Monday, August 15, 2011

Caesarea (again)

Revisiting sites is not always a bad thing. For me, I get to learn new information each time I visited the locations. This includes the three times I’ve visited Masada, twice to Tel Dan and now twice to Caesarea. The revisit to Caesarea turned out to be a good thing for me; I got to see some new sites I didn’t have time to explore last time I visited.

King Herod also built Caesarea, but unlike Masada, which catered to both outside and inside people groups, Caesarea is a strictly Roman city built in the style of Rome.

The Amphitheatre at Caesarea

One new interesting fact I learned about Caesarea is about the amphitheatre. Usually, when building an amphitheatre the orientation is north south for lighting reasons; this orientation allows a majority of the day for lighting the state. The amphitheatre at Caesarea is oriented east west, with the stage facing the ocean. This in the ancient times was not the wisest orientation because in the mornings the sun would be in the actors eyes, and in the evening the audience would be blinded. So why did King Herod decide to orient this structure this way? The thesis is King Herod’s audience would be able to sit in awe of Herord’s building, and face Rome, a place he identified and sympathized with.

The palace at the far left

King Herod was a really interesting character. It is my opinion he was probably a narcissist. Take his palace for instance. It jutted into the sea, and featured a swimming pool not five feet from the ocean. the impression of the palace has been excavated. With his usual lavish personality, King Herod even had a fresh water pool, just feet from the ocean. Because it jutted into the ocean, those sailing into the harbor would see the palace easily, and would see Herod’s tremendous wealth and power.

View of where Herod's palace would have stood

There were also meshing of cultures at Caesarea. There are examples of pagan, Christian and other religious imagery.

As with any important site, Caesarea is layered with history from later periods as well. There is a Byzantine part of the city built by the Crusaders, as well as buildings from the Persian period.

Enjoy my pictures, and as always Happy History!

Roman sculpture outside the amphitheatre

The Bath House at Caesarea. Notice the beautiful mosaic floors

A Roman Arch (see my post on Tel Dan for a little trivia!)

An Ancient latrine

The moat dating from the Cursader time period

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