Samosata (/səˈmɒsətə/; Armenian: Շամուշատ, Shamushat, Ancient Greek: Σαμόσατα Samósata, Syriac: ܫܡܝܫܛšmīšaṭ) was an ancient city on the right (west) bank of the Euphrates, whose ruins exist at the previous location of the modern city of Samsat, Adıyaman Province, Turkey but are no longer accessible as the site was flooded by the newly constructed Atatürk Dam. Even though the city had a predominantly Syriac-speaking population, Hellenistic culture played an important role there.[1] The city is sometimes confused with Arsamosata.

Shamushat (Armenian: Շամուշատ)
Samosata is located in Turkey
Shown within Turkey
RegionAdıyaman Province
Coordinates37°31′N 38°31′E / 37.52°N 38.52°E


Samosata- Hadrian
O: laureate head of Hadrian


R: within wreath:

ΦΛΑ / ΣΑΜΟ(ΣΑΤΩΝ), of Samosatans / ΜΗΤΡΟ / ΚΟΜ

bronze coin struck by Hadrian in Samosata 117-138; ref.: BMC 22

The founder of the city was Sames, a king of Armenia.[2]

Located in southeast Turkey on the upper Euphrates River, it was fortified so as to protect a major crossing point of the river on the east-west trade route. It also served as a station on another route running from Damascus, Palmyra, and Sura up to Armenia and the Euxine Sea. For a time, the city was called Antiochia in Commagene (Ancient Greek: Αντιόχεια τῆς Κομμαγηνῆς). As Antiochia in Commagene, it served as the capital for the Hellenistic kingdom of Commagene from c. 160 BC until it was surrendered to Rome in 72. A civil metropolis from the days of Emperor Hadrian, Samosata was the home of the Legio VI Ferrata and later Legio XVI Flavia Firma, and the terminus of several military roads.

The imperial army besieges Samosata
Depiction of the Byzantine attack on Samosata in 859, from the Madrid Skylitzes

It was at Samosata that Julian II had ships made in his expedition against Sapor, and it was a natural crossing-place in the struggle between Heraclius and Chosroes in the 7th century.

Samosata was the birthplace of several renowned people from antiquities such as Lucian (c. 120-192) and Paul of Samosata (fl. 260).

In Christianity

In the Christian martyrology, seven Christian martyrs were crucified in 297 in Samosata for refusing to perform a pagan rite in celebration of the victory of Maximian over the Sassanids: Abibus, Hipparchus, James, Lollian, Paragnus, Philotheus, and Romanus. Saint Daniel the Stylite was born in a village near Samosata; Saint Rabbulas, venerated on 19 February, who lived in the 6th century at Constantinople, was also a native of Samosata. A Notitia Episcopatuum of Antioch in the 6th century mentions Samosata as an autocephalous metropolis (Échos d'Orient, X, 144); at the synod that reinstated Patriarch Photius I of Constantinople (the Photian Council) of 879, the See of Samosata had already been united to that of Amida (Diyarbakır).[3] As in 586 the titular of Amida bears only this title ([4]), it must be concluded that the union took place between the 7th and the 9th centuries. Earlier bishops included Peperius, who attended the Council of Nicaea (325); Saint Eusebius of Samosata, a great opponent of the Arians, killed by an Arian woman (c. 380), honoured on 22 June; Andrew, a vigorous opponent of Cyril of Alexandria and of the Council of Ephesus.[5]

Chabot gives a list of twenty-eight Syrian Miaphysite bishops.[6] The Syrian bishopric probably lapsed in the 12th century.[7] Samosata is included in the Catholic Church's list of titular sees, but no further titular bishops have been appointed for that eastern see since the Second Vatican Council.

Modern Samsat

Ancient Samosata continues to the present day as the Turkish town of Samsat. The old town of Samsat was submerged in 1989 under the Ataturk Dam. A new town bearing the same name was built for the population dislocated by the sinking of the old town. Modern Samsat is a town of approximately 2000 inhabitants. It is the capital of the district of the same name in the Turkish province of Adıyaman.


