A city of Roman times on an ancient site long associated with fertility cults, both Canaanite and Greek. A sizeable river, the Banyasi, one of the main sources of the Jordan, issues from a nearby cave. In the 3d century b.c.
the grotto was dedicated by the predominantly Greek population to Pan and the Nymphs; hence, the nearby city was called Paneas (Panion). Herod the Great received the territory in 20 b.c. from Augustus. Under his son, Philip the Tetrarch, the city was rebuilt, including, on the old sanctuary site, a new marble temple in honor of the emperor. The city was known as Caesarea Philippi or Philip's Caesarea (to distinguish it from several other Caesareas) until agrippa ii altered the name to Neronias (Ant. 20.9.4). Coins from the following centuries call the place Caesarea Paneas. The old Greek name survives in its Arab form, Baniyas, the present-day village.
The city is mentioned in the first two Gospels as the site where Peter professed his belief in the messiah-ship and divinity of Jesus (Mt 16.13–20; Mk 8.27). According to an ancient tradition, known through Eusebius, this was the town of the woman who had been suffering from hemorrhage and was miraculously cured by touching the edge of Jesus' cloak (Mt 9.20–22). In the early Christian era, the city was a suffragan of Tyre. After its recapture by the Crusaders (c. 1132), it became a Latin see. Ruins of columns, capitals, hewn stones, and a city gate are still witness to the splendor it had in Greco-Roman times.
Caesarea Philippi (sĕsərē´ə fĬlĬp´ī), city, N ancient Palestine, at the foot of Mt. Hermon. It was built by Philip the Tetrarch in the 1st cent. AD Its site (Paneas) had long been a center for the worship of Pan. Jesus was in the vicinity (Mat. 16.13), but there is no proof that he entered the city. The modern name is Baniyas.