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Mar 22, 2011

The Real City name Is not Tiberias But Maoziyah

2000 years ago, the name of the city of Tiberias was "Maoziyah"

The Sea of Galilee website is reporting that there is a movement among residents of Tiberias to revert back to the "original" name of Maoziya and stop using the name Tiberias. They claim that the name "Tiberias" came from a Roman emperor, or governor perhaps, who supposedly hated the Jews and had a dysfunctional personality.

The residents behind this movement say that it is inappropriate for the great city to be called by the name of such a person, and it should be called Maoziyah. Maoziyah, the original name, was the name of one of the 24 families of kohanim who served a shift in the beis hamikdash. After the destruction, this family settled in what was then called by their name and later became known as Tiberias.

1. The gemara refers to Tiberias as the name of the city, so it could not have been called Maoziyah for very long, if at all.

2. "movement of residents" can be thousands of people pushing for change or it can be 5 people with a website.

3. I dont expect their petition to be successful.


  1. >1. The gemara refers to Tiberias as the name of the city, so it could not have been called Maoziyah for very long, if at all.

    Whether it was initially built by Romans or not, I do not know, but how does this line of argument make sense? The name טבריה appears only once in the Mishnah, and a number of times in the Tosefta and Tannaic midrashim. That may or may not mean anything, but since we think the Mishnah was finalized and compiled approximately 200, that gives plenty of time for an earlier name, especially since the contention seems to be that the Roman city was built up out of an already existing city. The Gemara is only a later witness.

  2. The city was called Teveriah since it wa built in the first century CE. The article doesn't claim that is was ever called anything else. As prior to the city's establishment as a Roman polis it was a graveyard, Jews refused to lived there until R Shimon Bar Yochai allowed it much later on.

  3. I believe the Gemara in Megillah, when discussing cities that had walls from the time of Yehoshua, identifies Tiberias as "Rakat", a city mentioned in Yehoshua as being near the Kinneret (and another walled town of that name).

    Where is the source of the name Maoziyah? I've never heard of it.


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