Decapolis and Capitals

The ruins of Scythopolis (Beth Shean, Israel)

The ruins of Scythopolis, one of the towns of the Decapolis

Continuing my series of articles on Jordan in Antiquity, I added two articles today: one about the Decapolis and one about capitals. The latter is meant as an addition to yesterday’s piece on the Nabataeans, who tried to stress their cultural autonomy by designing a building order of their own, that was not recognizably Greek. If I wanted to explain it, I needed to show photos of other capitals: the Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and so on. For one reason or another, I enjoyed writing this piece of antiquarism.

The Decapolis was part of the original series of Jordanian articles. It was a group of towns in northern Jordan, northeastern Israel, and southwestern Syria. The name suggests that there were ten cities, but there were at least twelve, and at some point even eighteen members of the Decapolis. What they shared, was their (accepted) Greek legacy. This made them completely different from the Nabataeans, who rejected Hellenism.

The Decapolis is here and the capitals are here; and Bill made available a new text by Plutarch, On Tranquillity of the Mind.

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