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The Historical Works Of Venerable Bede

THE sources of the Jordan itself are commonly thought to be in the province of Phœnicia, at the foot of Mount Libanus, where Panium, or Cæsarea Philippi, is situated. This town, Panium, so called as descriptive of the cave from which the river Jordan flows, is said to have been built up and adorned by King Agrippa, with wonderful magnificence. In the country of Trachonitis, there is a fountain, after the likeness of a wheel, from which it has received the name of Phiale, fifteen miles distant from Cæsarea, full of sweet water, and having this peculiarity, that it never overflows, and yet never can be diminished. Philip, the tetrarch of this district, threw straw into this fountain, which was again cast up by the river in Panium. It is therefore evident that the sources of the Jordan are in Phiale; but that, after passing underground, it resumes its course in Phiale, and entering the lake, flows right through its shallows, and from thence proceeds without any break, for the space of fifteen miles, to a city named Julias, and thence divides the lake of Gennesar half-way on its whole course. After this it winds about for a long distance, and as it enters the Asphaltian, i.e. the Dead Sea, it presents a remarkable mass of waters. The colour of it is white, like milk; and for this reason it is distinguished by a long track in the Dead Sea. Now, the Sea of Gennesar, otherwise called the Sea of Galilee, is surrounded by large woods, and is a hundred and forty stadia in length. Its water is sweet and fit to drink; for it receives no mud or other coarse substance from any marshy pools, but is surrounded on all sides by a sandy shore, and has in its neighbourhood many pleasant towns. On the east lie Julias and Hippo; on the west is Tiberias, famous for its salubrious hot springs: the different kinds of fish which it contains are better, both in taste and in appearance, than those which are found in the other lake.








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