Old Times

3 Dec

Antioch on the Orontes

We wanted our Fi Hostel journey to start in a city which is important for us all .That i why we choose Antakya , Hatay to start from .  Below you can find helpful info about history of our city .

 

Antioch on the Orontes (/ˈæntiˌɒk/; also Syrian Antioch)[note 1] was an ancient GreekRoman city[1] on the eastern side of the Orontes River. Its ruins lie near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey, and lends the modern city its name.

Antioch was founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great‘s generals. The city’s geographical, military, and economic location benefited its occupants, particularly such features as the spice trade, the Silk Road, and the Persian Royal Road. It eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the Near East. It was also the main center of Hellenistic Judaism at the end of the Second Temple period. Most of the urban development of Antioch was done during the Roman empire, when the city was one of the most important in the eastern Mediterranean area of Rome‘s dominions.

Antioch was called “the cradle of Christianity” as a result of its longevity and the pivotal role that it played in the emergence of both Hellenistic Judaism and early Christianity.[2] The Christian New Testament asserts that the name “Christian” first emerged in Antioch.[3] It was one of the four cities of the Syrian tetrapolis, and its residents were known as Antiochenes. The city was once a great metropolis of half a million people during Augustan times, but it declined to insignificance during the Middle Agesbecause of warfare, repeated earthquakes, and a change in trade routes, which no longer passed through Antioch from the far east, following the Mongol conquests.

 

Prehistory

The settlement of Meroe pre-dated Antioch. A shrine of the Semitic goddess Anat, called by Herodotus the “Persian Artemis,” was located here. This site was included in the eastern suburbs of Antioch. There was a village on the spur of Mount Silpius named Io, or Iopolis. This name was always adduced as evidence by Antiochenes (e.g. Libanius) anxious to affiliate themselves to the Attic Ionians—an eagerness which is illustrated by the Athenian types used on the city’s coins. Io may have been a small early colony of trading Greeks (Javan). John Malalas also mentions an archaic village, Bottia, in the plain by the river.

Foundation by Seleucus I

Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great is said to have camped on the site of Antioch, and dedicated an altar to Zeus Bottiaeus; it lay in the northwest of the future city. This account is found[4] only in the writings of Libanius, a 4th-century orator from Antioch, and may be legend intended to enhance Antioch’s status. But the story is not unlikely in itself.[5]

After Alexander’s death in 323 BC, his generals divided up the territory he had conquered. Seleucus I Nicator won the territory of Syria, and he proceeded to found four “sister cities” in northwestern Syria, one of which was Antioch, a city named, according to Suda, after his son Antiochus.[6] He is reputed to have built sixteen Antiochs.[7]

Seleucus founded Antioch on a site chosen through ritual means. An eagle, the bird of Zeus, had been given a piece of sacrificial meat and the city was founded on the site to which the eagle carried the offering. Seleucus did this on the 22nd day of the month of Artemisios in the twelfth year of his reign (equivalent to May 300 BC).[8] Antioch soon rose above Seleucia Pieria to become the Syrian capital.

Hellenistic age

The original city of Seleucus was laid out in imitation of the grid plan of Alexandria by the architect Xenarius. Libanius describes the first building and arrangement of this city (i. p. 300. 17). The citadel was on Mt. Silpius and the city lay mainly on the low ground to the north, fringing the river. Two great colonnaded streets intersected in the centre. Shortly afterwards a second quarter was laid out, probably on the east and by Antiochus I, which, from an expression of Strabo, appears to have been the native, as contrasted with the Greek, town. It was enclosed by a wall of its own.

In the Orontes, north of the city, lay a large island, and on this Seleucus II Callinicus began a third walled “city,” which was finished by Antiochus III. A fourth and last quarter was added by Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 BC); thenceforth Antioch was known as Tetrapolis. From west to east the whole was about 6 kilometres (4 miles) in diameter and a little less from north to south. This area including many large gardens.

The new city was populated by a mix of local settlers that Athenians brought from the nearby city of Antigonia, Macedonians, and Jews (who were given full status from the beginning). The total free population of Antioch at its foundation has been estimated at between 17,000 and 25,000, not including slaves and native settlers.[5] During the late Hellenistic period and Early Roman period, Antioch’s population reached its peak of over 500,000 inhabitants (estimates vary from 400,000 to 600,000) and was the third largest city in the world after Rome and Alexandria. By the 4th century, Antioch’s declining population was about 200,000 according to Chrysostom[citation needed], a figure which again does not include slaves.

About 6 kilometres (4 miles) west and beyond the suburb Heraclea lay the paradise of Daphne, a park of woods and waters, in the midst of which rose a great temple to the Pythian Apollo, also founded by Seleucus I and enriched with a cult-statue of the god, as Musagetes, by Bryaxis. A companion sanctuary of Hecate was constructed underground by Diocletian. The beauty and the lax morals of Daphne were celebrated all over the western world; and indeed Antioch as a whole shared in both these titles to fame. Its amenities awoke both the enthusiasm and the scorn of many writers of antiquity.[citation needed]

Antioch became the capital and court-city of the western Seleucid empire under Antiochus I, its counterpart in the east being Seleucia on the Tigris; but its paramount importance dates from the battle of Ancyra (240 BC), which shifted the Seleucid centre of gravity from Asia Minor, and led indirectly to the rise of Pergamum.

