Gadara (known today as Umm Qays), was one of the most important cities of the Decapolis* ;it had minted its own coins, and adhered to the Pompeian calendar.
During the early years of Roman rule, the Nabataeans controlled the trade routes as far north as Damascus. Unhappy with the competition, Mark Anthony dispatched King Herod the Great to weaken the Nabataeans. In appreciation for his efforts, Rome rewarded Herod with Gadara.
Islam entered Gadara after the victory of Islamic troops over Byzantine armies at the Battles of Fahl (Pella) and Yarmouk in 635 AD and 636 AD.
The first literary reference to the city of Pella is from the 19th century BC when it is mentioned in Egyptian texts as Pihilum, or Pehel. It was a flourishing trade centre, with links with Syria and Cyprus as well as Egypt.
Like many of Jordan’s ancient cities and monuments, the cities of Umm Qays and Pella were destroyed during the terrible earthquake of 747 AD.