Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel, after Israel (the Ten Tribes) and Judah became two independent states. It was founded by Omri, on the long flat summit of an isolated hill (1450 feet), about 5 miles NW. of Shechem, and near the middle of Palestine. About 721 b.c. it fell before the three years' persistency of the Assyrian monarchs, Shalmaneser and Sargon, who carried away nearly all the Hebrew inhabitants of Samaria and Israel captive into Babylonia, sending in their place Assyrian colonists. The new settlers adopted many of the religious practices and beliefs of the remnant of the Israelites amongst whom they dwelt. When the Jews returned from the Captivity and set about the rebuilding of the temple, the Samaritans desired to share in the work; but the Jews rejected their assistance, and the Samaritans built (409 b.c.) on Mount Gerizim beyond Shechem a sanctuary to Jehovah as a rival to the temple at Jerusalem. This converted them into bitter enemies, so that henceforward the 'Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans.' The Samaritans adhered to the revised Pentateuch of Ezra as their sole religious code-book. At the present day there still survive 150 of them, collected at Nablus, the ancient Shechem. The Samaritan language is an archaic Hebrew-Aramaic dialect; and in it are written a very ancient version of the Pentateuch, certain chronicles, hymns, and books of religious devotion. Samaria was taken by Alexander the Great, and colonised by Macedonians and Hellenised. Twice it was besieged and taken - by Ptolemy I. (312 b.c.), and by Demetrius Poliorcetes (c. 296). The Jewish captain John Hyrcanus laid siege to it (c. 110 b.c.), and at the end of a year destroyed it utterly. Nevertheless the Samaritans joined the Jews in offering fierce resistance to the Romans, who again destroyed the city. Herod refounded it under the name of Sebaste; and on its site, now called Sebastiya, there still exist parts of a colonnade of the age of Herod, remains of a temple to Augustus, and an old crusading church (now a mosque) built over the tomb of John the Baptist. The tombs of six or eight (Omri, Ahab, Jehu, etc.) of the kings of Israel and those of the prophets Obadiah and Elisha were also at Samaria.