Seleucia Pieria

Seleucia in Pieria (Greek Σελεύκεια ἐν Πιερίᾳ), also known in English as Seleucia by the Sea, and later named Suedia, was a Hellenistic town, the seaport of Antioch ad Orontes (Syria Prima), the Seleucid capital, modern Antakya (Turkey). The city was built slightly to the north of the estuary of the river Orontes, between small rivers on the western slopes of the Coryphaeus, one of the southern summits of the Amanus Mountains.

According to Pausanias and Malalas, there was a previous city here named Palaeopolis ("Old City"). At present, it is located at the seaside village of Çevlik[1] near the town of Samandağ in the Hatay Province of Turkey. Seleucia, Apamea, Laodicea, and Antioch formed the Syrian tetrapolis.[2]

Seleucia in Pieria
Roman Sarcophagus, Seleucia Pieria
A Roman sarcophagus on the upper hills of the city
Seleucia Pieria is located in Turkey
Seleucia Pieria
Shown within Turkey
LocationHatay Province, Turkey
Coordinates36°07′26″N 35°55′19″E / 36.12389°N 35.92194°ECoordinates: 36°07′26″N 35°55′19″E / 36.12389°N 35.92194°E
BuilderSeleucus I Nicator
Founded300 BC
PeriodsHellenistic to Medieval
CulturesGreek, Roman, Arab, Turkish
Site notes
ConditionIn ruins


Seleucid period

Seleucia Pieria was founded in ca. 300 BCE by Seleucus I Nicator, one of the successors of the Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great and the founder of the Seleucid Empire.[3] The Macedonians called the landscape Pieria, after a district in their homeland that was also between the sea and a mountain range (the Olympus).[3]

When Seleucus I was murdered on his way to Macedon in 281 BC, his son, Antiochus I, buried his ashes in a building called "Nikatoreion", situated on Seleucia.

The city was of great importance in the struggle between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies; it was captured by Ptolemy Euergetes in 246 BCE.[2] As the Ptolemies (Lagids) and Seleucids fought over the city, it changed hands several times until 219 BCE, when the Seleucid Antiochus III the Great recaptured it during the Fourth Syrian War (219-217 BCE); his general Ardys is recorded as having distinguished himself during the siege. Then it obtained its freedom and kept it even to the end of the Roman occupation. It had long enjoyed the right of coinage.[4]

Column plinths, Seleucia Pieria
Column plinths of possibly the main/harbour street
Caracalla - AR tetradrachm from Seleucia Pieria
silver tetradrachm struck in Seleucia by Caracalla 215-217 AD

Roman period

When the Seleucid Empire was subdued by the Armenian conqueror Tigranes II, Seleucia Pieria resisted. Roman general Pompey the Great restored the Seleucids to power by giving the city to Antiochus I Theos of Commagene, a direct descendant of Seleucus I Nicator and a loyal ally of Rome. Under light Commagene rule, Seleucia enjoyed substantial autonomy, i.e. de facto independence.[3]

Seleucia's importance grew significantly over time, necessitating the enlargement of its harbours several times under Diocletian and Constantius. These harbours, called the "inner" and "outer" harbours, served from time to time the Roman navy.

Most buildings and structures today date from the Roman period.

Byzantine period

During Byzantine times the city went into a steady decline. The silting up of the city's harbours hastened this process. In the fifth century CE the fight to keep them open was finally given up. It suffered severely in the devastating 526 Antioch earthquake.

Islamic period

Seleucia was captured by the Sasanids around 540 CE. While it never recovered as a port-city again, Al-Walid ibn Abd al-Malik, Ummayad Caliph from 705-715, built a fortress in the city.[5]

Seleucia Pieria and Christianity

The city was Christianized early. As the port of Antioch of Syria,[2] "Seleucia on sea"—so called to distinguish it from other cities of the same name—is most notable as the precise point of embarkation from which the Apostle Paul [in 45 CE] and Saint Barnabas sailed from this port on their first missionary journeys, as chronicled in the Bible (Acts 13:4).[6] At the end of that same journey he must have made landfall at Seleucia before going to Antioch (see Acts 14:26). His route at the beginning of the second journey was by land and probably bypassed Seleucia (see Acts 15:40-41), though on returning, he must have passed through it again (see Acts 18:22). Once more taking a land route when setting out on his third journey, Paul may have missed Seleucia (see Acts 19:1), and at that journey's end he did not return to Antioch and so missed Seleucia again (see Acts 21:7-8). This means that Paul passed through Seleucia at least three times, and probably several more on pre-missionary visits to Antioch of Syria (see Acts 11:26; 12:25).

