Ctesiphon was an ancient city, located on the eastern bank of the Tigris, about 35 kilometres southeast of present-day Baghdad. Ctesiphon served as a royal capital of the Persian Empire in the Parthian and Sasanian eras for over eight hundred years. Ctesiphon remained the capital of the Sasanian Empire until the Muslim conquest of Persia in 651 AD. Ctesiphon developed into a rich commercial metropolis, merging with the surrounding cities along both shores of the river, including the Hellenistic city of Seleucia. Ctesiphon and its environs were therefore sometimes referred to as "The Cities". In the late sixth and early seventh century, it was one of the largest cities in the world. During the Roman–Parthian Wars, Ctesiphon fell three times to the Romans, fell twice during Sasanian rule, it was the site of the Battle of Ctesiphon in 363 AD. After the Muslim invasion the city fell into decay and was depopulated by the end of the eighth century, its place as a political and economic center taken by the Abbasid capital at Baghdad.
The most conspicuous structure remaining today is the Taq Kasra, sometimes called the Archway of Ctesiphon. The Latin name Ctesiphon derives from Ancient Greek Ktēsiphôn; this is ostensibly a Greek toponym based on a personal name, although it may be a Hellenized form of a local name, reconstructed as Tisfōn or Tisbōn. In Iranian-language texts of the Sasanian era, it is spelled as tyspwn, which can be read as Tīsfōn, Tēsifōn, etc. in Manichaean Parthian, in Middle Persian and in Christian Sogdian languages. The New Persian form is Tisfun. Texts from the Assyrian Church of the East's synods referred to the city as Qṭēspōn or some times Māḥôzē when referring to the metropolis of Seleucia-Ctesiphon. In modern Arabic, the name is Ṭaysafūn or Qaṭaysfūn or as al-Mada'in. "According to Yāqūt, quoting Ḥamza, the original form was Ṭūsfūn or Tūsfūn, arabicized as Ṭaysafūn." The Armenian name of the city was Tizbon. Ctesiphon is first mentioned in the Book of Ezra of the Old Testament as Kasfia/Casphia, it is mentioned in the Talmud as Aktisfon.
Ctesiphon is located at Al-Mada'in, 32 km southeast of the modern city of Baghdad, along the river Tigris. Ctesiphon measured 30 square kilometers, more than twice the surface of 13.7-square-kilometer fourth-century imperial Rome. The archway of Chosroes was once a part of the royal palace in Ctesiphon and is estimated to date between the 3rd and 6th centuries AD, it is located in. Ctesiphon was founded in the late 120s BC, it was built on the site of a military camp established across from Seleucia by Mithridates I of Parthia. The reign of Gotarzes I saw Ctesiphon reach a peak as a commercial center; the city became the Empire's capital circa 58 BC during the reign of Orodes II. The city merged with the old Hellenistic capital of Seleucia and other nearby settlements to form a cosmopolitan metropolis; the reason for this westward relocation of the capital could have been in part due to the proximity of the previous capitals to the Scythian incursions. Strabo abundantly describes the foundation of Ctesiphon: In ancient times Babylon was the metropolis of Assyria.
Nearby is situated a village called Ctesiphon, a large village. This village the kings of the Parthians were wont to make their winter residence, thus sparing the Seleucians, in order that the Seleucians might not be oppressed by having the Scythian folk or soldiery quartered amongst them; because of the Parthian power, Ctesiphon is a city rather than a village. Because of its importance, Ctesiphon was a major military objective for the leaders of the Roman Empire in their eastern wars; the city was captured by Rome five times in its history – three times in the 2nd century alone. The emperor Trajan captured Ctesiphon in 116, but his successor, decided to willingly return Ctesiphon in 117 as part of a peace settlement; the Roman general Avidius Cassius captured Ctesiphon in 164 during another Parthian war, but abandoned it when peace was concluded. In 197, the emperor Septimius Severus sacked Ctesiphon and carried off thousands of its inhabitants, whom he sold into slavery. By 226, Ctesiphon was in the hands of the Sasanian Empire, who made it their capital and had laid an end to the Parthian dynasty of Iran.
