A.D. 401. Through the offices of Amantius, the Chamberlain, they were
presented to the Empress Eudoxia. They prophesied for her the birth of
a son; and the Empress vowed a church for Gaza, if the prophecy should
be fulfilled. The promised son, Theodosius the younger, was born; and,
true to her word, Eudoxia interceded with the Emperor for a rescript
closing the Gazæan temples. For reasons of State, the Emperor hesitated
to grant the request: 'though the city is idolatrous, it is peaceful
and pays its taxes regularly. If it is disturbed, it is to be feared
that its inhabitants would desert it, and its trade be ruined.' He
therefore suggested mild means for winning the city to Christianity.
The rescript was obtained from the Emperor at the baptism of his infant
son, being issued as the first decree of the new prince. Before the
Bishops left Constantinople, Eudoxia provided them with funds for
building a church and a hospice in Gaza; and the Emperor added gifts on
his own accounts."[22]

St. Chrysostom was _then_ high in the Empress's favour.

St. Porphyrius is said to have been indefatigable in instructing the
people of Gaza in a simple and popular style, based entirely on Holy
Scripture. He was present at the Council of Diospolis, A.D. 415.

On one occasion, owing to a terrible drought at Gaza, the Christians
prayed with fervour to Almighty God for rain. The amount of rain which
fell in response gave St. Porphyrius much influence over the heathen,
and numbers of them were baptised. He died A.D. 420.

His name is commemorated, in the Byzantine Church Kalendar, on February

A.D. 449. NATORIS was present at the Council of Ephesus, A.D. 431, and
was consecrated _c._ A.D. 449. At the Council of Ephesus he supported
Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, who was accused of irregularities of
ecclesiastical practice.

Timotheus, during the reign of Anastasius I, A.D. 430-513.

A.D. 490. ENOS (ÆNAS), who had been a Platonic philosopher, and convert
to Christianity, testifies to certain persons speaking after the loss
of their tongues (See Robertson's _Church History_, p. 459, _note_).

A.D. 518. KYRILLUS, who condemned Severus of Antioch.

A.D. 540. MARCIANUS (reign of Justinius, A.D. 483-565).

He built two churches in the city, the church of St. Sergius, and that
of St. Stephen, whose beauty is praised by Chorikius of Gaza.

A.D. 540. AURELIANUS, a successor, perhaps, of Marcianus.

A.D. 553. The Bishops of Gaza and Mayoumas Gazæ each signed
synodical letters inserted in the Acts of the Second Council of


_c_. A.D. 400. ZENO, brother of Aias, the Bishop of Botolion
(Bethulia), and personally known to the historian Sozimus.

A.D. 431. PAULINUS, mentioned in the Minutes of the Council of Ephesus.

A.D. 449. PAULUS, the supporter of Dioscorus in the Robber Council of
Ephesus, A.D. 449.

A.D. 505. PETER, the Iberian, Bishop of Gaza and Mayoumas. An
Eutychian, appointed by the Alexandrian faction.

During this Episcopate, Severus, the Monophysite Patriarch of Antioch,
had been expelled from a convent lying between Gaza and Mayoumas as an
heretical blasphemer. Coming to the Emperor Anastasius Dicorus, who was
infected with the same heresy, he was appointed a noble, and by the use
of flatteries, and false accusations, he advanced so far that by the
command of Dicorus he banished the Patriarch of Antioch, Flavian II,
from the throne, sent him into exile to Petra, and ascended the throne
by violence. He excited a great tumult in Antioch.[25]

A.D. 516. PROCOPIUS. His signature appears in the Letter of John of

A.D. 700-760. ST. COSMAS, Hymnologist, surnamed Μελωδός. He
acquired the appellation of Hagiopolites, on account of his proficiency
in polite literature. Having been captured by the Saracens, he was
carried to Damascus, and had the honour to be preceptor of St. John
Damascene, his foster-brother.

St. Cosmas, like his friend, St. John Damascene. became a monk of St.
Sabas, and against his will was consecrated Bishop of Mayoumas, by
John, Patriarch of Jerusalem, the same who ordained St. John Damascene,
priest. Dr. Neale considers him the most learned of Greek Church poets.
After ministering his diocese with great holiness, he departed this
life in a good old age, and is commemorated on October 14.


[21] Also called Asclepius. He was on the side of St. Athanasius.

[22] Meyer's _History of the City of Gaza_, p. 64.

[23] "Till A.D. 536 the names of the Bishops of Gaza were preserved in
the records of the Council of Jerusalem" (Meyer, p. 67).

According to Meyer, p. 69, from the sixth to the twelfth centuries,
Gaza was an Episcopal See of the Latin Church.

In the sixth century, reference is made by Theodosius to a Bishop
Suffragan of Gaza.

The Archimandrite Metaxakis states that in the Kalendar of the
Abyssinian Saints there is a Feast of St. John, Bishop of Gaza, on
April 6, but the Ethiopic Kalendar, according to Neale (_History of the
Holy Eastern Church_, vol. ii), does not include this name.

Conder (_Quarterly Statement_ P. E. F., July 1875, p. 10), asserts that
the Bishop of Gaza bears the additional title of Mâr Jîryîs to the
present day. Sophronius is the titular Archbishop of Gaza in 1913. He
is non-resident.

[24] Of Mayoumas, or Constantia (so called from the son of
Constantine), a city independent of Gaza, which from the time of
Constantine the Great formed an episcopal see, six Bishops are named
(_Nea Sion_, May and June 1907, p. 491). The name Mayoumas does not
appear till Christian times. Keith explored the site in 1844, and found
widespread traces of an extinct city.

[25] Neale's _The Patriarchate of Antioch_, pp. 163-4.



A.D. 304. TIMOTHEUS suffered martyrdom under Urban, the prefect of the
province, in the second year of Diocletian's persecution.

A.D. 304. The Syriac version of the history of the martyrs in Palestine
states that THECLA with AGAPIUS was cast to the wild beasts in the year
of Timotheus' martyrdom.

_c._ A.D. 308. SYLVANUS, Bishop of Gaza, was a martyr in the
persecution of Maximianus I. He was a Presbyter at the outbreak, and
from the beginning he endured much suffering with fortitude. Shortly
before his martyrdom, which was among the last in Palestine at that
period, he obtained the Episcopate.

Eusebius speaks with admiration of his Christian endurance, saying he
was "reserved until that time, that this might be the last seal of the
whole conflict in Palestine."

This aged martyr was eminent for his confessions from the very first
day of the persecution. In early manhood he had served as a soldier,
before receiving Holy Orders.

Dr. Meyer (_History of the City of Gaza_, p. 60. New York, 1907) states
that "the first Christian martyr of Gaza whose name is known is the
Bishop Sylvanus, who met his death in 285." Eusebius (_Ecclesiastical
History_, Book VIII, Chap. XIII), however, remarks that Sylvanus was
"beheaded with thirty-nine others at the Copper Mines of Phœne." Early
Christians of Gaza were not infrequently martyred at headquarters in
Cæsarea (Palestinæ).

A.D. 308. JOHN, a student of Holy Writ and of wonderful memory, was
associated with Sylvanus. He endured many tortures and was decapitated
with his Bishop.

A.D. 308. HATHA (ST. THEA), a virgin of Gaza, suffered martyrdom under
Firmilian in Cæsarea.

A.D. 361. During the reign of Julian, the pagans of Gaza attempted to
destroy the church built by St. Hilarion. During this revolt, Eusebius,
a Gaza Christian, with his brothers Nestabis and Zeno, were thrown into
prison, beheaded, and their bodies were burned outside the city walls,
on a spot used for the disposal of dead animals.

This persecution induced all the Christians to leave Gaza. The case
was brought to the attention of the Emperor. It seems that the heathen
governor of Gaza had imprisoned the citizens who had abused the
Christians, whereupon Julian exiled him.

About the same date, Nestor--a Confessor (according to the Rev. S.
Baring-Gould, _Lives of the Saints_)--was killed of wounds inflicted by
the populace.

A.D. 1370. The Franciscan Chronicles of the fourteenth century relate
that a Franciscan friar, John of Naples, went from Jerusalem to Gaza,
and was subjected to a cruel martyrdom.

A.D. 1555. Two French pilgrims were arrested at Gaza, and on their
refusing to renounce the religion of Christ were put to death. Their
bodies, carried away by the Christians, were buried under Orthodox
Greek auspices.[26]


[26] _New Guide to the Holy Land_, p. 534. The Church recognises many
Gaza saints, _e.g._ Dorotheus, Dositheus, Barsanuphius, and John the



"The solitary life never found so many votaries in Europe as in Egypt
and Palestine. Partly because of the comparative inclemency of the
climate, and the proportionate need of more appliances to support life,
and partly because of the more practical character of the West. As
might be expected, for obvious reasons there have been fewer female
hermits" (_Dictionary of Christian Antiquities_: Article HERMITS, 1875).

During the third century, Eremites (from ἐρῆμος, desert),
or _Hermits_, retired entirely from the haunts of men, and buried
themselves in the wildest and most inaccessible solitudes.

In Palestine, the hermit life was introduced by St. Hilarion, a
disciple of St. Antony.

The first Palestinian convent was founded by St. Hilarion, A.D. 328.
He was pre-eminently a teacher. Every novice was given a special

Hilarion was born at Thabatha, a village five miles to the south of
Gaza, _c._ A.D. 290, of heathen parents, who sent him to Alexandria
for education. There he showed proficiency in rhetoric. He became a
Christian, and turning from the attractions of the circus and theatre,
spent all his leisure in attending Church services.

The monastic retreat of St. Antony, the founder of Asceticism,
attracted Hilarion, and he became his enthusiastic disciple for two

Next neighbours to the Church of Egypt, the early Christians of Gaza
naturally imitated the asceticism of Antony, and avowed the orthodoxy
of Athanasius. Hilarion found, however, that his mountain retreat was
too much thronged with followers to suit his taste. At the age of
fifteen years he therefore decided to become a hermit. He returned to
Palestine, and finding his parents dead, he gave away all his goods,
and went to live in a desert spot seven miles from the Christian city
of Mayoumas.

The boy hermit was clad in a sackcloth shirt, which he never changed
till it was worn out, a cloak of skins which Antony had given him, and
a blanket, such as peasants wore.

His earliest diet was a daily fast until sunset, and then a supper of
fifteen figs. His employment was basket-making, after the fashion of
the Egyptian monks. His dwelling was so small as rather to resemble
a tomb. He had resided in the desert twenty-two years when he first
became celebrated for his miracles.

The first miracle of healing with which St. Hilarion is credited was
the restoration to health of three children at Gaza, whose mother
had induced him to come forth from his retreat to see them. Standing
beside their bed, the hermit merely uttered the word "JESUS," and they
at once recovered. On his return to his cell he was so besieged by
other applicants for relief that he could no longer lead his secluded

In his sixty-third year, hearing of the decease of St. Antony, St.
Hilarion resolved to visit the place where the great recluse had
entered into rest, hoping thus to escape from the crowds by whom he was
now constantly surrounded. Resisting all the efforts of the Egyptian
hermits to become their leader, he returned alone to Gaza, but no
sooner had he left them than messengers arrived with orders from Julian
the Apostate to slay Hilarion, and his disciple Hesychius, wherever
they should be found.

During Hilarion's absence in Egypt, the heathen citizens of Gaza
destroyed his monastery at Mayoumas.

During his life of fifty years in Palestine, he visited the holy sites
but once, and for a single day--in order, as he said, that he might
neither appear to despise them on account of their meanness, nor to
suppose that God's grace was limited to any particular place. During,
apparently, this short visit to Jerusalem, a pleasing story is told
of him in connection with his friend St. Epiphanius, Archbishop of
Constantia (formerly Salamîs) and Metropolitan of Cyprus. Hilarion
called upon this Bishop. Some fowls were served up at the table, and
St. Epiphanius asked his guest to partake of them. Hilarion excused
himself, saying that, since he put on the habit of a recluse, he had
never eaten of any animal. "And I," said Epiphanius, "since I put on
the same habit, have never allowed that any one should lie down to
sleep with a grievance against me on his mind, even as I have never
gone to rest at variance with any one." "Father," replied the hermit,
"your rule is more excellent than mine."