The Seleucids reigned from Antioch.[9] We know little of it in the Hellenistic period, apart from Syria, all our information coming from authors of the late Roman time. Among its great Greek buildings we hear only of the theatre, of which substructures still remain on the flank of Silpius, and of the royal palace, probably situated on the island. It enjoyed a reputation for being “a populous city, full of most erudite men and rich in the most liberal studies,”[10] but the only names of distinction in these pursuits during the Seleucid period that have come down to us are Apollophanes, the Stoic, and one Phoebus, a writer on dreams. The mass of the population seems to have been only superficially Hellenic, and to have spoken Aramaic in non-official life[dubious ][citation needed]. The nicknames which they gave to their later kings were Aramaic; and, except Apollo and Daphne, the great divinities of north Syria seem to have remained essentially native, such as the “Persian Artemis” of Meroe and Atargatis of Hierapolis Bambyce.

The epithet “Golden” suggests that the external appearance of Antioch was impressive, but the city needed constant restoration owing to the seismic disturbances to which the district has always been subjected. The first great earthquake in recorded history was related by the native chronicler John Malalas. It occurred in 148 BC and did immense damage.[11]

Local politics were turbulent. In the many dissensions of the Seleucid house the population took sides, and frequently rose in rebellion, for example against Alexander Balas in 147 BC, and Demetrius II in 129 BC. The latter, enlisting a body of Jews, punished his capital with fire and sword. In the last struggles of the Seleucid house, Antioch turned against its feeble rulers, invited Tigranes of Armenia to occupy the city in 83 BC, tried to unseat Antiochus XIII in 65 BC, and petitioned Rome against his restoration in the following year. Antioch’s wish prevailed, and it passed with Syria to the Roman Republic in 64 BC, but remained a civitas libera.

 

Roman period

The Roman emperors favoured the city from the first moments, seeing it as a more suitable capital for the eastern part of the empire than Alexandria could be, because of the isolated position of Egypt. To a certain extent they tried to make it an eastern Rome. Julius Caesar visited it in 47 BC, and confirmed its freedom. A great temple to Jupiter Capitolinus rose on Silpius, probably at the insistence ofOctavian, whose cause the city had espoused. A forum of Roman type was laid out. Tiberius built two long colonnades on the south towards Silpius.

Agrippa and Tiberius enlarged the theatre, and Trajan finished their work.Antoninus Pius paved the great east to west artery with granite. A circus, other colonnades and great numbers of baths were built, and new aqueducts to supply them bore the names of Caesars, the finest being the work of Hadrian. The Roman client, King Herod (most likely the great builder Herod the Great), erected a long stoa on the east, and Agrippa (c.63 BC – 12 BC) encouraged the growth of a new suburb south of this.

One of the most famous urban additions to Antioch, done by the Romans probably under Augustus when the city had more than half a million inhabitants, was the Circus of Antioch: it was a Roman hippodrome. Used for chariot racing, it was modelled on the Circus Maximus in Rome and other circus buildings throughout the empire. Measuring more than 490 m in length and 30 m of width.[12] The Circus could house up to 80,000 spectators.

Zarmanochegas (Zarmarus) a monk of the Sramana tradition of India, according to Strabo and Dio Cassius, met Nicholas of Damascus in Antioch around 13 AD as part of a Mission to Augustus.[13][14] At Antioch Germanicus died in 19 AD, and his body was burnt in the forum.

An earthquake that shook Antioch in AD 37 caused the emperor Caligula to send two senators to report on the condition of the city. Another quake followed in the next reign.

Titus set up the Cherubim, captured from the Jewish temple, over one of the gates.

In 115 AD, during Trajan‘s travel there during his war against Parthia, the whole site was convulsed by a huge earthquake. The landscape altered, and the emperor himself was forced to take shelter in the circus for several days. He and his successor restored the city, but the population was reduced to less than 400,000 inhabitants and many sections of the city were abandoned.

Commodus had Olympic games celebrated at Antioch.

The Antioch Chalice, first half of 6th century, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In 256 AD, the town was suddenly raided by the Persians, who slew many in the theatre.

Age of Julian and Valens

When the emperor Julian visited in 362 on a detour to Persia, he had high hopes for Antioch, regarding it as a rival to the imperial capital of Constantinople. Antioch had a mixed pagan and Christian population, which Ammianus Marcellinus implies lived quite harmoniously together. However Julian’s visit began ominously as it coincided with a lament for Adonis, the doomed lover ofAphrodite. Thus, Ammianus wrote, the emperor and his soldiers entered the city not to the sound of cheers but to wailing and screaming.

