GADARA, -an ancient city of Syria, in the Decapolis, about 6 miles S.E. of the Sea of Galilee, on the banks of the Hieromax. The site, now called Um Deis, is marked by extensive ruins, which are quite in keeping with the statements of Josephus and Polybius that Gadara was the capital of Puma, and one of the most strongly fortified places in the country. The walls can still be traced in a circuit of about 2 miles ; one of the principal streets - a via recta, or straight street - has evidently been bordered on both sides by colonnades; and two theatres are the most noticeable of the ruined edifices. The cliffs round the town are full of tombs excavated in the limestone rock, and by a curious irony of fate these chambers of the dead are the only places where a living inhabitant of Gadara is to be fjund. According to Josephus, Gadara was a Greek city, and it appears at least not improbable that it was a foreign settlement. The name does not occur in the Scriptures ; but in the New Testament, the phrase " the country of the Gadarenes " is used more than once, and there is no reason to doubt that the vicinity of the town was the scene of the healing of the denioniacs by the Saviour, recorded in Matt. viii., Mark v., and Luke viii. Josephus informs us that Gadara was captured by Antiochus in 218 B.C., and, about 20 years afterwards, stood a ten months' siege by Alexander Jammis, It was twice taken by Vespasian, though, on the first occasion, the Jewish inhabitants offered a stout resistance. At a later period it recovered from the injuries he inflicted, and was one of the most beautiful and flourishing cities of Syria; and it was not till after the Mahometan conquest that it fell again into decay. Its archaeon or prefecture is mentioned in the Midrash Rabba (circa 278) and other Jewish writings. According to Dr 0. Blau the town was also known as the Arabian Antioch, To the literary student it is interesting as the birthplace of Meleager the anthologist.
See Porter in J011112-. of Sueretl Literature, vol. vi. ; Jour0. Asiatique, 1867, p. 191; Zeitsch. d. D. Mary. Ges., 1869.