  1. ^ A Journey to Palmyra (p. 114)
  2. ^ Toumanoff, Cyril Studies in Christian Caucasian History (1963), p. 280 and 292, Georgetown University Press
  3. ^ Mansi, Conciliorum collectio, XVII-XVIII, 445.
  4. ^ Le Quien, Oriens christianus, II, 994.
  5. ^ Le Quien, Oriens christianus, II, 933-6.
  6. ^ Revue de l'Orient chrétien, VI, 203.
  7. ^ Fiey, J. M. (1993), Pour un Oriens Christianus novus; répertoire des diocèses Syriaques orientaux et occidentaux, Beirut, p. 263, ISBN 3-515-05718-8

External links

Coordinates: 37°31′21″N 38°31′30″E / 37.52250°N 38.52500°E

A True Story

A True Story (Ancient Greek: Ἀληθῆ διηγήματα, Alēthē diēgēmata; Latin: Vera Historia or Latin: Verae Historiae) is a novel written in the second century AD by Lucian of Samosata, a Greek-speaking author of Assyrian descent. The novel is a satire of outlandish tales which had been reported in ancient sources, particularly those which presented fantastic or mythical events as if they were true. It is Lucian's best-known work.

It is the earliest known work of fiction to include travel to outer space, alien lifeforms, and interplanetary warfare. As such, A True Story has been described as "the first known text that could be called science fiction". However the work does not fit into typical literary genres: its multilayered plot and characters have been interpreted as science fiction, fantasy, satire or parody, and have been the subject of much scholarly debate.

Abibus of Samosata

Abibus of Samosata (died 297) was a Christian martyr at Samosata (in Syria on the River Euphrates). He lived during the period of Diocletianic Persecution. He was arrested for refusing to take part in a pagan ritual to celebrate the victory of Emperor Maximian over the Persians. He was thrown to prison where his body was scratched with iron, he had heavy shackles over his neck. In 297 he was sentensed to be executed by crucifixion. After having lived for two days on the cross, he was taken down and his head was pierced by nails. He was crucified together with other martyrs - James, Romanus, Lollius, Philotheus and Paregrus. All these martyrs were commemorated on 29 January in the Bysantine Church and be the Armenian Church in October.

His feast day is kept on December 9.

Dominic Laurence Graessel

Dominic Laurence Graessel, S.J. (August 18, 1753 – October 1793) was an American Roman Catholic priest.

Born in Bavaria, Graessel joined the Society of Jesus and studied for the priesthood. When the order was suppressed, he continued his studies and was ordained. In 1781, he moved to the United States and worked with the Diocese of Baltimore. In May 1793 Graessel was named coadjutor of the diocese by the priests but died of yellow fever in October 1793. On December 8, 1793, Pope Pius VI confirmed Graessel coadjutor bishop and titular bishop of 'Samosata,' not knowing Graessel had died.

Eusebius of Samosata

Saint Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata (died c. 379, Dolikha) was a Christian martyr and opponent of Arianism. His feast day is June 21 in the Western Church and June 22 in the Eastern Church.

Imeneus of Jerusalem

Imeneus of Jerusalem (260–276) also known as Hymeneus was the bishop of the Church of Jerusalem from 266 to 298. Imeneus was the second highest ranking delegate after Helenus, the Bishop of Tarsus, at the council in Antioch that was called in 268 to address the heresy of Paul of Samosata. Hymeneus reposed in 298.

Kingdom of Commagene

The Kingdom of Commagene (Ancient Greek: Βασίλειον τῆς Kομμαγηνῆς; Classical Armenian: Կոմմագէնեայ թագաւորութիւն; transcription: kommagēneay t‘agaworowt‘iwn; Armenian pronunciation: [kommaɡeːneˈa tʰaɡaworuˈtʰiwn]; Armenian: Կոմմագենեի թագավորություն; Armenian pronunciation: [kommaɡɛnɛˈi tʰaɡavorutʰˈjun]) was an ancient Armenian kingdom of the Hellenistic period, located in and around the ancient city of Samosata, which served as its capital. The Iron Age name of Samosata, Kummuh, probably gives its name to Commagene. Commagene has been characterized as a "buffer state" between Armenia, Parthia, Syria, and Rome; culturally, it seems to have been correspondingly mixed. The kings of the Kingdom of Commagene claimed descent from Orontes with Darius I of Persia as their ancestor, by his marriage to Rodogoune, daughter of Artaxerxes II who had a family descent from king Darius I. The territory of Commagene corresponds roughly to the modern Turkish provinces of Adıyaman and northern Antep.Little is known of the region of Commagene prior to the beginning of the 2nd century BC. However, it seems that, from what little evidence remains, Commagene formed part of a larger state that also included the Kingdom of Sophene. This control lasted until c. 163 BC, when the local satrap, Ptolemaeus of Commagene, established himself as independent ruler following the death of the Seleucid king, Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The Kingdom of Commagene maintained its independence until 17 AD, when it was made a Roman province by Emperor Tiberius. It reemerged as an independent kingdom when Antiochus IV of Commagene was reinstated to the throne by order of Caligula, then deprived of it by that same emperor, then restored to it a couple of years later by his successor, Claudius. The re-emergent state lasted until 72 AD, when the Emperor Vespasian finally and definitively made it part of the Roman Empire.

