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Cappadocia, Turkey

CAPPADOCIA (Gr. Καπποδοκία), country in Asia Minor, which was made a Roman province by Tiberius in 17 C.E. The first known Jewish settlement there dates back to the second century B.C.E., when Ariarathes, king of Cappadocia, was asked by the Romans to maintain friendly relations with the Jews in view of the treaty between the Hasmoneans and Rome (I Macc. 15:22). In the first century B.C.E. friendly relations existed between the Herodian dynasty and the royal house of Cappadocia. Archelaus, the last Cappadocian king, gave his daughter Glaphyra in marriage to Alexander, the son of Herod (Jos., Ant, 16:11); Agrippa and Herod traveled to Cappadocia together (ibid., 16:23), and Archelaus visited Herod in order to reconcile him with Alexander (ibid., 16:261–69). In the quarrels between members of the Herodian dynasty, Archelaus acted as the mediator and succeeded in bringing a brief peace (Jos., Wars, 1:498–512). In appreciation, Herod reconciled Archelaus with the governor of Syria (Jos., Ant., 16:270). Glaphyra's return to Cappadocia after the execution of her husband Alexander did not mark a rupture of relations with the Herodian dynasty; she had borne Alexander two sons, Alexander and Tigranes (ibid., 17:139), and was subsequently married to Archelaus, the brother of Alexander (ibid., 18:350). Contacts between Cappadocia and Ereẓ Israel were not restricted to the royal families. At a later period, Cappadocian Jews lived in Jerusalem (Acts 2:9), in Sepphoris (TJ, Shev. 9:5, 39a), and in Jaffa (see *Frey in bibl.). A tombstone inscription found at Jaffa mentions a Cappadocian flax merchant buried there. Two Cappadocian sages who had settled in Ereẓ Israel are mentioned: Judah of Cappadocia (TJ, Pe'ah 1:4, 16c; TJ, Kil. 8:1, 31b), and Samuel of Cappadocia (Ḥul. 27b; TJ, Ber. 2:6, 5b). Nathan the Babylonian (Ḥul. 47b; Tosef., Shab. 15:8) and R. Akiva (TJ, Yev. 16:4, 15d) visited Cappadocia, the latter reaching the capital, Megizah (Mazaga) of Cappadocia (Caesarea in Cappadocia). Cappadocia was considered one of the great Jewish settlements, like Babylonia and Alexandria (TJ, Shab. 2:2, 4d). The conditions of life of the Jews in Cappadocia were familiar to the sages, as is evidenced, for example, by their permitting the Cappadocian Jews to use naphtha for their Sabbath lights, since no other oil was available to them (TJ, Shab. 26a; Tosef., Shab. 2:3). Contacts between Ereẓ Israel and Cappadocia are further attested to by the Mishnah (Ket. 13:11), which states that in the view of R. Simeon b. Gamaliel, a Jew who married a woman in Cappadocia and later divorced her in Ereẓ Israel was to pay her ketubbah in Cappadocian currency.


Schuerer, Gesch, 3 (1909), 23; A. Schalit, Hordos ha-Melekh (1960), 287ff., 300ff; Frey, Corpus, 2 (1952), 910, 931; S. Shapira, Ha-Aliyyah la-Regel bi-Ymei Bayit Sheni (1965), 69, 86 n.266; A.H.M. Jones, Cities of the Eastern Roman Provinces (1937), 175–91.

[Lea Roth]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.