Herod the Great constructed a high-level aqueduct to sustain the growth of the population of Caesarea Maritima. The source for the aqueduct’s water was Mount Carmel, located seven miles away to the north-northeast. However, this aqueduct was about much more than the delivery of water to a thirsty city.
On the surface, it would appear that the purpose of aqueducts like the one pictured above near Caesarea was to simply bring a steady stream of fresh water to the city. But the construction of such aqueducts served additional purposes, not the least of which would be the constant, graphic display of Rome’s apparent power over the very products of the heavens and time. Marianne Sawicki explains:
… when Herodian engineers built the massive aqueduct systems to support cities like Caesarea … they accomplished something more than civic improvements. They secularized the water. It no longer came from heaven; it came from Rome. “From Rome” means that Roman engineering brought it into homes and courtyards from far-off mountain springs, conveniently, automatically, without regard to the natural vicissitudes of the weather or the seasons, and without any apparent assistance from divine providence. … Aqueducts as such were by no means a Roman innovation in … Galilee. … But, unlike … earlier installations, the Herodian- and Roman-era aqueducts were monumentally built and called attention to themselves by their size and design. They matched the civic architecture of theaters, colonnaded avenues, temples, and so forth that constituted the “urban overlay” of the Greco-Roman cities in Galilee.
While I could share quite a few more pictures of sites I was privileged to see in Caesarea Maritima this spring, most of them would be of matters dating from the time of the Crusades. So, we’ll leave Caesarea now, having focused primarily on matters pertaining to the first century A.D.
Where do you guess we might be in our photo tour of Israel when posting resumes here on Sat., Sept. 28? Come and see!
There is a well located at the western end of the peristyle courtyard of the Upper Palace of the Palace of the Procurators complex in Caesarea Maritima.
While it is well known that a large aqueduct supplied most of Caesarea Maritima’s needs for water, the presence of this well makes it clear “that the high-level aqueduct was in not in operation when the Palace of the Procurators was constructed.” As Caesarea’s population rapidly grew to over 100,00 in connection Herod the Great’s building projects, the construction of the aqueduct became essential.
Writing in regard to his tour of Palestine in 1879, J.W. McGarvey mentioned a well, perhaps this one, in his book Lands of the Bible (p. 276), noting that in his time there was “a well of never-failing water, and hither flocks and herds are daily led from the immediate vicinity to be watered.”
Abraham, Turkey & Ullis: Prophet Abraham’s Lost City Found in Turkey’s Kilis
“… according to the head of the excavation team, Cumhuriyet University Archaeology Department Associate Professor Atilla Engin.”
Aqueduct, Caesarea Maritima & water: Water and Caesarea Maritima
“… how do you get water from Mount Carmel, seven miles away, to Caesarea Maritima? If you are King Herod, with basically unlimited resources and ‘free’ labor, you build an aqueduct. … And, he built it so well that it transported water almost continually for 1200 years.”
Geography & spirituality: What Biblical Geography Can Do for Your Spiritual Life
“One of God’s stated purposes in bringing the Hebrews from Egypt was to give them a land that fostered faith (Deuteronomy 11:10-15). The land’s dependency on rain for water and its location as a land bridge between world powers forced the Hebrews to trust God or starve. They would either influence the world or be influenced by it.”
Herod the Great: Herod the Great: The King’s Final Journey
[A gallery tour of the special Herod the Great exhibit in the Israel Museum. Outstanding!]
Jerusalem: Jerusalem Landmarks, Montefiore to Calatravo
“… an object or feature of a landscape or place that is easily seen and recognized at a distance, especially one that enables someone to establish their location.”