For additional information concerning the celebrated St. Epiphanius,
A.D. 368-404, and his intimate connection with St. Hilarion, see
Hackett's _History of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus_, pp. 399-407,

"Our Father and Archbishop Epiphanius of Cyprus" is commemorated in the
Byzantine Kalendar on May 12.

At last, in a wilderness near Paphos in Cyprus, death released
Hilarion, this much persecuted saint, from importunities. Almost with
his last breath he expressed a wish as to where his body was to be
buried--without pomp or ceremony. His wishes were respected, but his
friend and favourite disciple, Hesychius, stole his body from the
grave, re-interring it in his own monastery at Mayoumas. A rivalry
ensued between the places of the first and second interments; miracles
were said to be performed at both.

According to Sozomen, his festival was observed in Palestine with great
solemnity as early as the fifth century.

St. Hilarion's name occurs in the Byzantine Kalendar on October 21, as

  "Our Father Hilarion the Great."[28]


[27] For the Miracles of St. Hilarion see Neale's _Patriarchate of
Antioch_, pp. 111-13.

[28] For the chariot race during the life of Hilarion see Appendix I,
on the Circus of Gaza.



SALAMANES HERMIAS SOZOMENUS, called Scholasticus, came of a wealthy
family, and was born at Bethelia, a small town close to Gaza, _c._
A.D. 400, where his grandfather had been one of the first to embrace
Christianity, probably under Constantius, through the influence of
St. Hilarion. This hermit, among his other miracles, had miraculously
healed an acquaintance of Sozomen's grandfather, one Alaphion.
Both men, with their families, became zealous Christians, and were
conspicuous for their virtues. Having been endowed with great natural
ability, this ancestor of Sozomen was distinguished as an interpreter
of Holy Scripture, and held fast his Christian profession, even
in the time of Julian. Sozomen was educated at first in Bethelia,
among the monks, for some memories of his youth are connected with
the neighbourhood of Gaza. In early manhood he went to Berytus
(Beirût)[29] to be trained in civil law at its famous school. As
a man he retained the impressions of his youth. When he became an
Advocate of Constantinople, he wrote his chief work, Ἐκκλησιαστικὴ
Ἱστορία. _c._ A.D. 440.--It consisted of nine books, from A.D. 323-423,
a continuation of Eusebius. It is a monument of his reverence for
the monks in general, and also for the disciples of St. Hilarion in
particular. He dedicated it to the Emperor Theodosius II. What Sozomen
has to tell of the history of Southern Palestine was derived from oral
tradition. Sozomen died _c._ A.D. 450.

Bethelia was formerly a town with a famous heathen temple, renowned for
its beauty and age, which Sozomen calls "the village of the Gazæans."
It is now the Arabic Beit Lehia, which lies among the olive groves
north of the city, and retains its religious character by the mosque
and minaret which, no doubt, replaced the ancient temple.


[29] "Beirût became renowned, during the Norman period, for its great
law school, perhaps the most famous in the empire."--_The History of
Beirût_, by Prof. Harvey Porter, Ph.D., pp. 30-1, 1912.



On April 17, 1912, an opportunity was afforded me of a lengthy
conversation with the Archimandrite Antonius, who was educated at the
convent of the Cross, Jerusalem, and the Greek College, Halki, Sea of
Marmora. He has been in charge of the Orthodox Syrian congregation at
Gaza during the last seven years.

I inquired as to the exact spot where St. Hilarion, the first hermit
of Palestine, was buried. It seems that both Christians and Muslims
reverence his grave at Deir-el-Belah (the ancient Ed-Dârûm), two hours'
ride south of Gaza, where the mosque Jami el-Khidr stands on the site
of an old chapel.

In the fourth century there were several hermits at Thabatha, one and
a half hours' ride to the south of Gaza. During the fifth century the
existence of three ancient city churches is recorded: Eudoxiana, Irene,
and the Church of the Holy Apostles on the south. The two new churches
were St. Sergius and St. Stephen the Protomartyr.

The Archimandrite stated that the dedication of his church was
associated with the name of St. Porphyrius, and was built in A.D.
443. The grave of this early Gaza prelate is within the church, which
was restored in 1866. There is an ancient circular marble font for
immersion in the north-west of the nave.

The Patriarch Damianus on one occasion visited Gaza, but Sophronius,
its titular Bishop, has never entered the city.

A native Arabic-speaking priest is associated with the Archimandrite.
The services are rendered in Greek, although the Epistles and Gospels
are said in Arabic. The whole of the congregation of one thousand
"Orthodox" are only familiar with Arabic. The two Orthodox schools
contain ninety boys and twenty-five girls. A friendly feeling exists
between these Orthodox Christians and Muslims.



1. The Emperor Arcadius married Eudoxia, a beautiful Frank maiden, the
daughter of Bauto, who had held office as master of the soldiery.

Arcadius, always weak and indolent, was accustomed to be ruled by his
clever wife. "She imagined herself to be religious, because she was
liberal in almsgiving, and in building churches, attended the Church
services, reverenced the relics of martyrs, and patronised the clergy,
so long as they let her have her own way. But she was superstitious,
thoroughly worldly-minded, avaricious, absorbed in luxuries and
pleasures, and these of a not very innocent character. She at first
welcomed St. Chrysostom, and assured him of her favour, but soon turned
against him."[31] Her death occurred on October 4, 404.

2. At the end of the fourth century there were eight heathen temples
within the city--that of the Sun, of Venus, of Apollo, of Koré
(Proserpina), of Hecate, that known as the Heroon (Ἡρῷον), of
Juno, of the City's fortune called the Tychæon (Τυχεῖον[32])
depicted on the coins of Gaza, and lastly that of Marnas, that is to
say the Marneion, which was thought as being that of Zeus of Crete, and
was held to be the most famous of all the temples. There were, besides,
numberless idols in the houses and in the villages. A church was built
on the site of the Marneion, which latter was destroyed by order
of the Empress Eudoxia. The plans of the new church were sent from
Constantinople, and were adapted by the architect Rufinus, of Antioch.
The construction of the church took five years to complete. It was
consecrated by Porphyrius on Easter Day, A.D. 406, and dedicated to St.
John Baptist. The Deacon Mark (Biographer of Bishop Porphyrius) says
that there were about one thousand hermits present at its consecration.

"The enforcement of Arcadius' Decree was entrusted to Cynegius, who
arrived at Gaza ten days after Porphyrius with a force of soldiers and
a body of civil officers. When the order for closing the temples was
read, the citizens protested; but the soldiers carried out the Imperial
commands, and were aided by the Christians and the sailors. The
fiercest opposition was encountered at the Marneion, where the priests
blocked the entrance with large stones. Seeing, however, that their
defence was vain, they buried the temple treasures and escaped. The
Marneion was then burned; it took ten days to complete the destruction
of all the temples. After the site of the Marneion had been purified, a
cruciform church was built on it out of the funds furnished by Eudoxia,
after whom it was named the 'Eudoxiana.'

"The courtyard of the church was paved with stones taken from the
Marneion, and the women of Gaza refused to walk in it because of their
strong attachment to the old cult."[33]

The Eudoxiana was eventually converted into a mosque, and the Roman
garrison, consisting of sixty soldiers under the command of Callinicus,
having refused to apostatise, were slain at Eleutheropolis and


[30] Additional information concerning this church is contained in Mr.
G. F. Hill's translation of _The Life of Porphyry by Mark the Deacon_.
Oxford: the Clarendon Press, 1913. Unfortunately, my attention was only
drawn to this charming little book after these pages were in the hands
of the printer.

[31] Hore's _Eighteen Centuries of the Orthodox Greek Church_, p. 188.
James Parker & Co., 1899.

[32] See page 44, under chapter on Coins.

[33] Meyer's _History of the City of Gaza_, pp. 64, 65.



Of seven towns along the Palestine and Syrian coast Ascalon was brought
into the most frequent contact with the Crusaders, and Gaza received
the fewest visits. "The Crusaders alone do not appear to have used
Gaza for commerce, because this city was never so securely in their
hands as to permit them to dominate the roads south and east for any
distance."--_G. A. Smith._

A.D. 1100.--The Crusaders rebuilt the castle in the centre of the
city, and from this date Ascalon was made of more importance by the

A.D. 1149.--The most renowned of the three great military orders
founded in the twelfth century for the defence of the Latin kingdom of
Jerusalem was that of the Knights Templars. From the first this order
was strictly a military one. White mantles were worn with a red cross.
After Baldwin III returned from Antioch, towards the end of 1149, he
was engaged in building a fortress at Gaza.

It was nearly completed in the spring of 1150, and was handed over to
the Knights Templars.

Gaza was the last Christian stronghold in the Maritime Plain on the
south towards Egypt.

A.D. 1154.--The famous geographer Idrîsi, who wrote of the Holy City as
it was during the occupation of the Crusaders, states that Ghazzah is
to-day very populous, and is in the hands of the Greeks (Crusaders).
The port of Ghazzah is called Tîda or Taidâ.

_c._ A.D. 1160.--Dirghâm, the Egyptian, conquered the Franks in a
battle at, or near, Gaza.

A.D. 1170.--After the death of the great Imad-ed-din Zanki, ruler of
Mosul, he was succeeded by his two sons. One of them, Saif-ed-din
Gazi, secured Mosul, and the eastern part of his father's dominions.
The other, Nur-ed-din Mohammed, became the chief Moslem prince in
Syria, with Aleppo for his capital. In the beginning of December 1170,
Nur-ed-din being in the north, Salah-ed-din made a dash against Gaza,
and destroyed its suburbs. He plundered the town, but was unable to
reduce the fortress.

A.D. 1177.--Salah-ed-din, towards the end of 1177, arrived before
Ascalon. The Knights Templars were for the most part in Gaza. The
Crusaders came upon Saladin's main body while it was crossing a stream,
and was obstructed in its movements by the baggage. The Muslims were
easily routed.

A.D. 1187.--After the Battle of Hattin, A.D. 1187, and the surrender of
Ascalon to Saladin, Gaza also passed into his hands. It appears also to
have opened its gate to Richard I of England for a short time, but it
soon reverted to the Muslims.

A.D. 1192.--King Richard, during the third Crusade, took the fortress
Dârôn (Latin Darum), built by King Amalrich, a coast city, immediately
south of Gaza, after a short siege, and destroyed it.[34]

King Richard reconquered Gaza, placing it in the charge of the Knights
Templars, who previously had charge of it.

The walls were dismantled after Richard Cœur de Lion's peace with
Saladin, in 1193.

A.D. 1239.--A new Crusade arrived in September 1239. Theobald, Count of
Champagne and King of Navarre, was its most important leader. Several
hundred knights surprised the Muslims in the neighbourhood of Gaza. The
result was a serious disaster. The Latins were attacked and practically
cut to pieces on November 13. This rebuff occurred in spite of the
remonstrances of Theobald. No precautions having been taken by the
Duke of Burgundy, the Counts of Bar and Mountfort, they suddenly found
themselves nearly surrounded by the enemy in a narrow pass. There was
yet time for them to escape by retreating rapidly by the way in which
they had entered; but the majority refused to do this, as inconsistent
with the high courage which they professed, and after a desperate
struggle Count de Bar was slain, and Amory de Mountfort, with many
nobles and knights, were taken captives. The main body of the Crusaders
arrived too late to be of any assistance.

A.D. 1242.--Damascus had been in Nejm-ed-din Ayub's hands during the
early part of 1239, and had been taken from him by Imad-ed-din Ismail.
In May 1242, the Knights Templars and their Muslim allies defeated an
Egyptian army on the borders of Palestine. The Egyptians lost heavily,
and were driven back to Gaza, which was their base of operations.

A.D. 1244.--Ayub in his trouble found allies in an unexpected quarter.
The Kharezmian Turks had recently been driven from their homes by the
Tartar invasion, and were ready to put their swords at the disposal of
the highest bidder. These savages, at the invitation of Ayub, entering
from the north, flowed like a tide past Safed and Jerusalem, and on St.
Luke's Day (October 18, 1244), annihilated the Christian and Saracen
armies united for a common cause in the valley of Gaza. History records
few more terrible struggles than this decisive battle, which lasted
without ceasing from the rising to the setting of the sun, and was
renewed on the morrow with the same ferocity. Thirty thousand of the
military Orders are said to have been slain; thirty-three Templars,
twenty-six Hospitallers, and three Teutonic Knights alone escaped of
these brave Orders. The Master of the Temple was amongst the slain, and
the Master of the Hospital was amongst those taken captive.

