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Around the time of the rebellion Sepphoris had a Roman theater - in later periods, bath-houses and mosaic floors depicting human figures.

Sepphoris and Jerusalem may be seen to symbolize a cultural divide between those that sought to avoid any contact with the surrounding Roman culture and those who within limits, were prepared to adopt aspects of that culture.

The Jerusalemite Josephus, a son of Jerusalem's priestly elite had been sent north to recruit the Galilee into the rebellion's fold, but was only partially successful.

He made two attempts to capture Sepphoris, but failed to conquer it, the first time because of fierce resistance, the second because a garrison came to assist in the city's defence.

Umayyad rule was replaced by Abbasid rule, and Arab and Islamic dynasties continued to control the city, with a brief interlude during the Crusades, up until World War I.

Throughout this period of time, the city was known by the Semitic name Saffuriya.

Hellenistic and Jewish influences seemed blended together in daily town life while each group, Jewish, pagan and Christian, maintained its distinct identity.

In the centuries between the rule of Herod Antipas and the end of the Byzantine era, (7th century), the city reportedly thrived as a center of learning, with a diverse, multiethnic and mutlireligious population of some 30,000 living in relatively peaceful coexistence.


Aside from being a center of spiritual and religious studies, it developed into a busy metropolis for commerce due to its proximity to important trade routes through Galilee.

In 104 BCE, the Judean priestly dynasty of the Hasmoneans conquered Galilee under the leadership of either Alexander Jannaeus or Aristobulus I and at this time the town may have been administered by a quarter-master, probably Jewish, and by the middle of the 1st century BCE, after the campaigns of Pompey, it fell under Roman rule in 63 BCE became one of the five synods of Roman influence in the Near East.

The city was called Sepphoris from the word tzippori, a variant of the Hebrew word for bird, tzippor, perhaps, as a Talmudic gloss suggests, because it is "perched on the top of a mountain, like a bird".

The Crusaders built a fort and watchtower atop the hill, overlooking Saffuriya,).


In 1187, the field army of the Latin Kingdom marched from their well-watered camp at Sephory to be cut off and destroyed at the Battle of Hattin.

It lies 286 m above sea level and overlooks the Beit Netofa Valley.



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