, was also called Sennabris by Josephus.
The predecessor settlements and at the same time the common names today are Khirbet el Kerak, Bet Yerah (House of the Moon).
In many cases, the name of the Bet - Yerah / Ariaḥ (ch) is also found here for the hills and plains lying here, but also for the hot springs a few kilometers north of the urban area (Hammat Ariaḥ (ch)). Bit Arḥ (ch) a synonymous. This may speak for an ancient cult around the moon and its sickle in this area around the Sea of Galilee. (The term Ark / Arca * for a boat is borrowed from this very sickle-shaped moon).
The city had a 1.6 km long city wall, at least one used even in Roman times fort of 54x54m (Kerak), right at the exit of the lake, continuing to A. Chancey a complete antique bath with hot and cold bath. The excavations also showed a 31x20 m synagogue sacral building, as well as a built in the early 5th Century, in the 6th century. rebuilt and finally destroyed at the beginning of the 7th century Christian Byzantine church. Many Greek inscriptions could not be dated exactly.
Here, too, remains of an aqueduct from the hills in the southwest coming, both to the northern hot springs, as well as to the urban area.
Various coins found here from the Hellenistic period (Vinogradov 1992) lead to the conclusion that the place with Greek tradition in the middle of the 3rd jhd. in front. Was founded together with many other decapolis cities. The name was also the sister and wife of the (new) founder Ptolomaios Philadephos, Philoteria.
Although located here on the Jordan and the western end of the Sea of Galilee, Polybius Philoteria, as well as the cities of the Decapolis, reckons to "Coele Syria" and calls them together with Skythopolis. From the descriptions of Josephus, to Vespasian, again not the Greek, but the Talmudic name Sennabris on the way from Scythopolis to Tiberias is used. Further evidence of a flourishing Greek city in this place are not only the 2 slightly more south-facing bridges over the Jordan and the location at the main road links of this time, also the finding of a marble head, the Greek goddess and city goddess Agathe-Tyche can affirm this. (see also the treatise of L. Sukenik 1922)
The Philoteria does not appear in any of the "Decapolis lists" of that time, in my opinion plausible with the mention of the Dekapolis region "Arca" in Pliny the Elder. to explain. (See also here under "The Decapolis") In the derivation of the name Arca helps us here mentioned above strong connection of the region and the places with the cult around moon and crescent moon and the traditional name Ariaḥ (ch) - Yerah.
Based on the listed evidence and the logical linkage of the urban areas of Gadara and Skythopolis, through the region Arca , with your at the same time newly founded capital Philoteria, the image of the Decapolis region can be clearly harmonized.
The by Delougaz u.a. The Byzantine church, discovered in 1960, and the tomb of the Archimandrite of Helenopolis, not far from the neighboring village, suggest that this bishopric actually stood here. Although the excavations of the church have not been published in detail according to current state, it should be noted here that in this very area to this day the Christian tradition is rooted. In addition to the now "common" baptismal site in the Jordan Valley near Jericho and the certainly correct, but now forgotten and proposed by the SWP (Conder, Wilson, Smith, Kitchener) Jordan ford (BethAbara) northeast of Betshean, here in Yardenit this tradition holds. As a supplement, we should briefly refer to the other situation Kafr Kama, most of which is related to the diocese of Heleno (u) polis. Certainly a significant site in terms of archaeological findings, however, the classical epoch is not comparable to El Kerak / Bet Yerah. The direct environment to the bishoprics Eksalus (Iksal / Tabor), Tiberias and Nazareth also does not speak for this location. (See also Grootkerk)