The Roman Miles of Bethel

Basing my data entirely from this and this article, I locate the Byzantine milestones from Jerusalem to Gophna (with the enormous help of the Survey). We may assume a mile to be roughly .9193 English Miles (1618 English Yards).

0- 31°46’36″N, 35°13’52″E (calculated back from Milestone 3).

1-31°46’34″N, 35°13’51″E (calculated back from Milestone 3)

2-31°48’5″N, 35°14’2″E (calculated back from Milestone 3)

3-31°48’48″N, 35°13’55″E (fixed by continued existence, number unreadable, location certain)

4-31°49’30″N, 35°13′”E (continued existence, number unreadable, exact location unknown to me and therefore extrapolated)

5-31°50’17″N, 35°13’38″E (fixed by continued existence, number readable, location certain)

6-31°51’2″N, 35°13’35″E (fixed by reference to Ramah in Eusebius)

7-31°52’31″N, 35°13’3″E (fixed by reference to Ramah in Jerome)

8-31°52’31″N, 35°13’3″E (extrapolated)

9-31°53’15″N, 35°12’44″E (extrapolated)

10-31°53’56″N, 35°12’35″E (Khirbet esh-She milestone. fixed by continued existence, unknown whether readable or unreadable)

11-31°54’34″N, 35°12’54″E

12- 31°55’2″N, 35°13’36″E

13-31°55’35″N, 35°14’11″E

Livingston has tried to make a map making the Khirbet esh-She milestone the eleventh. However, looking at the Survey’s map of Roman roads, I cannot come to the same conclusion. A check for this conclusion was Eusebius’s placing Gophna (Pharagx) at the 15th milestone and the Peutinger Tables‘ placing it 16 miles from Jerusalem. Indeed, as Livingston himself states, the 15th milestone had been found in the vicinity of Jifna (not, as he would expect, Jalazun).

Bethel, on the east side of the road, 12 milestones from Jerusalem when traveling to Nablus and somewhere near the 12th milestone from Jerusalem when traveling to Jerusalem (suggestively, between the 12th and 13th milestone), one mile away from Bethar/Beitin must be placed at either el Q’ada, 31°55’21″N, 35°13’45″E, or, the site which fits the Pilgrim’s description EXACTLY, Ein el-Q’asa, a two acre site at 31°55’7″N, 35°13’52″E. Since Beitin is at the 13th milestone, not the 12th, it still cannot be Early Byzantine Bethel.

UPDATE (as of May 6, 2012): I now consider Beitin to be Byzantine Bethel, since it is the only major site between the 12th and 13th milestones. The Bordeaux Pilgrim’s notes only state that the almond tree at which a number of events mentioned in the Bible took place was near Ein el-Q’asa, not that any settlement existed there.

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

2 thoughts on “The Roman Miles of Bethel”

Read the Comment Policy Before Commenting.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s