Beit Ras

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Capitolias was an ancient city east of the River Jordan, and is identified with the modern village of Beit Ras in the Ajloun Governorate in northern Jordan.[1][2][3]

The Peutinger Table placed it between Gadara and Adraha (Daraa), 16 miles from each, and the Antonine Itinerary put it at 36 miles from Neve.[3][4]

The Arabic name, Beit Ras, preserves the Aramaic name, Bet Reisha, mentioned in the 6th-century Talmud.[1][3][4]

History[edit]

The town is one of the ten cities of the Decapolis listed by Pliny the Elder.[5] It was founded as a planned Roman city, perhaps for military purposes,[4] under Nerva or Trajan in AD 97 or 98, the date from which, according to the coins it minted, it dated its special era.[6] Inscriptions show that local citizens served in the Roman army.[3] It was surrounded by a wall built in the 2nd century and had an area of 12.5 hectares according to one source, 20 acres according to another.[3][4]

The city was named after Jupiter Capitolinus.[1]

In the rearrangement associated with the creation of the Roman province of Arabia in 106, Capitolias became part of the province of Palaestina Secunda, whose capital was Scythopolis.[1][6] It is mentioned by many geographers, including Hierocles and George of Cyprus in the 6th and 7th centuries.[6]

Bishopric[edit]

Bishops of Capitolias are mentioned in extant documents:[7][8]

A Peter who was martyred under Muslim rule is given by Lequien[7] and Gams[8] as a bishop of Capitolias, but other sources describe him as a priest, not a bishop.[6][9][10]

In the 12th century the see was an independent archbishopric, as appears from a "Notitia Episcopatuum" of that time.[11] No longer a residential bishopric, Capitolias is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.[12]

Archaeology[edit]

The city wall, with three north-facing gates,[4] can be traced on the surface[3] Other remains include a temple of the Capitoline Triad, a three-tiered marketplace, a colonnaded street, a 5th-century church that was converted into a mosque in the 8th century, an aqueduct, reservoirs, a Roman military cemetery, and paved roads.[3][4]

Systematic archaeological work began in the early 1980s and has continued.[4][13][14]

References[edit]

Coordinates: 32°36′N 35°51′E / 32.600°N 35.850°E / 32.600; 35.850