Paralia (Seleucid eparchy) Redirected from Paralia (Palestine)

Eparchy of Coele-Syria province of the Seleucid Kingdom
197 BCE–99 BCE
Historical eraHellenistic era
• Seleucid annexation
197 BCE
• Simon Thassi captured Jaffa
143 BCE
• John Hyrcanus captured Jamnia and Ashdod
125 BCE
• Conquests of Alexander Jannaeus
103-99 BCE
• Hasmonean dynasty conquest
99 BCE
Preceded by Succeeded by
Achaemenid Phoenicia
Hasmonean kingdom
Today part of Israel
 Gaza Strip

The Paralia (Greek: Παραλία - beach), also known as Medinat HaYam (Hebrew: מדינת הים‎ - country by the sea) was a coastal eparchy in Palestine during Hellenistic and Roman times,[1] ruled by the Seleucid Empire between 197 and 99 BCE, as part of the Coele-Syria province. According to Josephus, the inhabitants of the region were primarily Greek city-dwellers.[2] The name appears in the 6th-century Madaba Map, appended to the town of Ashdod-Sea, as Azotos Paralos (Greek: Αζωτοσπαραλς), ca. 3 kilometers south of Modern Ashdod.

The region was originally set up by the Seleucids,[3] along with the eparchies of Idumea and Galaaditis and neighbouring the eparchy of Samaria. Josephus wrote that the Paralia was outside Jewish jurisdiction throughout the Second Temple Period, except for a short period under the Hasmoneans and during the reign of Herod the Great and the Agrippas.[4]


The region was described as the Coastal Country in 1 Maccabees (11:59; 15:38) and 2 Maccabees (13:24).[5]

In earlier Halakha it was described at "Medinat HaYam" (cities of the sea).[6]


The region was originally set up by the Seleucids.[3] The eparchy bordered Samaria, Idumea and Galaaditis, all part of the Coele-Syria province. Nicanor son of Patroclus was likely one of the governors of Paralia district, and was titled Cypriarch - apparently commanding some Cypriot garrison troops in the region, when Antiochus V Eupator acceded to the throne.[7]

Part of the Paralia region was first conquered by Jews under the Hasmoneans.[4] Simon Thassi captured Joppa in 143 BCE, John Hyrcanus captured Jamnia and Ashdod in 125 BCE, and between 103-99 BCE Alexander Jannaeus conquered the areas from Dora, northwards to Acra, and from Gaza, southwards to Rinocorura.[4] The first penetration of Hasmoneans to Joppa was gradual - first a garrison was set up in the city, with later replacement of the pagan population by incoming Jews.[5] Only Ashkelon was never conquered by the Hasmoneans.[4]


According to Josephus, the inhabitants of the region were primarily Greek city-dwellers.[2]

See also

External links

  • Rosenfeld, Ben-Zion, "Flavius Josephus and His Portrayal of the Coast (Paralia) of Contemporary Roman Palestine: Geography and Ideology", The Jewish Quarterly Review, University of Pennsylvania Press, 91 (1): 143–183, JSTOR 1454789


  1. ^ The Myth of a Gentile Galilee, Mark A. Chancey, p.36
  2. ^ a b Rosenfeld, p. 168.
  3. ^ a b Rosenfeld, p. 143.
  4. ^ a b c d Rosenfeld, p. 146.
  5. ^ a b The Apocrypha, edited by Martin Goodman, John Barton, John Muddiman, p.154
  6. ^ Social Life and Social Values of the Jewish People, Haim Hillel Ben-Sasson, Samuel Ettinger, 1968, p.70
  7. ^ B. Bar-Kochva. Judas Maccabaeus: The Jewish Struggle Against the Seleucids. Cambridge University Press. p239.

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