Caesarea became the seat of the Roman governor of Judea in AD 6 and played an important part in early church history. Pontius Pilate resided here, and in the Book of Acts the work of Philip, Peter, and Paul at Caesarea is described. Both Eusebius and Origen worked at Caesarea. After the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, Caesarea became the most important city in Palestine; by the 6th century its population may have reached 100,000. The city's subsequent decline was hastened when the Persians and the Arabs sacked it early in the 7th century. Last occupied during the period of the Crusades, it was abandoned after its destruction by the Mamelukes in 1265. An aqueduct and a theater from Herod's time are still standing today.
Archaeological excavations between 1950 and 1961 revealed the main features of the city as described by the 1st-century historian Josephus, restored the extensive fortifications built by the Crusaders, and unearthed an inscription of Pontius Pilate. Investigations by underwater archaeologists in the 1980s confirmed Josephus's description of the harbor with its two massive breakwaters.
John P. Oleson, the Grolier Interactive Encyclopedia, 1997.
Bibliography: Hohlfelder,R. and Holum, K., King Herod's Dream: Caeserea by the Sea (1988); Levine, Lee I., Caesarea Under Roman Rule (1975).
Ancient ruins at Caesarea today
Caesarea is also mentioned as the capital of Syria in Tacitus' Histories II.78 (see Tacitus) and in Acts 23:23, 25:1-3. Pliny the Elder also mentions the city as Turris Stratonis (Natural History V.21.69). (El'baum, 63)
See why Pilate liked the place--you too can move there!