Ancient Sources

The Peraea and the Dead Sea



16. Bethramphta, now Livias - (Tell al-Ramah)

ORIGINAL TEXTS

Betharam civitas tribus Gad iuxta Iordanem, quae a Syris dicitur Bethramtha et ab Herode in honorem Augusti Livias cogno-minata est.
(Jerome 49:12-13)


ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Eusebius, Onomasticon 48:14-15 (ca. 295 A.D.); Jerome 49:12-13 (ca. 390 A.D.)
Betharam (Jos 13:27), a city of the tribe of Gad, near (Jerome: beyond) the Jordan, called Bethramphtha by the Syrians. This is called today Livias, having been renamed by Herod in honour of Augustus.

BIBLICAL BACKGROUND

Num. 32:1-5.34-36 The allocation of Transjordania
Now the Reubenites and the Gadites owned a very great number of cattle. When they saw that the land of Jazer and the land of Gilead was a good place for cattle, the Gadites and the Reubenites came and spoke to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the leaders of the congregation, saying, "Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo, and Beon - the land that the Lord subdued before the congregation of Israel - is a land for cattle; and your servants have cattle." They continued, "If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants for a possession; do not make us cross the Jordan." ... And the Gadites rebuilt Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer, Atroth-shophan, Jazer, Jogbehah, Beth-nimrah, and Beth-haran, fortified cities, and folds for sheep.

Josh. 13:24-28
The lot of the tribe of Gad
Moses gave an inheritance also to the tribe of the Gadites, according to their families. Their territory was Jazer, and all the towns of Gilead, and half the land of the Ammonites, to Aroer, which is east of Rabbah, and from Heshbon to Ramath-mizpeh and Betonim, and from Mahanaim to the territory of Debir, and in the valley Beth-haram, Beth-nimrah, Succoth, and Zaphon, the rest of the kingdom of King Sihon of Heshbon, the Jordan and its banks, as far as the lower end of the Sea of Chinnereth, eastward beyond the Jordan. This is the inheritance of the Gadites according to their clans, with their towns and villages.

MORE ANCIENT SOURCES

Josephus, Antiquities 14.1.4 (1st cent. A.D.)
(16) So Antipater having received such assurances, returned to Hyrcanus to Jerusalem. A while afterward he took Hyrcanus, and stole out of the city by night, and went a great journey, and came and brought him to the city called Petra, where the palace of Aretas was; (17) and as he was a very familiar friend of that king, he persuaded him to bring back Hyrcanus into Judea; and this persuasion he continued every day without any intermission. He also proposed to make him presents on that account. At length he prevailed with Aretas in his suit. (18) Moreover, Hyrcanus promised him, that when he had been brought thither, and had received his kingdom, he would restore that country, and those twelve cities which his father Alexander had taken from the Arabians; which were these, Medaba, Naballo, Libyas, Tharabasa, Agala, Athone, Zoar, Orone, Marissa, Rudda, Lussa, and Oruba.

Josephus, Antiquities 18.2.1 (1st cent. A.D.)
(26) When Cyrenius had now disposed of Archelaus's money, and when the taxings were come to a conclusion, which were made in the thirty-seventh year of Caesar's victory over Antony at Actium, he deprived Joazar of the high priesthood, which dignity had been conferred on him by the multitude, and he appointed Ananus, the son of Seth, to be high priest; (27) while Herod and Philip had each of them received their own tetrarchy, and settled the affairs thereof. Herod also built a wall about Sepphoris (which is the security of all Galilee), and made it the metropolis of the country. He also built a wall round Betharanphtha, which was itself a city also, and called it Julias, from the name of the emperor's wife. (28) When Philip, also, had built Paneas, a city, at the fountains of Jordan, he named it Cesarea. He also advanced the village Bethsaida, situate at the lake of Gennesareth, unto the dignity of a city, both by the number of inhabitants it contained, and its other grandeur, and called it by the name of Julias [Livias], the same name with Caesar's daughter.

Josephus,War 2.4.2 (1st cent. A.D.)
(57) In Perea also, Simon, one of the servants to the king, relying upon the handsome appearance, and tallness of his body, put a diadem upon his own head also; he also went about with a company of robbers that he had gotten together, and burnt down the royal palace that was at Jericho, and many other costly edifices besides, and procured himself very easily spoils by rapine, as snatching them out of the fire; (58) and he had soon burnt down all the fine edifices, if Gratus, the captain of the foot of the king's party, had not taken the Trachonite archers, and the most warlike of Sebaste, and met the man. (59) His footmen were slain in the battle in abundance; Gratus also cut to pieces Simon himself, as he was flying along a straight valley, when he have him an oblique stroke upon his neck, as he ran away, and broke it. The royal palaces that were near Jordan, at Betharamptha, were also burnt down by some other of the seditious that came out of Perea.

Theodosius, De situ Terrae Sanctae19 (ca. 530 A.D.)
The city of Livias is across the Jordan, twelve miles from Jericho. This Livias is where Moses stuck the rock with his staff, and the water flowed, and from that place flows a large stream which waters the whole of Livias. Livias contains the larger Nicolaitan date-palm. There too Moses passed away from this world, and there also are some hot springs in which Moses washed. Lepers are healed in them.

Anonymus Placentinus, Itinerarium 10 (ca. 570 A.D.)
Nearby is y city called Livias, where the two half-tribes of Israel remained before crossing the Jordan, and in that place are natural springs which are called the Bath of Moses. In these also lepers are cleansed. A spring there has very sweet water which they drink as a catharic, and it heals many diseases.


BYZANTINE ADMINISTRATIVE LISTS

Hierocles, Synecdemos 721:1-11 (7th cent. A.D.)
Province of Palaestina Prima, 22 cities under a consularis: Cesarea, Dora, Antipatris, Diospolis, Azotos on the sea, Azotos inland, Eleuteropolis, Aelia which is also Jerusalem, Neapolis, [Livias], Sebaste, Anthedon, Diocletianopolis, Sycamazon, Ono, Sozousa, Ioppe, Gaza, Raphia, Ascalon, Gazaris, Betylion.

Georgius Cyprius 997-1027 (7th cent. A.D.)
Province of Palaestina Prima: Aelia-Jerusalem, Caesarea, Dora, Antipatris, Diospolis wich is also Georgiopolis, Iamnia, Nicopolis, Ono, Sozousa, Ioppe, Ascalon, Gaza, Raphia, Anthedon, Diocletianopolis, Eleutheropolis, Neapolis, Sebaste, region of Amathous, region of Jericho, region of Livias, region of Gadara, Azotos Paralos, Azotos, Sycomazon, Bitylion, Tricomias, Toxos, Canstantiniac Salton, Geraritic Salton wich is also Barsamon.


EPISCOPAL CITY

Bishops' list
Letoius (A.D. 431)
Pancratius (A.D. 449, 451)
Zacharias (A.D. 536)
John (A.D. 518)
Theoctenus (VI-VII cent. A.D.)

Map Section 2 Place Discussion

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Created Saturday, December 16, 2000 at 11:53:30
by Eugenio Alliata ofm in collaboration with Stefano de Luca ofm
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copyright - Studium Biblicum Franciscanum - Jerusalem 2000