During the human lifetime of Jesus Christ, and well into the New Testament stage of Bible History, Caesarea was a major Roman political center in occupied Israel. It was located on the shore of The Mediterranean Sea, on the road from Egypt to Tyre, about 75 miles / 120 kilometers northwest of Jerusalem. It was built between 25 to 13 B.C. by Herod The Great, who named it after Caesar Augustus, the Roman emperor most famous for ordering the census (Luke 2:1) that resulted in Joseph and Mary traveling down from Nazareth to Bethlehem where The Savior was born.

The site had a long history. It was originally established as an anchorage by Sidonian king Abdashtart in the 4th century B.C., when it became known as "Strato's Tower." The Hasmoneans (see The Maccabees) took possession of it in 96 B.C., however Pompey brought it under Roman rule in 63 B.C. (see Ancient Empires - Rome).

Mark Antony presented the city to Cleopatra, however when Octavian (later known as Caesar Augustus) defeated Antony at Actium, it was put under the control of Herod who built it up and renamed it after the Caesar. It then became the capital of the Roman province of Judea, the headquarters for the procurators (governors) and the Roman troops (see Roman Legions).

Caesarea is mentioned frequently in New Testament events:

Fact Finder: What did Herod Agrippa I do that caused an angel of The Lord to strike him down?
Acts 12:21-23

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