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Canatha

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A titular see of Arabia. According to inscriptions on coins and geographical documents, its name was Kanatha, Kanotha, or even Kenetha. The city had its own era and inscriptions found in Algeria have made known the existence of a cohors prima Flavia Canathenorum (Renier, Inscript. Alger., 1534, 1535). It is surely distinct from Kanata, another city that struck coins and is now the little village of Kerak, north-east of Edraï or Derat, also in Arabia. Moreover, it is not Maximianopolis, because Severus, bishop of that see, and Theodosius, Bishop of Kenatha, were together present at Chalcedon in 451. Finally, it is not certain that it can be identified with Canath ( Numbers 32:42 ; 1 Chronicles 2:23 ), which stood, probably, farther south. The city is first mentioned by Josephus (Bel. jud., I, xix, 2; Ant. jud., XV, v, 1) apropos of a defeat of Herod by the Arabs. Pline and Ptolemy rank it among the towns of Decapolis ; Eusebius of Caesarea and Stephanus Byzantius say it was near Bostra. It figures in older "Notitiae episcopatuum" as a suffragan of Bostra ; one bishop is known, Theodosius, 449-458 ( Lequien, II, 867). Canatha is today El-Qanawat; this village, north-east of Bostra, in the vilayet of Syria, stands at a height of about 4100 feet, near a river and surrounded by woods. The magnificent ruins are 4800 feet in length and 2400 in breadth. Among them are a Roman bridge and a rock-hewn theatre, with nine tiers of seats and an orchestra fifty-seven feet in diameter, also a nymphaeum, an aqueduct, a large prostyle temple with portico and colonnades, and a peripteral temple preceded by a double colonnade. The monument known as Es-Serai dates from the fourth century and was originally a temple, afterwards a Christian basilica. It is seventy-two feet long, and was preceded by an outside portico and an atrium with eighteen columns.


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