From this blow the Latin Kingdom of the East never recovered. And since
this date Gaza has remained a town of comparatively little importance.

A.D. 1250.--King Louis IX (St. Louis of France) and the Mameluke Emirs
agreed that all prisoners taken since the Battle of Gaza, in 1244,
should be released.

A.D. 1250.--Malek-el-Nâsir of Damascus, as descendant of Saladin,
besieged Gaza. Ebek, the first of the Mameluke Slave Dynasty, sent his
General Aktai to relieve the city, in which he succeeded.

A.D. 1260.--The whole of Palestine was raided by the Tartar invaders,
and they stationed garrisons in towns as remote as Gaza.

The Mongols under Hûlagû, sent an Embassy from Gaza, to El-Mudhaffer
Kutuy, Sultan of Egypt, demanding his submission.

The Sultan Edh-Dhahir Beibars drove the Mongols out of Gaza.

A.D. 1280.--Kilâwûn, Sultan of Egypt, marched against the Mongols, and
encamped at Gaza for fifty days.

A.D. 1291.--The Egyptian Sultan, Melik-el-Ashraf, made Gaza a separate
government, and set up a Governor there.

This put an end to the Frank rule in Palestine.[35]


[34] See Robinson's _Biblical Researches in Palestine_, vol. ii. p. 38,

[35] I am indebted for some of the facts and dates in this chapter to
Stevenson's _The Crusaders in the East_ (Cambridge: at the University
Press, 1907), and Dr. Meyer's _History of the City of Gaza_, Chap. IX.



Al Nadwan, and other Pashas, ruled Gaza and all Palestine for more than
two hundred years. Under the Sultans of Turkey, these Pashas, seven in
number, occupied the city after the crusading period. They began to
rule from about A.D. 1510.

They possessed much property in many parts of the country. The present
British Consular Agent's house belonged to one of these Pashas.

The old court (serai) belonged to them, and the present barracks.

All the existing fine buildings were erected by them.

The minaret at the Great Mosque, and two other minarets at the Sajaiah,
were also constructed in their day.

They governed all Palestine and Syria, having their headquarters in
Gaza. Consequently, in the middle of the seventeenth century Gaza once
assumed somewhat of its former importance.

Their rule was arbitrary. Pilgrims proceeding to Jerusalem from Jaffa
were compelled to get permission from the Pasha at Gaza.

If anyone built a house, or owned anything particularly interesting,
the Pashas would lay claim to it by using the expression "Mabrook"
(Blessed). If the owner did not reply favourably he was immediately

Hussein Pasha (_c._ A.D. 1660) made Gaza the capital of Palestine. His
serai, which was furnished with great luxury, stood in the middle of a
beautiful Gaza garden.[36] One family was called the Frangi. They were
the Pashas' gardeners. Their descendants became Muslims.

When the Turks came to Gaza the Pashas only lost the serai and
barracks, their other property was not interfered with. It now belongs
to their descendants, who are all poor people, and live on their rents.

These Pashas had their own burying ground, which is still seen, and
known as the Pashas' cemetery.

When Napoleon Bonaparte came to Gaza (A.D. February 1799) the city
was not ruled by any power, and the taxes were collected for him by a
private individual.[37]

After the rule of the Pashas, the Muftis governed Gaza--the Turkish
Government coming into office in 1852.

It has been extremely difficult to obtain this scanty information about
the Gaza Pashas.


[36] For further information of the beneficent rule of Hussein Pasha,
see Meyer, pp. 97, 98.

[37] See Meyer on Napoleon in Gaza, pp. 101, 102.



Dagon was represented with the face and hands of a man and the tail of
a fish (1 Samuel v. 4). Various kinds of fish were objects of general
worship among the Egyptians.

The worship of Dagon did not exclude that of other Baals (2 Kings i. 2,
3). He was eminently the god of agriculture (1 Samuel vi. 4, 5).

The most famous temples of Dagon were at Gaza (Judges xvi. 21, 30) and
Ashdod (1 Samuel v. 5, 6). This latter temple was of pre-Maccabean
construction, and was destroyed by Jonathan, the brother of Judas
the Maccabee (c. 148 B.C.) during the Maccabean wars (1 Maccabees x.

In connection with the history of Samson at Gaza, Mr. R. A.
Stewart-Macalister, 1905, explains the architectural character of
the Gaza Temple of Dagon. It must have consisted essentially of
three members: the cella itself; a very deep distyle portico, and a
forecourt, open to the sky. What seems to have happened was this: the
blind prisoner was conducted to the forecourt, whence he could be seen
by the Philistine grandees, who sat in the shade of the portico (cf.
verse 30, "the house fell _upon_ the Lords"), as well as by the large
crowd of commoners assembled on the roof. By tricks of strength and
buffoonery he was compelled to give them amusement, after which he was
allowed to rest awhile, probably in order that he might have strength
to continue the sport. He was set to rest between the pillars, which
was the nearest place where he could be shaded from the sun's heat
while resting. Taking the opportunity, he put forth his full strength,
and before the lords of the Philistines realised what he was doing, he
was able slightly to displace the posts holding up the portico, but
sufficiently to cause them to fall under the weight of the roof.[39]

Colonel Conder remarks it is often denied that the name Dagon applies
to the Babylonian and Phœnician deity represented as a merman, with
the head and body of a bearded man, and the tail of a fish; because in
Semitic speech _Dagon_ signifies "Corn." It is, however, recognised
that Dagon is the same god, called _Da-gan_ in the Akkadian Chronicle
of the first dynasty of Babylon; and in Akkadian _Da_ signifies "the
upper part of a man," while _gan_ may be compared with Turkish _kan_
for a large fish. Dagon would thus be the same as Oannes (u-khana,
"lord of the fish"), a form of the sea-god Ea, who was a man with fish
tail. He is represented not only on Assyrian bas-reliefs, but on a seal
found near Ashdod in 1875. When the statue of Dagon was broken only
the "fishy part" (dagon) was left. In the Laws of Ammurabi, Dagon is
invoked as the deity of regions near the Euphrates, apparently as a

Prof. Sayce and others now insist that Dagon was not a _fish_-god. The
name and worship of Dagon were imported into Philistia from Babylonia.


[38] Josephus, _Antiquities of the Jews_, Chap. XIII. pp. 4, 5. For a
complete list of idolatrous observances mentioned in the Old Testament
the reader is referred to _The Cambridge Companion to the Bible_, pp.
421-5, 1905.

[39] Twelfth Quarterly Report on the Excavation of Gezer, p. 196. P. E.

[40] _Quarterly Statement_ P. E. F., Oct. 1909, p. 274.



The great statue from Gaza was discovered on September 6, 1879, by the
natives at Tell 'Ajjûl, about four miles and a half south of Gaza.
Captain Conder, in 1882, reported that we owe its preservation to
the exertions of the Rev. A. W. Schapira, the C.M.S. missionary at
Gaza. The Arabs had at once commenced to break up the statue, and had
succeeded in greatly damaging the face. Mr. Schapira persuaded the
Turkish Governor to set a guard over the spot. The antiquarians of
Palestine owe him a debt of gratitude for having prevented the entire
destruction of this unique monument.

Dr. Meyer, in his _History of the City of Gaza_, Note, on page 153,
states that this statue was rescued by the missionary Schapira, and
adds in a note on page 156, "that Schapira's connection with the
finding of the statue tended at first to discredit the authenticity
of the find, because of his previous share in the famous Moabite
forgeries. But nothing has ever been advanced to show that this statue
shares the character of his other discoveries."

Dr. Meyer is mistaken in attributing the Moabite forgeries to the
Rev. Alexander Wilhelm Schapira, who was formerly a Church Missionary
Society clergyman at Gaza. It was Mr. M. W. Schapira whose name became
connected with the celebrated Schapira collection of forgeries in 1873.

The following appeared in the _Pall Mall Gazette_, November 11, 1879--

"An interesting archæological discovery is reported from Palestine.
An Arab who was quarrying stone the other day at a place about four
miles and a half from Gaza unearthed a marble figure supposed to be a
colossal god of the Philistines. The dimensions of the figure are as
follows: Three feet from the top of its head to the end of its beard,
twenty-seven inches from ear to ear, thirteen and a half inches from
top of forehead to mouth, fifty-four inches from shoulder to shoulder,
eighty-one inches from crown of head to waist, and fifty-four inches
the circumference of the neck. The total height of the figure is
fifteen feet. The hair hangs in long ringlets down upon the shoulders,
and the beard is long, indicating a man of venerable age. The right arm
is broken in half, while the left arm is crossed over the breast to
the right shoulder, where the hand is hidden by the drapery of a cloth
covering the shoulders. There is no inscription on the figure, or the
pedestal, which is a huge block carved in one piece with the figure.
The statue was found in a recumbent position, buried in the sand, on
the top of a hill near the sea. It had evidently been removed from
its original site, which is unknown. Its estimated weight is 12,000
lbs. The Pasha of Jerusalem has ordered a guard to watch this relic of
ancient art, and to prevent any injury to it by the fanatics of Gaza."

Captain Conder, in his notes from Constantinople, July 1882, sent a
copy of the sketch which he had made from the original of the Gaza
Jupiter in the porch of the Stamboul Museum, which is reproduced in the
_Quarterly Statement_ P. E. F., July 1882, p. 148.

Conder supposed that the terrible mutilations of this Jupiter may have
been effected before the statue was discovered, and it is possible
that the pious pagans may have buried their Jupiter to save him from
the Christians, and have been obliged to divide it for facility of



The Jerusalem paper, _El-Kuds_, in its issue of February 25, 1910, gave
an interesting account of a discovery made at Gaza, and Prof. R. A. S.
Macalister has kindly forwarded a translation of the relevant portions
of the description. After some remarks on the history of Gaza, the
paper proceeds as follows--

"We have been induced to record the above by our having heard that Musa
el-Burtu and his partner, Ibn Halaweh, of the people of Gaza, bought
land at Gaza for six hundred dollars; and that when Musa went to his
land, and was working and digging in it, he found a little door. He
entered by it into a cave divided into two chambers, and, entering
through the second door, he found a coffin of hard wood. And he opened
it, and in the coffin was another of crystal. And he broke this, and
inside it he found one of the old queens embalmed, and on her head
a crown adorned with precious stones, and on her neck a necklace of
pearls, and three chains besides on her breast; and above her head
was a candlestick of gold with a spout, a metre and a half long, and
another at her foot a metre long. And he collected all these things and
brought them to Beirût, and thence to Egypt; and we have learnt that he
sent to his partner in Gaza to pay to the workmen a sum of five hundred

"And when the Government heard of this they sent, on their part, a
number of people to the said place to preserve and protect it, because
the tomb in which the queen was found is of marble, and her portrait is
carved on it. And there are other graves besides."

We are, fortunately, able to supplement this by an account sent to us
by Mr. Emil G. Knesevich, of Gaza, who has also kindly forwarded a
photograph of the sarcophagus.

"At the commencement of 1910, some men were digging out stones in their
orange garden, about two miles to the north-west of Gaza, and after
reaching a depth of six metres, came upon the ruins of an old door,
which led to a big cave about five metres by six metres, and about
three metres in height. In the floor and walls of this cave, some tombs
were found containing bones, the remains of dead bodies, and a number
of idols resembling men, monkeys, eagles, and dogs. These were made of
clay and plaster of Paris, and were tinged with a beautiful green tint.
In the cave another door was observed; this led to another small cave
about two metres by three metres, and two metres in height, in which
was found the sarcophagus, of which the following is a description--

"The sarcophagus was by itself in the inner cave, strongly fortified by
a sort of a vault built over it of huge stones and plaster of Paris,
to prevent it from being damaged. When the stones were removed there
appeared this beautiful and remarkable sarcophagus. It was made of pure
white marble, and was composed of two pieces, the lid and the coffin.
When the lid was taken away, there was found the mummy of a female in
a fine state of preservation. The coffin was two hundred and twenty
centimetres long, seventy centimetres wide, and seventy-two centimetres
high. Unfortunately, the men who found the mummy destroyed it in
searching the coffin, hoping to find precious antiques, but they assert
that they found nothing, save an artificial tooth attached to a golden
wire. Some people say, however, that a book and some precious things
were discovered. No inscription of any kind was upon the sarcophagus.

