Nicomedia

Nicomedia

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Nicomedia was an ancient city in what is now Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, founded in 712/11 BC as a Megarian colony and was originally known as Astacus (Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

: Αστακός, "lobster"). After being destroyed by Lysimachus
Lysimachus
Lysimachus was a Macedonian officer and diadochus of Alexander the Great, who became a basileus in 306 BC, ruling Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedon.-Early Life & Career:...

, it was rebuilt by Nicomedes I of Bithynia
Nicomedes I of Bithynia
Nicomedes I , second king of Bithynia, was the eldest son of Zipoetes I, whom he succeeded on the throne in 278 BC.-Overview:He commenced his reign by putting to death two of his brothers but the third, subsequently called Zipoetes II, raised an insurrection against him and succeeded in maintaining...

 in 264 BC under the name of Nicomedia, and has ever since been one of the most important cities in northwestern Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

. Hannibal came to Nicomedia in his final years and committed suicide in nearby Libyssa (Diliskelesi, Gebze
Gebze
Gebze is an industrial city in Kocaeli Province, Turkey. Situated 30 miles east of Istanbul on the northern shore of the Sea of Marmara, it is the largest district of Kocaeli; Gebze has experienced rapid growth in recent years- from 159,116 in 1990, to 282,444 in 2009. Gebze accounts for 15% of...

). The historian Arrian
Arrian
Lucius Flavius Arrianus 'Xenophon , known in English as Arrian , and Arrian of Nicomedia, was a Roman historian, public servant, a military commander and a philosopher of the 2nd-century Roman period...

 was born there.

Nicomedia was the metropolis
Metropolis
A metropolis is a very large city or urban area which is a significant economic, political and cultural center for a country or region, and an important hub for regional or international connections and communications...

 of Bithynia
Bithynia
Bithynia was an ancient region, kingdom and Roman province in the northwest of Asia Minor, adjoining the Propontis, the Thracian Bosporus and the Euxine .-Description:...

 under the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, and Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

 made it the eastern capital city of the Roman Empire in 286 when he introduced the Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
The term Tetrarchy describes any system of government where power is divided among four individuals, but usually refers to the tetrarchy instituted by Roman Emperor Diocletian in 293, marking the end of the Crisis of the Third Century and the recovery of the Roman Empire...

 system. Nicomedia remained as the eastern (and most senior) capital of the Roman Empire until co-emperor Licinius
Licinius
Licinius I , was Roman Emperor from 308 to 324. Co-author of the Edict of Milan that granted official toleration to Christians in the Roman Empire, for the majority of his reign he was the rival of Constantine I...

 was defeated by Constantine the Great at the Battle of Chrysopolis
Battle of Chrysopolis
The Battle of Chrysopolis was fought on 18 September 324 at Chrysopolis , near Chalcedon , between the two Roman emperors Constantine I and Licinius. The battle was the final encounter between the two emperors. After his navy's defeat in the Battle of the Hellespont, Licinius withdrew his forces...

 (Üsküdar
Üsküdar
Üsküdar is a large and densely populated municipality of Istanbul, Turkey, on the Anatolian shore of the Bosphorus. It is bordered on the north by Beykoz, on the east by Ümraniye, on the southeast by Ataşehir, on the south by Kadıköy, and on the west by the Bosphorus, with the areas of Beşiktaş,...

) in 324. Constantine mainly resided in Nicomedia as his interim capital city for the next six years, until in 330 he declared the nearby Byzantium
Byzantium
Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

 (which was renamed Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

) the new capital. Constantine died in a royal villa in the vicinity of Nicomedia in 337. Owing to its position at the convergence of the Asiatic roads leading to the new capital, Nicomedia retained its importance even after the foundation of Constantinople.

However, a major earthquake on 24 August 358 caused extensive devastation to Nicomedia and was followed by a fire which completed the catastrophe. Nicomedia was rebuilt, but on a smaller scale. In the sixth century under Emperor Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

 the city was extended with new public buildings. Situated on the roads leading to the capital, the city remained a major military center, playing an important role in the Byzantine campaigns against the Caliphate
Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

.

From the 840s on, Nicomedia was the capital of the thema of the Optimatoi
Optimatoi
The Optimatoi were initially formed as an elite Byzantine military unit. In the mid-8th century, however, they were downgraded to a supply and logistics corps and assigned a province in north-western Asia Minor, which was named after them...

. By that time, most of the old, seawards city had been abandoned and is described by the Arab geographer Ibn Khurdadhbih as lying in ruins. The settlement had obviously been restricted to the hilltop citadel. In the 1080s, the city served as the main military base for Alexios I Komnenos
Alexios I Komnenos
Alexios I Komnenos, Latinized as Alexius I Comnenus , was Byzantine emperor from 1081 to 1118, and although he was not the founder of the Komnenian dynasty, it was during his reign that the Komnenos family came to full power. The title 'Nobilissimus' was given to senior army commanders,...

 in his campaigns against the Seljuk Turks, and the First
First Crusade
The First Crusade was a military expedition by Western Christianity to regain the Holy Lands taken in the Muslim conquest of the Levant, ultimately resulting in the recapture of Jerusalem...

 and Second
Second Crusade
The Second Crusade was the second major crusade launched from Europe. The Second Crusade was started in response to the fall of the County of Edessa the previous year to the forces of Zengi. The county had been founded during the First Crusade by Baldwin of Boulogne in 1098...

