Samaria (Hebrew: שֹׁמְרוֹן) was a city in the historical region of Samaria that served as the capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel during the 9th and 8th centuries BCE. Towards the end of the 8th century BCE, possibly in 722 BCE, Samaria was captured by the Neo-Assyrian Empire and became an administrative center under Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian rule. During the early Roman period, the city was expanded and fortified by Herod the Great, who renamed it “Sebastia” in honor of emperor Augustus.
Samaria's biblical name שֹׁמְרוֹן , means "watch" or "watchman" in Hebrew. The Bible derives the name from the individual (or clan) Shemer (Hebrew: שמר), from whom King Omri (ruled 880s–870s BCE - father of King Ahab) purchased the hill in order to build his new capital city (1 Kings 16:24). In earlier cuneiform inscriptions, Samaria is referred to as "Bet Ḥumri" ("the house of Omri").
In the 9th and the 8th centuries BCE, Samaria was the capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel. The earliest reference to a settlement at this location may be the town of Shemer, or Shamir, which according to the Hebrew Bible was the home of the judge Tola in the 12th century BC (Judges 10:1–2).
- from Wikipedia