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Margaret Stephana Drower, Susan Mary Sherwin-White, and R. J. van der Spek

Seleuceia (1) on Tigris was founded by *Seleucus (1) I on the right bank of the *Tigris (below Baghdad), c.305(?) bce, as a new ‘royal city’. The great size and scale (550 ha.) by comparison with other Seleucid Greek city foundations, such as *Antioch (1) and *Seleuceia (2) in Pieria, needs stressing. The city became one of the most important royal residences and the capital and *satrapal residence of *Babylonia. It marked a development, visible in canal constructions from Euphrates to Tigris, of the growing importance of the Tigris region, exemplified by the later foundations of *Ctesiphon and Baghdad. The city dominated the terminus of the important Khorasan route up to *Ecbatana and *Media, and the river crossing. It had great strategic importance for communications west to Anatolia via Babylonia, Mesopotamia, and Syria and east to Iran. Apart from a core of Macedonian and Greek citizens the city was populated by Babylonians, Jews and Syrians. Though Babylonians moved to the city (Paus. 16.1.6; cuneiform tablets found) it is not true that it depleted the city of *Babylon.

Article

Arnold Hugh Martin Jones, Henri Seyrig, Susan Mary Sherwin-White, and R. J. van der Spek

Seleuceia (2) in Pieria was founded c.300 by *Seleucus (1) I after his victory at the battle of *Ipsus (301) secured him north Syria. Seleuceia was built near the mouth of the river *Orontes, providing the Seleucids with a naval base of strategic and economic importance, linked by the Orontes to *Antioch (1). Seleucus I was buried here by his son *Antiochus (1) I, who ‘built a temple over him and surrounded it with a sanctuary and called the sanctuary Nikatoreion’ (belonging to the Nicator (Conqueror) i.e. Seleucus I; Appian, Syr. 63), housing a cult of uncertain character for the dead king. *Polybius (1) (5. 59–61) describes a well-fortified city, built on the foothills of Mt. Coryphaeum with its suburbs, business quarter, fine temples, and civic buildings. Most of the archaeological remains are of Roman date, including the theatre. The civic institutions of the Hellenistic polis, including magistrates, priests, and governor, are revealed by Seleucid period inscriptions and by the Gurob papyrus, which attests the ceremonial welcome given to *Ptolemy (1) III when he conquered the city in 246 (FGrH160).

Article

Abydos  

Stephen Mitchell

Was the best harbour on the Asiatic side of the *Hellespont. In the Iliad (2. 836) an ally of Troy and then a Thracian settlement, it was colonized c.700 bce by Milesians (see colonization, greek; miletus). From 514 it was under Persian control and served in 480 as the Asiatic bridgehead from which *Xerxes crossed into Europe (Hdt. 7. 34, 43 ff.). Thereafter it was successively part of the *Athenian empire until it revolted in 411 (Thuc. 8. 61–2), a Spartan ally until 394, and under Persian rule again until freed by *Alexander (3) the Great in 334. It put up heroic resistance when besieged by *Philip (3) V of Macedon in 200 (Polybius 16. 29–34). In Roman times and in late antiquity it was an important customs-station (OGI521). There are no significant archaeological remains at the site, but its coinage, including early electrum issues, is important.

Article

Michael Vickers

An amalgam of Greek and *Achaemenid Persian stylistic traits. The Persian conquest of Lydia and Ionia in the 6th cent. bce led to craftsmen from the west working for Persian patrons. A foundation tablet from the palace of *Darius I at *Susa attests the activities of Ionian and Carian masons and carpenters. *Theodorus (1) of Samos was commissioned to make a gold wine-mixing bowl for Darius' bedroom (Ath. 12. 515a), and a golden vine encrusted with emeralds and rubies that ‘grew’ over the Great King's bed is also attributed to him (Athen. 12. 514f; Himer.Ecl. 31. 8). Nothing on this scale survives in precious metal: some silver-gilt phialai, ‘libation bowls’ (one from *Rogozen), indicate the ways in which Persian motifs might be rendered by Greek or Ionian craftsmen. The degree to which monumental Achaemenid sculpture depended on Greek stylistic norms is uncertain; there may well have been a two-way traffic between the Greek and Persian worlds, and matters will be clearer when chronological issues are resolved. By the later 5th cent., there is a genre of Persian gem-engraving that is distinctively Greek in both form and content. In contrast with the formality of Achaemenid court art, ‘Graeco-Persian’ *gems display a range of motifs showing the home life of Persian aristocrats, their hunting activities, and their prey.