Ctesiphon was enlarged and flourished during their rule, thus turning into a metropolis, known by in Arabic as al-Mada'in, in Aramaic as Mahoze. The oldest inhabited places of Ctesiphon were on its eastern side, which in Islamic Arabic sources is called "the Old City", where the residence of the Sasanians, known as the White Palace, was located; the southern side of Ctesiphon was known as Asbānbar or Aspānbar, known by its prominent halls, games and baths. Taq Kasra was l
Marcus Licinius Crassus
Marcus Licinius Crassus was a Roman general and politician who played a key role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. He is called "The richest man in Rome". Crassus began his public career as a military commander under Lucius Cornelius Sulla during his civil war. Following Sulla's assumption of the dictatorship, Crassus amassed an enormous fortune through real estate speculation. Crassus rose to political prominence following his victory over the slave revolt led by Spartacus, sharing the consulship with his rival Pompey the Great. A political and financial patron of Julius Caesar, Crassus joined Caesar and Pompey in the unofficial political alliance known as the First Triumvirate. Together the three men dominated the Roman political system; the alliance did not last long, due to the ambitions and jealousies of the three men. While Caesar and Crassus were lifelong allies and Pompey disliked each other and Pompey grew envious of Caesar's spectacular successes in the Gallic Wars.
The alliance was re-stabilized at the Lucca Conference in 56 BC, after which Crassus and Pompey again served jointly as consuls. Following his second consulship, Crassus was appointed as the Governor of Roman Syria. Crassus used Syria as the launchpad for a military campaign against the Parthian Empire, Rome's long-time Eastern enemy. Crassus' campaign was a disastrous failure, ending in his death at the Battle of Carrhae. Crassus' death permanently unraveled the alliance between Pompey, his political influence and wealth had been a counterbalance to the two greater militarists. Within four years of Crassus' death, Caesar would cross the Rubicon and begin a civil war against Pompey and the Optimates. Marcus Licinius Crassus was the second of three sons born to the eminent senator and vir triumphalis Publius Licinius Crassus Dives; this line was not descended from the Crassi Divites, although assumed to be. The eldest brother Publius died shortly before the Italic War and he had the unusual distinction of marrying his wife Tertulla after she had been first widowed by his eldest brother Gaius, his younger.
His father and the youngest brother Gaius took their own lives in Rome in winter 87–86 BC to avoid capture when being hunted down by the Marians following their victory in the bellum Octavianum. There were three main branches of the house of the Licinii Crassi in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, many mistakes in identifications and lines have arisen owing to the uniformity of Roman nomenclature, erroneous modern suppositions, the unevenness of information across the generations. In addition the Dives cognomen of the Crassi Divites means rich or wealthy, since Marcus Crassus, the subject here, was renowned for his enormous wealth, this has contributed to hasty assumptions that his family belonged to the Divites, but no ancient source accords his father the Dives cognomen. Crassus' grandfather of the same name, Marcus Licinius Crassus, was facetiously given the Greek nickname Agelastus by his contemporary Gaius Lucilius, the famous inventor of Roman satire, who asserted that he smiled once in his whole life.
This grandfather was son of Publius Licinius Crassus. The latter's brother Gaius Licinius Crassus produced the third line of Licinii Crassi of the period, the most famous of whom was Lucius Licinius Crassus, the greatest Roman orator before Cicero and the latter's childhood hero and model. Marcus Crassus was a talented orator and one of the most energetic and active advocates of his time. After the Marian purges and the subsequent sudden death of Gaius Marius, the surviving consul Lucius Cornelius Cinna imposed proscriptions on those surviving Roman senators and equestrians who had supported Lucius Cornelius Sulla in his 88 BC march on Rome and overthrow of the traditional Roman political arrangements. Cinna's proscription forced Crassus to flee to Hispania, he stayed in Spain from 87-84 BC. Here he recruited 2,500 men from his father's clients settled in the area. Crassus used his army to extort money from the local cities to pay for his campaigns, he is accused of sacking Malaca. After Cinna's death in 84 BC, Crassus went to the Roman province of Africa and joined Metellus Pius, one of Sulla's closest allies.
