Seleucia on the Tigris


Seleucia on the Tigris
Ancient city, on the Tigris River, central Iraq.

Founded by Seleucus I Nicator in the late 4th century BC as his eastern capital, it replaced Babylon as Mesopotamia's leading city. The population, which Pliny the Elder estimated at 600,000, was composed largely of Macedonians and Greeks and also included Jews and Syrians. During the Parthian domination of the Tigris-Euphrates valley that began in the 2nd century BC, it maintained its position and trade despite its Greek sympathies. In AD 165 the Romans burned the city, marking the end of Hellenism in Mesopotamia. See also Seleucid dynasty.

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▪ ancient city, Iraq
Greek  Seleukeia,  

      Hellenistic city founded by Seleucus I Nicator (reigned 312–281 BC) as his eastern capital; it replaced Babylon as Mesopotamia's leading city and was closely associated with the spread of Hellenistic culture in Mesopotamia. The city lay along the Tigris River about 20 miles (32 km) southeast of modern Baghdad. Seleucia was a cosmopolitan city whose population was composed largely of Macedonians and Greeks and also included Jews and Syrians. Pliny the Elder gives the population as 600,000. During the Parthian domination of the Tigris-Euphrates valley that began in the 2nd century BC, Seleucia continued to be the foremost city of the east in position and trade. Preserving its Greek sympathies, it was at times in open rebellion against the Parthian kings, who favoured the neighbouring city of Ctesiphon and founded Vologesias, or Vologesocerta, as a rival canal port. Seleucia eventually was burned by the Roman commander Gaius Avidius Cassius (Avidius Cassius, Gaius) in AD 165, at which time it is said to have had at least 300,000 inhabitants. The destruction of the city marks the end of Hellenism in Mesopotamia. The Roman emperor Septimius Severus, in his Parthian campaign of 197, found the site completely abandoned. Nothing of the city remains above ground; the excavation of the site (then called Tel Umar) during 1927–32 yielded interesting but unspectacular results.

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Universalium. 2010.

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