The oldest bishop known is Zenobius, present at the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE. Other known bishops include Eusebius, an Arian, and Bizus in the fourth century, with twelve others cited by Le Quien (Oriens Christianus, II, 777-780). In the sixth century CE the Notitia Episcopatuum of Antioch, gives Seleucia Pieria as an autocephalous archbishopric, suffragan of Antioch (Échos d'Orient, X 144); the diocese existed until the tenth century CE, and its boundaries are known (Échos d'Orient, X, 97). For some Roman Catholic titularies see Eubel, Hierarchia catholica medii aevi, I, 468.[4]

Seleucia Pieria was a diocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the eighth and ninth centuries CE, three of whose bishops are known. The last-known Syriac Orthodox bishop of Seleucia, Ahron (847/874 CE), is mentioned in the lists of Michael the Syrian. There were also Georgian monastic estabishments around Seleucia from the 11th to the 13th centuries.[7]

The city is still a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church, Seleuciensis Pierius; the seat is vacant following the death of the last bishop in 1980.[8]

Titus Tunnel, Seleucia Pieria
A section of the Titus Tunnel

Known Bishops

  • Eugenius of Seleucia heretical follower of Athanasius, grandson of Empress


  • Dositheus I[10]
  • Zenobius, present at the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE.
  • Eusebius 350[11]
  • Bizus fl 381
  • Maximus
  • Vasilius of Seleucia, Attendee of Council of Ephesus in 431,[12] supporter of Nestorius.
  • Basil of Seleucia fl 452.
  • Dositheus II fl 553.
  • Gerontius fl 448.
  • Nonus of Seleucia; from about 505AD, exiled about 521 for heracy.
  • Constantius, a heritic
  • Dyonisis fl 553
  • Antonius,[13]
  • Theodorus
  • Agapoius
  • Nicholas
  • Ahron (847 -874 CE).[14]

Latin Titular Archbishop

Main Sites

The upper city, about 13 km in circumference, is still distinguishable. The lower city, smaller than the preceding one, was more thickly populated.[4] Ruins include a necropolis, amphitheatre, citadel, temples, some irrigation works as well as some fortifications.

The highlight of the city is a 1350-1400m long tunnel/canal complex built during Roman times. It is believed that it was dug to divert the nearby river and prevent the harbour from silting up with time. A further reason is assumed to be to help reduce flooding caused during heavy winter rains. Construction began during the reign of Emperor Vespasian (69-79 CE) continuing mainly during his son Titus's time (79-81 CE).

According to Flavius Josephus, a Roman-Jewish historian (37–ca.100 CE), Jewish slaves were used as workers. These were working under orders of Emperor Titus, who had captured Jerusalem in 70 CE. Other POWs were sent to Rome, where they had to build the Colosseum. According to an inscription, the tunnel/canal was not completely finished until the reign of Antoninus Pius (138-161 CE). The last workers were Roman legionaries.[3]

Most parts of the tunnel/canal are intact and it can be visited on foot. Rock tombs are found on the wall of the canal.

Antioch Alexandria and Seleucia
The Peutinger Map showing Syrian Antioch Alexandria and Seleucia in the 4th century

Notable persons

Famous residents include Apollophanes, a physician of Antiochus III the Great (third century), and Firmus who aroused Palmyra and Egypt against Rome in 272 CE.[4]