He did not stay there long because of disagreements with Metellus. He sailed his army to Greece and joined Sulla "with whom he stood in a position of special honour". During Sulla's second civil war and Gnaeus Pompey fought a battle in the plain of Spoletium, killed some 3000 of the men of Gnaeus Papirius Carbo, the leader of the Marian forces, besieged Carinas, a Marian commander. During the decisive battle outside the Colline Gate Crassus commanded the right flank of Sulla's army. After a day of fighting the battle was not going well for Sulla, his own centre was being pushed back and was on the verge of collapse when he got word from Crassus that he had comprehensively crushed the enemy before him. Now, Crassus wanted to know if Sulla needed a hand, or could his men retire. Sulla told him to advance on the enemy's centre. Sulla used the news to stiffen the resolve of his own troops; the battle still lasted till the next morning. And so Sulla became master of Rome. Sulla's victory and Crassus contribution in achieving it put Crassus in a key position.
Sulla was as loyal to his allies as he was cruel towards his enemies and Cras
Syria was an early Roman province, annexed to the Roman Republic in 64 BC by Pompey in the Third Mithridatic War, following the defeat of Armenian King Tigranes the Great. Following the partition of the Herodian Kingdom into tetrarchies in 6 AD, it was absorbed into Roman provinces, with Roman Syria annexing Iturea and Trachonitis. Syria was an early Roman province, annexed to the Roman Republic in 64 BC by Pompey in the Third Mithridatic War, following the defeat of Armenian King Tigranes the Great. During the early empire, the Roman army in Syria accounted for three legions with auxiliaries, they defended the border with Parthia. Following the partition of the Herodian Kingdom into tetrarchies in 6 AD, it was absorbed into Roman provinces, with Roman Syria annexing Iturea and Trachonitis around 34 AD. Syrian province forces were directly engaged in the Great Jewish Revolt of 66–70 AD. In 66 AD, Cestius Gallus, the legate of Syria, brought the Syrian army, based on XII Fulminata, reinforced by auxiliary troops, to restore order in Judaea and quell the revolt.
The legion, was ambushed and destroyed by Jewish rebels at the Battle of Beth Horon, a result that shocked the Roman leadership. The future emperor Vespasian was put in charge of subduing the Jewish revolt. In the summer of 69, with the Syrian units supporting him, launched his bid to become Roman emperor, he defeated his rival Vitellius and ruled as emperor for ten years when he was succeeded by his son Titus. Based on an inscription recovered from Dor in 1948, Gargilius Antiquus was known to have been the governor of a province in the eastern part of the Empire Syria, between his consulate and governing Asia. In November 2016, an inscription in Greek was recovered off the coast of Dor by Haifa University underwater archaeologists, which attests that Antiquus was governor of the province of Judea between 120 and 130 prior to the Bar Kokhba revolt. Syria Palæstina was established by the merger of Roman Syria and Roman Judea, following the defeat of the Bar Kokhba Revolt in 135; the Syria-based legion took part in the quelling of the revolt in 132–136, in the aftermath, the emperor Hadrian added the depopulated province of Judea to the province of Syria thus forming Syria-Palaestina.
The governor of Syria retained the civil administration of the whole large province undiminished, held for long alone in all Asia a command of the first rank. It was only in the course of the second century that a diminution of his prerogatives occurred, when Hadrian took one of the four legions from the governor of Syria and handed it over to the governor of Palestine, it was Severus who at length withdrew the first place in the Roman military hierarchy from the Syrian governor. After having subdued the province amidst resistance from the capital Antioch in particular, he ordained its partition into a northern and a southern half, gave to the governor of the former, called Coele-Syria, two legions, to the governor of the latter, the province of Syro-Phoenicia, one legion; the emperor Septimius Severus divided up Roman Syria in the fashion it would remain until the rule of the Tetrarchs. Under his reign it was divided into three parts, Coele Syria in the north with Antioch as its provincial capital, Syria Phoenice with Tyre as the provincial capital and in the south Syria Palestina with Caesarea Maritima as the provincial capital.