"The lid was beautifully and artistically carved in the exact form of
the mummy. Nothing except the head, neck, and shoes were seen, and
the rest of the body was carved so as to appear swathed in bandages
of linen. The head was neatly fashioned, and the eyes and lips were
painted their natural colour. The head was bound with a fillet, the
hair was loose and thrown on both sides of the chest. The head, fillet,
and the nose suggest that the mummy was a Roman, but the shoes, as
carved on the lid, are Egyptian.

"The lower part of the coffin also was cut in the shape of the body,
as shown in the photograph. The place that supported the head was
carved to resemble the head and neck, and the lower part of the coffin,
that rested on the ground, is carved in the shape of the back part
of the body. The local government got possession of the sarcophagus,
and dispatched it to Constantinople, together with the remains of the
mummy, and the above-mentioned idols, on the 26th of May last."[42]



[41] _Quarterly Statement_ P. E. F., Oct. 1910, pp. 294-6.

[42] "A curious seal was, during 1874, found in the vicinity of Gaza.
It was in possession of Dr. De Hass, a former American Consul, who gave
Lieut. Conder an impression. It represents a human figure with four
wings, seemingly like those of a fly or bee, and with a large misshapen
human head. In each hand the figure holds an animal resembling an ape,
head downwards, being held by the hind leg. Dr. De Haas supposed this
to be an effigy of Baalzebub, god of Ekron, to whom apes were sometimes
offered. The seal is square, about one inch wide, and the figure in low
relief, roughly cut. A similar seal was found some years ago, and is
now in England. It represents a fly or mosquito, with an inscription,
the equivalent of the Arabic 'Allah,' perhaps the symbolical effigy of
the deity of Ekron."--_Quarterly Statement_ P. E. F., Jan. 1875, p. 10.



The one object of archæological interest in Gaza is the Great Mosque
(Djamia el Kebîr) which rises on the top of the hill in the middle of
the upper city. This mosque is built upon the site of the Basilica,
which the Empress Eudoxia founded, where the Marneion formerly stood,
and was built of ancient materials.

In the twelfth century it was a splendid cathedral dedicated to St.
John Baptist.

The style of architecture is severe, and the ornamentation very plain.
The fine groined roof is entire.

The mosque has three aisles, two of which formed part of the mediæval

Rows of pillars, with Corinthian capitals, divide them one from the

The roof of the central nave is supported by rows of pillars, one above
the other, each pillar of the lower row having a cluster of small
marble pillars round it, for greater strength.

One of the upper pillars on the north-east side of the mosque, of grey
veined marble, bears a bas-relief of a seven-branched candlestick,
with a Greek and Hebrew inscription of three lines inside a wreath. It
belongs, as M. Clermont-Ganneau surmises, to one of the thirty columns
sent by the Empress Eudoxia, and probably comes from the Synagogue of

The walls and ceiling are now whitewashed. The church was undoubtedly
decorated with mosaic and pictures.

The three apses have disappeared to make room for a large octagonal

On the south side the Moslems have built an additional aisle.

The total length of the building is one hundred and eight and a half
feet, interior measure, the nave being twenty-one and a half feet wide,
and the aisles thirteen feet.

The west doorway is a beautiful mediæval specimen of the Italian Gothic
of the twelfth century churches in Palestine, with delicate clustered
shafts and pillars, deeply undercut lily-leaves adorning the capitals.

Lieut. Kitchener, in 1874, took a photograph of the western door as
well as the interior of the mosque.

The large marble cruciform font has been removed and it now lies in the
courtyard adjoining the mosque, where two other Christian symbols may
be seen, viz. a bishop's staff, and chalice in marble.

Another view of the history of this mosque is given by the
Archimandrite Meletius Metaxakis, in an article on the Madaba Mosaic
Map, in _Nea Sion_, March and April 1907, pp. 262-304, in which he
states that the modern authors of _Guides to Palestine_ hold that the
Eudoxian Church is the modern Great Mosque, Djamia-el-Kebîr, taking
into consideration, it seems, the information that the Eudoxian Church
was to be built in the middle of the city. If, however, we are to
accept that the sketch on the chart shows the Eudoxian Church, then we
ought to treat the Eudoxian Church as identical, not with the mosque,
but rather with the Modern Orthodox Church, built in 1856, during the
Patriarchate of Kyrillus II (1845-1872), and through the expenditure of
the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre. With regard to its position, the
Greek Church is wholly identical with the sketch on the chart.

With regard to the mosque, this is really a three-branched church,
being perhaps one of the churches built by Marcian; the columns of
this church (having no connection with those from Constantinople for
the Eudoxian Church) appear to have been transported from some Hebrew
synagogue, perhaps that of Cæsarea, because there is engraved on one of
them a seven-branched lamp, under which appears the Hebrew and Greek
inscription, "Hananias the son of Jacob."


[43] The reader is referred for additional information to Chap. XIV,
"Inscriptions," in Meyer's _History of the City of Gaza_.



Gaza--the outpost of Africa, and the door of Asia--is situated in the
south-west of Palestine, and is only about twelve miles to the north
of Reifah (formerly Raphia), which marks the Turko-Egyptian boundary,
running down to Akaba. Who founded the city is unknown! It is the
commercial and administrative centre of all the surrounding sixty-two
villages, and for many of the Beduin tribes who pitch their tents
in the plains. The area of Gaza is about 2,100 square kilometres.
The present city is about two miles from the sea,[44] and lies on an
artificial mound which is about 100 feet high above the plain, and 180
feet above the sea-shore. Five minarets break the outline of the flat
roofs. There are no scavengers.

The encroachment of the rolling dunes of sand is one of the most
serious evils now to be dreaded on the coast of Palestine. Nothing is
done to arrest this enemy around Gaza.

The trade and commerce of Gaza are almost exclusively confined to the
gathering in and exportation of barley, which is grown on the plain of
Philistia, and in the neighbourhood of Beersheba. The majority of the
inhabitants of the city and district obtain their livelihood from this
trade alone. The widespread olive-grove to the north and north-east,
however, creates a considerable manufacture of soap, which Gaza exports
in large quantities.

The soil is very fertile, but its productiveness is entirely dependent
on the rainfall, and in consequence the yield of the crops greatly
affects the general condition of the people. The most primitive methods
of cultivation are still in general use.

The climate is sub-tropical, and upon the whole healthy. Eye diseases,
however, are very prevalent. Malaria and other tropical diseases are
also common.

The chief exports besides barley are wheat, millet, and colocynth,
while a coasting trade is carried on in "tibn" (chopped straw) and a
coarse black pottery, which is the principal manufacture of Gaza, where
there is a good market for it. The poor people of the district buy it,
and exchange it for cereals and other articles.

From at least 727 B.C. Gaza has been famous for its potteries, of which
there are now forty-two within the city. The same method of producing
this pottery is used to-day as depicted upon the Egyptian monuments.
This manufacture was called "Gazaitæ."[45]

The only other manufactures are a common kind of soap, and cloth,
consisting principally of the coarse woollen coats ('abaï) worn by the
men. There are also mills for the expression of sesame oil, and for
grinding corn.

Cotton goods, and most of the articles necessary for wear, or luxury,
are imported. The chief imports from Great Britain are unbleached
calicos, which are used by the fellahin for clothing. They are dyed
blue locally. Aniline dyes are imported from Germany. The average
yearly value of the yarn imported into Gaza and Mejdel from Manchester
is £10,000. The imports are mostly brought from Beirût or Jaffa by
small coasting craft, or overland by camels.

The average orange crop of late years has been good. The fruit is
excellent. It is better than that of Jaffa, both in taste and in size.
Eight thousand boxes were exported, chiefly to Great Britain, in 1910
(valued at £8,000). These orange gardens are gradually increasing,
their present number being about twenty. The soil is rich, and
excellent for the purpose.

Gaza has no harbour, or any convenient facility for shipping cargo.
A pier was constructed in 1906, but it proved a complete failure, on
account of its being inadequate to meet the need. It should have been
built 120 yards longer. In 1909 the violence of the waves during that
winter destroyed about one-third of it.

There is a good deal of surf in the summer, and steamers are often
delayed fourteen to twenty days before obtaining their cargo. No
regular steamers touch this roadstead, and it is only in summer that
these vessels (mostly British) visit it. There is no lighthouse.

It is at this point that the ancient maritime suburb of Mayoumas stood,
the concrete remains of which are still visible on the shore.

The population is about 70,000, including the surrounding villages. The
fellahin form the bulk of the population--mostly of the poorer classes.
The non-increase of population is due to the bad harvests of the last
few years. In consequence of the drought in 1905, 15,000 of the city
and district, chiefly of the poorer classes, migrated to Jaffa, Haifa,
Acre, Nazareth, Damascus and Egypt, owing to the exactions of the
Government, and the high rate of interest demanded by the Effendis to
whom they were indebted. This exodus is only a temporary misfortune.

The population of Gaza is said at one time to have outnumbered that of

The road-tracks between Gaza, Jaffa, and Beersheba are badly in
need of repair. In places the sand is very heavy, especially in the
summer-time. A road tax is levied, but no road has been improved for
many years.

Gaza is in a state of lethargy for about nine months out of twelve,
until the middle of April, when the barley crop is cut, because
most of the inhabitants earn their living by the barley trade. In
consequence of much idleness during this slack period, drunkenness is
not an uncommon vice. The wealthy merchants buy at harvest-time large
quantities of barley, which are generally exported or stored, until the
prices in Great Britain and Egypt are high, when they sell to British
and other purchasers. The poorer traders pitch small tents in the
neighbourhood of the city, and among the Beduins, to whom they sell
clothes, sweets, coffee, and other articles, taking barley in exchange.
When they have secured a sufficient amount, they sell it either to the
agents of the European merchants, or to the native merchants of the
city. Any one who visits Gaza in June and July will be astonished to
see the large quantities of barley heaped upon the sea-shore, awaiting
the arrival of steamers.

The building of the Government hospital, talked of for so many years,
has been begun, but it has, so far, made little progress.

No banks are permanently established in Gaza. All money transactions
are carried on through the banks of Jaffa.

There is a growing desire for male education. The citizens, in
September 1911, enthusiastically encouraged a public performance of
_Hamlet_, on behalf of a native Muslim school. It was a first and
successful attempt of the kind.

Many Jews have been making inquiries with the view of purchasing land
in this district, and especially over the boundary at Reifah.

Meyer says that during the Hellenistic period the Jews resorted to
the Gaza fairs. Frequent mention is made of these fairs by Rabbinical
authorities. In fact the fairs at Gaza were always famed throughout

Until the last seven years the numerous hordes of 100,000 Beduins
within the Beersheba district were under the government of Gaza. They
swarm the desert towards the south in the winter months, and then move
northwards, up the Philistia plain, for herbage.

Even in Christian families, until about thirty years ago, slaves were
sold in Gaza.

The cattle of Gaza are few, and there is scarcely any export. Camels
are common. They number approximately 6,700, including those of the
surrounding villages and Beduins. Sheep and goats number approximately
171,000, together with those of the near villages and Beduins. Oxen
number approximately 10,000 in and around the city. They are chiefly
used for ploughing. Horses and mules and donkeys are not numerous, but
the former have an excellent reputation throughout Palestine. Carriages
usually belong to Jaffa, and carry back in eleven hours passengers
from Gaza. The first motor-car, owned by a German from Jaffa, reached
Gaza during April 1912, accomplishing the journey in three hours, and
returning the same day.

Jackals and foxes are numerous. Quails arrive from Egypt in July and


[44] Gaza, like Athens, was purposely built _inland_, for fear of

[45] There are seven allusions to potters and potteries in the
Old Testament, three in the New Testament, and four in the
Deutero-Canonical Books. An excellent photograph of the potter at his
wheel is contained in Forder's _Daily Life in Palestine_, Ch. VII.,
Marshall Bros., Ltd., 1912.



