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Aerial View of Emmaus area Aerial View of Emmaus area

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Transliterated Name Source Name
Emmaus English
Emmaous Greek Ἐμμαούς
Ammaus, Ammaum, Emmaus, Emmaum, Maus, Amus Greek variations Άμμαούμ, Άμμαούς, Έμμαούμ, Έμμαούς,
Nicopolis Greek
Emmaus Latin
ʻImwas Arabic عمواس
Emmaom Hebrew אֶמָּאוֹם‎
Hammat Hebrew
Ammaus, Ammaum, Emmaus, Emmaum, Maus, Amus Hebrew variations אמאוס, אמאום, עמאוס, עמאום, עמוס, מאום, אמהום

Emmaus is situated at the eastern end of the Ayalon Valley. The name of the city has persisted in the name of the modern Arab village 'Imwas (map reference 149.138), near Latrun, on the old Jerusalem-Tel Aviv road. Emmaus (Ἐμμαούς, Aμμαούς) occupied an important strategic position on the road that ascends from the Coastal Plain to Jerusalem.


Emmaus is first mentioned in I Maccabees (3:40, 3:57, 4:3) as the place where the armies of the Seleucid kingdom encamped in their third campaign against Judas Maccabaeus, and where they were defeated and their camp captured. In the middle of the first century BCE, Emmaus was the capital of one of the toparchies of Judea. The Roman commander Cassius sold its inhabitants into slavery and in 4 BCE, following the death of King Herod, it became the center of an insurrection led by the shepherd Athronges. In retaliation, Varus, the proconsul of Syria, set fire to the city. Several tombstones found here, bearing the names of Roman soldiers, indicate that the Fifth Legion was encamped in the city during the First Jewish Revolt. Emmaus was still in existence in the days of Rabbi Akiba and later. During the Bar-Kokhba Revolt, the troops from Petra were stationed here. In the Talmud, the town is referred to as a major site in the Shephelah (J.T., Shevi'it 8, 9, 38d) and as a seat of the Samaritans (J.T., A.Z. 85, 44d). In the third century CE, Emmaus was granted the status of a city by the emperor Elagabalus (218-222 CE) and named Nicopolis. In the Byzantine period, its vicinity was made unsafe by the brigand Cyriacus, the head of a Jewish and Samaritan band. Samaritan inscriptions were discovered on the site, among them a bilingual inscription in Greek and Samaritan. Following the Arab conquest in 639 CE, Emmaus was struck by a plague that claimed thousands of lives. During the Crusades, a garrison of Knights Templar was stationed there.

Although it is certain that the city of Emmaus-Nicopolis was situated close to 'Imwas, near Latrun, scholars differ over whether it is the Emmaus mentioned in the New Testament (Lk. 24:13), which was 60 (according to some versions 160) stadia from Jerusalem. According to the Gospels, Jesus appeared to two of his disciples there, after his resurrection. Some scholars take this latter Emmaus to be Abu Ghosh, situated between Jerusalem and Emmaus, or el-Qubeibeh, northwest of it.

Maps and Aerial Views
Madaba Map and Aerial Views

Emmaus on the Madaba Map

  • Emmaus went by the name of Nicoplos at this time and is thus represented as ΝΙΚΟΠΟΛΙC on this map
 The Madaba Map

The 6th century CE Madaba Map is a tiled mosaic from the Saint George Church in Madaba, Jordan. In this section of the map, Emmaus goes by the name of ΝΙΚΟΠΟΛΙC (Nicopolis)

Click on Image for high resolution magnifiable map

Jean Housen - Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0

Aerial Views

  • Annotated Satellite Image (google) of the Emmaus area from
  • Emmaus in Google Earth
  • Emmaus on

Notes and Further Reading

Excavation Reports

Emmaus-Qubeibeh: The Results of Excavations at Emmaus-Qubeibeh and Nearby Sites (1873, 1887–1890, 1900–1902, 1940–1944) (SBF Collectio Maior 4), Jerusalem 1993

Bibliography from Stern et. al. (1993) and Stern et al (2008)

Main Publications

Emmaus-Qubeibeh: The Results of Excavations at Emmaus-Qubeibeh and Nearby Sites (1873, 1887–1890, 1900–1902, 1940–1944) (SBF Collectio Maior 4), Jerusalem 1993

A. Chouraqui, Abu Gosh: de l’Emmaus des croises au monastère de la resurrection, Ile-d’Yeu 1995

B. Chenu, Disciples d’Emmaüs, Paris 2003; ibid. (Review) MdB 156 (2004), 60

K. -H. Fleckenstein et al., Emmaus in Judäa: Geschichte, Exegese, Archäologie (Biblische Archäologie und Zeitgeschichte), Giessen 2005

Studies (includes Nicopolis)

