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HAURAN (Heb. חַוְרָן), region in northeastern Transjordan, today part of Syria. The name occurs for the first time – as Hauranu – in the account of Shalmaneser iii's expedition against Hazael of Aram-Damascus in 841 b.c.e. Tiglath-Pileser iii in 733/2 b.c.e. turned it into an Assyrian province called Haurina. This is apparently the Hauran mentioned by Ezekiel in the only biblical reference to the place (47:15–18). In describing the ideal boundaries of Ereẓ Israel, Ezekiel cites on the north "Hazer-Haticcon [probably Hazer-Inum] which is by the border of Hauran" and on the east "between Hauran and Damascus." The Septuagint reads here "Auranitis"; the suffix -it is indicates that it was a Ptolemaic administrative district. In 198 b.c.e the district of Hauran was taken from the Ptolemies by the Seleucids and with the decline of that kingdom it became the possession of the Itureans who held it also at the beginning of Roman rule. In order to restrain the inhabitants of adjacent *Trachonitis who were in the habit of raiding the convoys of Damascus, Augustus in 23 b.c.e. assigned the Hauran (together with Trachonitis and Batanaea) to Herod who settled Jews there in military colonies (Jos., Ant., 15:343; Wars, 1:398). It remained in the domain of the Herodian dynasty, passing from Herod's son Philip to Agrippa i and Agrippa ii and with the death of the latter it was attached to Syria. At the end of the third century the Hauran was transferred to Provincia Arabia of which it remained a part until the end of Byzantine rule. The Hauran flourished during the Roman period when many cities were founded there including Canatha and Dionysias-Soada. As it was located in Jewish territory, the Hauran was one of the places in the Second Temple period where beacons were lit to announce the approach of Rosh Ha-Shanah and the festivals. After the signals were received at the Hauran from Agrippina (Grapina)-Kawkab al-Hawā they were transmitted to Bet Bitlin (rh, 2:4). The Hauran's border with the Nabatean kingdom in the Roman period can be very precisely established by inscriptions and eras used for dating purposes. The border included al-Mushannaf, Bosana (Būsān), Ḥabrān, Dionysias-al-Suwayda, and Karak in the Hauran. In Roman times it is therefore apparent that the concept of the Hauran had expanded and also included the fertile valley known today as al-Nuqra. The borders of Hauran thus reached Arabia along Wadi al-Dhahab in the south, the slopes of the Jebel el-Druze (Druze Mountain) in the east, Trachonitis in the north, and the Bashan (in the limited sense) and the city of Dion in the west.

Jewish settlement in the Hauran continued in talmudic times; several rabbis bore its name (e.g., Ḥunya de-Berat Huran; tj, Shek. 1:1, 46a). In the fourth and fifth centuries Christianity became deeply rooted in the Hauran as is indicated by the participation of bishops from the Hauran in church councils and the many ruins of churches found there. These churches inherited the independent style of the Eastern tradition which had evolved in the architecture and ornament of the buildings of the Hauran as early as Roman times and which also influenced synagogues in the Galilee. As in other border districts, Arabic influence increased in the Hauran in the Byzantine period. It was incorporated in the kingdom of Benu Ghassān under Byzantine protection but in 634 the Arabs conquered it without undue effort. The Hauran thereafter declined until *Druze from Lebanon began settling there in the 18th century. Following the riots in Lebanon between Druze and Christians in 1860, Druze settlement in the Hauran increased considerably and the region today is called Jebel el-Druze (Mount of the Druzes). Geographically the term Hauran comprises three separate concepts: (1) Mt. Druze itself, 5,900 ft. (1,800 m.) high; (2) the mountain, its slopes, and the el-Nuqra valley; and (3) all of the eastern part of northern Transjordan from Damascus to the Yarmuk. About 80,000 Druze live in the region.


S. Klein, Ever ha-Yarden (1925), 19–21; Tcherikover, in: Tarbiz, 4 (1933), 233, 361; Avi-Yonah, Geog, index; E. Fouer, Die Provinzeinteilung des assyrischen Reiches (1920), 52, 63; Elliger, in: pjb, 32 (1936), 68–69; Noth, ibid., 33 (1937), 37–40; Epstein (Elath), in: pefqs (1940), 13ff.; D. Sourdel, Les cultes de Hauran à l'époque romaine (1952); M. Dunand, Le Musée de Soueida (1934).

[Michael Avi-Yonah]