In January 1884, Mr. H. Chichester Hart visited Gaza, and contributed
a valuable paper to the _Quarterly Statement_ of the Palestine
Exploration Fund, October 1885, entitled "A Naturalist's Journey to
Sinai, Petra, and Southern Palestine." From Chapter XI, Gaza to Jaffa,
I cull a few items of general interest--

"Gardens of fruit-trees, olive-groves, and enclosures, hedged by the
prickly pear, reached our camp from the inland side. The trees at Gaza
are chiefly date-palms,[46] olives, sycamore-fig, carob or locust-tree,
and fig; a very handsome tamarisk reaches a height of thirty or forty
feet, and has light green foliage, very refreshing and home-like after
the dull grey or lifeless green of the desert. The olives are of
enormous age. They usually have unbranched trunks, two or three feet
in height, then perhaps divided, and at seven or eight feet the leafy
canopy, browsed below to a level height by cattle, begins. The average
height of the tree is twenty to twenty-five or thirty feet. Old trees
have often mere shells of their trunks remaining. I measured the two
largest I saw, a few miles north of Gaza; their girth was eighteen and
twenty feet respectively at two feet from the ground, a size which was
maintained, or very nearly so, till the trunk forked."

Gaza is quite embowered in these great olive-groves, which stretch
north-eastwards the whole four miles to Beit Hanûn.

These magnificent groves are the largest in Palestine. They are said to
have been planted by the Greeks, and it is asserted that at all events
since the coming of the Saracens some seven hundred years back, not
a single new tree has been planted. Most of the trees stand on huge
roots, and have evidently sprung up from the remains of former trunks
rotted away.

Lentils are a common crop. Gaza trades with an excellent quality of
barley to Egypt. Consequently, wealth increases, but the population,
being still in a low state of civilisation, live poorly. Even the
well-to-do have as a daily meal "fûl" (beans) with an onion, and a
piece of roughly ground barley bread. Meat is not wanted.

The luxuriance of the gardens and orchards, remarkable for the scarlet
blossoms of the pomegranates, and the enormous oranges which gild the
green foliage of their groves, is due to the abundance of water, drawn
from twenty wells of fresh water bursting from the sandy soil--some of
them are not less that 150 feet deep. The natives greatly prize the
quality of the water. Good water is, indeed, plentiful at greater or
less depth over all the district, even on the sea-shore, though the
frequency of rubble cisterns to the south and east show that in ancient
times the inhabitants depended largely on artificial supply.

Gaza and Ascalon have always been noted for their wells.[47]

In and about the Gaza olive-groves, several birds familiar in Great
Britain abound. There are English sparrows, swallows, buntings,
goldfinches, black redstarts, chaffinches, stonechats, willow-wrens,
chiff-chaffs, blackbirds, and hooded crows. Other birds seen are
Egyptian kites, buzzards (common species), "boomey" or little southern
owl, red-breasted Cairo swallows, pelicans, dunlins, calandra and
crested larks, bulbuls, pied-chats, and Menetrie's wheatear.

Frequently dogs with unmistakable traces of jackal parentage are seen.
It is by no means uncommon for these vagrant animals to interbreed
along this part of the Mediterranean seaboard.

At the risk of some repetitions, I have gladly availed myself of the
opportunity of making use of a few details published in the late Annual
Reports by Mr. A. A. Knesevich, H.B.M. Consular Agent at Gaza.

During my first visit to Gaza, in July 1891, my tent was pitched in
the Muslim cemetery, which stretches over a wide space on the west
of the city. The graves are generally covered by a small erection of
mud-brick, plastered over and whitewashed. The cemetery is not enclosed
by any fence.


[46] The palm is the tree of the desert. It grows luxuriantly not only
in the rich soil of Egypt, but in the sandy borders at Gaza.

[47] It is remarkable that both the two celebrated early Palestinian
wells noted in the old Testament are still in existence: (1) Abraham's
well at Beersheba (Gen. xxi. 30); and (2) the well of Bethlehem, for
whose water David thirsted (1 Chron. xi. 17).



The Muslim city of Gaza (in Arabic _Chazzeh_) was visited by the late
Rev. F. A. Klein during a tour of investigation in 1862.

Later on a pressing invitation was received from the inhabitants to
open a school in their midst.

A catechist was sent to make inquiries, but nothing more was then done.

In 1878, however, the C.M.S. took over the four schools, two for boys
and two for girls, containing some 250 to 300 children, and other
work which had been started and carried on for several years by Mr.
Pritchard, a gentleman of independent means, who had settled in Gaza.
Shortly afterwards the Rev. A. W. Schapira entered into residence. He
opened a reading-room, which attracted even higher-class Muslims.

Notwithstanding a temporary opposition, the Kaimakam, on Christmas Eve,
1880, addressed the gathering, and encouraged the school.

Medical work was started about 1882, and was the first C.M.S. work of
the kind in Palestine.

The dispensary received a gift from the late Rev. John Venn, of
Hereford, and a fund was raised in Salisbury Square for establishing a
permanent medical mission.

In 1886 the late Rev. Dr. R. Elliot took charge.

Dr. H. J. Bailey was also temporarily at this post in 1890, in order to
assist in the medical work.


During this period Dr. Elliot had the joy of baptising, on October 12,
1890, Moorjan and Mehbruki, two of his own servants, man and wife,
natives of the Sudan.

Some years before they had been sold in Gaza as slaves, the man for ten
pounds, and the woman for twice that sum. The slave market has been
abolished for about twenty years.

All this time the medical work was confined to the treatment of
out-patients, but in March 1891 a hospital adapted from a native house
was opened.

Medical itineration now began to be undertaken at Mejdel and Ashdod.
The fame of the hospital spread far and wide.

The Rev. Dr. Sterling (the author of _A Grammar of the Arabic
Language_, and _Arabic and English Idiom--Conversational and Literary_)
arrived in 1893, and his predecessor, the Rev. J. Huber, of German
nationality, who built the ladies' house and church room, entered into
rest on July 18, and his body was buried in the cemetery in the mission

Other branches of the work have prospered. In 1902 the numbers in
the girls' school rose from sixty-eight to three hundred, and have
now increased to four hundred. The Sunday school has increased
proportionately with the day school. It would be difficult to find
more interesting schools in Palestine, so efficiently superintended by
Miss Smithies, who is ably assisted by her own trained staff of native

In 1906 the Muslims presented Dr. Sterling, on behalf of the building
fund of the hospital, with £100, which they had subscribed in token of
their gratitude for his work among them.

The leavening influence of Christian teaching is unquestionably having
far-reaching effects.

Dr. Percy W. Brigstocke was appointed, in 1907, to act as colleague
with Dr. Sterling, but he was transferred to Es Salt at the end of 1911.

The old hospital and out-patient hall were insanitary, and much too
small for the work, therefore it was with thankfulness that the Bishop
in Jerusalem dedicated the new hospital, containing forty-six beds, on
April 1, 1908.

The opening of the spacious out-patient block took place on February
22, 1911.

The patients are drawn from all classes, Muslims, Orthodox Syrians and
Jews. They may be seen sitting side by side in the out-patient hall
waiting for the doctor, who is an accomplished Arabic scholar.

During 1912 there were 29,581 attendances of out-patients, 701
in-patients, 452 visits in town, and 411 major operations.

The fees from the in-patients and out-patients during 1912 amounted to
£326 18_s._ 10_d._, which goes to assist in the upkeep of the hospital.

There is an out-station, for the expenses of which Dr. Sterling is
responsible, at El Arîsh, the ancient Rhinocolura, "the River of Egypt"
(Numbers xxxiv. 5; Isaiah xxvii. 12), a town of twelve hours' ride from
Gaza, where the C.M.S. school has had an average attendance of fifty
pupils. The population is entirely Muslim.

Mr. W. Watson, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, has done heroic service not only
by inspiring others to give and help the completion of the hospital and
out-buildings, but also in attending personally to the purchasing of
much building and furnishing material.

How much Gaza owes to him and his Northumbrian helpers will only
appear when the great audit of all things takes place.[48]

Canon Sterling is largely his own clerk of the works. He is to be
congratulated that after twenty years of missionary and medical work
in Southern Palestine, he has been enabled to complete the group of
medical and educational buildings which now adorn the C.M.S. Gaza


[48] Adapted from _Handbooks of the C.M.S. Missions, The Palestine
Mission, 1910_, a typewritten document by Dr. Sterling, 1912, and
_Mercy and Truth_, 1911.

It may not be generally known that General Gordon paid two visits
to Gaza in 1883. On the first occasion he spent a fortnight, and
afterwards three weeks in the C.M.S. compound. An interesting relic is
the iron bedstead on which he slept. It is still associated with his
name, and is being carefully preserved.



The border town of Egypt, El Arîsh, seventy miles south of Gaza, is
generally identified as the "River of Egypt," which was the most
southern boundary of the Holy Land in patriarchal times. At present
the actual boundary between Palestine and Egypt is a line running from
Rafah, the ancient Rhaphia, some thirty miles to the north of El Arîsh,
to Akaba.[49]

The country between Rafah and El Arîsh is desolate. The large sand
dunes, the dust of ages, have encroached upon the land, whereas
the Land of Promise may be recognised by its fertility. Around the
villages which lie between Gaza and Rafah are orchards which produce an
abundance of fruit; the fig, vine, pomegranate, almond, olive, apricot,
date, mulberry, palm, apple, orange, and banana, are all grown, besides
vegetables of all kinds, of a size rarely met with in Great Britain.

El Arîsh, the ancient Rhinocolura, the chief town of the Sinai
Peninsula, possesses some eight thousand inhabitants. The "River of
Egypt," so called, is conspicuous by its absence, except in the rainy
season, when a large portion of the water from the peninsula courses
through its bed to the sea. The river-bed is very wide, and many
hundreds of poplar trees are scattered over it, with numerous wells for

The most striking building is the Government Fort. It is some five
hundred years old, and bears evidence of attacks made by invaders.

Owing to the barrenness of the land the people are exempted from all
taxation. Some five thousand camels are owned by these Sawârikeh
Beduins, and these "ships of the desert" do much of the carrying trade
between Egypt and Syria, and in Egypt itself during the cotton season.

The people are exclusively Muslims, with the exception of two Coptic
officials. The town is beautifully clean.

There is here a magnificent field for missionary enterprise. No mission
work of any kind had ever been attempted in the town until Dr. Sterling
opened a boys' school in 1906.

The people are friendly, and come to the hospital at Gaza in goodly

In 1908 Dr. Sterling was able to purchase a beautiful site of four and
a half acres. A native master from Gaza, M. Nasri, and pupil teacher,
are now at work in a school attended by sixty or seventy scholars. This
school is dependent upon voluntary help, and Mr. W. Watson and Dr.
Sterling are responsible for its maintenance.

Not only is Holy Scripture taught, but the master has many
opportunities of bearing witness to the truths of Christianity.

This station ought to be properly supported, and can be more easily
worked from Gaza than from Egypt.

Dr. Sterling has the plans for building schools for boys and girls,
a teachers' house, a house for dispensary attached for two English
ladies, preferably one an educationalist and the other a nurse. At
present there is only money in hand for the proposed girls' school.

I am indebted to three numbers of _Jottings and Snapshots from Gaza,
Southern Palestine_, for some of the above information.

  NOTE.--On Feb. 20, 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte took El Arîsh. At the
  capitulation of the town the French were permitted to evacuate
  Egypt with all the honours of war.


[49] For additional information see Palmer's _The Desert of the
Exodus_, vol. ii. pp. 286-8.



Periodical games were often closely connected with the religious rites.
The great importance of public games in Imperial times is well known.
Not a provincial town of any consequence was without them. This was
especially the case with those in connection with the games in honour
of the Emperor, which were everywhere in vogue, even in the time of

In Gaza a πανήγυρις Ἁδριανή (an assembly of a whole nation
for a public festival) was celebrated from the time of Hadrian. A
παγκράτιον (the joint contest which comprises both wrestling
and boxing) is mentioned as held there in the inscription of
Aphrodisias. These wrestlers and boxers of Gaza were, in the fourth
century, the most famous in Syria. St. Jerome, in his _Life of St.
Hilarion_, mentions the Circensian games there.[51]

Pharisaic Judaism has always repudiated this heathen kind of games (1
Maccabees i. 14, 15; 2 Maccabees iv. 9-17).

Judaism, however, was unable, in spite of this theoretic repudiation,
to prevent the pageantry of heathen games from developing every fourth
year, in the midst of the Holy Land, during and after the Herodian


Moonrise on the desert. Above the dark ridges of rocks which rose
from the tawny waste of sand, a pale faint light poured down on the
wilderness of Gaza. An aged man, yet apparently more worn with labour
than with years, was standing at the entrance of a cave, which, dark
and silent, pierced one of the mountain ridges.

