The journey to Israel can take many forms, but in antiquity if you were sailing there from Greece, you would go to the Caesarea Maritima, Herod’s spectacular man-made port. We will visit it first. There is now a nice film one can see of what it would have looked like… here are some stills I took from the film….
The harbor complex seems to have been modeled on the harbor in Alexandria where the famous Pharos lighthouse could be seen… but not to be outdone, Herod also built a theater, a hippodrome by the sea, a major palace complete with swimming pool containing sea water, and of necessity a major aqueduct to bring fresh water down the beach from Mt. Carmel or Joppa. Here is the ancient exit ramp (most of the theater is reconstructed and modern, and they were setting up for a rock concert when we were there in May). The name of the exit ramp— the vomitorium… where the actors would be spit out and head for the Roman baths. Herod fancied himself a great ruler in the style of the Greeks and Romans, even though he was half Idumean and half Jewish.