A team of archaeologists believes to have found a long lost Roman city, the one famous for being the birthplace of three of Jesus’s apostles, Andre, Philip, and Peter. The el-Araj site in the Israel-based Bethsaida nature reserve revealed might could well be the remains of Julias as the lost city was called.
The story of Julias is closely tied to the Roman Empire and to King Philip Herod, Herod the Great’s son and a Jewish monarch. Josephus Flavius, a first-century Jewish historian, wrote that King Herod decided to turn this Bethsaida fishing village into an actual Roman city.
Julias, the Long Lost Roman City, Brough Back to Light?
A team of archaeologists excavating at the el-Araj site in the Bethsaida nature reserve in Israel found the remains of a bathhouse built according to Roman customs. Situated on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, this discovery suggests that this location might have once held a city, not just a fishing village.
“Josephus reported that the king had upgraded Bethsaida from a village into a polis, a proper city. He didn’t say it had been built on or beside or underneath it. But the bathhouse attests to the existence of urban culture,” stated Mordechai Aviam from the Kinneret College.
Reports state that the team also found glass mosaic tiles at this historical site. This indicated that a “wealthy and important church” might have existed here. It would be further proof of the existence of the long lost Roman city.
Also, it would match the reported itinerary of Willibald, a bishop from Eichstätt in present-day southern Germany.
In 725, this took a trip to Israel and allegedly visited “a church at Bethsaida that was built over the house of Peter and Andrew”.
The exact location of the Julias was lost sometimes after his visit. Debates even contested whether the long lost Roman city was built over or just near the Bethsaida fishing village.
The fact that the Sea of Galilee changed levels over the centuries just added to the confusion of its location.
Bethsaida is famous in the Bible as being the birth place of three of Jesus’s apostles, the brothers Andrew and Philip, and Peter. It is also known for being the place where Jesus performed a series of miracles.
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