in honor of the Roman emperor Tiberius.
- Tiberias was founded by Herod Antipas, the son of Herod between the years
17-22 CE. Antipas named the new city in honor of his friend and benefactor the
emperor Tiberius. The city was built on an ancient burial ground. Because of
that, Jews were prohibited by religious laws from living in the town, and
Antipas had a hard time populating the city. Eventually the economic resources
placed at the disposal of Tiberias outweighed the religious injunctions, and the
population of the city expanded.
Great Rebellion Against Rome (66-70) - Josephus Flavius, the
Jewish commander of the Galilee, later to become the Roman historian of
the revolt, fortifies the city. But the population does not want to rebel. The
city elders surrender to Vespasian, the Roman commander, without a fight.
Late Roman - Early Byzantine- During the first half of the second century
Rabbi Shimeon Bar Yohai cleanses the city from the ancient graves. Once that
matter is taken care of Tiberias becomes the most important Jewish center in the
Land of Israel. During the times of Rabbi Yehuda Nasi, Tiberias is home to many
sages and rabbis, and for the next 5 centuries serves as the center of Jewish
life in the land of Israel - the seat of the Nasi - the highest Jewish authority
in the Jewish world.
During the 4th century, when the Roman
Empire embraces Christianity the Jews of Tiberias are harassed by a Jewish
convert to Christianity, Joseph the Commes, he is the most important Byzantine
official in the city. During his time the first church is built in the
town. During the 4th century Tiberias was also home to a large Samaritan
Around the year 400 the Jerusalem Talmud
is canonized in Tiberias (even though it was edited and finalized in Tiberias,
it is, never the less, called the Jerusalem Talmud).
425 CE - The title and position of Nasi is annulled by the Byzantine
Mar Zutra, the son of Rosh HaGola, (the exilarch, Head of
the Jewish Diaspora), who resided in Baghdad, settles in Tiberias.
A Persian army invades the land of Israel and expels the Byzantines. The Jewish
communities in the east, and in the Land of Israel, sided with the Persians.
- The Byzantines expel the Persians. The Land of Israel is under
Christian-Byzantine rule again.
636 - Tiberias is conquered by the
Arabs. The city remains the center of the Jewish community in the Land of
Israel. During the 7th century the Nikud, the system of vowel notation, in use
in Hebrew to this day, was invented in Tiberias.
The Crusadet Period
- Tiberias becomes the capital of the Principality of Galilee.
Crusader's expelled from Tiberias by the Mamlukes.
Don Joseph, Duke of Naxos, rebuilds Tiberias and renews the Jewish community in
Tiberias abandoned by Jewish community due to fighting between the local farmers
The Bedouin prince Dahr el Omar, resettles Tiberias and reinstates the Jewish
community. Rabbi Haim Abulafiya settles in the town.
Dahr's son, Chilibi, is nominated governor of Tiberias.
- Rabbi Menahem of Vitbesk and a group of Hassidic Jews settle in Tiberias.
1837 - An earthquake devastates
20th century - Tiberias expands
beyond the old city walls. New neighborhoods are built on the slopes above the
April 16-18, 1948
- Jewish forces conquer Tiberias. The Arab inhabitants flee the city.
Population of the city today:
Sites of Interest
Roman gates and walls, Byzantine city, Church of St. Peter, Grave of Rabbi Akiva,
Graves of Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakai and the Rambam. Synagogue of Hamat Tiberias,
Old Cemetery, Tiberias Hotsprings, Grave of Rabbi Meir the Miracle Maker.