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Gerasa: Overall view, the South Theatre before restoration
Off the north decumanus (+32.282510+35.892409) lies the South Theatre (ca. 160s AD), which is larger than its northern counterpart. Only its lower tiers of seats belong to the original building, which was an odeion that doubled as a bouleuterion. It was enlarged to serve as a theatre in the 230s AD.
Gerasa (or Jarash) is the best-preserved Arabian city of Roman times. Gerasa first rose to importance as Antioch-on-the-Chrysorrhoas (Golden River) during Hellenistic and Roman times. Its location between Pella and Philadelphia ensured its continued prosperity as one of the cities of the Decapolis in Roman Syria. Captured by Alexander Jannaeus, king of Hasmonean dyansty in 83 BCE; was rebuilt by Romans in 65 CE. It flourished in the 2nd and 3rd centuries and was an important center in the development of Christianity. It was under Byzantine administration from ca. 330 to ca. 614. It was devastated by a major earthquake in 749.