One of the kingdom's most lasting visible remains is the archaeological site on Mount Nemrut, a sanctuary dedicated by King Antiochus Theos to a number of syncretistic Graeco-Iranian deities as well as to himself and the deified land of Commagene. It is now a World Heritage Site.


Lucian of Samosata (c. 125 – after 180 AD) was a Syrian satirist and rhetorician who is best known for his characteristic tongue-in-cheek style, with which he frequently ridiculed superstition, religious practices, and belief in the paranormal. Although his native language was probably Syriac, all of his extant works are written entirely in Ancient Greek (mostly in the Atticized dialect popular during the Second Sophistic period).

Everything that is known about Lucian's life comes from his own writings, which are often difficult to interpret because of his extensive use of sarcasm. According to his oration The Dream, he was the son of a lower middle class family from the village of Samosata along the banks of the Euphrates in the remote Roman province of Syria. As a young man, he was apprenticed to his uncle to become a sculptor, but, after a failed attempt at sculpting, he ran away to pursue an education in Ionia. He may have become a travelling lecturer and visited universities throughout the Roman Empire. After acquiring fame and wealth through his teaching, Lucian finally settled down in Athens for a decade, during which he wrote most of his extant works. In his old age, he may have been appointed as a highly-paid government official in Egypt, after which point he disappears from the historical record.

Lucian's works were wildly popular in antiquity, and more than eighty writings attributed to him have survived to the present day, a considerably higher quantity than for most other classical writers. His most famous work is A True Story, a tongue-in-cheek satire against authors who tell incredible tales, which is regarded by some as the earliest known work of science fiction. Lucian invented the genre of the comic dialogue, a parody of the traditional Platonic dialogue. His dialogue The Lover of Lies makes fun of people who believe in the supernatural and contains the oldest known version of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". Lucian wrote numerous satires making fun of traditional stories about the gods including The Dialogues of the Gods, Icaromenippus, Zeus Rants, Zeus Catechized, and The Parliament of the Gods. His Dialogues of the Dead focuses on the Cynic philosophers Diogenes and Menippus. Philosophies for Sale and The Banquet or Lapiths make fun of various philosophical schools, and The Fisherman or the Dead Come to Life is a defense of this mockery.

Lucian often ridicules public figures, such as the Cynic philosopher Peregrinus Proteus in his letter The Passing of Peregrinus and the fraudulent oracle Alexander of Abonoteichus in his treatise Alexander the False Prophet. Lucian's treatise On the Syrian Goddess satirizes cultural distinctions between Greeks and Syrians and is the main source of information about the cult of Atargatis. Lucian had an enormous, wide-ranging impact on Western literature. Works inspired by his writings include Sir Thomas More's Utopia, the works of François Rabelais, William Shakespeare's Timon of Athens and Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels.


In ancient Greek cult-practice and literature, a nekyia (Ancient Greek: ἡ νέκυια) is a "rite by which ghosts were called up and questioned about the future," i.e., necromancy. A nekyia is not necessarily the same thing as a katabasis. While they both afford the opportunity to converse with the dead, only a katabasis is the actual, physical journey to the underworld undertaken by several heroes in Greek and Roman myth.

In common parlance, however, the term "nekyia" is often used to subsume both types of event, so that by Late Antiquity for example "Olympiodorus ... claimed that three [Platonic] myths were classified as nekyia (an underworld story, as in Homer's Odyssey book 11)".