The time of which I am speaking was about 350 years after the birth of
our LORD; the place was one of the deserts which stretched themselves
between the Nile and the Holy Land. Already innumerable hosts of monks
occupied the wilderness of Egypt; and if St. Antony had attained the
greatest reputation for the holiness of his life and the wonders of his
miracles, St. Hilarion among the monks of the solitudes held the second
place. Many times he had fled from the concourse of people that the
fame of his powers of healing had drawn to him; and now, in one of the
wildest and most unfrequented parts of the wilderness, he hoped to find
a place where he might serve GOD without the interruption of men.

The moonlight showed distinctly the furthest objects on the horizon;
and as the hermit stood gazing around him, and thinking, perhaps, of
that new heaven and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness, which
shall be the abode of those who have been CHRIST'S faithful servants
here, he noticed a dark spot in the far distance, which gradually drew
nearer, and took form and shape.

Half-an-hour brought to the entrance of his cave a large company
of Christians. Camels there were to carry those who were of rank to
need such a conveyance, and attendants and slaves in abundance. For
already, in part, the kingdoms of this world were become the kingdoms
of our LORD and of His CHRIST; and to be a Christian was no longer,
as fifty years before it had been, a badge of infamy; although in
the south-western part of Palestine the worshippers of idols still
outnumbered the holders of the true faith.

"Are we happy enough," said one of them who arrived first, a tall and
somewhat portly man, who had just descended from his camel before
speaking; "are we happy enough to stand in the presence of Hilarion, of
whose fame all Egypt and Palestine are full?"

"My name is Hilarion, my son," said the hermit; "and if ye seek
anything with so miserable a sinner as myself, I am ready, GOD helping,
to assist you so far as may lie in my power, He enabling me."

"Well, then, this is the case," said the stranger. "I am a citizen of
Gaza; my name is Italicus; and I come to you for that which may much
assist in promoting the glory of Him that is our LORD and SAVIOUR."

"If it be to His glory, my son," said Hilarion, "ask what you will, and
in His Name I promise to fulfil, so far as I may, your desires."

"I will tell you, holy father," said Italicus. "It is the custom of
our city that the two most wealthy inhabitants should try the speed of
their horses against each other in the circus. Now, for this year I am
appointed to exhibit these races on the one side, and Ælius Flaccus,
who is a worshipper of idols, on the other. He has dedicated his horses
and his chariots to the ancient idol of the city, Marnas, and he boasts
that no Christian can conquer those which have been so consecrated. All
our fellow-citizens know me to be a Christian; they know that I put my
only trust in our LORD whom the Gentiles blaspheme; and they know also
that the horses of Flaccus are the best breed in the country, and that
mine, although I have done my best, are inferior, and give no promise
of victory. Wherefore I have betaken myself to you, holy father, to
entreat you to assist me, if it may so be, in this great strait."

"And are you not ashamed," said Hilarion, "to trouble a servant of
CHRIST with matters such as these? Why not, rather, sell your miserable
horses, and give the price of them to the poor? according to that
saying, 'Sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have
treasure in heaven.'"

"But, my father," returned Italicus, "you must consider that this
office is none of my seeking; it is thrust upon me by the laws of
the city. I desire not victory for mine own honour; but the heathen
look upon this race as a trial between Marnas and the GOD whom the
Christians worship. It is for CHRIST'S sake, not for mine, that I
desire the victory."

"Is this so?" inquired Hilarion, looking round on the little company
that had gathered about him.

"It is so," said an old Christian, stepping forward from the rest.
"It is no vainglory that brings us hither; we who have seen the true
glory of the martyrs of Palestine, who by divers torments rendered up
their most blessed souls to GOD. It is as Italicus says. The horses
of Flaccus are dedicated to Marnas; they are the fleetest that the
whole province of Palestine can show; those of Italicus, though he has
done his best, cannot be compared to them; and yet the voice of the
people has consecrated them to the GOD whom we worship. For any common
victory we should not have sought assistance from you; as it is, we do
not think that we are preferring an unworthy request. If Flaccus wins,
Marnas conquers also; if Italicus is first in the race, then, as the
multitude will deem, the LORD CHRIST will show Himself to be superior
to the idols of the heathen."

"It is a hard case," said Hilarion, "when such rivalships find place.
Nevertheless we must not quench the smoking flax. All that a Christian
man may lawfully do to destroy the works of the devil, that it is the
bounden duty of Italicus, and of myself, and of every one that bears
the name of CHRIST, to take in hand. Wherefore bring me a bowl of

One of the attendants ran to the little stream by which the hermit had
taken up his abode, filled a vessel, and brought it to him. He made the
sign of the cross over it and drank.

"Now, my son," he said to Italicus, "take this water and sprinkle your
horses, and their manger, and their stable therewith. Thus you shall
find in the day of trial, that the meanest of GOD'S servants, even
though he be like myself, has power to confound the idol Marnas, and
all his priests, and all his worshippers."

Thankfully and carefully Italicus received the water; and after
expressing his gratitude to the hermit, he and his company returned
over the desert towards Gaza.

Now we will pass over ten days.

A bright spring morning shone over the ancient city of the
Philistines. Here and there the white marble temples of Jupiter, and of
Minerva, and of Apollo, glittered in all the beauty of their pillars,
and their friezes, and their bas-reliefs. But high above the rest, and
more sumptuous than all, glowed that of the god Marnas, the idol whom
the inhabitants of Gaza delighted to honour. Had you stood by the great
door of his temple, you might have seen a crowd of worshippers and a
little company of priests offering their sacrifices, and praying that
he would be pleased to prosper his own worshippers on his own day; that
he would give fleetness to their horses; and that he would assist in
rooting out the execrable sect of the Nazarenes and their crucified
GOD from the face of the earth. The oxen were garlanded with flowers,
the altars were wreathed with laurel, and the augurs were taking omens
as to the success of the contest. The laurel leaves when cast into the
fire gave a good omen; the chickens when fed at their troughs promised
victory; and from the large size of the heart in one of the sacrificed
beasts, the soothsayers drew the conclusion that the god had bid Ælius
Flaccus to be of good courage.

The report had spread through the city that Hilarion the wonder-worker
had interested himself in the success of the Christian. Half-an-hour
before midday crowds were flocking to the circus; the pagans, who were
of the Red faction, wearing badges of that colour, and outnumbering
their opponents, who were of the Green party, six or seven to one. They
flocked in through the various doors of the circus; the officers whose
duty it was marshalled the way for the more influential citizens; the
poor locarii, who had come early to take the best places, sold them at
the best bargain they could to the wealthier spectators; and so great
was the interest in a contest, not so much between Italicus and Flaccus
as between Marnas and the GOD of the Christians, that never had so
brisk a trade been driven in the letting and underletting of seats as
on that day.

I have many times described to you the amphitheatres as they were in
that age. Now I will tell you what the circus was like; and attend, or
you will not understand the story.

Imagine a long oval space of ground, a quarter of a mile in length,
and surrounded with seats, rising in tiers, one above the other, the
lowest of stone and the highest of wood; these tiers of seats were
divided by narrow passages called _vomitories_, which gave entrance to
the spectators. At one end of the enclosed space was a wooden erection,
containing a series of wooden seats, or rather boxes, handsomely
curtained and cushioned, for the use of the magistrates. As it is not
yet the hour of the race we shall be able, as we enter, to examine
the place without disturbance. This spot, immediately in front of the
magistrates' seats, is the starting-place for the chariots; they call
it the _carceres_; in front of it, you see, are four images of Mercury,
with chains stretched from one to the other, behind which the horses
will presently be stationed; the men standing by them, two of the Red,
two of the Green faction, are called the _moratores_; their business is
to see that it is a fair start. From the carceres, as you will observe,
there runs almost to the other end of the circus a very broad brick
wall, some three feet high, and twelve in thickness; at both ends of
this are three little pyramids, which they call _metæ_; the wall itself
they name the _spina_. The horses, then, starting from the carcer,
under the magistrates, run seven times round the spina, going in what
seems to us a very unnatural fashion, from left to right. In order
that there may be no mistake, that man who is leaning idly against the
spina, and chatting with one of moratores, has it in charge to set up
a little wooden obelisk close to the carcer--you will see the sockets
in the ground--for each turn that the chariots make. Thus, when the
Red horses have made one circle, he will erect a red obelisk; when the
Green ones have done the same, a green one, and so on.

Now all the seats are so full that it seems impossible for more
spectators to be accommodated; nevertheless, still they come pouring
in. It is not only from Gaza and the neighbouring country that they
are flocking, but from Joppa, from Cæsarea, and even from Ælia
Capitolina--as they now call Jerusalem--many of its inhabitants are
come up to these games. The priests of Marnas will feast for many a day
on the proceeds of this; and if it should so happen that the horses
of Marnas conquer, his worshippers will say, what King Darius said
to another idol, "Great art thou, O Bel, and there is no deceit in
thee!" As to Didymus the Christian priest, he had at first held back
from expressing any interest in the matter; but when he was told that
Hilarion had consented to assist Italicus, he encouraged to the best
of his powers the Christian candidate, and though he would not himself
attend the games, he awaited the result in his own house with no small

Now the magistrates are taking their places in their robes of office.
He in the centre, who has just taken his seat in that projecting
balcony, is Asinius Gallus, edile of the place; a noted favourer of the
old religion, and the great friend of Flaccus. Next to him are the
principal magistrates of some of the neighbouring towns; and on each
side of them, the inferior officials of Gaza itself. There also are
Italicus and Ælius Flaccus; but of the twenty or thirty persons who
thus occupy the seats of honour, not more than three are of the Green

Presently, the doors under the balcony occupied by the magistrates,
and opening on the hither end of the circus, are thrown open; and the
chariots and horses enter. The moratores cast lots for the respective
position of each. For, as you will see, the chariot that was on the
left, or, as we should now call it, the near side, had the disadvantage
of being compelled to make a larger circle each time; this was,
however, a little made up for by the danger that the chariot on the
off side experienced in rounding the metæ at the end. They cast two
pieces of ivory into a bowl, and shook them; that which bore the name
of Flaccus first leaped out; his morator had therefore the choice of
ground; and his chariot took the right-hand place.

These chariots, as you see, have only two wheels, are low, have the
front part bulging out in a circle, and are entirely open behind; they
are intended only to carry one man. As that of Ælius Flaccus takes
up its position, the Red faction through the circus rise, clap their
hands, stamp with their feet, and cheer. And well they may; for every
one agrees that finer animals than the three black horses yoked abreast
which draw it were never seen in Gaza. There is also some applause
bestowed on the three bay horses of Italicus, but poor and faint
indeed, as compared with the thunder that had greeted the other. As you
may well imagine, their master has carefully observed the directions of
Hilarion; horses and manger and provender have been sprinkled with the
water; and Italicus himself entertains not the least doubt of success;
though the edile of Joppa has just offered to him of Lydda an even bet
that the red chariot will have finished its seventh course before the
green has reached the meta which will form its sixth and a half. Now,
silence; for Asinius Gallus is about to speak. His voice can only be
heard down a short space of that enormous length; but the purport of
what he says is soon passed on to its very extremity.

"Good men and true,"--such are his words--"it is well known to all that
this city of Gaza has been for now many hundred years a worshipper of
the great god Marnas, and that we, the larger part of its citizens,
still cleave to the religion of our forefathers. It is also well
known to all that, as elsewhere throughout the world, so here more
especially, there are not wanting those who ridicule our faith, they
themselves worshipping One that was crucified in this land, more than
three hundred years ago. These games, therefore, which we are this day
met to celebrate, have more than the common interest that in other
years we have taken in them. Our worthy fellow-citizen, Ælius Flaccus,
has dedicated his horses to Marnas, and the soothsayers have assured
him of victory. His rival, who follows the faith of the emperors,
Junius Italicus, has in like manner sought the assistance of his GOD,
and has availed himself of I know not what incantations performed by
one of the savage and brutish race of men now beginning to people the
wilderness to the south. Thus this day will be made manifest which
of these two gods can best hear the prayers of his servant. As a
magistrate of this city, I am bound to judge and decide impartially;
but as a believer in our ancient faith, I am not ashamed to express my
hope that Marnas will vindicate his honour by giving the victory to his
worshipper. And this, men of Gaza, I know to be your wish as well as
my own; the soothsayers have given us the promise of success; our god
himself is on our side; and the prayers of all that have the ancient
fame of Gaza at heart will be joined with mine that Ælius Flaccus may
prove the victor in this race."

