Identifying Bathyra Of Zamaris

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yakovzutolmai
Posts: 160
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 6:03 am

Identifying Bathyra Of Zamaris

Post by yakovzutolmai »

Bathyra, the center for the Babylonian Jews who may have played a major role as devotees of the "Damascus Covenant", has been lost to history. This was supposedly a fort and town founded by Zamaris so he could protect the region from robbers at Herod's orders.

There's one clue from Josephus's Autobiography which is interesting. He claims the locals call their principal city, "Ecbatana". From Ecbatana, they fled to Gamala for safety. In spite of their loyalty to Rome, and the survival of their leader Philippus (grandson of Zamaris, son of Jacimus) following the zealot raiding of Agrippa's palace in Jerusalem, the Roman authority Varus intended to persecute Jews of the area in favor of Syrians. Josephus states he is kin to Sohaemus, of the Emesene clan and King.

It is my current hypothesis that Izates - who is a figurehead of the rivalry between Arabs and Jews in greater Mesopotamia - kills Sampsiceramus II, father of Sohaemus. The continued existence of a rivalry between Jews and Arabs would be expected. We also see this rivalry in Seleucia following the Anileus affair.

The identification of their principle city - which must be Bathyra - as "Ecbatana" by nickname is an important clue. The implication is a large, flat hill with ringed walls.

It has been long assumed that Bathyra was located near Nawa. Down the stream was the citadel of Ashteroth and Carnaim. We find two large hills near Nawa, one of which has a curious ring structure surrounding it. This area of Syria is noted for tragic archeological losses due to political conflict. Bathrya could be right under our noses.
tradeRoutes.jpg
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These are the trade routes through Judea. The one on the right bypasses Damascus and comes around the outside of Trachonitis to meet Bosra. From there, to Rabbah. The middle route is the one raided by robbers of Trachonitis, and guarding it was Zamaris's purpose.
overhead1.JPG
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Here is the region up close. You can see Gamala on the left, and El Shykh sa'ad is considered to be Carnaim. The grey is Trachonitis on the right. Nawa is around where Bathyra is meant to be.

The association of Nawa with Bathyra is ancient. The 19th century map below shows this, however I have marked the tel which I think is our "Ecbatana":
InkedTrachonitis_zur_Römerzeit_LI.jpg
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Continued...
Last edited by yakovzutolmai on Fri Sep 17, 2021 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
yakovzutolmai
Posts: 160
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 6:03 am

Re: Identifying Bathyra Of Zamaris

Post by yakovzutolmai »

overhead.JPG
overhead.JPG (505.56 KiB) Viewed 111 times
This is the hill up close.

Note this curious structure:
wall.JPG
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Finally, the proximity to Gamala. Imagine the Babylonian Jews fleeing from one to the other.
gamala.JPG
gamala.JPG (443.77 KiB) Viewed 111 times
Last edited by yakovzutolmai on Fri Sep 17, 2021 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
yakovzutolmai
Posts: 160
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 6:03 am

Re: Identifying Bathyra Of Zamaris

Post by yakovzutolmai »

Here is the view toward Damascus:
damasc.JPG
damasc.JPG (496.54 KiB) Viewed 111 times
Toward Carnaim:
ashteroth.JPG
ashteroth.JPG (515.68 KiB) Viewed 111 times
The ruins of Ashteroth looking toward the hill:
carnaim.JPG
carnaim.JPG (374.19 KiB) Viewed 111 times
yakovzutolmai
Posts: 160
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 6:03 am

Re: Identifying Bathyra Of Zamaris

Post by yakovzutolmai »

Finally, the value of the site protecting the route from Damascus to Perea:
trachonitis.JPG
trachonitis.JPG (440.19 KiB) Viewed 110 times
Trachonitis is highlighted on the right.
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