Ancient Roman Home to Christ's Apostles ‘Discovered’ in Israel
Archaeologists believe they may have found the Roman city of Julias – said to have been home to three of Jesus’s apostles – in modern-day Israel.
A dig in the Bethsaida Valley Nature Reserve in the upper Jordan Valley revealed a multi-layered site containing a Roman-style bathhouse, among other remains and artifacts.
Researchers are basing their exploration on the writings of Flavius Josephus, the first-century Romano-Jewish scholar and historian, who said the town of Bethsaida was upgraded to a city and renamed Julias after Julia Augusta, mother of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, in 30 AD.
Speaking to Haaretz, Dr. Mordechai Aviam of Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee said that the works had been ordered by Philip, the son of biblical King Herod.
"Josephus reported that the king had upgraded Bethsaida from a village into a polis, a proper city. He didn't say it had been built on or beside or underneath it,” Aviam said. “And indeed, all this time, we have not known where it was. But the bathhouse attests to the existence of urban culture.”
The gospel of John names the disciples Philip, Andrew and Peter as being from the town Bethsaida.