What Does Decapolis Mean in the Bible?
Decapolis is an ancient Greek word, meaning “league of cities.” It is a city-state and an important center of both Roman and Hellenistic culture. The Bible uses the word to refer to such a city-state, but it can also mean a city league.
Decapolis was a league of cities
The Decapolis was an ancient league of cities, which was founded during the Hellenistic Period. These cities were under the rule of the Seleucids, who were interested in the creation of a counterweight to other kingdoms. As a result, they encouraged the construction of many temples and public buildings. The concept of a city league had been in use in the Greek world for more than two thousand years, but its purpose had varied from place to place.
Although the name “Decapolis” is often associated with only ten cities, the Decapolis actually consisted of a group of over a dozen cities. Many of these cities are familiar to New Testament readers. They were joined together by the Romans, and they controlled trade routes from Arabia to Damascus. In addition, they provided protection for the eastern frontier. One of the largest cities in the Decapolis was Hippos (Susita), which occupied an area overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Despite their importance as a major trading center, the Decapolis cities possessed a high degree of local autonomy and minted their own coins.
The Decapolis League is referenced several times in the Bible. In the New Testament, Jesus visited these cities and taught there. The Bible also mentions that these cities had synagogues. Despite the fact that the Decapolis was a pagan area, the message of Jesus was clear to its residents.
It was a region
The name Decapolis, which means “ten cities,” refers to a group of independent city-states in ancient Syria. They were Hellenistic and pagan in makeup. Some of these cities were founded by veterans of Alexander the Great’s army in the 4th century B.C. Later, the Romans colonized the Decapolis and a league was formed to protect each city from the surrounding peoples.
Interestingly, the cities of Decapolis were mostly founded during the Hellenistic period, from the death of Alexander the Great to the conquest of Coele-Syria by the Romans in 63 BC. However, some cities were founded during the Ptolemaic dynasty, which ruled Judea until 198 BC, and during the Seleucid dynasty. The Decapolis included cities such as Jerusalem, Pella, and Antiochia. Despite the fact that the region was populated by Greeks, the Decapolis cities still maintained their Greek identities.
The Decapolis region is mentioned in the Bible at least three times in the New Testament. According to the Gospel of Mark, Jesus performed miracles in this region and healed a deaf man in the region. The New Testament also mentions Pella, a city in the Decapolis region that became a haven for Christians during the persecution of Christians in AD 69.
It was a city-state
Decapolis was a city-state mentioned in the Bible, but not by name. However, there are other references to it, including Pliny’s Natural History, published in 77 A.D. This book lists several of the Decapolis cities. These include Gerasa, Gadara, Hippos, Philadelphia, and Canatha.
The city of Decapolis was located in the eastern Mediterranean, about eight miles from the Sea of Galilee. At the time of Jesus, the people of Decapolis flocked to hear him teach in Galilee. Nevertheless, Jesus did not spend much time in the Decapolis area. Instead, he crossed the Sea of Galilee to the country of the Gerasenes, also known as the Gadarenes. The Gerasenes urged Jesus to leave their district.
The Decapolis had ten major cities. One of these was Beth-Shean, which was also the largest city in Decapolis. It was also the only city on the western bank of the Jordan. Its Greek name was Nysa-Scythopolis, and the city’s most revered god was Dionysus. The city was built at the foot of a hill called Tell, which was a cultic site. It was on this hill that the main Beth-Shean temple was built.
The Romans left their cultural mark on Decapolis cities. Their cities were built with a grid of streets and a central decumanus. The Romans also sponsored numerous public buildings and temples in Decapolis. They also encouraged a strong religious climate in Decapolis cities.
It was a center of Hellenistic and Roman culture
The Decapolis was a network of cities that formed a center of Hellenistic and Roman cultural activity. These cities supported the Roman Empire and adopted the Roman way of life. They rebuilt their cities using the standard Roman layout, including a central cardo and decumanus. They also established temples for the Roman emperor.
The Decapolis was a place where the Greeks colonized, but it had a variety of indigenous cultures. When the Greeks came, they were horrified by the Jewish practice of circumcision, which they considered cruel genital mutilation. This led to some dissent among the Jews. Despite the Jewish dissent, the Decapolis cities were major centers for the diffusion of Hellenistic culture. Some of the local gods, such as Zeus, were also worshipped by the Greeks.
In the New Testament, Jesus visited Decapolis twice, describing large crowds following Him. The disciples of Jesus believed that evil powers were linked to the depths of the sea. However, he spent very little time there. The devil was unable to keep Jesus from coming to them.
It was a district
The Decapolis was an ancient district in the Bible. It comprised more than ten cities, including Damascus. Many of these cities were familiar to New Testament readers. Other notable Decapolis cities included Philadelphia, Gadara, and Dios. Another important city in the Decapolis was Hippos, which overlooks the Sea of Galilee. Although not mentioned in the New Testament, it was still a major city. The cities of the Decapolis each had their own governing bodies and minted their own coins.
The Decapolis was an extensive area south and east of the Sea of Galilee. It was populated mostly by Gentiles. The name Decapolis is most likely derived from the country named for the ten Decapolis cities, which were destroyed by Romans after the conquest of Syria in B.C. 65. The cities were partly rebuilt and colonized by the Romans. Some of these cities were given special privileges. Josephus refers to these privileges in Ant. 17:11. Other nearby cities may have received similar privileges.
The Decapolis region gradually became Christian. Early church leaders used Pella as a base and Eusebius reports that some apostles fled to Pella during the First Jewish-Roman War. By the late Roman and Byzantine periods, the Decapolis region became predominantly Christian. Many Decapolis cities served as bishoprics. Some of these cities survived into the Islamic period, but most remained Christian.
It was a province
The Decapolis was a province in the ancient world. It was an area that included many cities. Many of these cities claimed Greek origins. The Decapolis area spanned from Dion, in the north, to Philadelphia, in the south. In the west, it extended all the way to Scythopolis, which was founded by the Ptolemies.
In the Bible, the Decapolis consisted of the cities east of Jordan, except for Scythopolis. Jerome and Eusebius also said the Decapolis district was located east of the Jordan. Both of these statements are in agreement with Matthew 5:20. Jesus visited this place with a large group of followers, including those from other cities. During his stay in this city, he healed a demoniac, and then started publishing his miracles in various publications.
Jesus visited Decapolis two times in the New Testament, including Mark 7:31-37, where he healed a deaf man and the city of Pella, which was an important city for Christians in AD 69. In Matthew, Jesus traveled to Decapolis, and then descended from there to the shore of the lake. His visit to Decapolis revealed that the people were receptive to the message of the Savior.