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Arabic transcription(s)
Maiuma is located in the Palestinian territories
Location of Maiuma within Palestine
Coordinates: 31°31′N 34°27′E / 31.517°N 34.450°E / 31.517; 34.450Coordinates: 31°31′N 34°27′E / 31.517°N 34.450°E / 31.517; 34.450
StateState of Palestine
Founded1st century BCE

Maiuma or Maiumas was an ancient town at the site of present-day Rimal near Gaza, Palestine.

History of Maiuma[edit]

In antiquity, Gaza port was the principal port on the Mediterranean serving the Incense Road. Strabo and Ptolemy referred to it as Gazaion limen. The port was distinct from the city, which was located opposite it.[1]

The Port of Gaza was at the end of the Nabataean spice road where trade was conducted in herbs, spices incense, drapery, glass and food. Goods arrived in the port on the backs of camels from Southern Arabia (the Kingdom of Sheba) through Petra, the Arava Valley and crossing Negev Desert via Avdat. At the port of Gaza, these goods were dispatched to the European markets.[2][3]

Alexander Jannaeus' conquest of Gaza (99 BCE) that denied the Nabateans access to the port and trade with Rome led to Obodas launching a military campaign against the Hasmonean King.[4]

Gaza Port was rebuilt after it was incorporated into the Roman Empire in 63 BCE under the command of Pompey Magnus and trade routes were reopened.[5]

It functioned as the port of Gaza (and was sometimes called simply "the port of Gaza"[6]) but was recognized as an independent city since the early Christian era. The Greek name Neapolis ("the new city") seems to have also been used in reference to it.[7]

During the reign of Constantine the Great, who granted Maiuma the status of a separate city, it received the name Konstanteia after the emperor's sister (or son).[8]

Under the emperor Julian, it was downgraded and the name was changed to Maioumas ("harbor place"),[1] or as "the part of Gaza towards the sea".[9] Though it is sometimes associated with a pagan festival also called the Maiuma or Maiouma,[10][11] the similarity of these names may be a coincidence.[12] According to 6th century scholar John Malalas, "the Mysteries of Dionysus and known as the Maioumas because it is celebrated in the month of May-Artemisios."[13]

Christianity in Maiuma[edit]

Maiuma seems to have been an early center of the spread of Christianity, which may explain the treatment of its status by Constantine and Julian. Its population was said to have been largely Egyptian in origin.[14] As the city regained its independence from Gaza, for a certain period of time it had its own bishop, due to Gaza's relatively long resistance to introduction of Christianity. The first known bishop of the city was a certain Zenon in the late 4th or early 5th century, mentioned by Sozomenus. Among others known are Paulianus (or Paulinianus), participant in the First Council of Ephesus in 431; Paul, who took part in the Second Council of Ephesus in 449; Peter the Iberian who was reluctant to serve in the office but was elected by the citizens in 452 nevertheless; John Rufus, his successor; and Procopius, chronologically the last known bishop of Maiuma, known to have participated in the Synod of Jerusalem of 581.[15] Mention must also be made of St. Cosmas of Maiuma.

The city was famous for the fact that the tomb of St. Victor was located in it.[16]

Bishops of Gaza[edit]

Maiuma is identified as the seat of the Roman era Diocese of Gaza. An incomplete list of bishops includes:

Remains of Maiuma[edit]

Maiuma is identified with al-Mina, about 4 kilometers from Gaza towards the sea. Remarkable archaeological findings from the site include the mosaic floor of a synagogue representing King David with a lyre, dated to the early 6th century AD and discovered in the mid-1960s. The city appears to have been fortified, but the enclosure wall still seems hard to trace.[15]


  1. ^ a b The Children of Noah: Jewish Seafaring in Ancient Times, 1999, Raphael Patai
  2. ^ Hecht Museum The Nabateans in the Negev Curator: Renate Rosenthal-Haginbottom
  3. ^ Israeli MFA
  4. ^ Hanan Eshel (2008) The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hasmonean State Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, ISBN 0-8028-6285-3 pp 117-133
  5. ^ "Gaza - (Gaza, al -'Azzah)". Studium Biblicum Franciscanum - Jerusalem. 2000-12-19. Retrieved 2009-02-16.
  6. ^ E. g. Strabo, Geography, 16. 2. 21
  7. ^ Cart. Mad. 114
  8. ^ Eusebius, Life of Constantine, 4. 37; Sozomenus, Ecclesiastical History, 5. 3
  9. ^ Sozomenus, Ecclesiastical History, 5. 3; 7. 28
  10. ^ Gerald Butt (1995) Life at the crossroads: a history of Gaza Published by Rimal Publications, ISBN 1-900269-03-1 p 9
  11. ^ Glen Warren Bowersock, Peter Robert Lamont Brown, Oleg Grabar (1999) Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-51173-5 p 553
  12. ^ Bruria Bitton-Ashkelony and Arieh Kofsky (2004) Christian Gaza in late antiquity BRILL, ISBN 90-04-13868-4 p 3
  13. ^ Malalas, Chronicle 284-285
  14. ^ Marcus Diaconus, Life of St. Porphyrius, p. 49, 5. 11 ff
  15. ^ a b c The Madaba Mosaic Map webpage
  16. ^ Antoninus Placentinus 33; Cart. Mad. 125
  17. ^ Dorotheus of Tyre, Acts of the Seventy Apostles
  18. ^ May 4, The Roman Martyrology.