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PHASAELIS, PHASAELUS:

City in Palestine founded by Herod the Great in honor of his brother Phasael (Phasaelus). It was situated in the Jordan valley north of Jericho, in a barren region, which was, however, made fit for cultivation (Josephus, "Ant." xvi. 5, § 2; "B. J." i. 21, § 9). In his will Herod left the city to his sister Salome ("Ant." xvii. 8, § 1; "B. J." ii. 6, § 3), and she made it over to the empress Livia ("Ant." xviii. 2, § 2; "B. J." ii. 9, § 1). Like the whole region about Jericho, this city was celebrated for its excellent palms and dates (Pliny, "Hist. Nat." xiii. 4, § 44). The city was still mentioned by Ptolemy, by Stephanus Byzantinus, and by the geographer of Ravenna; in the Middle Ages it was the village Phasellum. Its name has been preserved in the present Khirbat Fasa'il ('Ain al-Fasa'il); and the brook which flows thence to the Jordan is called Wadi Fasa'il.

Bibliography:
  • Ritter, Erdkunde, xv. 458;
  • Robinson, Palästina, ii. 555;
  • Boettger, Lexicon zu Flavius Josephus, s.v. (p. 206);
  • Schürer, Gesch. ii. 3, 158;
  • Buhl, Geographie des Alten Palästina, pp. 115, 181.
G. S. Kr.
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