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Livias (Talmudic Hebrew: בית רמתה‎‎, Beit Ramata) was a city in Transjordan in Classical Antiquity.


The traditional location of the Roman city is at Tell er-Rameh, a small hill rising in the plain beyond Jordan, about twelve miles from Jericho.[1] However, evidence from the Tell el-Hammam excavations raises questions about this identification.[2] It has been proposed that, while Tell er-Rameh was the commercial and residential center of Livias, the area around Tall el-Hammam, which grew in the Early Roman period, was the administrative epicentre of the city.[3] Archaeological evidence from Shuneh al-Janubiyyah has shown the existence of a church in the diocese, dating from the sixth-eighth centuries.[4] A third Byzantine church was discovered between Tall Kafrayn and Tell el-Hammam (2.6 kilometres (1.6 mi) to the west of Tell el-Hammam) with a large mosaic floor now being used as a Muslim cemetery.[5]


Under the name of Betharan, Livias is twice mentioned in the Bible.[6]

At about 80 BC, Hasmonean king Alexander Jannaeus captured it from the King of the Arabs;[7] it was then called Betharamphtha. In the 1st century AD, Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, fortified it with strong walls and called it Livias after the wife of Augustus; Josephus calls it Julias also, because he always speaks of the wife of Augustus as Julia.[8] Nero gave it with its fourteen villages to Agrippa II.[9] In the First Jewish-Roman War the Roman general Placidus captured it[10][11] in 68, but after the revolt was quelled, the area was returned to Agrippa. He died without heir, and his territories were annexed to Judaea province. In later reorganizations of Roman provinces, it was included in Syria Palaestina (135), Palaestina (286) and Palaestina Prima (425), never gaining a colonia status.

In the time of Eusebius and St. Jerome the natives still called it Bethramtha.[11] Livias was an episcopal see, a suffragan of the diocese Caesarea in Palaestina. Lequien[12] mentions three bishops:

No longer a residential bishopric, Livias is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.[13]


  1. ^ Morris Jastrow and Frants Buhl, “Beth–Aram,” Jewish Encyclopedia (New York, N.Y.: Funk & Wagnalls, 1906), 119; Siméon Vailhé, “Livias,” trans. Mario Anello, Catholic Encyclopedia (New York, N.Y.: Appleton Company, 1910), 9:315; William F. Albright, “The Jordan Valley in the Bronze Age,” Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research 6 (1925 1924): 49 (JSTOR 3768510); Nelson Glueck, “Some Ancient Towns in the Plains of Moab,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 91 (1943): 11 (JSTOR 3219054); Kay Prag, “A Walk in the Wadi Hesban,” Palestine Exploration Quarterly 123 (1991): 60–61; Herbert Donner, The Mosaic Map of Madaba. An Introductory Guide, Palaestina Antiqua 7 (Kampen: Kok Pharos, 1992), 39; Estee Dvorjetski, Leisure, Pleasure, and Healing: Spa Culture and Medicine in Ancient Eastern Mediterranean, Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 116 (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 202; Parker, S., R. Talbert, T. Elliott, S. Gillies. "Places: 697697 (Livias)". Pleiades. Retrieved August 22, 2014. .
  2. ^ Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project
  3. ^ Graves, David E.; Stripling, Scott (2011). "Re-Examination of the Location for the Ancient City of Livias". Levant. 43 (2): 178–200. 
  4. ^ Piccirillo, Michele. "The Christian Sanctuaries in Transjordan, part 07". Franciscan Archaeological Institute. 
  5. ^ Graves and Stripling: 195.
  6. ^ Numbers 32:36; Joshua 13:27
  7. ^ Josephus: PACE: Antiquities of the Jews, 14.{{{chap}}}.{{{sec}}} (Whiston), Perseus Project AJ14.1.4, .
  8. ^ PACE: Antiquities of the Jews, 18.{{{chap}}}.{{{sec}}} (Whiston), Perseus Project AJ18.2.1, .. PACE: The Jewish War, 2.{{{chap}}}.{{{sec}}} (Whiston), Perseus Project BJ2.9.1, .
  9. ^ PACE: Antiquities of the Jews, 20.{{{chap}}}.{{{sec}}} (Whiston), Perseus Project AJ20.8.4, .
  10. ^ PACE: The Jewish War, 4.{{{chap}}}.{{{sec}}} (Whiston), Perseus Project BJ4.7.6, .
  11. ^ a b Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Livias". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 
  12. ^ Oriens Christianus, III, 655–658
  13. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 918

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