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Place Descriptions

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> The Hebronite Spirit of Enterprise
> Nablus Revitalised
> Sebastia
> Dayr Tarif
> Ramallah: Palestine’s Bustling Metropolis
> Stroll along Ramallah’s Main Street
> Nightlife in Ramallah
> The Bethlehemian Smile
> Nablus: The Uncrowned Queen
> From the Ottomans to Modem Times
> Ancient Bethlehem
> Beit Sahour
> The Site of the Town of Bethlehem at Its Earliest...
> The History of Nablus
> Nablous
> ZABABDEH
> The Samaritan Creed
> The Samaritan Diaspora and the number of Samaritans
> The Minerals and Climate in Samaria
> The Nature of Samaria
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Nablous
   
submitted by Turathuna Bethlehem University
23.01.2007

Shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem (70 A.D.), Titus founded a new city, Neapolis, defile that joins the plain of Shechem to Wadi Tuffah, and called it Flavia; Flavia in honor of the 'gens' to which he belonged. The urban centre, drawn towards the northern slopes of Gerizim by the springs, was conditioned by the geographical configuration of the place, which gave it an oblong, almost rectangular shape which it still has to day.

According to Flavius Josephus, a village already existed there, called by the natives Mabortha or Mabartha, a name which means "pass", "gorge". Pliny gives the name Mamortha without specifying the meaning. A. Neubauer thought he recognized in this name a corrupted form of the Aramaic word Mabarakhtha, blessed city, and in sup port of his hypothesis he cited the fact that according to Rabbinical literature the Samaritans called their two mountains "the mountains of the Benediction", whereas in opposition they called the Moriah of Jerusalem "the mount of the Malediction". Flavia Neapolis had an era of its own from 72/73 A. D., and there are very many local coins that go from Domitian to the second half of the third century.

The new city, mainly populated by Roman veterans, very soon attained a high degree of prosperity, thanks to its excellent position, dominating as it did the crossing of the two main highways of the country.

In 244, under the emperor Philip the Arab, Nablus acquired the rank of a colony. Among the Latin inscriptions on the coins of this emperor we find Colonia Julia Neapolis and Colonia Sergia Neapolis, both together and separately. In all probability it was this emperor who had the city wall built which protected Neapolis for several centuries. Gradually the city acquired all the civic and religious monuments typical of Greco-Roman cities.

We have seen that in the Byzantine period Nablus was the seat of a bishopric. Its building development continued to flourish, and the city prospered even after the Arab conquest. In 840-841 Abu Harb, who claimed to be a descendant of the Omayyads, incited the people to rebel against the Abbasid caliph el-Mutasim, incurring the anger of the later. Nablus was punished, and Christians, Samaritans and dissident Moslems had an unpleasant time of it. The city recovered however, to such an extent that at the end of the tenth century el-Maqdisi says that it was called "little Damascus", and had clean, paved streets and stone houses.

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