  1. ^ Seleucia in Pieria, Ancient Warfare Magazine
  2. ^ a b c Wikisource Meyer, Eduard (1911). "Seleucia" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 24 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 603.
  3. ^ a b c d "Seleucia in Pieria". Retrieved 2013-05-01.
  4. ^ a b c d  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainVailhé, Siméon (1912). "Seleucia Pieria" . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. 13. New York: Robert Appleton.
  5. ^ Page 115 of Volume 5 of Mu'jam al-Buldan, quoting another book Futuh al-Buldan, page 155
  6. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainEaston, Matthew George (1897). "Seleucia". Easton's Bible Dictionary (New and revised ed.). T. Nelson and Sons.
  7. ^ Mango, Marlia M. (1991). "Seleukeia Pieria". In Kazhdan, Alexander (ed.). The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 1866–1867. ISBN 0-19-504652-8.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Michael the Syrian :102.
  10. ^ Michel Le Quien, Oriens christianusp777.
  11. ^ Michel Le Quien, Oriens christianusp777
  12. ^ Michael the Syrian 79
  13. ^ Michel Le Quien, Oriens christianusp777 and Michael the Syrian.
  14. ^ Micahel the Syrian.
  15. ^ David M. Cheney, Seleucia Pieria.
526 Antioch earthquake

The 526 Antioch earthquake hit Syria (region) and Antioch in the Byzantine Empire in 526. It struck during late May, probably between 20–29 May, at mid-morning, killing approximately 250,000 people. The earthquake was followed by a fire that destroyed most of the buildings left standing by the earthquake. The maximum intensity in Antioch is estimated to be between VIII (Severe) and IX (Violent) on the Mercalli intensity scale.

Antigonia (Syria)

Antigonia (Greek: Αντιγόνεια) also transliterated as Antigonea and Antigoneia was a Hellenistic city in Seleucid Empire, Syria (in modern Turkey), on the Orontes, founded by Antigonus I Monophthalmus in 307 BC, and intended to be the capital of his empire; the site is approximately 7 km northeast of Antakya, Hatay Province, Turkey. After the Battle of Ipsus, 301 BC, in which Antigonus perished, the inhabitants of Antigonia were removed by his successful rival Seleucus I Nicator to the city of Antioch, which Seleucus founded a little lower down the river. (Strabo xvi. p. 750; Diod. xx. 47; Liban. Antioch. p. 349; Malalas, p. 256.) Diodorus erroneously says that the inhabitants were removed to Seleucia Pieria. Antigonia continued, however, to exist, and is mentioned in the war with the Parthians after the defeat of Crassus. (Dion Cass. xl. 29.)

Ardys (general)

Ardys is known from the writings of the Greek historian Polybius. He was an experienced general who commanded the right wing of the army of Antiochus the Great in his battle against the Seleucid rebel Molon in 220 BCE. He distinguished himself in the next year in the siege of Seleucia Pieria.

Charles Warren Currier

Bishop Charles Warren Currier (March 22, 1857 in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, USA - September 23, 1918 in Maryland, USA) was the first bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Matanzas (1913–1914). His parents were Warren Green Currier (born in New York) and Deborah Heyliger of the Netherlands.

He studied at the College of Our Lady of the Assumption, Roermond, Limburg, the Netherlands, and at Saint Alphonsus Seminary in Wittem, Limburg. He joined the missionary order the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists) in 1875 and was ordained a priest on November 24, 1880 in Amsterdam by Bishop Henry Schaap (vicar apostolic of Surinam). In January 1881, he arrived in Surinam for his first missionary assignment where he remained until 1882. In November 1891 he was allowed to leave the Redemptorists and then worked in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

On June 25, 1910 he was appointed Bishop of Zamboanga, Philippines, by Pope Pius X, but he declined. Because he had published articles on Cuban history, he was appointed on April 26, 1913, as the first Bishop of Matanzas. In Rome, on July 6, 1913, he was consecrated by Cardinal Diomede Angelo Raffaele Gennaro Falconio, O.F.M., and assisted by Domenico Serafini, Titular Archbishop of Seleucia Pieria, and Donato Sbarretti, Titular Archbishop of Efeso, Bishop Emeritus of Havana.

He arrived in Matanzas on November 3, 1913, and took position of the archdiocese the following day. He repaired and redecorated the Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo that was in poor condition. Due to his poor health he resigned his position as Bishop of the Archdiocese of Matanzas on February 11, 1914, and was appointed Titular Bishop of Hetalonia on June 15, 1915.

Bishop Currier knew Greek and Hebrew and was fluent in Latin, English, Dutch, Spanish, French, German, and Italian.

Bishop Currier died on September 23, 1918, on a train traveling from Waldorf, Maryland, to Baltimore to assist in the funeral of Cardinal John Murphy Farley, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York. His funeral took place in the Cathedral of Baltimore, where he is also buried.