The people, of course, applauded loudly; and Asinius Gallus resumed
his seat. Immediately, the moratores disengaged the chains from the
images of Mercury; the drivers grasped their reins and their whips;
deep silence fell upon the multitude; and the edile again stood up,
and gave the white napkin, which was the signal for the start, to the
official whose business it was to make the sign. He then, mounting on
the spina, stood a little before the two chariots, holding the linen in
his hand, and keeping his eyes fixed on Asinius Gallus. The magistrate,
after having cast his eyes right and left to see that his brother
functionaries were comfortably settled, and ready to look on at their
ease, nodded to the officer; the napkin fell; and the chariots started.

Inferior as were the horses of Italicus to those of his opponent, the
spectators had imagined that for the first three or four courses round
the circus the race would be closely contested. But scarcely had a
minute elapsed, when the green chariot, surrounded by whirlwinds of
dust, was already half-way to the further meta, while that which had
been dedicated to Marnas, in spite of the vociferations and lashings
of the driver, was lagging far behind. Those at the further end of
the circus fancied that its driver, secure in the excellence of his
horses, had given his rival a long start, in order to make his own
victory the more triumphant. But those who could see better were not so
deceived. Flaccus and the edile interchanged glances of astonishment
and vexation; one or two of the other magistrates whispered to each
other that it must be witchcraft; it was in vain that the Reds shouted,
clapped their hands, and endeavoured to encourage the charioteer; vast
majority as they were, their voices were drowned in the thunder of
applause which welcomed the green chariot as it now flew towards the
carceres, having made one circle, while the other had scarcely yet
turned the meta at the further end. Up went the green obelisk; and the
Christian chariot started on its second course. It was in vain that
Ælius Flaccus stamped with rage, ground his teeth, and shook his fist
at his own unfortunate driver, now creeping up towards the magistrates'
seat. As of old time, the chariot drave heavily; and even from some of
the Red faction there burst forth a shout of "Marnas is conquered!" But
when the green chariot, now making its fifth round, passed its rival
which had not yet completed its fourth, such a thunder of applause
echoed through the circus as Gaza had never heard before--unless it
might be when, some fifteen hundred years further back, Samson had made
sport for the lords of the Philistines on the roof of the temple of
Marnas, then better known by his other name of Dagon. The priests of
the idol will do well to treasure up the offerings they have received
to-day; for, depend upon it, they will never have any more. I can
already hear some words that sound exceedingly like "Impostor!" in
the mouths of their adherents; and now that the green chariot comes
bounding along to the conclusion of its final course, and its driver
throws his reins into the hands of the morator, and leaps, well
pleased, to the ground, and it is evident to all that the horses are
not distressed, and have scarcely even turned a hair, while those of
Marnas are labouring at the further end of the circus, and have its
full length to traverse before they finish their sixth course--now I
say, that the idol has been utterly confounded, and the faith of one
poor hermit has triumphed over all the charms of a college of pagan
priests, the shout that bursts from every part of the benches seems to
me to ring the death knell of idolatry in Palestine.[54]


[50] For this information I am indebted to Schürer's _History of the
Jewish People in the Time of Christ_.

[51] See "Circus, games of," _A Dictionary of Classical Antiquities_,
etc. London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., Ltd., 1891.

[52] For a description and plans of Herod the Great's _Theatre_ (not
Amphitheatre as in text) outside Jerusalem, see Herr Schick's Report,
_Quarterly Statement_ P. E. F., July 1887, pp. 161-6.

[53] This tale (No. X) by the late Dr. Neale appears in his _Lent
Legends: Stories for Children from Church History_.

[54] The Editorial Secretary of the _Society for Promoting Christian
Knowledge_ informs me that "No permission is required to reprint from
Neale's _Lent Legends_, as the copyright has now expired." It was
written at Sackville College in 1855, and reprinted in 1905 by the



During the Episcopate of St. Porphyrius, A.D. 395-420, there were eight
State-property temples in the city of Gaza: (1) Helios--the Sun; (2)
Aphroditus--Venus; (3) Apollo; (4) Persephone; (5) Hecate; (6) the
Hiereion (or Heroon); (7) the Tychæon; (8) the Marneion.

Their names imply that purely Greek worship prevailed in them.

1. THE TEMPLE OF THE SUN.--In Greek mythology the sun-god, son of the
Titan Hyperion and the Titaness Theia, is himself often called Hyperion.

Helios was worshipped in many places. The Island of Rhodes was entirely
consecrated to him. The worship of this sun-god was with great
difficulty eventually suppressed by substituting for him the prophet
Ἡλίας. In modern times Helios seems to be identified with St.
Elias, whose chapels are built chiefly on hill-tops.

It was this particular worship to which the Antonines showed special
favour. The name of Antoninus Pius is connected with the building of
the Temple of the Sun at Baalbec.

The late Lieut. Conder wrote an interesting article on "Sun Worship
in Syria," in the _Quarterly Statement_ of the P. E. F., April 1881,
pp. 80-4. Prof. Sayce, in _Patriarchal Palestine_, p. 218, ed. 1912,
states that with both the Semites of Babylonia and of Canaan the
supreme object of worship was Baal or Bel, "the Lord," who was but the
Sun-god under a variety of names.[55]

2. APHRODITE (called _Venus_ by the Romans).

In Greek, the goddess of love and beauty.

The worship of the Phœnician goddess Astarte, brought in by Phœnician
traders in early days, helped to form the conception which the Greeks
had of Aphrodite.

A Sanctuary of Aphrodite (Astarte) stood on the place where, according
to Christian tradition, was the Sepulchre of CHRIST.

A chief worship of Ascalon was that of Ἀφροδίτη Οὐρανία,
_i.e._ of Astarte, as Queen of Heaven. Herodotus mentions her as the
deity of Ascalon.

This female deity is represented on coins of the Imperial epoch chiefly
as the tutelary goddess of the City.

As goddess of the _sea_, and maritime traffic, especially of calm
seas, and prosperous voyages, she was widely worshipped by sailors and
fishermen as the goddess of _calm_.

Her influence was also felt in the gardens among the flowers in the
spring-time. It was then that her principal festivals occurred.

A chief seat of her worship was Cyprus.

Additional information on this independent, unmarried goddess is to be
found in Sayce's _Patriarchal Palestine_, pp. 218-21.

3. APOLLO (Greek Ἀπόλλων), son of Zeus and Leto, brother of
Artemis, portrayed with flowing hair, as ever being young.

Apollo appears originally as a god of _light_. As the god of spiritual
light, his festivals are all in spring and summer. He is one of the
great gods of the Greeks, and next to Zeus the most widely worshipped.

Josephus speaks of a Temple of Apollo at Gaza, 96 B.C. (_Antiq._, xiii.
13, 3), at the time when the city fell into the hands of Alexander
Jannæus. "The Senators, who were in all five hundred, fled to Apollo's
Temple (for this attack happened to be made as they were sitting), whom
Alexander slew."

The worship of Apollo is to be traced to Seleucid influence, for Apollo
was the ancestral god of the Seleucids, and a great favourite with them.

3. PERSEPHONE (Latin Proserpina), daughter of Zeus and the
earth-goddess Demeter, the goddess of the lower world.[56]

Her special name in Attic cult is CORÊ, lit. "the maiden."

Persephone is emblematic of vegetable life that comes and goes with the
changing seasons.

Her festivals were celebrated in spring, and after the harvest.

The pomegranate was Proserpine's symbol, and the pigeon and the cock
were sacred to her.

5. HECATE, a Greek moon-goddess, perhaps of non-Hellenic origin. Her
appearance is frightful. She is generally represented as a daughter of

As a goddess of the lower world she was the patroness of all enchanters
and enchantresses, who were her disciples and protegés.


Heroon is the shrine of a hero, from ἥρως, a hero. Hesiod
reserves this name for mortals of divine origin, who are therefore also
known as demigods.

7. THE TYCHE, identified with the Roman Fortuna. A female deity--the
daughter of Zeus. She was of more importance in Italy than among the

In Greek mythology she was originally the goddess of chance. In the
course of time she came to be extensively worshipped as a goddess of
prosperity, who had cities under her special protection.

Meyer (pp. 122 and 158), refers to the Tyche as a familiar figure upon
Gazæan coins, having a woman's head, with a turreted crown consisting
of three towers, one of which is pierced with a door, and with a veil
over the back of her head.

The reverse side of the coin of Antoninus in Plate XI, No. 7, of De
Saulcy's _Numismatique de la Palestine_, is a good representation of
the Gaza Tyche.


The Temple of Marnas is spoken of as the Marneion, a home of the city's

Marnas was the Baal of Gaza.

In the Roman period Marnas was the chief deity of the city. St. Jerome
mentions this Temple of Marnas.

The oldest express testimony of the cult of Marnas is, according to De
Saulcy, that of certain coins of Hadrian, with the superscription GAZA

"In the last days of paganism, as we learn from Marcus Diaconus, in
his _Life of Porphyry of Gaza_, this great god of Gaza was regarded as
the god of rains, and invoked against famine. That Marnas was lineally
descended from Dagon is probable in every way, and it is therefore
interesting to note that he gave oracles, that he had a circular
temple, where he was sometimes worshipped by human sacrifices, that
there were twenty wells in the sacred circuit, and that there was also
a place of adoration to him, situated, in old Semitic fashion, outside
the town."[57]

This temple outside the town was possibly the place called Bethelia,
one and three-quarter miles north of Gaza.


[55] A few traces of the cult of Baal and Astarte are to be found in
England.--_Quarterly Statement_ of P. E. F., Oct. 1909, pp. 280-4.

[56] See the story of Demeter and Persephone in Neale's _Stories of
Heathen Mythology_, pp. 102-10. S.P.C.K. 1905.

[57] _Encyclopædia Britannica_, vol. xviii, ninth edition, p. 756.



  Genesis.                      PAGE
        x. 19                     19
       xv. 18                     23
      xxi. 30                     88

    xxiii. 29, 30                 20

      xxv. 29-31                  26

   xxxiii. 51-3                   20
    xxxiv. 5                      92

       ii. 23 (R.V.)              22
      iii. 5                      26
       iv. 29-31                  50

        x. 41                     19
       xi. 22                     20
       xv. 4                      23
        "  20, 47                 20
        "  47                     22

        i. 18                     20
      iii. 1-5                    21
       vi. 3-5                    21
      xvi. 1-4                    21
       "   3                      ix
       "   21-5                   21
       "   21-31              21, 72

  1 Samuel.
        v. 4                      72
        "  5, 6               44, 72
       vi. 4, 5                   72
        "  16, 17             20, 22
      xiv. 52                     22
     xxxi. 1                      22

  2 Samuel.
        v. 17-25                  22

  1 Kings.
       iv. 21, 24 (R.V.)          22
     viii. 65                     23

  2 Kings.
        i. 2-3                    72
    xviii. 8                      22
      "    21                     29
      xix. 9                      29
       "   37                     29

  1 Chronicles.
      vii. 28 (and R.V.)      22, 23
       xi. 17                     88

  2 Chronicles.
      xxi. 16-17                  24

       iv. 6                      30

       ix. 19                     26

      vii. 70 (R.V.)              41

    xxvii. 12                 23, 92
       lx. 6                      40

       vi. 20                     40
      xxv. 17-20 (R.V.)           23
     xlvi. 2                      23
    xlvii. 1                  23, 29
      "    5                      23

        i. 6-7                24, 25

        i. 4-7                    24
        "  10                     24
        "  16                     23

       ii. 4                  24, 25

       ix. 5                  24, 25

  1 Maccabees.
        i. 14, 15                 97
       ii. 65                     32
     viii. 6-8                    31
        x. 84, 86         20, 22, 72
       xi. 61, 62             25, 26
     xiii. 43-8 (and R.V.)        26
      xiv. 4-16                   32

