Amida (Mesopotamia)

Amida (Greek: Ἄμιδα, Syriac: ܐܡܝܕ‎, Kurdish: Amed[1][2][3]) was an ancient city in Mesopotamia located where modern Diyarbakır, Turkey now stands. The Roman writers Ammianus Marcellinus and Procopius consider it a city of Mesopotamia.

The city was located on the right bank of the Tigris. The walls are lofty and substantial, and constructed of the recycled stones from older buildings.

Coordinates: 37°58′55″N 40°12′38″E / 37.98194°N 40.21056°E

Diyarbakr Western City Wall
The walls of Amida, built by Constantius II before the Siege of Amida of 359, when the city was conquered by the Sassanid king Shapur II.
The walls of Amida, built by Constantius II before the Siege of Amida of 359


Amid(a), also known by various names throughout its long history, was established as an Aramean settlement, circa the 3rd millennium BC, later as the capital of Bit-Zamani. The oldest artefact from Amida is the famous stele of king Naram-Sin also believed to be from third millennia BC. The name Amida first appears in the writings of Assyrian King Adad-nirari I (C. 1310 -1281 BC) who ruled the city as a part of the Assyrian homeland. Amida remained an important region of the Assyrian homeland throughout the reign of king Tiglath-Pileser I (1114–1076 BC) and the name Amida appeared in the annals of Assyrian rulers until 705 BC, and also appears in the archives of Armenian king Tiridates II in 305 AD, and the Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus (325–391 AD).

It was enlarged and strengthened by Constantius II, in whose reign it was besieged and taken after seventy-three days by the Sassanid king Shapur II (359). The Roman soldiers and a large part of the population of the town were massacred by the Persians. The historian Ammianus Marcellinus, who took part in the defence of the town, has given a minute account of the siege.[4] In 363 Amida was re-taken by Roman Emperor Julian.

Amida was besieged by the Sassanid king Kavadh I during the Anastasian War through the autumn and winter (502-503). The siege of the city proved to be a far more difficult enterprise than Kavadh expected; the defenders, although unsupported by troops, repelled the Sassanid assaults for three months before they were finally beaten.[5][6] During that same war, the Romans attempted an ultimately unsuccessful siege of the Persian-held Amida, led by generals Patricius and Hypatius.[7] In 504, however, the Romans reconquered the city, and Justinian I repaired its walls and fortifications.[8]

The Sassanids captured the city for a third time in 602 and held it for more than twenty years. In 628 the Roman emperor Heraclius recovered Amida.

Finally, in 639 the city was captured by the Arab armies of Islam and it remained in Arab hands until the Kurdish dynasty of the Marwanids ruled the area during the 10th and 11th centuries.

In 1085, the Seljuq Turks captured the region from the Marwanids, and they settled many Turcomans in the region. However, the Ayyubids received the city from Seljuqs in 1201, and the city ruled by them until the Mongolian Ilkhanate captured the city in 1259. Later the Turkmen Artuqid dynasty received the city from the Ayyubids and ruled the region till 1409. Yavuz Sultan Selim, the Ottoman Emperor received the city from the Safavids in 1515.

Amida is a diocese of several Christian denominations; for the ecclesiastical history of Amida and Diyarbakir, see the Diyarbakır article.

See also


  1. ^ Gunter, Michael M. (2010). Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. Scarecrow Press. p. 86. Diyarbakir is often called the unofficial capital of Turkish Kurdistan. Its Kurdish name is Amed.
  2. ^ King, Diane E. (2013). Kurdistan on the Global Stage: Kinship, Land, and Community in Iraq. Rutgers University Press. p. 233. Diyarbakir's Kurdish name is “Amed.”
  3. ^ Akyol, Mustafa (2007). "Pro-Kurdish DTP sweeps Diyarbakir". Hürriyet. Amed is the ancient name given to Diyarbakir in the Kurdish language.
  4. ^ Ammianus Marcellinus, xix. 1, seq.
  5. ^ Greatrex-Lieu (2002), 63
  6. ^ Procopius, Bellum Persicum i. 7, seq.
  7. ^ Greatrex-Lieu (2002), 69-71
  8. ^ Procopius, De aedificcis, ii. 3. 27.


Acacius of Amida

Saint Acacius of Amida (died 425) was Bishop of Amida, Mesopotamia (modern-day Turkey) from 400 to 425, during the reign of the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius II.

Bar Hebraeus

Gregory Bar Hebraeus (1226 – 30 July 1286), also known by his Latin name Abulpharagius or Syriac name Mor Gregorios Bar Ebraya, was a maphrian-catholicos (Chief bishop of Persia) of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the 13th century. He is noted for his works concerning philosophy, poetry, language, history, and theology; he has been called "one of the most learned and versatile men from the Syriac Orthodox Church" (Dr. William Wright).Bar Hebraeus collected in his numerous and elaborate treatises the results of such research in theology, philosophy, science and history as was in his time possible in Syria. Most of his works were written in Syriac. However he also wrote some in Arabic, which had become the common language in his day.

Legio V Parthica

Legio quinta Parthica (the "Fifth Parthian Legion") was a legion of the Roman Empire (and later the Byzantine Empire) garrisoned in Amida, Mesopotamia, established by the Roman emperor Diocletian (284-305), who reorganized the eastern frontier. The legion is described by the historian Ammianus Marcellinus. The cognomen "Parthica" was an archaism, as the Parthian Empire was already replaced by the Sasanian Empire at the time of the establishment of the legion.In 359, Amida was besieged by the Sasanian forces under Shapur II and their allies. Although V Parthica was reinforced by six more legions, the city eventually fell. V Parthica was probably not re-established later, as its name is absent in the document Notitia Dignitatum.

Siege of Amida

The Siege of Amida took place when the Sassanians under Shapur II besieged the Roman city of Amida (modern Diyarbakır, Turkey) in 359 CE.

In this battle Ammianus Marcellinus, a historian of Greek origin from Antioch, was a Roman army officer; he described the siege in his work (Res Gestae).

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