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Apamea (Syria)

Apamea (Syria)

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Apamea was a treasure city and stud-depot of the Seleucid kings, was capital of Apamene, on the right bank of the Orontes River. (Steph. B.
Stephanus of Byzantium
Stephen of Byzantium, also known as Stephanus Byzantinus , was the author of an important geographical dictionary entitled Ethnica...

 s. v.; Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 xvi. p. 752; Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

 v. 15. § 19; Festus Avienus, v. 1083; Anton. Itin.
Antonine Itinerary
The Antonine Itinerary is a register of the stations and distances along the various roads of the Roman empire, containing directions how to get from one Roman settlement to another...

; Hierocles
Hierocles (author of Synecdemus)
Hierocles or Hierokles was a Byzantine geographer of the sixth century and the attributed author of the Synecdemus or Synekdemos, which contains a table of administrative divisions of the Byzantine Empire and lists of the cities of each...

). Its site is found about 55 km (34 mi) to the northwest of Hama
Hama is a city on the banks of the Orontes River in west-central Syria north of Damascus. It is the provincial capital of the Hama Governorate. Hama is the fourth-largest city in Syria—behind Aleppo, Damascus, and Homs—with a population of 696,863...

, Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, overlooking the Ghab valley. Previously known as Pharmake, it was fortified and enlarged by Seleucus I Nicator
Seleucus I Nicator
Seleucus I was a Macedonian officer of Alexander the Great and one of the Diadochi. In the Wars of the Diadochi that took place after Alexander's death, Seleucus established the Seleucid dynasty and the Seleucid Empire...

 in 300 BC, who so named it after his Bactria
Bactria and also appears in the Zend Avesta as Bukhdi. It is the ancient name of a historical region located between south of the Amu Darya and west of the Indus River...

n wife, Apama
Apama , sometimes known as Apama I or Apame I was the wife of the first ruler of the Seleucid Empire, Seleucus I Nicator. They married at Susa in 324 BC...

 – not his mother, as Stephanus asserts (compare Strabo, p. 578). In pursuance of his policy of Hellenizing Syria, it bore the Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

ian name of Pella. The fortress was placed upon a hill; the windings of the Orontes, with the lake and marshes, gave it a peninsular form, whence its other name of Cherronêsos. Seleucus had his commissariat there, 500 elephants, with 30,000 mares, and 300 stallions. The pretender, Diodotus Tryphon
Diodotus Tryphon
Diodotus Tryphon was king of the Hellenistic Seleucid kingdom. As a general of the army, he promoted the claims of Antiochus VI Dionysus, the infant son of Alexander Balas, in Antioch after Alexander's death, but then in 142 deposed the child and himself seized power in Coele-Syria where Demetrius...

, made Apamea the basis of his operations. (Strab. l. c.) Located at a strategic crossroads for Eastern commerce, the city flourished to the extent that its population eventually numbered half a million. It was one of the four cities of the Syrian tetrapolis
Syrian tetrapolis
The Syrian Tetrapolis consisted of the cities Antioch, Seleucia Pieria, Apamea, and Laodicea in Syria.-References:* Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th ed., s.v. 'Seleucia'....


Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

 (Ant. xiv. 3. § 2) relates, that Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

 marching south from his winter quarters, probably at or near Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

, razed the fortress of Apamea in 64 BC whence the city was annexed to the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

. In the revolt of Syria under Q. Caecilius Bassus, it held out against Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 for three years till the arrival of Cassius
Gaius Cassius Longinus
Gaius Cassius Longinus was a Roman senator, a leading instigator of the plot to kill Julius Caesar, and the brother in-law of Marcus Junius Brutus.-Early life:...

, 46 BC. (Dion. Cass.
Dio Cassius
Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus , known in English as Cassius Dio, Dio Cassius, or Dio was a Roman consul and a noted historian writing in Greek...

 xlvii. 26–28; Joseph. Bel. Jud. i. 10. § 10.) On the outbreak of the Jewish War
First Jewish-Roman War
The First Jewish–Roman War , sometimes called The Great Revolt , was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews of Judaea Province , against the Roman Empire...

, the inhabitants of Apamea spared the Jews who lived in their midst, and would not suffer them to be murdered or led into captivity (Josephus, Bell. Jud.
The Wars of the Jews
The Jewish War , in full Flavius Josephus's Books of the History of the Jewish War against the Romans , also referred to in English as The Wars of the Jews and The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem, is a book written by the 1st century Jewish historian Josephus.It is a description of Jewish...

ii. 18, § 5). Destroyed by Chosroes I in the 7th century it was partially rebuilt and known in Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 as Famia or Fâmieh; and destroyed by an earthquake in 1152. In the Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

 it was still a flourishing and important place and was occupied by Tancred
Tancred, Prince of Galilee
Tancred was a Norman leader of the First Crusade who later became Prince of Galilee and regent of the Principality of Antioch...

