Fort Worth, TX
Bet She'an Christian Fresco
Photograph - Photography
Dating to the 4th century, this fresco cross marks a baptistery site in the Roman ruins of Bet She'an [Beit She'an/Beth Shan/Scythopolis], Israel.
One of the oldest cities in the ancient Near East, Bet She'an [Beth Shan] displays over 20 layers of civilization reaching back to 5000 BCE. Once ruled by Canaanites, Egyptians, Philistines, Israelites,Romans, & Muslims, visitors today witness the impressive remains of the once dominant crossroads city. Bet She'an served as the center of Egyptian rule in the region from the 16th to 12th century BCE. Philistines displayed the dead bodies of King Saul & his sons on the city wall following the Battle of Mount Gilboa (1 Samuel 31). The biblical King David conquered the city, and King Solomon used Bet She'an as an administrative center within his kingdom. Under the Romans Bet She'an [Scythopolis] served as the leading city of the Roman Decapolis, with an estimated population of 40,000. [The only city in the Decapolis located west of Jordan.] Pagans and Jews comprised the majority population in the early Roman period. The conversion of Constantine (312 CE) and Byzantine rule shifted the majority religious adherence in Bet She'an to Christian by the close of the 4th century CE. Muslims gained control of the city in the late 7th century CE. A devastating earthquake in 749 CE destroyed the once grand city.
Today the archeological site under the care of the Bet She'an National Park, Israel, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. One tenth of the Roman city has been excavated for display to modern visitors. Ongoing archeological excavations continue to reveal new insights into Bet She'an's past.
This image was created by photographer & historian, Stephen Stookey, for display in a home, office, and/or church. Original image captured with a Canon 5D III & Canon 16-35 f/2.8L USM lens.
August 13th, 2014
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