From the 2nd century, the Roman Senate included several notable Syrians, including Claudius Pompeianus and Avidius Cassius. Syria was of crucial strategic importance during the Crisis of the Third Century. In 244 AD, Rome was ruled by a native Syrian from Philippopolis in the province of Arabia Petraea; the emperor was Marcus Iulius Philippus, more known as Philip the Arab. Philip became the 33rd emperor of Rome upon its millennial celebration. Roman Syria was invaded in 252/253 after a Roman field army was destroyed in the battle of Barbalissos by the King of Persia Shapur I which left the Euphrates river unguarded and the region was pillaged by the Persians. In 259/260 a similar event happened when Shapur I again defeated a Roman field army and captured the Roman emperor, alive at the battle of Edessa. Again Roman Syria suffered as cities were captured and pillaged. From 268 to 273, Syria was part of the breakaway Palmyrene Empire. Following the reforms of Diocletian, Syria Coele became part of the Diocese of Oriens.
Sometime between 330 and 350, the province of Euphratensis was created out of the territory of Syria Coele along the western bank of the Euphrates and the former realm of Commagene, with Hierapolis as its capital. After c. 415 Syria Coele was further subdivided into Syria I, with the capital remaining at Antioch, Syria II or Syria Salutaris, with capital at Apamea on the Orontes. In 528, Justinian I carved out the small coastal province Theodorias out of territory from both provinces; the region remained one of the most important provinces of the Byzantine Empire. It was occupied by the Sassanids between 609 and 628 recovered by the emperor Heraclius, but lost again to the advancing Muslims after the battle of Yarmouk and the fall of Antioch; the city of Antioch was recovered by Nikephorus Phocas in 963 AD, along with other parts of the country, at that time under the Hamdanids, although still under the official suzerainty of the Abbasid caliphs and claimed by the Fatimid caliphs. After emperor John Kurkuas's failed to recover Syria up to Jerusalem a Muslim "reconquest" of Syria followed in the late 970s undertaken by the Fatimid caliphate which resulted in the o
Tiridates I of Armenia
Tiridates I was King of Armenia beginning in 53 AD and the founder of the Arsacid dynasty of Armenia. The dates of his birth and death are unknown, his early reign was marked by a brief interruption towards the end of the year 54 and a much longer one from 58 to 63 AD. In an agreement to resolve the Roman–Parthian conflict in and over Armenia, Tiridates I was crowned king of Armenia by the Roman emperor Nero in 66 AD. Though this made Armenia a client kingdom, various contemporary Roman sources thought that Nero had de facto ceded Armenia to the Parthian Empire. In addition to being a king, Tiridates I was a Zoroastrian priest and was accompanied by other magi on his journey to Rome in 66 AD. In the early 20th century, Franz Cumont speculated that Tiridates was instrumental in the development of Mithraism which became the main religion of the Roman Army and spread across the whole empire. Furthermore, during his reign, he started reforming the administrative structure of Armenia, a reform, continued by his successors, which brought many Iranian customs and offices into it.
Tiridates I is one of the principal characters in George Frideric Handel's opera Radamisto and Reinhard Keiser's opera Octavia. Tiridates I was one of the sons born to Vonones II, king of Media Atropatene and king of Parthia, by a Greek concubine. Nothing is known about Tiridates' youth, which he spent in Media Atropatene. "Tiridates" means "given by Tir". Tir was the Armeno-Parthian god of literature and art based on the Avestan Tishtrya and fused with the Greek Apollo. In 51 AD the Roman procurator of Cappadocia, Julius Paelignus, invaded Armenia and ravaged the country under an Iberian usurper Rhadamistus. Rhadamistus had killed his uncle Mithridates, the legitimate king of Armenia, by luring the Roman garrison, protecting him outside of the fortress of Gornea. Acting without instruction, Paelignus recognized Rhadamistus as the new king of Armenia. Syrian governor Ummidius Quadratus sent Helvidius Priscus with a legion to repair these outrages, but he was recalled so as not to provoke a war with Parthia.