Demirköprü, Antakya

Demirköprü (also known as Jisr al-Hadid) is a village in the Antakya District of Hatay Province, Turkey. The population of Demirköprü was 1,076 as of 2012. The village was the birthplace of Yusuf al-Sa'dun, a commander in the Hananu Revolt.

Demirköprü is the location of the ancient settlement of Gephyra (= bridge in Greek), an important station for the transport of goods from the port of Seleucia Pieria to Antioch and further east to Euphrates.

Eugenius (Antioch)

Eugenius (died 303/304) was a Roman usurper in Syria during the Tetrarchy. He was a tribune of 500 soldiers stationed in Seleucia Pieria, who proclaimed him emperor in 303. He marched with his troops to Antioch, where he fell in battle.


Kapısuyu is a village in Samandağı district of Hatay Province, Turkey. It is near the Mediterranean coastline and in the western slopes of the Nur ( Amanus) Mountains at 36°08′N 35°56′E. Distance to Samandağ is about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi). The population of the village was 1799 as of 2012. The village was an important settlement in the ancient ages. Around 300 BC Seleucia founded the port city of Seleucia Pieria. But the settlement lost its importance after the great earthquake in 528. The village's most important building is its Mosque. The name of the village means "Water gate" or "gate of water".


Lyrbe (spelled Lyrba in the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia) was a city and episcopal see in the Roman province of Pamphylia Prima and is now a titular see.

Monastery of St. Simeon Stylites the Younger

The Monastery of St. Simeon Stylites the Younger (Turkish: Aziz Simon manastır) lies on a hill roughly 29 kilometres (18 miles) southwest of Antakya and six kilometres (3.7 miles) to the east of Samandağ, in the southernmost Turkish province of Hatay. The site is extensive but the monastery buildings are in ruins.The monastery commemorates the "pillar saint", Simeon Stylites the Younger (521–597) and marks the last of several pillars on top of which he lived his life. According to one version, he lived on this pillar for the final 45 years of his long life. He preached from the top of it. Miraculous healing were attributed to him and he was venerated as a saint even while he was still alive. Until the thirteenth century the place was a pilgrimage destination.

Within the cruciform monastery site, the ruins of three churches can be seen. The first contains the remnants of mosaics while the second was richly ornamented. The third is more basic and was probably used by monks, The base section of the pillar on which Simeon lived can still be seen, surrounded by an octagonal space.

The monastery gave its name to the nearby settlement of Seleucia Pieria, known today by its Turkish name, Samandağ.


Paltus may also refer to a Russian Kilo class submarinePaltus or Paltos (Greek: Πάλτος) is a ruined city. It was also a bishopric, a suffragan of Seleucia Pieria in the Roman province of Syria Prima, that, no longer being a residential see, is included in the Catholic Church's list of titular sees.The ruins of Paltus may be seen at Belde (Arab al-Mulk) at the south of Nahr al-Sin or Nahr al-Melek, the ancient Badan.

The town was founded by a colony from Arvad or Aradus (Arrianus, Anab. II, xiii, 17). It is located in Syria by Pliny the Elder (Hist. Natur., V, xviii) and Ptolemy (V, xiv, 2); Strabo (XV, iii, 2; XVI, ii, 12) places it near the river Badan. When the province of Theodorias was established by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, Paltus became a part of it (Georgii Cyprii Descriptio orbis romani, ed. Heinrich Gelzer, 45).

From the sixth century according to the Notitia episcopatuum of Anastasius [Échos d'Orient, X, (1907), 144] it was an autocephalous archdiocese and depended on the patriarch of Antioch. In the tenth century it still existed and its precise limits are known [Échos d'Orient, X (1907), 97].

Le Quien (Oriens christianus, II, 799) mentions five of its bishops:

Cymatius, friend of St. Athanasius, and Patricius, his successor

Severus (381)

Sabbas at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD

John, exiled by the Monophysites and reinstated by Emperor Justin I in 518.


Pieri may refer to:

A member of the Pieres, an ancient Thracian tribe

Pieri (surname)

Pieria (Syria)

In Classical times Pieria was the southern area of the Amanus Mountains, a part of the province of Roman Syria. Cities included Seleucia Pieria and Pinara. Today it is part of Turkey.