Passing of Peregrinus

The Passing of Peregrinus or The Death of Peregrinus (Greek: Περὶ τῆς Περεγρίνου Τελευτῆς; Latin: De Morte Peregrini) is a satire by the Syrian Greek writer Lucian in which the lead character, the Cynic philosopher Peregrinus Proteus, takes advantage of the generosity of Christians and lives a disingenuous life before burning himself at the Olympic Games of 165 CE. The text is historically significant because it contains one of the earliest evaluations of early Christianity by a non-Christian author.

Paul of Samosata

Paul of Samosata (Greek: Παῦλος ὁ Σαμοσατεύς, lived from 200 to 275 AD) was Bishop of Antioch from 260 to 268. He was a believer in monarchianism, a nontrinitarian doctrine; his teachings reflect adoptionism.

Pitys (mythology)

In Greek mythology— or more particularly in Ancient Greek poetry— Pitys (Πίτυς; English translation: "pine") was an Oread nymph who was pursued by Pan. According to a passage in Nonnus' Dionysiaca (ii.108) she was changed into a pine tree by the gods in order to escape him. Pitys is mentioned in Longus' Daphnis and Chloe (ii.7 and 39) and by Lucian of Samosata (Dialogues of the Dead, 22.4). Pitys was chased by Pan as was Syrinx, who was turned into reeds to escape the god who then used her reeds for his panpipes. The flute-notes may have frightened the maenads running from his woodland in a "panic." The subject is illustrated in paintings of (roughly chronologically) Nicolas Poussin, Jacob Jordaens, François Boucher, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Annibale Carracci, Andrea Casali, Arnold Bocklin, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, and Maxfield Parrish.

Rabulas of Samosata

Saint Rabulas (or Rabula) of Samosata (d. 530 AD) was a monk and ascetic. A native of Samosata, and was educated there by a man named Baripsaba. He learned the Syriac language. Rabulas became an ascetic in the deserts and mountains, and then traveled to the Levant.The Emperor Zeno provided Rabulas with funds to build a monastery in the middle of the mountains (the location of which has not been identified), the construction of which was supervised by Bishop John of Berytus. Rabulas’ monastery became a center for converting local peoples to Christianity. Rabulas then went to Constantinople, where the Emperor Anastasius I Dicorus supported the ascetic financially. Rabulas built more monasteries with these funds.

Romanus of Samosata

Romanus of Samosata (died 297) was a martyr for Christianity in Syria in 297. He and his companions, Jacob, Philotheus, Hyperechius, Abibus, Julianus, and Paregorius were all subject to a variety of tortures before being hanged to trees and then nailed against them. They are mentioned in the Menaea Graeca and the Menologium der Orthodox-Katholischen Kirche des Morgenlandes. Their feast day is January 29.

Romanus is one of the 140 Colonnade saints which adorn St. Peter's Square.

Sames I

Samos or Sames (Armenian: Շամուշ, Greek: Σάμος) was satrap of Commagene, Armenian king of Commagene and Sophene.War between the Seleucid Empire and the Ptolemaic Kingdom seems to have allowed Sames an opportunity for independence for his kingdom. What side he took in the Syrian Wars is unknown as most of the records of that era have been lost, though it is considered likely that he would have supported the Ptolemaic Kingdom against his large and powerful neighbour, the Seleucid Empire.

Most sources give Orontes III as his father. After Orontes III died in 260 BC, there is no record for when Sames began his rule, only that his year of death is also 260 BC. This could be chronological error or it may be that Sames was meant to succeed Orontes III, but died in the same year. However it seems that Arsames I took control of Commagene, Sophene and Armenia after 260 BC.

Commagene was outside the boundary of historic Armenia, yet the Armenian satraps remained in occupation of many regions of Anatolia, such as Cappadocia and Pontus. It may have been that the son and heir to the Armenian kingdom would rule another region, just as the son or heir to the Achaemenid Empire had always ruled an outlying region, such as Bactria or Hyrkania. Viewing it from this perspective it would make sense, as his father Orontes III was of the Orontid family.It is suggested that Samos founded the city of Samosata, which has been submerged by the Ataturk Dam since 1989.

Shamash was a Babylonian god, equivalent to Mithra; it was a dramatic break from a seemingly continuous tradition of satraps with Armenian and Persian names. The neighbouring region of Osroene maintained a strong Aramaic culture that the Armenian and Persian occupiers never replaced. Although Sames had a very Babylonian (Aramaic) name, his name might have been "Mihrdat" which many of his successors had, but he replaced it with the Babylonian equivalent for cultural reasons on taking control of Commagene.

