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Margaret Stephana Drower, Eric William Gray, and Antony Spawforth

Samosata (mod. Samsât), a fortified city on the right bank of the *Euphrates; the residence of the kings of *Commagene. Like *Zeugma, it guarded an important crossing of the river on one of the main caravan routes from east to west, and it was consequently of considerable strategic and commercial importance. Its formidable defences twice withstood a Roman siege, but in ce 72, when the client-kingdom of Commagene was annexed, it was forced to surrender, and it was then garrisoned by a Roman legion. The city was captured by *Sapor I (256) and had a chequered history during the frontier wars against the *Sasanid Persians until in 637 it was finally captured by the Arabs. The partly excavated remains include the royal palace (1st cent. bce) and the walls mentioned by *Lucian of Samosata (Hist. conscr.24).


Seleuceia (1) on Tigris  

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.


Seleuceia (2) in Pieria  

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).



Stephen Mitchell

Synnada (mod. Şuhut), was an assize centre (see conventus(2)) in the province of Asia (see asia, roman province) and one of the most important cities of *Phrygia. In the 160s bce it played a role in the wars of *Eumenes (2) II against the Galatians (see galatia(1)), and was one of the minting centres of the silver cistophoric coinage (see coinage, greek, 7), after 133 bce. It lay on the route from Asia followed by *Cicero in 51 bce and briefly belonged to the province of *Cilicia. Later inscriptions show that it was the administrative centre not only for large imperial estates (see domains) but also for the *marble quarries of *Docimium, whose products were often known as Synnadic marble. Its inhabitants claimed descent from both Athenian and Spartan founders.



Eric William Gray, Susan Mary Sherwin-White, and Josef Wiesehöfer

Tigranocerta, city in *Armenia, in Arzanene; it was founded by *Tigranes (1) II (App. Mith.67) after 80 bce as a city in the Hellenistic style which he was building to be the centre of his new empire. Its precise position is still disputed (Silvan/Martyropolis? Tall Arman? near Arzan?), but its general location intended it to maintain communications between Armenia and Tigranes' southern possessions. He swelled its citizen body by netting the cities of conquered *Cappadocia, *Adiabene, and *Gordyene (Plut.Luc. 25 f.; Strabo 12. 2. 27). Its fortifications were incomplete when L. *Licinius Lucullus(2) defeated Tigranes in 69 and easily secured its capitulation. The captured exiles were sent home, but Tigranocerta was still an important fortified city in ce 50, for example, when the Roman general Cn. *Domitius Corbulo occupied it. In the wars of the *Sasanid king Sapor II, against Rome and Armenia in the 4th cent.