Golan ( he|גּולן; ar|جولان ' or ') is the name of a biblical
town later known from the works of Josephus
(first century CE) and Eusebius (''Onomasticon'', early 4th century CE).
Archaeologists localize the biblical city of Golan at Sahm el-Jaulān
n village east of Wadi
in the Daraa Governorate
, where early Byzantine
ruins were found. Israeli historical geographer, Zev Vilnay
, tentatively identified the town Golan with the Goblana (Gaulan) of the Talmud
which he thought to be the ruin ''ej-Jelêbîne'' on the Wâdy Dabûra, near the Lake of Huleh
, by way of a corruption of the site's original name. According to Vilnay, the village took its name from the district Gaulanitis
(Golan). The ruin is not far from the Daughters of Jacob Bridge
. The traces of the town were described by G. Schumacher
in the late 19th-century as being "a desert ruin," having "no visible remains of importance, but aving
the appearance of great antiquity."
Golan, in Grecised form Gaulanitis ( el|Γαυλανῖτις '), is the name of the region apparently named for the town of Golan.
During much of the Hellenistic period
, when the name Gaulanitis was coined, the region was part of the Seleucid Empire
In Roman times it was shared between the Roman provinces of Judaea
The history and antiquities of al-Golan - International Conference
', Al-Bassel Center for Archaeological Research and Training, 2007-2008.
The area is referred in the Hebrew Bible as the territory of Manasseh
in the conquered territory of Bashan
: Golan was the most northerly of the three cities of refuge
east of the Jordan River
(). Manasseh gave this Levitical city
to the Gershonite Levites
(; ). According to the Bible, the Israelites
conquered Golan, taking it from the Amorite
During the Persian period
(c. 539–332 BCE) the Golan region, together with the Bashan
, formed the satrapy
Hellenistic and Early Roman periods
Now named Gaulanitis, the area formed a district all by itself during the early Hellenistic period.
Once the Seleucid Empire
started its gradual collapse, the Golan became a target for Iturean
and other Arab tribes.
At the same time it was enveloped by the regional wars fought by Hasmonean
ruler Alexander Jannaeus
(r. 103-76 BCE) and the Nabatean
kings Obodas I
and Aretas III
between ca. 93–80 BCE, leading to the conquest of the Golan by the former.
In 63 BCE the entire former Seleucid realm was conquered by Roman
and the Golan is settled by the Itureans.
In 23 BCE the Jewish king Herod the Great
, a client ruler
loyal to Rome, receives the rule over the wider Hauran
region and leaves it to his heirs who hold it until the death of Agrippa II
at the end of the first century CE.
The city of Golan was known to Josephus
. Near Golan, Alexander Jannaeus
was ambushed by King Obodas I
of the Nabateans
. It formed the eastern boundary of Galilee
and was part of the tetrarchy of Philip
. It was described by Eusebius
in his Onomasticon
as a large village that gave its name to the surrounding country.
Late Roman and Byzantine periods
The region was prosperous between the 2nd and the 7th century CE when pagan communities were step by step replaced by Christian ones.
A different view is that the Christians of the Golan were Ghassanids
, an Arab tribe originally from Yemen
, used by the Byzantines
as frontier guards since the end of the 5th century.
An important Jewish presence was attested by archaeology since the Roman period in the Golan, and by the 6th century the population of the Byzantine Golan was made up by Jews and Christian Ghassanids.
The Golan was prosperous during the Roman and Byzantine periods, but had a purely rural character and lacked any larger towns.
Category:Archaeological sites on the Golan Heights
Category:Hebrew Bible cities
Category:Ancient Jewish settlements of the Golan Heights
Category:Former populated places on the Golan Heights
Category:Ancient Jewish history