Jump to content

Amathus, Transjordan

Coordinates: 32°11′08″N 35°41′12″E / 32.1856°N 35.6867°E / 32.1856; 35.6867
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Amathus (Ancient Greek: Ἀμαθοῦς or τὰ Ἀμαθά;[1][2] in Eusebius, Ἀμμαθοὺς.[3] Hebrew: עמתו[4] was a fortified city east of the Jordan River, in modern-day Jordan.


Its ruins may be those of Tell Ammata in the Jordan Valley[5][6] or perhaps of Tell Hammeh.[7][8] Both sites are in Jordan, west of Gerasa and south of Pella. The first is at the mouth of Wadi Rajib, and the second - a little south, on the mouth of Jabbok river. Tell Mghanni up the Jabbok, and Tell el-Hammam near the Dead Sea, have also been suggested.[9]


At the beginning of the 1st century BC, Amathus was an important fortress held by Theodorus, son of the tyrant Zeno Kotoulas of Philadelphia.[10] In about 100 BC, Alexander Jannaeus captured but could not retain it,[11] and therefore, a few years later, he razed it.[12][13][14] It was possibly the seat of one of the five districts into which Aulus Gabinius divided Palestine a few decades later.[13][15][16]

Amathus was part of the Herodian kingdom and then of Judaea Province of the Roman Empire from 44 AD. From 135 to about 390, Amathus belonged to the province of Syria Palaestina, formed after the defeat of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, by a merge of Roman Syria and Judaea. In about 390, it became part of the newly created province of Palaestina Prima, whose capital was Caesarea Maritima.


The names of four ancient bishops of Amathus are known. Theodosius took part if the Robber Council of Ephesus in 449. Sergius is mentioned in the Life of Saint Saba by Cyril of Scythopolis and may have lived around the year 500. In 518, Procopius signed the letter of the bishops of Palestine to Patriarch John II of Constantinople against Severus of Antioch. Dorotheus signed the acts of the synod of 538 attended by the bishops of all three Roman provinces of Palaestina Prima, Palaestina Secunda, and Palaestina Salutaris.[17][18]

No longer a residential bishopric, Amathus in Palaestina is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.[19]


  1. ^ Public Domain Williams, George (1854–1857). "A´MATHUS". In Smith, William (ed.). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.
  2. ^ See Ἀμαθοῦντα, in Flavius Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 13.13.3.
  3. ^ Eusebius, of Caesarea (1904). Klostermann, Erich (ed.). Das Onomastikon der Biblischen Ortsnamen. Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten drei Jahrhunderte (in Greek and Latin). Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs. pp. 22–23. OCLC 490976390. Retrieved 2014-05-06.
  4. ^ Jerusalem Talmud (Shevi'it 9:2), where it says: "Zaphon (of Joshua 13:27) is Amathus".
  5. ^ Eva Kaptijn, Lucas P. Petit (editors), A Timeless Vale (Leiden University Press 2009 ISBN 978-90-8728-076-5), pp. 20–21
  6. ^ Eusebius of Caesarea (2006) [manuscript, 1971]. "Alpha, Joshua, note 65". In Wolf, Carl Umhau (ed.). The Onomasticon of Eusebius Pamphili, Compared with the Version of Jerome and Annotated. tertullian.org. Retrieved 7 May 2014. n65. Aimath (Aemoth). Joshua 13:5; K. 22:23; L. 239:75. Textual variants: Aitham (Greek) and for "other" Amatha (Latin). Possibly three or four towns are involved in these lines. In the Peraia and located in relation to Pella (cf. K. 14:19), this Ammathous was a chief city in Herodian Peraia. It is probably Tell 'Ammata near Tell el Qos. This site has many Roman-Byzantine sherds. The Talmud identifies this with Saphon (K. 156:1) which may have been at Tell el Qos...
  7. ^ "The Madaba Mosaic Map, "Discussion - 5. Amathus - (Tel al-Hamma ?)". Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2014-08-06.
  8. ^ Brown, J.; E. Meyers; R. Talbert; T. Elliott; S. Gillies (20 October 2012). "Places: 678015 (Amathous?)". Pleiades. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  9. ^ Shatzman, Israel (1991). The Armies of the Hasmonaeans and Herod: From Hellenistic to Roman Frameworks. Mohr Siebeck. pp. 88-90. ISBN 9783161456176.
  10. ^ Kasher, Aryeh (1988). Jews, Idumaeans, and Ancient Arabs: Relations of the Jews in Eretz-Israel with the Nations of the Frontier and the Desert During the Hellenistic and Roman Era (332 BCE-70 CE). Mohr Siebeck. p. 87. ISBN 9783161452406.
  11. ^ Josephus: Perseus Project AJ13.13.3; Perseus Project BJ1.4.2. The William Whiston translation sometimes gives the name as Areathus.
  12. ^ Josephus: Perseus Project AJ13.13.5; Perseus Project BJ1.4.3
  13. ^ a b "Amathus (the modern 'Amateh)" in Jewish Encyclopedia
  14. ^ John Kitto, Palestine: the Bible History of the Holy Land (Knight 1841), p. 707
  15. ^ John Wilkes (editor), Encyclopaedia Londinensis, article "Palestine", vol. 18, p. 273
  16. ^ Public Domain Smith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Palaestina". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.
  17. ^ Pius Bonifacius Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae Catholicae, Leipzig 1931, p. 454
  18. ^ Siméon Vailhé, v. 2. Amathus, in Dictionnaire d'Histoire et de Géographie ecclésiastiques, vol. XII, Paris 1953, coll. 983-984
  19. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 830

32°11′08″N 35°41′12″E / 32.1856°N 35.6867°E / 32.1856; 35.6867