Sodom and Gomorrah

Legendary cities of ancient Palestine.

According to the Old Testament book of Genesis, the notorious cities were destroyed by "brimstone and fire" because of their wickedness. The site of the cities is unknown but may have beeen in an area now beneath the waters of the Dead Sea. Archaeological evidence shows that the area may once have been fertile and could have drawn the biblical Lot to graze his flock. The cities' legendary wickedness has inspired many writers, including Jean Giraudoux and Nikos Kazantzakis.

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      notoriously sinful cities in the Old Testament Book of Genesis. They are now possibly covered by the shallow waters south of Al-Lisān, a peninsula near the southern end of the Dead Sea in Israel. Sodom and Gomorrah constituted, along with the cities of Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar (Bela), the five biblical “cities of the plain.” Destroyed by “brimstone and fire” because of their wickedness (Genesis 19:24), Sodom and Gomorrah presumably were devastated about 1900 BC by an earthquake in the Dead Sea area of the Great Rift Valley, an extensive rift extending from the Jordan River valley in Israel to the Zambezi River system in East Africa.

      Archaeological evidence indicates that the area was once fertile in the Middle Bronze Age (c. 2000–1500 BC), with fresh water flowing into the Dead Sea in sufficient amounts to sustain agriculture. Because of the fertile land, the biblical Lot, the nephew of the Hebrew patriarch Abraham, selected the area of the cities of the Valley of Siddim (the Salt Sea, or the Dead Sea) to graze his flocks. When the catastrophic destruction occurred, the petroleum and gases existing in the area probably contributed to the imagery of “brimstone and fire” that accompanied the geological upheaval that destroyed the cities. Har Sedom (Arabic: Jabal Usdum), or Mount Sodom, at the southwestern end of the sea, reflects Sodom's name.

      An inspiration to writers, artists, and psychologists, Sodom and Gomorrah and their legendary wickedness have been the subject of numerous dramas, including the History of Lot and Abraham, a medieval mystery play; Sodome et Gomorrhe, by the French dramatist Jean Giraudoux, in 1943; and Sodhome kye Ghomorra, by the Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis, in the 1950s. In art the subjects involved in the biblical accounts of Sodom and Gomorrah have been portrayed in numerous medieval psalters, Renaissance frescoes, and paintings down to the present. Sexual acts attributed to the Sodomites gave the city's name to the contemporary term sodomy.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sodom and Gomorrah — UK [ˌsɒdəm ən ɡəˈmɒrə] US [ˌsɑdəm ən ɡəˈmɔrə] two cities in the Bible that were destroyed by God as punishment for the sexual behaviour of the people who lived there. People sometimes say that a place is like Sodom and Gomorrah as a way of saying …   Useful english dictionary

  • Sodom and Gomorrah — For other uses, see Sodom and Gomorrah (disambiguation). The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, John Martin, 1852. Sodom (Hebrew: סְדוֹם, Modern  …   Wikipedia

  • Sodom and Gomorrah — Sod|om and Go|mor|rah [ ,sadəm ən gə mɔrə ] two cities in the Bible that were destroyed by God as punishment for the sexual behavior of the people who lived there. People sometimes say that a place is like Sodom and Gomorrah as a way of saying… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Sodom and Gomorrah — UK [ˌsɒdəm ən ɡəˈmɒrə] / US [ˌsɑdəm ən ɡəˈmɔrə] two cities in the Bible that were destroyed by God as punishment for the sexual behaviour of the people who lived there. People sometimes say that a place is like Sodom and Gomorrah as a way of… …   English dictionary

  • SODOM AND GOMORRAH —    Cities mentioned in Genesis 18 and 19 which were destroyed by GOD because of their SIN which involved sexual perversion and inhospitability …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Sodom and Gomorrah — Sod|om and Go|mor|rah two ancient cities in the Middle East which, according to the Old Testament of the Bible, were destroyed by God as a punishment for the immoral sexual behaviour of their people. The cities names are sometimes used to… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • SODOM AND GOMORRAH —    two ancient cities which, for their wickedness were, as the Bible relates, consumed with fire from heaven; they are supposed to have stood near the S. border of the Dead Sea, though they were not, as was at one time supposed, submerged in the… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Sodom and Gomorrah — two cities that God destroyed because of their wickedness (Biblical) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Sodom and Gomorrah (disambiguation) — Sodom and/or Gomorrah may refer to: *The Biblical Cities of the Plain , see Sodom and Gomorrah. * Sodom and Gomorrah , a translated title of Marcel Proust s Sodome et Gomorrhe . *A World War II bombing operation codenamed Gomorrah, see Bombing of …   Wikipedia

  • Sodom and Gomorrah (1963 film) — Infobox Film name = Sodom and Gomorrah caption = Video release director = Robert Aldrich producer = Joseph E. Levine Maurizio Lodi Fe Goffredo Lombardo writer = Giorgio Prosperi Hugo Butler starring = Stewart Granger Anouk Aimée Pier Angeli… …   Wikipedia


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