Susita or Hippos

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SUSITA OR HIPPOS , Greek city established above the E. bank of the Sea of Galilee (Pliny, Natural History 5:15). The Greek name Hippos is a translation of the Semitic name Susita. The coins of the ancient city usually show a horse (Heb. sus, Gk. hippos). Officially, the city was known as "Antiochia by Hippos," because it was probably founded by the Seleucids. It was captured by Alexander Yannai (Jannaeus) and was later reestablished as a city of the Decapolis by Pompey (Jos., Ant., 14:75). Augustus gave the city to Herod, but the citizens bore Herodian rule unwillingly, and after his death, it reverted to Syria (Jos., Ant., 15:217; 17:320; Wars, 1:396; 2:97). The city was attacked by the Jews in the Jewish War against Rome (Jos., Wars, 2:459) and the Jews in the city were interned (ibid., 2:478). Some of them were found among the defenders of Taricheae (ibid., 3:542). The territory of Susita bordered on the Sea of Galilee (Jos., Life, 153). It was located 30 stadia (4 mi.; c. 6½ km.) from Tiberias, with which Susita lived in constant rivalry, despite the commercial relations between the two cities (Lam. R. 1: 17, no. 52; tj, Shev. 8:3, 38a).

In Byzantine times, Susita was the seat of a bishop. The city was part of Palaestina Secunda. Jewish villages in its territory were freed from such obligations as tithes and the Sabbatical Year (Tosef., Shev. 4:10). It has been identified with Qal ʿat Ḥuṣn, a ruin on a mountain above *En-Gev. Remains on the site include fortification walls, a gate, a colonnaded street, a forum, a sanctuary (temenos) with the remains of Hellenistic and Roman temples, four churches, and an aqueduct. A new survey of the city was made in 1999, and from 2000 excavations were conducted there by A. Segal on behalf of Haifa University.


Schuemacher, in: zdpv, 9 (1886), 327ff.; Schuerer, Gesch, 2 (19064), 155f.; Avi-Yonah, Geog, 158–9; Schulman, in: bdasi, 6 (1957), 30–31; Anati, ibid., 31–33; Avi-Yonah, ibid., 33; Press, Ereẓ, s.v.add. bibliography: A. Segal, Hippos-Sussita: Fifth Season of Excavations 2004. And Summary of All Five Seasons (20002004).

[Michael Avi-Yonah /

Arthur Segal (2nd ed.)]