|The site of Apollonia-Arsuf
lies on the Mediterranean coast of Israel on a cliff overlooking a natural
anchorage between Joppa and Caesarea. More than a century of research and
two decades of excavations have revealed its long and interesting history.
A modest coastal settlement in proto-historical and biblical times, it became
the only maritime centre of the southern Sharon Plain from the late 6th
century B.C.E. until the mid-13th century C.E. This volume presents an outline
of the history and research of the site, the derivation of its name and
its natural environment. The material culture of the Persian and Hellenistic
periods and its economic and social implications is dealt with in detail.
xvi + 300 pages, 138 drawings and photographs, 6 colour plates.
Hard cover. Price: $ 60.00
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION: HISTORY OF THE SITE, ITS RESEARCH AND EXCAVATIONS
Chapter 2 ARSUF: THE SEMITIC NAME OF APOLLONIA
Chapter 3 THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT
Chapter 4 THE PERSIAN PERIOD
4.1. STRATIGRAPHY AND ARCHITECTURE
PETROGRAPHIC ANALYSIS OF PERSIAN PERIOD POTTERY
A NUMISMATIC FIND
A GREEK INSCRIPTION
THREE PHOENICIAN INSCRIPTIONS
4.3. HISTORICAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONCLUSIONS
Chapter 5 THE HELLENISTIC PERIOD
Moshe Fischer and Oren Tal
5.1. STRATIGRAPHY AND ARCHITECTURE
5.3. HISTORICAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONCLUSIONS
Chapter 6 FAUNAL REMAINS
Chapter 7 MURICID SHELLS
Chapter 8 BOTANICAL REMAINS
Appendix I THE CHALCOLITHIC PERIOD
Appendix II THE IRON AGE II
Apollonia-Arsuf is located on a kurkar (fossilized dune sandstone) cliff
overlooking the Mediterranean shore, in the northwest part of the modern
city of Herzliya. The site lies at a distance of 17 km. north of Joppa
and 34 km. south of Caesarea. It also lies at an almost equal distance,
of about 10 km. from the river-mouths of the (Nahal) Yarkon to the south
and the (Nahal) Poleg to the north, that is, in the middle of the west
coast of the southern Sharon Plain. At the western part of the site, the
ground reaches a height of 35 m. above sea level, and from there it gently
slopes down towards the east until about 20 m. above sea level.
The remains above ground before the excavations included: a Medieval city
wall protected by a moat, which encloses an area of approximately 90 dunams
and includes a city gate on the east; a Crusader castle, on the northwest
side, which includes a double-wall system of fortifications of about 4
dunams surrounded by a large moat; a port of about 3 dunams, with built
jetties, which are related to and extend from the castle into the sea;
and, a sheltered anchorage of about 30 dunams, which is protected by a
sandstone reef that extends from north to south. The anchorage is located
south of the port and opposite the ancient city, and is still used today
by local fishermen.
Large amounts of pottery were spread over the surface outside the city
wall, to a distance of about 150 m. to the north and east of the Medieval
fortifications, and up to 200 m. to its south. The pottery belongs mainly
to the Byzantine period and to the early decades of the Early Islamic
period (6th and 7th centuries C.E.), which apparently indicates that at
the time the city extended over an area of about 280 dunams. There is
no evidence that this large urban centre was ever fortified. At the foothill
of the cliff, on the beach level, two springs were reported by the Survey
of Western Palestine (SWP) team in the last century, one below the southwest
corner of the castle, and the other below the southwest corner of the
walled city. These springs no longer exist and it is not clear at all
whether they were active in antiquity, nor is there any evidence of aqueducts
leading to the site. The built well which is located northeast of the
walled city, which includes a shaft and a pool connected by a channel,
is not attested to before World War I. However, the numerous cisterns
and pools still visible throughout the ancient site indicate that its
water supply was maintained largely by collecting rainwater.
The successive history of Apollonia-Arsuf, first as a coastal settlement
and later as a maritime urban centre, covers a period of approximately
eighteen centuries, from the late 6th century B.C.E. through the mid-13th
century C.E. Throughout that period Apollonia-Arsuf was apparently less
important than Joppa, which usually served as the main harbour of Jerusalem.
It was certainly smaller and less important than Caesarea, which for long
periods of time served as a seat for rulers, governors, and church leaders.