H. Eshel, INJ 11 (1990–1991), 7–8

E. Dvorjetski, Aram 4 (1992), 425–449; 13–14 (2001–2002), 485–512; id., Medicinal Hot Springs in Eretz-Israel during the Period of the Second Temple, the Mishna and the Talmud (Ph.D. diss.), Jerusalem 1993 (Eng. abstract); id., Latomus 56 (1997), 567–581; id., Roman Baths and Bathing: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Roman Baths, Bath, 30. 3–4.4.1992 (JRA Suppl. Series 37; eds. J. Delaine & D. E. Johnston), Portsmouth, RI 1999, 117– 129; id. (et al.), Stories from a Heated Earth: Our Geothermal Heritage (eds. R. Cataldi et al.), San Diego, CA 1999, 34–49; id., BAR 30/4 (2004), 16–27, 60

O. Goldwasser, IEJ 42 (1992), 47–51

J. F. Strange, ABD, 2, New York 1992, 497–498

R. Shallev, The Emmaus Region during the Roman-Byzantine Period, RamatGan 1994 (Eng. abstract)

R. M. Mackowski, Cities of Jesus: A Study of the “Three Degrees of Importance” of Holy Land Places, Roma 1995

M. Ehrlich, ZDPV 112 (1996), 165–169; I. Roll, EI 25 (1996), 107*–109*

K. -H. Fleckenstein, Jahrbuch des Deutschen Evangelischen Instituts für Altertumswissenschaft des Heiligen Landes 5 (1997), 71–97; 10 (2004), 196–197

M. Gichon, OEANE, 2, New York 1997, 240–241

R. Ellenblum, Frankish Rural Settlements in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, Cambridge 1998

S. Wimmer, Jerusalem Studies in Egyptology, Wiesbaden 1998, 87–123

In Terrasanta dalla croiciata alla Custodia dei Luoghi Santi (ed. M. Piccirillo), Fireze 2000, 132

Z. Vseteckova, The Old Testament as Inspiration in Culture: International Academic Symposium, Prague, Sept. 1995 (eds. J. Heller et al.), Trebenice 2001, 96–110

E. Friedheim, RB 109 (2002), 101–108

Y. Hirschfeld, The Aqueducts of Israel, Portsmouth, RI 2002, 187–198; id., PEQ 136 (2004), 133–149

J. Read-Heimerdinger & J. Rius-Camps, Revista Catalana de Teologia 27 (2002), 23–42

E. Villeneuve, MdB 142 (2002), 56–57

N. Tzameret, JSRS 12 (2003), xix; C. P. Thiede, Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum 8 (2004), 593–599

P. Gruson, MdB Hors Série 2005, 50–51


M. Shiffers, RB 2 (1893). 26-40

E. Michon, ibid. 7 (1898), 269-271

I. Benzinger, ZDPV25 (1902). 195-203

M. Riemer, PJB 14 (1918), 32-43

G. Beyer, ZDPV 56 (1933), 218-246

The Rosenberger Israel Collection 3 (City Coins of Palestine), Jerusalem 1977

P. Figueras, CNI 26 (1978), 132-134

Y. Hirschfeld, IEJ 28 (1978), 86-92

J. Schwartz, ibid. 40 (1990), 45-57.

The church

C. Schick, ZDPV7 (1884), 15-16; RB 35 (1926), 117-121

L. H. Vincent and F. M. Abel, 'ENAN 389 Emmaus: SaBasilique et son histoire, Paris 1932; id., ibid. (Review), PEQ 67 (1935), 40-47

L. H. Vincent, RB 45 (1936), 403-415; 55 (1948), 348-375

R. de Vaux, ibid. 47 (1938), 244-245

Crowfoot, Early Churches, 71, 125, 145

B. Bagatti, I Monumenti di Emmaus et Qubeibeh e dei Dintorni 1-2, Jerusalem 1947; id., Rivista di Archeologia Christiana 35 (1959), 71-80

M. Avi-Yonah, The Madaba Mosaic Map, Jerusalem 1954, 64

D. Buzy, BTS 36 (1961), 4-13

J. Finegan, The Archaeology of the New Testament, Princeton, N.J. 1969, 177-180

Y. Blomme, RB 87 (1980), 404-407

D. Chen, ZDPV97 (1981), 171-177

S. de Sandoli, Emmaus-el Qubeibeh (Studium Biblicum Franciscanum Guide-Books), Jerusalem 1959: id., Emmaus-el Qubeibe: The Sanctuary and Nearby Biblical Sites 2 (The Holy Places of Palestine), Jerusalem 1980.

The baths

M. Gichon, IEJ 29 (1979), 101-110; (with R. Linden) 34 (1984), 156-169; id., RB 86

G. Kiihnel, Wall Painting in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (Frankfurter Forschungen zur Kunst 14), Berlin 1988, 149-180. (1979), 125-126; id., Archivfur Orientforschung 27 (1980), 228-233; id., BAlAS 6 (1986-1987), 54-57

Wikipedia pages




Road to Emmaus appearance

Luke 24