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Ancient Jewish Cities & Regions: Ptolemaïs

Ancient Phoenician port city located north of the Mount Carmel peninsula on a four mile wide plain at the foot of the Galilean mountains. Akko was built at one of the few natural harbors on the Palestinian coast. During the Israelite conquest of Canaan [12th c. BCE], the tribe of Asher failed to conquer the city but instead melded with the Canaanite population in the surrounding area.

After the Hellenistic conquest [4th c. BCE] it was renamed "the city of Ptolemy" for Ptolemy II and retained that name through the period of Roman occupation. It was a major base for Greek and Roman forces during the series of Jewish revolts from 165 BCE to 135 CE. The Greco-Roman citadel that the crusaders called "Acre" was the site of several key battles between Muslims and Christians in the 12th-13th c. CE. Though this city was just 24 miles from Nazareth and was one end of the route from Damascus to the sea that passed through Capernaum, it is never mentioned in the gospels. But Acts 21:7 portrays Paul as paying a brief visit to local Christians on his fateful final trip to Jerusalem [ca. 60 CE]. The ancient harbor eventually lost its importance due to extensive silting and the city was abandoned in favor of Haifa a few miles to the south.

Sources: Into His Own