ASCALON, now ASKULAN, one of the five chief cities of the Philistines, on the coast of the Mediterranean, 12 geographical miles N. of Gaza. It was a well-fortified town, and the seat of the worship of Dereeto. Though situated in the nominal territory of the tribe of Judah, it was never for any length of time in the possession of the Israelites. After the fall of the Macedonian empire, it became, like the rest of Plicenicia, tributary alternately to Syria and Egypt. Herod the Great was a native of the city, and added greatly to its beauty ; but it suffered severely in the later wars of the Romans and Jews. It again became a flourishing and important place, and from the 4th to the 7th century was the seat of a bishopric. During the first Crusade a signal victory was gained by the Christians in the neighbouring plain on - the 15th August 1099 ; but the city remained in the hands of the caliphs till 1157, when it was taken by Baldwin III., king of Jerusalem, after a siege of five months. By Baldwin IV. it was given to his sister Sibylla, on her marriage with William of Montferrat in 1178. When Saladin (1187) had almost annihilated the Christian army in the plain of Tiberias, Ascalon offered but a feeble resistance to the victor. At first he repaired and strengthened its fortifications, but afterwards, alarmed at the capture of St Jean d'Aere by Richard Coeur de Lion in 1191, caused it to be dismantled. It was again restored in the following year by the English king, but only again to be abandoned. From this time Ascalon lost much of its importance, and at length, in 1270, its fortifications were totally destroyed by Sultan Bibars, and its port filled up with stones. The place is now a desolate heap of ruins, with remains of its walls and fragments of granite pillars.