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date: 31 January 2023



  • Malcolm Andrew Richard Colledge
  •  and Josef Wiesehöfer


Ctesiphon, on the river Tigris, c. 96 km. (60 mi.) above *Babylon, part of the city agglomeration al-Mada’in (together with Seleuceia, Veh Ardashir). Originally, it was a village garrisoned by *Parthia from c.140 bce as an Asiatic stronghold opposite Hellenistic *Seleuceia (1), becoming (from c.50 bce?) a city and *Arsacid residence within roughly circular walls. After Roman invasions (ce 116, 166) had damaged Ctesiphon but especially Seleuceia, Ctesiphon became *Babylonia's chief city, taken by *Septimius Severus (197–8), on whose arch at Rome (203) it may appear, domed. Ardashir (*Artaxerxes (4)) made it the place of coronation, and after him it became the main *Sasanid-empire residence (conquest by Carus ce 283; unsuccessful attacks by Odaenathus 262/3, Julian 363 and Heraclius 628), seat of the Nestorian Catholicus and of a Jewish exilarch. Sasanian kings built palaces and added suburbs; ruins of fortifications and an impressive brick-vaulted palace arch, Taq-e-Kesra (‘Arch of Chosroes’), survive. In 637 Arabs took it.


  • Near East

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