Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Azotus

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AZOTUS, the name given by Greek and Roman writers to Ashdod, or Eshdod, an ancient city of Palestine, now represented by a few remains in the little village of Esdud, in the pashalik of Acre. It was situated a short distance inland from the Mediterranean, on the usual military route between Syria and Egypt, about 18 geographical miles N.E. of Gaza. As one of the five chief cities of the Philistines, and the seat of the worship of Dagon, it maintained, down even to the days of the Maccabees, a vigorous, though somewhat intermittent, independence against the power of the Israelites, by whom it was nominally assigned to the territory of Judah. In spite of its being dismantled by Uzziah, and somewhat later, in 731 B.C., captured by the Assyrians, it was strong enough in the next century to resist the assaults of Psammetichus for twenty-nine years. Ptestored by the Roman Gabinius from the ruins in which it had been left by the Jewish wars, it was presented by Augustus to Salome, the sister of Herod. It became the seat of a bishop early in the Christian era, but seems never to have attained any importance as a town.