JUDEA , Latin form of Judah, the southern province of Ereẓ Israel during the period of Roman hegemony. Although this article deals with Judea as a Roman province, it should be pointed out that the name precedes the period. It was the natural name, in its various forms, for the area. The return to Zion, which consisted overwhelmingly of the exiles of the kingdom of Judah, settled in the territory from which they had been exiled (cf. Neh. 11:25–36), and during the Persian period the territory was called Yehud (cf. Dan. 2:25, 5:13; Ezra 5:1, 8) and the name has been found on coins and jar handles of the period. The actual name Judea occurs from the Hellenistic period. It is first used by Clearchus, a disciple of Aristotle (Jos. Apion 1:179), and *Hecateus of Abdera and *Manetho (ibid. 1:90) use it to define the area where the Jews of Ereẓ Israellived. With the direct Roman rule of Ereẓ Israel, which dates from the banishment of *Archelaus to Gaul in 6 c.e., a special governor was appointed over Judea who was given the title *procurator and was responsible to the governor of Syria. The procuratorship was confined to Judea until the accession of *Agrippa I to the throne in 41. On the resumption of Roman rule after his death in 44 the procurator's rule was extended over the whole of Palestine.
Josephus (Wars, Wilkinson's translation, Excursus 2) gives the borders of Judea as follows: Ayanot, also called Barkai, on the north, the frontier with Arabia in the south, and on the east from the Jordan to Jaffa. "Nor is Judea cut off from seaside delights, since it has a coastal strip which stretches all the way to Ptolemais." This incomplete description can be supplemented from other references in Josephus and from the Mishnah. In the same passage Josephus states that it was divided into 11 toparchies, which he details, Jerusalem being the most important. Although Judea was primarily a political geographical term, defining one of the three districts into which Roman Palestine was divided, the other two being *Samaria in the center and *Galilee in the north, the division was a natural one, and it is often mentioned with regard to the agricultural laws. "Three countries are to be distinguished in what concerns the laws of removal-Judea, Transjordan, and Galilee" – and Judea is subdivided into "the hill country, the Shephelah and the valley" (Shev. 9:2; Tosef. Shev. 7:10). This subdivision is further expanded by the Jerusalem Talmud (tj, Shev. 9:2, 38d) which explains that "the mountains are the Royal Mount [not identified], the Shephelah is the plain of the south, and the valley the area between Jericho and En-Gedi," while R. Johanan gives another division: "From Beth-Haran to Emmaus is the mountain country, from there to Lydda the Shephelah, and from Lydda to the sea, the valley."
Neubauer, Géogr, 59–96; S. Klein, Ereẓ Yehudah (1939), 83–107; Z. Kalai, Gevuloteha ha-Ẓefoniyyim shel Yehudah (1960), 95–106. add. bibliography: Y. Aharoni et al., The Carta Bible Atlas (20024), 149–50.