Samandağ (Arabic: السويدية‎, as-Sūwaydīyah), formerly known as Süveydiye, is a town and district in Hatay Province of southern Turkey, at the mouth of the Asi River on the Mediterranean coast, near Turkey's border with Syria, 25 km (16 mi) from the city of Antakya. The mayor is Mithat Nehir, ÖDP candidate.


Semaan (Syriac Aramaic: ܫܡܥܘܢ ; Arabic: سمعان‎, Semʻān) (also spelled Sem'an, Semán, Simaan, Sim'an, Samaan, Sam'an) is a Christian surname mainly found in the Levant area of the Middle East. It is derived from the Semitic root word/verb sema or shema, which means “to hear”; thus, the meaning of Semaan becomes “the one who hears or listens” in both Syriac Aramaic and Arabic. Its equivalent in Hebrew is שִׁמְעוֹן (Shimon or Shim'on), which also has the same meaning. The Greek transliteration is Σιμων (Simon) or Συμεών (Symeon), and, when Latinized, it becomes Simon or Simeon.

In the Middle East today, the overwhelming majority of people who hold the Semaan surname are Christians who belong to early Christian churches such as the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, the Melkite Greek Catholic Church of Antioch, the Maronite Catholic Church, the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Assyrian Orthodox Church, and the Coptic Orthodox Church. The ethnic origin of Semaan families varies by geographic location, most prevalent of which is Greek-Syrian, descendants of the Byzantine Greek (Rûm) population of the Syrian tetrapolis (Antioch, Seleucia Pieria, Apamea, and Laodicea).

St Symeon

St Symeon or Port St Symeon (Turkish: Samandağ or Suadiye) was the medieval port of Antioch, located on the mouth of the Orontes River. It may be named after Saint Simeon Stylites the Younger, who dwelt on a mountain only six miles from St Symeon, or the original Saint Simeon Stylites, who was buried in Antioch. Seleucia Pieria had been the Roman port of Antioch, but silting and an earthquake had rendered it unusable. Control of St Symeon was important to the capture of Antioch by the Crusaders at the end of the eleventh century.

In November 1097, the Crusaders besieging Antioch were heartened by the appearance of reinforcements in a Genoese squadron at St Symeon, which they were then able to capture. The besiegers were very short of food, and supplies from Cyprus to St Symeon were subject to frequent attack on the road from the port to the Crusader camp. On 4 March 1098 a fleet said to be commanded by the exiled claimant to the English throne, Edgar the Ætheling, sailed into St Symeon with siege materials from Constantinople. Another raid by the Turkish defenders of Antioch seized the materials from the Crusaders, but the Crusaders successfully counter-attacked, killing (it was said) as many as fifteen hundred Turks.At the start of the Crusader period St Symeon was only a local port, but in the second half of the twelfth century Nur ed-Din and later Saladin brought order to Moslem Syria, reviving its prosperity and opening it as a trade route to Iraq and the Far East. St Symeon shared in the prosperity as one of the ports used by the merchants of Aleppo until the Mongol conquests of the thirteenth century resulted in a movement of trade routes to the north. In 1268 a Mameluk army under Baibars captured St Symeon and then went on to destroy Antioch. The city and its port never recovered.St Symeon gives its name to a Crusader style of pottery.

Syrian Wars

The Syrian Wars were a series of six wars between the Seleucid Empire and the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, successor states to Alexander the Great's empire, during the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC over the region then called Coele-Syria, one of the few avenues into Egypt. These conflicts drained the material and manpower of both parties and led to their eventual destruction and conquest by Rome and Parthia. They are briefly mentioned in the biblical Books of the Maccabees.

Syrian tetrapolis

The Syrian tetrapolis consisted of the cities Antioch, Seleucia Pieria, Apamea, and Laodicea in Syria.


Tetrapolis (Greek: Τετράπολις, meaning "four cities") may refer to:

Tetrapolis (Attica), a district comprising four cities in ancient Attica, Greece

Doric Tetrapolis, a group of four cities in ancient Doris, Greece

The Syrian tetrapolis of Antioch, Seleucia Pieria, Apamea, and Laodicea

Antioch by itself was also sometimes called Tetrapolis

Kibyran Tetrapolis in Lycia, see Kibyra

Black Sea
Central Anatolia
Eastern Anatolia
Journeys of Paul the Apostle
First journey
Second journey
Third journey
Hellenistic/Macedonian colonies

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