After being advised that the bones of 3rd-century martyred bishop Babylas were suppressing the oracle of Apollo at Daphne,[15] he made a public-relations mistake in ordering the removal of the bones from the vicinity of the temple. The result was a massive Christian procession. Shortly after that, when the temple was destroyed by fire, Julian suspected the Christians and ordered stricter investigations than usual. He also shut up the chief Christian church of the city, before the investigations proved that the fire was the result of an accident.[16][17]

Julian found much else about which to criticize the Antiochene; Julian had wanted the empire’s cities to be more self-managing, as they had been some 200 years before. However Antioch’s city councilmen showed themselves unwilling to shore up Antioch’s food shortage with their own resources, so dependent were they on the emperor. Ammianus wrote that the councilmen shirked their duties by bribing unwitting men in the marketplace to do the job for them.

The city’s impiety to the old religion was clear to Julian when he attended the city’s annual feast of Apollo. To his surprise and dismay the only Antiochene present was an old priest clutching a chicken.

The Antiochenes in turn hated Julian for worsening the food shortage with the burden of his billeted troops, wrote Ammianus. The soldiers were often to be found gorged on sacrificial meat, making a drunken nuisance of themselves on the streets while Antioch’s hungry citizens looked on in disgust. The Christian Antiochenes and Julian’s pagan Gallicsoldiers also never quite saw eye to eye.

Even Julian’s piety was distasteful to the Antiochenes retaining the old faith. Julian’s brand of paganism was very much unique to himself, with little support outside the most educated Neoplatonist circles. The irony of Julian’s enthusiasm for large scale animal sacrifice could not have escaped the hungry Antiochenes. Julian gained no admiration for his personal involvement in the sacrifices, only the nickname axeman, wrote Ammianus.

The emperor’s high-handed, severe methods and his rigid administration prompted Antiochene lampoons about, among other things, Julian’s unfashionably pointed beard.[18]

Julian’s successor, Valens, who endowed Antioch with a new forum, including a statue of Valentinian on a central column, reopened the great church of Constantine, which stood till the Persian sack in 538, by Chosroes.

Christianity

Antioch was a chief center of early Christianity during Roman times. The city had a large population of Jewish origin in a quarter called the Kerateion, and so attracted the earliest missionaries.[19] Evangelized, among others, by Peter himself, according to the tradition upon which the Antiochene patriarchate still rests its claim for primacy,[20] and certainly later[21] by Barnabas and Paul during Paul’s first missionary journey. Its converts were the first to be called Christians.[22] This is not to be confused with Antioch in Pisidia, to which the early missionaries later travelled.[23]

Georgia (Iberia) had been a part of the Patriarchate of Antioch since the fourth century. A multitude of Georgians lived in Antioch after the Byzantine victory side by side with the Greek population.[24]

Surrounding the city were a number of Greek, Syrian, Georgian, Armenian and Latin monasteries.[25]

A bronze coin from Antioch depicting theemperor Julian. Note the pointed beard.

The Christian population was estimated by Chrysostom at about 100,000 people at the time of Theodosius I. Between 252 and 300, ten assemblies of the church were held at Antioch and it became the seat of one of the five original patriarchates, along withConstantinople, Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Rome (see Pentarchy).

One of the canonical Eastern Orthodox churches is still called the Antiochian Orthodox Church, although it moved its headquarters from Antioch to Damascus, Syria, several centuries ago (see list of Patriarchs of Antioch), and its prime bishop retains the title “Patriarch of Antioch,” somewhat analogous to the manner in which several Popes, heads of the Roman Catholic Church remained “Bishop of Rome” even while residing in Avignon, France in the 14th century.

Many Georgian monks and clergy moved from Tao-Klarjeti to Antioch and alongside literary activities, they supported the spreading of Tao-Klarjetian artistic traditions. For that time the program of manuscript illumination based both on Tao-Klarjetian traditions and, especially, on Antiochene artistic thought was gradually established. The Alaverdian version of Abgar’s story is completely connected to the Antiochene traditions its insertion into the Georgian manuscript, alongside the other features, should be considered as a sign of respect to this tradition.

Late antiquity

Theodosius and after

In 387 AD, there was a great sedition caused by a new tax levied by order of Theodosius I, and the city was punished by the loss of its metropolitan status. He divided the Roman empire, and since then Antioch was under Constantinople’s rule.

Antioch and its port, Seleucia Pieria, were severely damaged by the great earthquake of 526. Seleucia Pieria, which was already fighting a losing battle against continual silting, never recovered.[26] Justinian I renamed Antioch Theopolis (“City of God”) and restored many of its public buildings, but the destructive work was completed by the Persian king,Khosrau I, twelve years later. Antioch lost as many as 300,000 people. Justinian I made an effort to revive it, and Procopius describes his repairing of the walls; but its glory was past.

Antioch gave its name to a certain school of Christian thought, distinguished by literal interpretation of the Scriptures and insistence on the human limitations of Jesus. Diodorus of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia were the leaders of this school. The principal local saint was Simeon Stylites, who lived an extremely ascetic life atop a pillar for 40 years some 65 kilometres (40 miles) east of Antioch. His body was brought to the city and buried in a building erected under the emperor Leo.

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