MAḤOZA (, i.e., "The City"):

Babylonian city on the Tigris, three parasangs south of Ctesiphon. Near it was the citadel of Koke (, Χώχη), which was regarded as a part of Maḥoza. Owing to its proximity to the royal canal, Nehar Malka, it was called also "Maḥoza Malka" (Maoga-Malcha). Maḥoza existed in the third century (see below) and seems to have been inhabited solely by Jews, for one of the amoraim expressed his astonishment at not seeing a "mezuzah" on the gates of Maḥoza (Yoma 11a). Most of the Jews there were descendants of proselytes (Ḳid. 73a, b) and they are represented as given over to luxury, on account of which they were denounced as "children of Hell" (; R. H. 17a), as "effeminate" (Shab. 109a), and as "drunkards" (Ta'an. 26a). The women of Maḥoza had a passion for jewelry, and when Levi b. Sisi promulgated a halakah permitting women to wear their jeweled head-dress on Sabbath, eighteen women of one street alone took advantage of that decision, while only twenty-four women in the whole city of Nehardea followed their example (Shab. 33a). On the other hand, the people of Maḥoza were intelligent (owing to their drinking the water of the Tigris; Ber. 59b) and charitable (B. Ḳ. 119a).

Maḥoza had an academy, seemingly founded about the middle of the third century by Joseph b. Ḥama, Raba's father, who was succeeded by Rabbah (Sherira, in Neubauer, "M. J. C." i. 29). The academy was most prosperous under Raba, who attracted thither many students and thereby caused the decline of Abaye's academy at Pumbedita. Thus Maḥoza, after Pumbedita, may with justice be called the home of the Talmud; but after Raba's death, owing to the lack of able successors, the academy of Maḥoza gave way to that of Pumbedita. Maḥoza was destroyed in 363 by the Romans under Julian the Apostate, during the war against the Persians. It was rebuilt, however, and became later the capital of a small Jewish state governed by the Prince of the Captivity (the "Resh Galuta"). This Jewish independence did not last long, for the Jewish army, under Mar Zuṭra, the exilarch, was defeated by Kobad, King of Persia, and Mar Zuṭra, with his grandfather Mar Ḥanina, was executed on the bridge of Maḥoza (c. 520); the Jews there were taken captive by Kobad, and the family of the exilarch escaped to Judea.

About the middle of the sixth century Chosroes Nushirvan built in the vicinity of Maḥoza a town on the plan of Antioch; he called it "Antiocheia-Rumia," but the Arabs called it "Al-Maḥoza" (Gregory Bar Hebræus, "Ta'rikh al-Duwal," ed. Pokocke, Arabic text, p. 150). This town also had a large Jewish population, the greater part of which was put to death by the Persian general Mebodes when he captured the town in the beginning of the seventh century.

  • Fürst, Kultur- und Litteraturgesch. der Juden in Asien, p. 107, Leipsic, 1849;
  • Grätz, Gesch. 2d ed., iv. 274-275, 351, 375;
  • Neubauer, G. T. pp. 356-357.
E. C. M. Sel.
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