Apamea (Phrygia)

Apamea (Phrygia)

Apamea or Apameia ( _el. Απάμεια) – previously, Kibotos (Greek: κιβωτός), hê Kibôtos or Cibotus – was an ancient city in Phrygia, Anatolia, founded by Antiochus I Soter (from whose mother, Apama, it received its name), near, but on lower ground than, Celaenae (Kelainai).


It overlooks the Ghab valley and the site is now partly occupied by the city of "Dinar" (sometimes locally known also as "Geiklar", "the gazelles," perhaps from a tradition of the Persian hunting-park, seen by Xenophon at Celaenae), which by 1911 was connected with İzmir by railway; there are considerable remains, including a theater and a great number of important Graeco-Roman inscriptions.
Strabo (p. 577) says, that the town lies at the source (ekbolais) of the Marsyas, and the river flows through the middle of the city, having its origin in the city, and being carried down to the suburbs with a violent and precipitous current it joins the Maeander after the latter is joined by the Orgas (called the Catarrhactes by Herodotus, vii. 26).


The original inhabitants were residents of Celaenae who were compelled by Antiochus I Soter to move farther down the river, where they founded the city of Apamea (Strabo, xii. 577). Antiochus the Great transplanted many Jews there. (Josephus, "Ant." xii. 3, § 4). It became a seat of Seleucid power, and a center of Graeco-Roman and Graeco-Hebrew civilization and commerce. There Antiochus the Great collected the army with which he met the Romans at Magnesia, and two years later the Treaty of Apamea between Rome and the Seleucid realm was signed there. After Antiochus' departure for the East, Apamea lapsed to the Pergamene kingdom and thence to Rome in 133 BCE, but it was resold to Mithridates V of Pontus, who held it till 120 BCE. After the Mithridatic Wars it became and remained a great center for trade, largely carried on by resident Italians and by Jews. By order of Flaccus, a large amount of Jewish money – nearly 45 kilograms of gold – intended for the Temple in Jerusalem was confiscated in Apamea in the year 62 BCE (Cicero, "Pro Flacco", ch. xxviii.). In 84 BCE Sulla made it the seat of a "conventus", and it long claimed primacy among Phrygian cities. When Strabo wrote, Apamea was a place of great trade in the Roman province of Asia, next in importance to Ephesus. Its commerce was owing to its position on the great road to Cappadocia, and it was also the center of other roads. When Cicero was proconsul of Cilicia, 51 BCE, Apamea was within his jurisdiction ("ad Fam." xiii. 67), but the dioecesis, or conventus, of Apamea was afterwards attached to Asia. Pliny the Elder enumerates six towns which belonged to the conventus of Apamea, and he observes that there were nine others of little note.The city minted its own coins in antiquity. The name Cibotus appears on some coins of Apamea, and it has been conjectured that it was so called from the wealth that was collected in this great emporium; for kibôtos in Greek is a chest or coffer. Pliny (v. 29) says that it was first Celaenae, then Cibotus, and then Apamea; which cannot be quite correct, because Celaenae was a different place from Apamea, though near it. But there may have been a place on the site of Apamea, which was called Cibotus.

The country about Apamea has been shaken by earthquakes, one of which is recorded as having happened in the time of Claudius (Tacit. "Ann. " xii. 58); and on this occasion the payment of taxes to the Romans was remitted for five years. Nicolaus of Damascus ("Athen. " p. 332) records a violent earthquake at Apamea at a previous date, during the Mithridatic Wars: lakes appeared where none were before, and rivers and springs; and many which existed before disappeared. Strabo (p. 579) speaks of this great catastrophe, and of other convulsions at an earlier period.

Apamea continued to be a prosperous town under the Roman Empire. Its decline dates from the local disorganization of the empire in the 3rd century; and though a bishopric, it was not an important military or commercial center in Byzantine times. The Turks took it first in 1070, and from the 13th century onwards it was always in Muslim hands. For a long period it was one of the greatest cities of Asia Minor, commanding the Maeander road; but when the trade routes were diverted to Constantinople it rapidly declined, and its ruin was completed by an earthquake.

Apamea in Jewish tradition

Apamea is mentioned in the Talmud. The passages relating to witchcraft in Apamea (Ber. 62a) and to a dream in Apamea (Niddah, 30b) probably refer to the Apamea in Phrygia which was looked upon as a fabulously distant habitation. Similarly the much-discussed passage, Yeb. 115b, which treats of the journey of the exilarch Isaac, should also be interpreted to mean a journey from Corduene to Apamea in Phrygia; for if Apamea in Mesene were meant (Brüll's "Jahrb." x. 145) it is quite impossible that the Babylonians should have had any difficulty in identifying the body of such a distinguished personage.

Christian Apamea

Apamea is enumerated by Hierocles among the episcopal cities of Pisidia, to which division it had been transferred. The bishops of Apamea sat in the Council of Nicaea (325). Arundell contends that Apamea, at an early period in the history of Christianity, had a church, and he confirms this opinion by the fact of there being the ruins of a Christian church there. It is probable enough that Christianity was early established here, and even that Saint Paul visited the place, for he went throughout Phrygia. But the mere circumstance of the remains of a church at Apamea proves nothing as to the time when Christianity was established there.


* W. M. Ramsay, "Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia", vol. ii.
* G. Weber, "Dineir-Celènes" (1892)
* D. G. Hogarth in "Journ, Hell. Studies" (1888)
* O. Hirschfeld in "Trans. Berlin Academy" (1875)
* Richard Talbert, Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, (ISBN 0-691-03169-X), p. 65.
* William Smith, Classical Dictionary, s.v. "Apamea"

External links

*Smith, William (editor); "Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography", [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0064&query=id%3D%23828&layout=&loc=apameia-geo-4 "Apameia"] , London, (1854)
* [http://www.ancientlibrary.com/gazetteer/0041.html Hazlitt, Classical Gazetteer, "Apamea"]

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