/seuh mair"ee euh/, n.
1. a district in ancient Palestine: later part of the Roman province of Syria; taken by Jordan 1948; occupied by Israel 1967.
2. the northern kingdom of the ancient Hebrews; Israel.
3. the ancient capital of this kingdom.

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Central region, ancient Palestine.

Extending about 40 mi (65 km) north-south and 35 mi (55 km) east-west, it was bounded by Galilee to the north, Judaea to the south, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, and the Jordan River to the east. It corresponds roughly to the northern portion of the modern West Bank territory. Ancient Shechem (near modern Nābulus) was the region's crossroads and political centre until the Assyrian conquest of Israel in the 8th century BC. The town of Samaria, its capital, was built by King Omri с 880 BC. It was taken by Sargon II in с 724–721 BC, and its inhabitants were transported into captivity. It was rebuilt by Herod the Great, who renamed it Sebaste in honour of the Roman emperor Augustus (Greek, Sebastos). In AD 6 the region became part of the Roman province of Judaea.

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also called  Sebaste , modern  Sabasṭiyah 

      ancient town in central Palestine. It is located on a hill northwest of Nāblus in the West Bank territory under Israeli administration since 1967. Excavations (1908–10; 1931–33; 1935) revealed that the site had been occupied occasionally during the late 4th millennium BC. The city was not founded until about 880/879 BC, when Omri made it the new capital of the northern Hebrew kingdom of Israel and named it Samaria. It remained the capital until its destruction by the Assyrians in 722.

      In New Testament times, Samaria was rebuilt and greatly enlarged by Herod the Great (37–4 BC), who renamed the city Sebaste in honour of the Roman emperor Augustus (Greek: Sebastos). Herod's city included an impressive temple to Augustus, strong fortifications, and many features of Hellenistic cities.

      Some of the most important remains of the Israelite period include a valuable collection of ivory carvings, which were probably from the palace of King Ahab (c. 874–c. 853 BC), and a series of ostraca (pottery or limestone inscription fragments) from the time of King Jeroboam II (8th century BC).

▪ historical region, Palestine
Hebrew  Shomron 

      the central region of ancient Palestine. Samaria extends for about 40 miles (65 km) from north to south and 35 miles (56 km) from east to west. It is bounded by Galilee on the north and by Judaea on the south; on the west was the Mediterranean Sea and on the east the Jordan River. The mountain ranges of southern Samaria continue into Judaea with no clearly marked division.

      Ancient Shechem (near modern Nāblus), in the centre of Samaria, served as the crossroads and political centre of the region.

      At the time of the Israelite (Israel) conquest of Palestine, the strategic sites of the region of Samaria were in the hands of the Canaanites. Although the Israelites were able to win footholds in the hill country, some of the key Canaanite strongholds in the neighbouring plains or valleys successfully resisted them until the days of King David (10th century BC). The region of Samaria was assigned to the house of Joseph, that is, to the tribe of Ephraim and to half of the tribe of Manasseh. After the death of King Solomon (10th century), the northern tribes, including those of Samaria, separated from the southern tribes and established the separate kingdom of Israel. Its capital first was at Tirzah (perhaps modern Tall al-Fāriʿah) and then, from the time of Omri (876–869 or c. 884–c. 872 BC), it was moved to the city of Samaria, then a new town built on a hilltop about 7 miles (11 km) northwest of Shechem. Although the northern kingdom was often stronger than Judah to the south and enjoyed greater economic development, it was crushed by Assyria in 722, and much of its population was carried into captivity.

      In New Testament times Samaria was under Roman control and was to some extent a centre for Hellenistic culture. Jesus had little to do with the Samaritans, but, in the apostolic age, Greek-speaking Christians preached to them; this preaching marked a transition stage in the extension of the church into the gentile world. The Samaritan sect, which traces its origin back to the northern Israelite form of the Mosaic religion, still exists in small numbers at Nāblus and accepts only the Pentateuch as Scripture (see Samaritan).

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Universalium. 2010.

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