This seems to explain the relative scarcity of written sources concerned
with the early history of the site. Nevertheless, soon after the decline
of the southern neighbour site of Tel Michal, during the Late Persian
and Hellenistic periods, Apollonia-Arsuf gradually became the main city
and haven of the southern Sharon Plain. From the Late Hellenistic period
onward it also became the chief commercial and industrial centre of the
region, which extended between Nahal (stream/river) Poleg and Nahal Yarkon.
It is at this time that Apollonia-Arsuf makes its appearance in the written
sources. It is first mentioned in the writings of Josephus. In his list
of cities, which belonged to the Jews under Alexander Jannaeus, he mentions
Apollonia between Straton's Tower (which became Caesarea under Herod the
Great) and Joppa (Jewish Antiquities XIII, 15, 4, ). Actually, this
list mentions the names of Hellenistic cities that previously belonged
to Syria, Idumaea, and Phoenicia, and became part of the Hasmonaean kingdom.
The source implies, then, that Apollonia was already considered an urban
centre in pre-Hasmonaean times, that is, in the Hellenistic period. However,
in another statement by Josephus, in which he gives the reason for building
the large port of Caesarea, he explains that king Herod carried out the
project because "... between Dora and Joppa, midway between which
the city (of Caesarea now) lies, the coast was without a harbour so that
vessels sailing along the Phoenician coast to Egypt, had to ride at anchor
in the open sea, when menaced by the southwest wind" (Jewish War
I, 21, 5, ). From this statement, we may be led to believe that the
natural anchorage of Apollonia was not regarded as a reliable all-season
harbour in the Hellenistic period. However, we may assume that during
good weather, as is the case throughout most of the year in this part
of the Mediterranean, ships serving the coastal maritime traffic could
well use the anchorage. The imported pottery from the main production
centres of the Hellenistic world found at Apollonia seems to support this
Josephus mentions Apollonia, once again, in one of the two lists of cities,
in which Gabinius, the proconsul of Syria in 57-55 B.C.E. restored order,
soon after the imposition of Roman rule in the region. In Jewish War I,
8, 4,  Apollonia is mentioned among the cities that were inhabited
anew by Gabinius' order. In the parallel list in Jewish Antiquities XIV,
5, 3, , which mentions cities that were rebuilt by Gabinius, Apollonia
is not mentioned. However, Josephus adds that there were "... not
a few other (cities)", which were rebuilt on this occasion, and it
is possible that Apollonia was one of them. On the basis of archaeological
data, none of the two statements made by Josephus is supported by the
finds uncovered so far at Apollonia.
In written sources of the Roman period, Apollonia is listed among the
coastal cities of the Iudaea/Palaestina, and between Joppa and Caesarea,
by Pliny (V, 13, 69; ed. Mayhoff 1906:390) and by Ptolemy (Geographia
V, 15, 2; ed. M?ller 1901:987). The latter also provided the coordinates
of the city's location, which are 66° longitude and 32° 15´ latitude.
We do not know if these figures are the result of calculations based on
an observed angular orientation, or on a known distance on the ground
from a place, which was actually located according to the method of triangulation.
However, Martianus Capella (De Geometria VI, 679; ed. Willis 1983:241)
locates Apollonia Palaestinae at the distance of 188 miles from Ostracine
on the northern coast of Sinai. This seems to imply that, at a certain
stage, Apollonia too could have served as a triangulation point to calculate
the distances between places.
The depiction of Apollonia on the Tabula Peutingeriana, on the coastal
highway between Joppa and Caesarea, and at the distance of 22 miles from
the latter, is of great importance to the present discussion. This unique
cartographic item, which in its original form belonged to the class of
itineraria picta, was an official road map intended to guide its official
users when traveling on duty. The representation of Apollonia indicates
that it too served as an official leg on the country's Imperial road network.
Moreover, the figure of 22 miles corresponds to the actual distance between
the two ancient sites of Caesarea and Arsuf, which provides formal proof
for the identification of Apollonia with Arsuf.
There is also much written documentation in which Apollonia is not mentioned,
such as the New Testament, the Mishnah, and in the Talmudic literature.
