• In this essay, I attempt to inscribe the mysterious location known as “the cities of the sea” (כרכי הים) onto the map of rabbinic scholarship. Classical rabbinic authors look toward this mythic locale for three reasons: (1) to discuss tales of sin (and sometimes salvation); (2) to offer definitions and clarifications of obscure words; and (3) to explain halakhic exceptions. Through an examination of כרכי הים in the classical rabbinic corpus, I argue that “the cities of the sea” should be understood as a locus of rabbinic pedagogy and not necessarily viewed as an actual, mappable location.