Sites & cities that bear the name of Seleucia


Today in : Iraq
First trace of activity : 306 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : 165 C.E
Recorded names : Seleúkeia, Σελεύκεια, Seleucia-on-Tigris, Seleucia on the Tigris, Séleucie du Tigre, Salīq, ܣܠܝܩ‎, Māḥôzē, ܡܚܘܙ̈ܐ‎

Description : Seleucia, also known as Seleucia-on-Tigris or Seleucia on the Tigris, was a major Mesopotamian city of the Seleucid, Parthian, and Sasanian empires. It stood on the west bank of the Tigris River opposite Ctesiphon, within the present-day Baghdad Governorate in Iraq. Seleucia, as such, was founded in about 305 BC, when an earlier city was enlarged and dedicated as the first capital of the Seleucid Empire by Seleucus I Nicator. Seleucus was one of the Diadochi successors of Alexander the Great who, after Alexander's death, divided his empire among themselves. Although Seleucus soon moved his main capital to Antioch, in northern Syria, Seleucia became an important center of trade, Hellenistic culture, and regional government under the Seleucids. The city was populated by Greeks, Syrians and Jews. To make his capital into a metropolis, Seleucus forced almost all inhabitants of Babylon, except the local temple priests/supporting workers, to leave and resettle in Seleucia. " A tablet dated 275 BC states that the inhabitants of Babylon were transported to Seleucia, where a palace and a temple (Esagila) were built." Standing at the confluence of the Tigris River with a major canal from the Euphrates, Seleucia was placed to receive traffic from both great waterways. During the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, it was one of the great Hellenistic cities, comparable to Alexandria in Egypt, and greater than Syrian Antioch. Excavations indicate that the walls of the city enclosed an area of at least 550 hectares (1,400 acres), equivalent to a square roughly 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) on a side. Based on this size, the population has been estimated to number over 100,000 initially and probably more later. Its surrounding region might have supported half a million people.

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