Actually, we have no evidence for the existence of Jewish or Christian
communities in Roman Apollonia. However, considering the fact that large
communities of both faiths were present in Roman times in both Caesarea
and Joppa, and even closer, in the southern Sharon hinterland, we may
assume their presence in Apollonia as well. As there was no coin minting
at Apollonia, this seems to provide a formal proof that the Roman authorities
did not consider it to be a main urban centre of the province, but rather
a medium-sized coastal town like Jamnia and Azotus. However, the impressive
villa maritima uncovered most recently in the south of the site, which
shows a typical Roman planning and building method, provides a tangible
proof for the cultural presence of Rome there.
Apollonia is also mentioned in some written sources of the Byzantine period.
It is recorded twice in the anonymous Cosmography of Ravenna, once, in
a list of urban centres of Iudaea-Palaestina, following Caesarea and before
Joppa (Cosmography of Ravenna II, 14, 2; ed. Schnetz 1940:25) and again
between Joppa and Caesarea in a long list of coastal cities of Sinai,
Palaestina and Phoenicia (ibid.:V, 7, 2; ed. Schnetz 1940:90). The mention
of Apollonia in both lists shows that the town's name was not missing
from a regular city list of the province, which in this case seems to
draw upon a road map (see Dillemann 1997:156), nor from a parallel list
of the eastern Mediterranean coastal towns. Apollonia is also recorded
in one of the later copies of the Cosmography of Ravenna, compiled by
the geographer Guido (ibid.; ed. Schnetz 1940:133). Nor is it missing
from the long list of 25 cities of that name, enumerated in detail by
Stephanus Byzantius. It appears there as Apollonia No. 13, located near
Joppa. However, the place-name Apollonia is not recorded in any of the
ecclesiastical lists of the early Ecumenical Councils. Stark (1852:452,
Note 5), and later Clermont-Ganneau (1896:337-339), conjectured that the
absence of Apollonia from the ecclesiastical lists occurred because the
city's name was changed to Sozousa. They pointed out that in Byzantine
times such changes were made for cities named after Apollo Soter. As Apollonia
of Cyrenaica became Sozousa and Apollonia of Thrace Sozopolis, Apollonia
Palaestinae may have been similarly renamed. As Clermont-Ganneau added
(1896:338), "... the noticeable fact remains that the town Apollonias-Arsuf,
though of considerable importance, does not appear on the ecclesiastical
lists, and that Sozousa is mentioned there in conjunction with Joppa,
which would harmonize well enough with the geographic position of Arsuf."
Later publications and critical editions of Georgian and Arabic texts,
which recount the Persian capture of Jerusalem (known as Expugnationis
Hierosolymae A.D. 614) and its aftermath, provide proof that the above-mentioned
conjecture was correct. Those texts also record the deeds of the patriarch
Modestus, as well as his death on the way to Jerusalem in 630-631 C.E.
This unfortunate event happened in the city named Sozos (or Sozosi, that
is Sozousa) in the Georgian texts (Conybeare 1910:517; Garitte 1960:55),
and Arsuf in the Arabic texts (Peeters 1923-24:41; Garitte 1953:38, 70;
1974:131). This testimony provides clear proof that Sozousa and Arsuf
were identical places and, consequently that Sozousa and Apollonia were
names of one and the same city. The fact that Stephanus Byzantius mentions
both names, Apollonia (s.v. No. 13) and Sozousa (s.v. No. 1), comes, most
probably, because he used sources from different periods. He seem to have
used a source from Roman times when listing Apollonia, and a source from
the Byzantine period when mentioning Sozousa.
According to the ecclesiastical lists of the 5th and 6th centuries C.E.
Sozousa served as an Episcopal see. The signature of a bishop named Baruchius
(or Barachius) of Sozousa is recorded in several official documents of
the synod of Ephesus held in 449 C.E. Two of those documents, each of
which includes a paragraph that summarizes the intervention of Baruchius
during the synod, are of particular importance because they record the
official administrative location and status of Sozousa. One of them begins
with the sentence "Baruchius episcopus Sozusae Palaestinae provinciae"
(Schwartz 1935, Vol. II/3:183). The other begins with the words "Baruchius
episcopus Sozusenae civitatis" (ibid.:245). A third document, which
ends with the names of its signatories, also mentions "Baruchius
episcopus ecclesiae Sozusae" (ibid.:255). These sources indicate
that, in the mid-5th century C.E., Sozousa/Apollonia was a city of the
Byzantine province of Palaestina prima that had the official status of
a civitas, and that its Christian population was organized in an official
community headed by a bishop.