"Philippoupolis" Shahba' by dionysias

Shahba' Travel Guide: 33 reviews and 77 photos

An Unfinished Imperial Town

Shahba , A small town located in southern Syria , about 85 kilometers south of Damascus , on the way to Sweida the biggest town in the region .
Administratively Shahba is located in Muhafazat As Suwayda ( Arabic for Governorate of As Suwayda ) , being home for 26,000 inhabitants , it is the second largest town after Sweida itself ( the governorate center ) in this governorate .
This small town was renowned as the birthplace of a Roman Emperor, Marcus Julius Philippus, who was known as Philip the Arabian. this emperor tried to make his birthplace a great roman town , and even a replica of Rome itself , but the shortness of his reign prevented him from accomplishing his aim , but remarkable monuments still be presented from that thriving time in this town which was renamed Philippoupolis including temples , baths , a theatre , roman villas and a wonderful collection of mosaics resembling many Greek myths .

Marcus Julius Philippus

Known widely as Philip the Arabian was born in Shahba , which was in the Roman Province of Arabia in that time . He was a member of an important equestrian family of Arab descent , in 234 AD he became the praetorian perfect under the reign of Emperor Gordian III , who was later killed in a battle with the Persians near Doura Europos ( Eastern Syria ) , then the Roman Legions declared Philip as the new emperor in 244 AD .
He faced many problems during his short time in power , the war with Persia , the vibrating Danube frontiers , the internal civil war led by dissident generals .
He quickly settled a peace with king Shapur I ending war with Persia , then concentrated towards the northern frontiers of the empire , he initiated a number of campaigns against the Goths and other tribes on the Danube , then he returned to Rome in 248 AD to celebrate the first millennia of Rome in the meantime he put an end to the persecution of the Christians , Some of the most respected fathers of the church, including St. Jerome, considered Philip to be the first Christian emperor .
But he was later killed in a battle against his former general Decius , which was appointed by Philip as the head of the campaigns against the Goths . The Armies of Philip and Decius Met near Verona , he was defeated and killed then in 249 AD .

The Dream of Building a Major Town

Philip attempted to make Shahba , renamed Philippoupolis , a great town and rival to other major western and eastern Roman towns , his prototype was Rome itself . the town was rebuilt in the Roman Style with tow main roads , an agora , a tetrapylon , palaces, theatre, baths and a temple erected by the Emperor to the memory of his father. Luxurious villas were erected for notables decorated with fine mosaics resembling the marvelous Greek mythology , and many of these monuments still standing today specially the marvelous collection of mosaics which is distributed between the Museums of Damascus , Sweida and Shahba .

  • Last visit to Shahba': Apr 2003
  • Intro Updated May 12, 2004
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“denia daniyi ,ma men waraha jeziyi”

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