The Ten Cities

Decapolis is derived from the Greek word meaning Ten Cities (deka meaning ten, and polis meaning a city). They were a group of cities generally located to the east of the The Sea Of Galilee. During His human lifetime, Jesus Christ was well familiar with the neighboring Decapolis from His home on the north shore of the sea, at Capernaum, after He left Nazareth.

The Decapolis were inhabited primarily by Greek people who settled in the region after the time of Alexander the Great's conquest (see Ancient Empires - Greece), and were established as a political entity after the Romans occupied the land from about 65 B.C. (see Ancient Empires - Rome and Roman Legions and Roman Roads).

The cities were Scythopolis, ("city of the Scythians" - ancient Bethshean, the only one of the Decapolis located to the west of the Jordan River), Hippus, Gadara, Pella (to which the Christians fled just before the destruction of Jerusalem), Philadelphia (ancient Rabbath-ammon), Gerasa, Dion, Canatha, Raphana, and Damascus. According to Ptolomy, their number was later increased to eighteen, although the others are not identified with certainty.

According to ancient historians, the Decapolis had their own courts, army and coinage. Ruins found today of their theaters, temples and other buildings indicate that they were an advanced culture for their time.

The area of the Decapolis was the scene of a number of New Testament events -

Fact Finder: Should Christians fear demons, or should demons fear Christians?
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