 Crusades both encamped there. The city was held by the Latin Empire
Latin Empire
The Latin Empire or Latin Empire of Constantinople is the name given by historians to the feudal Crusader state founded by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade on lands captured from the Byzantine Empire. It was established after the capture of Constantinople in 1204 and lasted until 1261...

 between 1204 and ca. 1240, when it was recovered by John III Vatatzes. It remained in Byzantine control for a further century, but following the Byzantine defeat at the Battle of Bapheus
Battle of Bapheus
The Battle of Bapheus occurred on 27 July 1302 between an Ottoman army under Osman I and a Byzantine armyunder George Mouzalon. The battle ended in a crucial Ottoman victory, cementing the Ottoman state and heralding the final capture of Byzantine Bithynia by the Turks...

 in 1302, it was threatened by the rising Ottoman beylik
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. The city was twice blockaded by the Ottomans (in 1304 and 1330) before finally succumbing in 1337.

Notable natives and residents

  • Adrian of Nicomedia
    Adrian of Nicomedia
    Saint Adrian or Adrian of Nicomedia was a Herculian Guard of the Roman Emperor Galerius Maximian. After becoming a convert to Christianity with his wife Natalia, Adrian was martyred at Nicomedia on March 4, 306.-Martyrdom:...

  • Anthimus of Nicomedia
    Anthimus of Nicomedia
    Anthimus of Nicomedia , was the bishop of Nicomedia in Bithynia, where he was beheaded during a persecution of Christians, traditionally placed under Diocletian , in which "rivers of blood" flowed....

  • Arrian
    Arrian
    Lucius Flavius Arrianus 'Xenophon , known in English as Arrian , and Arrian of Nicomedia, was a Roman historian, public servant, a military commander and a philosopher of the 2nd-century Roman period...

     (Lucius Flavius Arrianus 'Xenophon')
  • Juliana of Nicomedia
    Juliana of Nicomedia
    Saint Juliana of Nicomedia is said to have suffered Christian martyrdom during the Diocletian persecution in 304. She was popular in the Middle Ages, especially in the Netherlands, as the patron saint of sickness.-Historical background:...

  • Michael Psellos
    Michael Psellos
    Michael Psellos or Psellus was a Byzantine monk, writer, philosopher, politician and historian...

     (11th century) Greek writer, philosopher, politician, and historian
  • Saint Barbara
    Saint Barbara
    Saint Barbara, , Feast Day December 4, known in the Eastern Orthodox Church as the Great Martyr Barbara, was an early Christian saint and martyr....

  • Saint George
    Saint George
    Saint George was, according to tradition, a Roman soldier from Syria Palaestina and a priest in the Guard of Diocletian, who is venerated as a Christian martyr. In hagiography Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in the Catholic , Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and the Oriental Orthodox...

  • Theopemptus of Nicomedia
    Theopemptus of Nicomedia
    St. Theopemptus was the Bishop of Nicomedia and a Hieromartyr, under the rule of Diocletian. He is known for being one of the first victims of the Diocletian's religious persecution. He is said to have refused to obey the emperor's order to worship an idol of the pagan god Apollo...


See also

  • 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia
    20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia
    The 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia allegedly died in Nicomedia in Bithynia during the rule of Emperors Diocletian and Maximian in the early fourth century...

  • Nicaea (present-day İznik
    Iznik
    İznik is a city in Turkey which is primarily known as the site of the First and Second Councils of Nicaea, the first and seventh Ecumenical councils in the early history of the Church, the Nicene Creed, and as the capital city of the Empire of Nicaea...

    , another important city in Bithynia
    Bithynia
    Bithynia was an ancient region, kingdom and Roman province in the northwest of Asia Minor, adjoining the Propontis, the Thracian Bosporus and the Euxine .-Description:...

    , and the interim Byzantine
    Byzantine Empire
    The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

     capital city between 1204 and 1261 (Empire of Nicaea
    Empire of Nicaea
    The Empire of Nicaea was the largest of the three Byzantine Greek successor states founded by the aristocracy of the Byzantine Empire that fled after Constantinople was occupied by Western European and Venetian forces during the Fourth Crusade...

    ) following the Fourth Crusade
    Fourth Crusade
    The Fourth Crusade was originally intended to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, in April 1204, the Crusaders of Western Europe invaded and conquered the Christian city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire...

     in 1204, until the recapture of Constantinople
    Constantinople
    Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

     by the Byzantines in 1261. Earlier, the site of the Nicene Creed
    Nicene Creed
    The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

     as well as the First Council of Nicaea
    First Council of Nicaea
    The First Council of Nicaea was a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325...

     and Second Council of Nicaea
    Second Council of Nicaea
    The Second Council of Nicaea is regarded as the Seventh Ecumenical Council by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic Churches and various other Western Christian groups...

    .)

External links

  • hum.ihu.edu.gr, International Hellenic University, School of Humanities