. (Wilken, Gesch. der Ks. vol. ii. p. 474; Abulfeda, Tab. Syr. pp. 114, 157.)

The acropolis hill is now occupied by the ruins called Kalat el-Mudik (Kŭlat el-Mudîk). The ruins of a highly ornamental character, and of an enormous extent, are still standing, the remains, probably, of the temples of which Sozomen speaks (vii. 15); part of the town is enclosed in an ancient castle situated on a hill; the remainder is to be found in the plain. In the adjacent lake are the celebrated black fish, the source of much wealth.

Both the Jerusalem Targum
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea. In Korean, tae means "to strike or break with foot"; kwon means "to strike or break with fist"; and do means "way", "method", or "path"...

im considered the city of Shepham (Num.
Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

 xxxiv. 11) to be identical with Apamea. Since Apamea virtually belonged to Rabbinic Palestine, the first-fruits brought by Ariston from that town were accepted for sacrifice in Jerusalem (Mishnah Ḥal. iv. 11). Apamea remains a titular see
Titular see
A titular see in various churches is an episcopal see of a former diocese that no longer functions, sometimes called a "dead diocese". The ordinary or hierarch of such a see may be styled a "titular bishop", "titular metropolitan", or "titular archbishop"....

 of the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, Apamenus in Syria; the seat has been vacant since the death of the last bishop in 1974.

Notable residents

  • Archigenes
    Archigenes , an eminent ancient Greek physician, who lived in the 1st and 2nd centuries.He was the most celebrated of the sect of the Eclectici, and was a native of Apamea in Syria; he practised at Rome in the time of Trajan, 98-117, where he enjoyed a very high reputation for his professional skill...

     (Greek physician)
  • Posidonius
    Posidonius "of Apameia" or "of Rhodes" , was a Greek Stoic philosopher, politician, astronomer, geographer, historian and teacher native to Apamea, Syria. He was acclaimed as the greatest polymath of his age...

     (Greek philosopher and author)
  • Aristarchus
    Aristarchus of Thessalonica
    Aristarchus or Aristarch, "a Greek Macedonian of Thessalonica" , was an early Christian mentioned in a few passages of the New Testament. He accompanied Saint Paul on his third missionary journey. Along with Gaius, another Macedonian, Aristarchus was seized by the mob at Ephesus and taken into...

     (bishop, one of the Seventy Apostles
    Seventy Disciples
    The seventy disciples or seventy-two disciples were early followers of Jesus mentioned in the Gospel of Luke . According to Luke, the only gospel in which they appear, Jesus appointed them and sent them out in pairs on a specific mission which is detailed in the text...

  • Numenius of Apamea
    Numenius of Apamea
    Numenius of Apamea was a Greek philosopher, who lived in Apamea in Syria and flourished during the latter half of the 2nd century AD. He was a Neopythagorean and forerunner of the Neoplatonists.- Philosophy :...

     (2nd century philosopher)
  • Iamblichus of Chalcis
    Iamblichus of Chalcis
    Iamblichus, also known as Iamblichus Chalcidensis, was an Assyrian Neoplatonist philosopher who determined the direction taken by later Neoplatonic philosophy...

     (Neo-Platonist philosopher)
  • Polychronius (bishop, and brother of Theodore of Mopsuestia
    Theodore of Mopsuestia
    Theodore the Interpreter was bishop of Mopsuestia from 392 to 428 AD. He is also known as Theodore of Antioch, from the place of his birth and presbyterate...

  • Theodoret
    Theodoret of Cyrus or Cyrrhus was an influential author, theologian, and Christian bishop of Cyrrhus, Syria . He played a pivotal role in many early Byzantine church controversies that led to various ecumenical acts and schisms...

     (5th century bishop)
  • Evagrius Scholasticus
    Evagrius Scholasticus
    Evagrius Scholasticus was a Syrian scholar and intellectual living in the 6th century AD, and an aide to the patriarch Gregory of Antioch. His surviving work, Ecclesiastical History, comprises a six-volume collection concerning the Church's history from the First Council of Ephesus to Maurice’s...

     (6th century historian)
  • Junias (9th century bishop)

External links

  • Apamée (Afamia), Suggestion to have Apamea recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site
  • Pictures of Apamea
  • http://wikitravel.org/en/Apamea#b