International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Christian Topography of Byzantine Gaza
Moain Sadeq

The important geo-strategic location of Gaza on the road between Asia and Africa made it acquire an extraordinary military, economic and spiritual importance throughout history. It was settled since the 5th millennium BC through the following historic periods. Gaza was depicted on the Byzantine mosaic map of Madaba as the second largest cities after Jerusalem. Saint Hilarion, who born in the village of Thabatha, Gaza, in 291 introduced monasticism into Palestine and built the first monastery approximately seven kilometers south of the city of Gaza. Constantine the Great rewarded the inhabitants of Maioumas, the seaport of Gaza, for their early adoption of Christianity by elevating it to the status of a “polis”. By the edict of the Byzantine emperor Arcadius paganism was eliminated in Gaza and a church was built in 407. Soon Gaza became important in the early Christian world attracting people to settle at a series of villages mentioned in the literature, depicted on the Madaba map and excavated within the present borders of the Gaza Strip.

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