1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Abila

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For works with similar titles, see Abila.

Abila, (1) a city of ancient Syria, the capital of the tetrarchy of Abilene, a territory whose extent it is impossible to define. It is generally called Abila of Lysanias, to distinguish it from (2) below. Abila was an important town on the imperial highway from Damascus to Heliopolis (Baalbek). The site is indicated by ruins of a temple, aqueducts, &c., and inscriptions on the banks of the river Barada at Sūk Wādi Baradā, a village called by early Arab geographers Ābil-es-Sūk, between Baalbek and Damascus. Though the names Abel and Abila differ in derivation and in meaning, their similarity has given rise to the tradition that this was the place of Abel's burial. According to Josephus, Abilene was a separate Iturean kingdom till A.D. 37, when it was granted by Caligula to Agrippa I.; in 52 Claudius granted it to Agrippa II. (See also Lysanias.) (2) A city in Perea, now Ābil-ez-Zeit.