He was succeeded by his son, Arsames I.

Sames II Theosebes Dikaios

Sames or Samos II Theosebes Dikaios (Greek: Σάμος Θεοσεβής Δίκαιος – died 109 BC) was the second king of Commagene. Of Armenian descent, he was the son and successor of Ptolemaeus of Commagene.

Sames reigned as king between 130–109 BC. During his reign, Sames ordered the construction of the fortress at Samosata which is now submerged by water from the Atatürk Dam. Sames died in 109 BC. His wife was Pythodoris, daughter of the Kings of Pontus, and his son and successor was Mithridates I Callinicus.


Samsat (Armenian: Սամոսատ Samosata) is a small town and district in the Adıyaman Province of Turkey, situated on the upper Euphrates river.

The current town of Samsat is comparatively new, being built only since 1989 when the old town of Samosata was flooded during construction of the Attaturk Dam. Indeed to some extent the re-construction of the town is still ongoingDespite the flooding of the Old town the even more ancient Tell known as Samsat Castle has survived to the current day.

In 2016 the town had a population of 3789, down from 4720 in 2008 and a peak of 6.917 in 2000. Almost all of the population is Kurds.


Located in Turkey, the settlement of Satala (Old Armenian: Սատաղ Satał), according to the ancient geographers, was situated in a valley surrounded by mountains, a little north of the Euphrates, where the road from Trapezus to Samosata crossed the boundary of the Roman Empire, when it was a bishopric, which remains a Latin Catholic titular see. Later it was connected with Nicopolis by two highways. Satala is now Sadak, a village of 500 inhabitants, in the Kelkit district of Gümüşhane Province in Turkey.

Seleucia at the Zeugma

Seleucia at the Zeugma (Greek: Σελεύκεια ἐπὶ τοῦ Ζεύγματος, transliterated Seleucia epi tou Zeugmatos or Seleukeia epi tou Zeugmatos) was a Hellenistic city or fortified town in the present Republic of Turkey, on the left, or south, bank of the Euphrates, across from ancient Samosata and not far from it.

It is mentioned in isolated incidents: Antiochus III the Great married a Pontic princess there in 221 BC; the Oxford Classical Dictionary ascribed this to Zeugma. Tigranes let Cleopatra Selene, the widow of Antiochus X Eusebes, be killed there. Pompey gave the city and its surroundings to Antiochus I Theos of Commagene; Pliny the Elder nonetheless ascribes it to Coele Syria. The bishop Eusebius of Samosata ruled a day's journey from his see, even to Zeugma. The name of the city is confirmed by an inscription from Rhodes, which refers to a man "of Seleucia, of those on the Euphrates".

The location of Selucia at the Zeugma is currently uncertain. It had a bridge of boats, like the well-known (and now submerged) city of Zeugma, in Osrohene further downstream; which is too far downstream, and on the wrong side of the river to be the boundary of Eusebius' see. By the same reasoning, it cannot be either of the places called el Qantara ("bridge") which were just above, and 2 km below, modern Samsat, Turkey, before its old site was also flooded, by the Ataturk Dam. The Barrington Atlas conjectures that it was at Killik, Şanlıurfa Province, Turkey 37°26′N 38°14′E), on the basis of T.A. Sinclair's Eastern Turkey : an architectural and archaeological survey, which is some 40 km downstream from Samosata, and below the dam.

The reasoning here is unclear. Sinclair shows this Killik (which means "Claypit" in Turkish), on his map at IV 172, but all four of his references to the name in his text are to a Killik at 39°23′N 37°42′E, at the headwaters of the Euphrates, near Divriği.

Theresa Goell

Theresa Goell (July 17, 1901 – December 18, 1985) was an American archaeologist, best known for directing excavations at Nemrud Dagh in south-eastern Turkey. Born in New York, she earned a BA at Radcliffe College; she then graduated from Newnham College, Cambridge, and later studied at New York University and Columbia University in New York. In 1947, Goell visited Nemrud Dagh for the first time; excavations there would become her life's work. Goell was involved in excavations at a number of other Turkish sites over the course of her career, including at Tarsus, Jerasa, and Samosata. Goell's work in Turkey "nearly single-handedly opened up ancient Commagene to the world".

Black Sea
Central Anatolia
Eastern Anatolia


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