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Historical-Archaeological Analysis And Healing Cults Of The Therapeutic Sites In The Eastern Mediterranean Basin

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the history and the archaeology of the most important and best-known hot springs in the Levant. It considers whether the historical accounts accord with the archaeological findings and chronological conclusions to be drawn from the excavations in Hammat-Tiberias, Hammat-Gader, Hammat-Pella, Kallirrhoe, and Emmaus-Nicopolis. The chapter presents social, religious and economic life in the spas during the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Early Muslim periods. One of the most impressive monumental bathing complexes in the eastern Mediterranean Basin was revealed in the course of the excavations in Hammat-Gader. Antoninus Placentinus, who visited the Hammat-Gader thermal baths in the second half of the sixth century CE, tells the tradition of healing lepers. Egyptian Sarapis and the local Zeus Baalbaaros played an important role in the nature of the spas as healing and fertility local gods.

Keywords: archaeological findings; eastern Mediterranean Basin; Hammat-Gader; healing lepers; historical accounts; hot springs



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