Philistia fĭlĭsˈtyə [key], region of SW ancient Palestine, comprising a coastal strip along the Mediterranean and a portion of S Canaan. The chief cities of Philistia were Gaza, Ashqelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath; strategically located on the great commercial route from Egypt to Syria, they formed a confederacy. In the Bible the great Hebrew antagonists of the Philistines are Samson, Saul, and David. Philistines were independent at the time of Amos, and the Jews never really conquered them. Philistia was laid under tribute by Assyria, and the invasion of Palestine by Sennacherib was brought on by Hezekiah's imprisonment of the Assyrian tributary, the king of Ekron. The cities were conquered and destroyed by the Babylonians in 604 b.c.

See A. R. Burn, Minoans, Philistines, and Greeks (1930, repr. 1968); R. Macalister, The Philistines (1965).

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