DISCUSSION

Phoenicia and Galilee

4. Acchabaron ('Akbara)


Two Galilean villages have been proposed for this locality of the map, Arrabah and Akhbara. They are some 20 km afar from each other. In Arrabah (called also Gabara and Garaba in antiquity) there are remains of buildings, tombs, and a church. In Akhbara a synagogue, walls, tombs, cisterns, oil presses are said to have been found.

Herbert Donner (The Mosaic Map of Madaba, Kampen 1992, 97)
This is most probably identical with Akbara, about 2,5 km south of Safad in Upper Galilee, mentioned by Fl. Josephus, Jewish War II:20:6 (par. 573) unter the name Akcabaron petra "the rock of the Akchabarites". If this identification is correct, the three circles beneath the representation might be the waters of Merom This is most probably identical with Akbara, about 2,5 km south of Safad in Upper Galilee, mentioned by Fl. Josephus, Jewish War II:20:6 (par. 573) unter the name Akcabaron petra "the rock of the Akchabarites". If this identification is correct, the three circles beneath the representation might be the waters of Merom (Josh 11:5.7) where Joshua slew the king of Hazor. The village north of Agbaron could be Safad itself, and the other one west of it, Merom. The plain seems to be the plateau west of Safad. In this village of Galilee a synagogue, walls, tombs, cisterns, oil presses are found.

Michael Avi-Yonah (The Madaba Mosaic Map, Jerusalem 1954, 76)
Clermont-Ganneau has suggested the identification of this place with the Gabara of Josephus (Jewish War II, 629 etc.), modern 'Arrabat el Battauf. In view of the topography represented on the fragment, a more suitable identification is with Acchabara, the village fortified by Josephus (Jewish War II, 573) modern Akhbarei (Arab. Akhbara). The village placed north of it in a deep cleft between two mountains would then be Sepph (Safed), and the village across the plain to the west would be Meiron. If these suppositions are correct, we would have here the earliest pictorial representations of these cities, both of which are listed among the fortresses of Josephus (loc.cit.).

For more sources and bibliography see:
Tabula Imperii Romani. Iudaea - Palaestina (Jerusalem 1994) s.v. "Acchabaron", 56 and "Gabara, Araba I", 127.

Map Section 1 Place Sources

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Created Tuesday, December 19, 2000 at 23:21:46
by Eugenio Alliata ofm in collaboration with Stefano de Luca ofm
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copyright - Studium Biblicum Franciscanum - Jerusalem 2000