Antioch lies in Syria, present-day Antakya. It is located on the eastern bank of the Orontes (now Nahr el-Asi) about 20 km from the sea in a fertile plain south of the Amanus Mountains. Many caravans route from the congregate east. Antioch was an ancient Greek-Roman city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. The ruins lie near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey, and lend the modern city its name. Let’s read on further facts about the Antioch city.
1 The Foundation Of Antioch City
Antioch city was founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great’s generals. The city’s geographical, military, and economic location benefited its occupants, particularly such features as the spice trade, the Silk Road, and the Persian Royal Road. It eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the Near East.
It was also the main center of Hellenistic Judaism at the end of the Second Temple period. Most of the urban development of Antioch was done during the Roman Empire, when the city was one of the most important in the eastern Mediterranean area of Rome’s dominions. Antigonus I founded Antigonea in 306 BC and brought the Athenian and Macedonian residents to the new settlement. They settled on and around the island – now almost disappeared in the Orontes.
2 Establishment Of New Societies
A second neighborhood was populated with Syrians and the third and fourth quarter was added by Seleucus II and Antiochus IV. Antiochus III in 185 BC banished Aetolians and Euboeers in the city.
Already in the first period of its existence, Antioch housed a significant Jewish community.
3 Antioch Under Antiochus I
Under the reign of Antiochus I (281-264), it became the capital of the western part of the Seleucid Empire and shortly afterwards the residence of the Seleucids. From 200 BC to 500 AD, Antioch city was one of the largest cities in the East. Its importance hardly attracted the attention of Alexandria. The beauty of this ancient city surpassed even in outward splendor. The citizenship of Antioch city was highly regarded and was also given to Jews from elsewhere. The fame of his wealth penetrated into China.
4 Pompey’s Annexing
After a brief Armenian domination (83-69), Pompey annexed Antioch in 64 BC and made it the capital of the Roman province of Syria. The civitas libera (free state) experienced a revival in the early centuries AD when it became the basis of the Roman operations against the Parthian and the Persians. In the 4th century, the city had at least 500,000 inhabitants.
5 The Fate Of Antioch
In about 360 BC, Libanius gave a speech giving a vivid picture of the life and wealth of the city. The terrible earthquakes of 526 and 528 resulted in loss of a quarter of a million people. After the plundering by the Persians in 538, Antioch recovered only partially. Emperor Justinian reduced the size of the city and surrounded it with a new impressive wall with more than 300 towers. There were still standing large tracts in the 19th century. Antioch was conquered by the Arabs in 637.
Soteria is a mosaic of knowledge of topography and the ancient monuments of Antioch. In addition to descriptions as those of Libanius and John Chrysostom, the American excavations of Princeton University (1932-1939) uncovered remains of the stadium (width approximately 490 m), more than three kilometer long, flanked by double arcades with shops and offices, the Daphne theater, two aqueducts, multiple baths and numerous private dwellings beautiful mosaics, and the necropolis.
The many sculptures that the city in its heyday must have been ornamented, but now emerge as meager remains.
6 Cradle Of Christianity
Antioch, not Jerusalem, was the starting point of Paul’s missionary journeys. He also returned again and again, except after his last mission trip. At the time of Commodus (180-192), Bishop Theophilus wrote an apologia. Babylas died there as a martyr under Decius.
Antioch was called “the cradle of Christianity” as a result of its longevity and the pivotal role that it played in the emergence of both Hellenistic Judaism and early Christianity.
In the 4th century there was a steady growth of Christianity. It was the third patriarchal seat of Christianity after Rome and Alexandria. But gradually it was surpassed by Constantinople. The exaltation of Jerusalem patriarchy and especially the Nestorian schism and the monophysitism did the significant.
7 Conflict Between Alexandrian And Antioch
The battle between Cyril of Alexandria and Nestorius was a clash between the new Alexandrian and the directors of Antioch.
Known churches were Apostolica (the old church, that dating from before the time of Constantine. This church destroyed during the persecution of Diocletian) and the octagonal big church (built under the reign of Constantine and Constantius). The latter was famous for its rich ornamentation and therefore names as Golden house.
8 Roman Domination
Over 100 km from the bank of the river, there was a great caravan road from Ephesus to the Euphrates; now Kuyucak. In 189 BC, after the defeat of Antiochus the Great, the city was controlled by Romans under Emperor Augustus. It became a Roman colony with the name Colonia Caesarea Antioch, which is an important administrative until late antiquity was and commercial center.
In the vicinity, there was a famous sanctuary of a Phrygian God, with extensive areas and great staff. Numerous remains of the Roman city are still visible today (the Cardo, the theater and an aqueduct).