  2 Maccabees.
       iv. 9-17                   97
      xii. 26                     22

     viii. 26                 26, 27
       "   38                     27


  Abu-Bekr, General, 25, 36

  Ælius Flaccus, 102, 105, 106

  Aeneias, Bishop, 51

  Alexander Jannæus, 25, 32, 112

  Alexander the Great, 24, 25, 30, 42

  Alford's _Greek Testament_, vol. ii., 27

  Ali Bey, 39

  Amen-hetep II, 28

  Anthedon, viii, ix, 47

  Antigonus, 25, 30

  Antiochus III, 31

  Antoninus Martyr, 36

  Antonius, Archimandrite, 63

  Apocrypha, Revised Version of, 26

  Arcadius, Emperor, 64, 65

  Ascalon coins, 44

  Asclepas, Bishop of Gaza, 34, 51

  Asshûr-bani-pal, 29

  Asinius Gallus, 106

  Athenian coins, 42

  Augustus, viii, 33, 43

  Aurelianus, Bishop of Gaza, 54

  Bædeker's _Palestine and Syria_, xvii

  Baldwin III, 37, 66

  Baring-Gould, Rev. S., 57

  Beduins, the, 28, 39, 82

  Bell's _The Saints in Christian Art_, "The Great Hermits," xvii

  Bernard the Wise, 37

  Bertrandon de la Brocguière, 38

  Bethelia, town of, 62

  _Bible Educator, The_, 20, 40

  Bible, Holy, the, 26, 41, 72, 88

  Birds of Gaza, 89

  Birdwood, Dr., 40

  Bishops (early) of Gaza, 51-4

  Bishops of Mayoumas, 54-5

  Bright's _The Age of the Fathers_, xvii

  Callinicus, 66

  Cambyses, 30

  Carchemish, 23

  Circus of Gaza, the, 61, 97-109

  Claudius, Emperor, 33, 44

  Clermont-Ganneau, M., 49, 80

  Church Missionary Society at Gaza, 39, 90-3

  Churchyard, Dr. Albert, 45

  Coins, 41, 65, 113

  Coles, Dr. Donald A., v, 34, 44

  Conder's _Syrian Stone Lore_, xvii

  Conder's _Tent Work in Palestine_, vol. ii, xvii

  Constantine the Great, 34

  Cosmos, 55

  Cretan Zeus, the, 42

  Crusaders at Gaza, 66-70

  Dagon-god, ix, 21, 22, 43, 72-4

  Damianus, Patriarch of Jerusalem, 63

  Darûm, Castle at, 37, 68

  Demetrius, son of Antigonus, 31

  Demetrius, Soter, 31, 43

  Derketo, 22

  De Saulcy, _Numismatique de la terre Sainte_, 33, 43, 44, 113

  De Saulcy, _Recherches sur la numismatique judaïque_, 44

  Deutero-Canonical Books, 19

  _Dictionary of Christian Antiquities_, 50, 58

  _Dictionary of Classical Antiquities_, etc., 97

  Diocletian, Emperor, 34

  Eight heathen temples at Gaza, 110-14

  El Arîsh, 23, 92-5

  _Encyclopædia Britannica_, vols. x and xviii, 44

  Edom, 24, 25

  Enos, Bishop of Gaza, 53

  Epiphanius, Archbishop of Constantia, 60

  Esar-haddon, 29

  Eudoxia, Empress, 35, 52, 64, 65, 80

  Eudoxiana, Church of, 65, 66, 81

  Eusebius' _Ecclesiastical History_, 33, 56

  Flinders Petrie's _Egypt and Israel_, 46

  Frankincense, 39

  Gabinius, Governor of Syria, 32

  Gardens of Gaza, 87

  Gatt, Father, vii, viii

  Geikie's _The Holy Land and the Bible_, xvii

  Gessius Florus, 33

  Glaser, Mr. Edward, 40

  Gordon, General, 93

  Green faction, the, 103

  Guy Le Strange's _Palestine under the Muslims_, xvii

  Hadrianus, Emperor, 33, 34, 43, 44, 45, 97

  _Handbooks of the C.M.S. Missions--the Palestine Mission_, 93

  Hanno, King of Gaza, 29

  Hastings' _Dictionary of the Bible_, xvii

  Hebron, ix, x

  Herod Agrippa I, 44

  Herod the Great, viii, 33, 44

  Herodotus, 42, 111

  Hill's _Life of Porphyry, by Mark the Deacon_, 64

  Hill, Mr. J. F., 42

  Historia Numorum, 43

  _Historical Geography of the Holy Land_, ix, xi

  Hore's _Eighteen Centuries of the Orthodox Greek Church_, 64

  Hospital, C.M.S., at Gaza, 92

  Idolatrous Observances mentioned in the Old Testament, 22

  Irenæus, Bishop, 51

  Italicus, 102

  Jebel-el-Mountâr, ix

  Jerusalem, 24, 32

  Jerusalem Literary Society, _Minutes_ of, 49

  Jews in Gaza, 46, 47

  John, Martyr, 57

  John of Cæsarea, 52

  John of Naples, martyr, 38, 57

  Jonathan, 26, 31, 32, 72

  Josephus, ix, 26, 30, 47, 72, 112

  _Jottings and Snapshots from Gaza_, 95

  Julian the Apostate, 35, 57, 60, 62

  Jupiter, the, 44, 74-6

  Justinian the Great, 36, 48

  Kadytis, 23

  Key of Syria, the, 82-6

  Kharezmians, the, 38, 69

  Kitchener, Lieut., 80

  Knesevich, Mr. A. A., viii, 89

  Knesevich, Mr. Emil G., viii, 77

  Knights Templars, the, 37, 66, 67, 68

  Kyrillus, Bishop of Gaza, 53

  Laurence Oliphant's _Haifa, or Life in Modern Palestine_, xviii

  Louis IX, 38, 69

  Macalister, Prof. R. A. Stewart, 72, 76

  Maccabean Wars, 46, 72

  Madden's _Coins of the Jews_, 44

  Mamelukes, the, 38, 69

  Marcianus, Bishop of Gaza, 48, 53

  Marcus, 35, 52, 65, 113

  Marnas, x, 35, 42, 43, 44, 65, 113

  Marneion, the, 34, 43, 44, 65, 66, 113

  Martyrs at Gaza, 56-7

  Maundeville, Sir John, 38

  Maximianus I, Emperor, 56

  Mayoumas, viii, 34, 35, 54, 59, 60

  Meistermann's _New Guide to the Holy Land_, 57

  Metaxakis on the Madaba Mosaic Map, 50, 81

  Meyer's _History of the City of Gaza_, vii, 39, 41, 47, 48, 51, 56,
    70, 71, 74, 80, 86, 113, 114

  Midianites, the, 21

  Minæan Kingdom, the, 40, 42

  Mosque, Great, the, 79-81

  M. Six, Coinage of Gaza, 41

  Murray's _Dictionary of Christian Biography_, xviii

  Murray's _Handbook of Syria and Palestine_, Part I, xviii

  Napoleon Bonaparte, x, 38, 39, 47, 71

  Neale's _History of the Holy Eastern Church_, 54

  Neale's _History of the Holy Eastern Church_, "Patriarchate of
    Alexandria," vol. i, xviii

  Neale's _Lent Legends_, 98, 109

  Neale's _Patriarchate of Antioch_, 55, 59

  Nebuchadrezzar, 23

  Natoris, Bishop of Gaza, 53

  New Testament, the, 19

  Old Testament, the, 19

  Olive groves at Gaza, 87-8

  Omar, first Khalif, 36

  Orange crops at Gaza, 83-4

  Orthodox Greek Church at Gaza, 63-4

  Pashas of Gaza, 39, 70

  Paulinus, Bishop of Mayoumas, 54

  Paulus, Bishop of Mayoumas, 54

  Paul, Patriarch of Alexandria, 36

  Pelagius, Roman legate, 35

  Père Gatt, vii, viii

  Peter the Iberian, Bishop, 54

  Pharaoh Necho II, 23, 29

  Philemon, Legendary history of, 50

  Philistines, the, ix, 21, 22, 24, 25, 27, 28, 30, 32, 44, 72-4, 75

  Pickard, Mr. J. G., 50

  Pompey the Great, 32, 46, 47

  Porphyrius, Bishop of Gaza, 35, 52, 62

  Porter's _The History of Beirût_, 62

  Potteries at Gaza, 83

  Procopius, Bishop of Mayoumas, 55

  Ptolemy I, Soter, 31

  Ptolemy II, Philadelphus, 43

  Ptolemy III, Euergetes, 43

  Ptolemy IX, Alexander I, 25

  Public games at Gaza, 97-109

  Pusey's _Commentary on the Minor Prophets_, 24, 25

  _Quarterly Statements_ of the P. E. F., 41, 44, 50, 54, 76, 79, 87, 110

  Quintianus, Bishop of Gaza, 51

  Rameses II, 28

  Rameses III, 28

  Red faction, the, 102

  Richard Cœur de Lion, 37, 67, 68

  Robertson's _History of the Christian Church_, vol. i, xviii

  Robinson's _Biblical Researches in Palestine_, vol. ii, 36

  Roman Catacombs, the, 45

  Saladin, 37, 67, 68

  Samaritans in Gaza, 38, 39, 48, 49

  Samson at Gaza, ix, 21

  Sarcophagus (an old), the, 76-9

  Sayce's _Patriarchal Palestine_, 111

  Schapira, Rev. A. W., 74, 90

  Selim I of Constantinople, 38

  Sennacherib, 29

  Sephardim, the, 47

  Seti Mer-en Ptah I, 28

  Schürer's _Jewish People_, ix, 47

  Simon Bar-Cochab coins, 44

  Simon the Maccabee, 26

  Simon III, High Priest, 32

  Smithies, Miss, at Gaza, x

  Smith's (George Adam), _The Historical Geography of the Holy Land_,
    ix, xi

  Soap factories at Gaza, 83

  Sophronius, Titular Bishop of Gaza, 63

  Sozomen, Church historian, 61-2

  St. Antony, 58, 59

  St. Athanasius, 58

  St. Chrysostom, 53, 64

  St. Cosmas, Bishop of Mayoumas, 55

  St. Hilarion, x, 34, 57, 58-61, 62, 63, 99

  St. Jerome, 35, 97, 113

  St. John Damascene, 55

  St. Louis of France, 69

  St. Pachomius, 36

  St. Paula, 35

  St. Philip, Evangelist, 26, 27

  St. Porphyrius, 35, 53, 63, 65

  St. Thea, Virgin, Martyr, 57

  Sterling, Rev. Canon, vii, viii,  91-5

  Stevenson's _The Crusaders in the East_, 70

  Swastica, 43, 44, 45

  Sylvanus, Bishop and Martyr,  34, 51, 56

  Tell 'Ajjûl, 74

  Temples, heathen, 44, 64-5

  Theobald, Count, 38, 68

  Thomson, Rev. Dr. E. H., 49

  Tiglath-pileser III, 29

  Timotheus, Martyr, 56

  Timotheus, Bishop of Gaza, 53

  Tirhakah, 29

  Thothmes III, 28

  Tyre, 24

  Vespasian, 33

  Watson, Mr. W., Newcastle-on-Tyne,  92, 95

  Wordsworth's _Greek Testament_--The Acts of the Apostles, 27

  Wordsworth's _The Ministry of Grace_, 27

  Xerxes, 30

  Zeno, Bishop of Mayoumas, 54

  Zoilus, 36

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Transcriber's Notes

Obvious errors of punctuation and diacritics repaired.

Inconsistent hyphenation fixed.

P. ix: Djebel el-Mountâr appears in the index as Jebel el-Mountâr.

P. 30: a seige of Alexander the Great -> a siege of Alexander the Great.

P. 36 and index entries: Abu-Bekr was the first Khalif and Omar the
second, but the text has not been changed.

P. 40: olibanum [Greek] of commerce -> olibanum [Greek] commerce.

P. 41: The characters said to be Phoenician are Hebrew characters,
but the text has not been changed.

P. 71: Wten Napoleon Bonaparte -> When Napoleon Bonaparte.

P. 74: suceeded in greatly damaging the face -> succeeded in greatly
damaging the face.

P. 76: revelant portions of the description -> relevant portions of the

P. 89: English sparows -> English sparrows.

P. 112: Selucids -> Seleucids.

Index for St. Porphyrius: 395 -> 35.

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