In 52 AD King Vologases I of Parthia took the opportunity to invade Armenia, conquering Artaxata and proclaiming his younger brother Tiridates I as king. This action violated the treaty, signed by the Roman emperor Augustus and Parthian king Phraates IV which gave the Romans the explicit right to appoint and crown the kings of Armenia. Vologases I considered the throne of Armenia to have been once the property of his ancestors, now usurped by a foreign monarch in virtue of a crime. A winter epidemic as well as an insurrection initiated by his son Vardanes forced him to withdraw his troops from Armenia, allowing Rhadamistus to come back and punish locals as traitors. Rhadamistus escaped along with his wife Zenobia, pregnant. Unable to continue fleeing, she asked her husband to end her life rather than be captured. Rhadamistus stabbed her with a Median dagger and flung her body into the river Araxes. Zenobia was recovered by shepherds who sent her to Tiridates. Tiridates I treated her as a member of the monarchy.
Rhadamistus himself returned to Iberia and was soon put to death by his father Pharasmanes I of Iberia for having plotted against the royal power. Unhappy with the growing Parthian influence at their doorstep, Roman Emperor Nero sent General Corbulo with a large army to the east in order to restore Roman client kings. A Hasmonean named Aristobulus was given Lesser Armenia and Sohaemus of Emesa received Armenia Sophene. In the spring of 58, Corbulo entered Greater Armenia from Cappadocia and advanced towards Artaxata, while Parasmanes I of Iberia attacked from the north, Antiochus IV of Commagene attacked from the southwest. Supported by his brother, Tiridates I sent flying columns to raid the Romans wide. Corbulo retaliated using the same tactics and the use of the Moschoi tribes who raided outlying regions of Armenia. Tiridates I fled from the capital, Corbulo burned Artaxata to the ground. In the summer, Corbulo began moving towards Tigranocerta through rough terrain and passing through the Taronitida, where several of his commanders died in an ambush by the Armenian resistance.
By this time the majority of Armenians had abandoned resistance and accepted the prince favored by Rome. Nero gave the crown to the last royal descendant of the kings of Cappadocia, the grandson of Glaphyra and Alexander of Judea, who assumed the Armenian name Tigranes, his son, named Gaius Julius Alexander, married Iotapa, the daughter of Antiochus IV of Commagene and was made King of Cilicia. Nero was hailed vigorously in public for this initial victory and Corbulo was appointed governor of Syria as a reward. A guard of 1000 legionary soldiers, three auxiliary cohorts and two wings of horses were allotted to Tigranes in order to defend the country. Border districts were bestowed to Roman allies that assisted Corbulo including Polemon, Parasmanes and Antiochus. Vologases I was infuriated by the fact that an alien now sat on the Armenian throne but hesitated to reinstate his brother as he was engaged in a conflict with the Hyrcanians who were revol
The Parthian Empire known as the Arsacid Empire, was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran. Its latter name comes from Arsaces I of Parthia who, as leader of the Parni tribe, founded it in the mid-3rd century BC when he conquered the region of Parthia in Iran's northeast a satrapy under Andragoras, in rebellion against the Seleucid Empire. Mithridates I of Parthia expanded the empire by seizing Media and Mesopotamia from the Seleucids. At its height, the Parthian Empire stretched from the northern reaches of the Euphrates, in what is now central-eastern Turkey, to eastern Iran; the empire, located on the Silk Road trade route between the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean Basin and the Han dynasty of China, became a center of trade and commerce. The Parthians adopted the art, religious beliefs, royal insignia of their culturally heterogeneous empire, which encompassed Persian and regional cultures. For about the first half of its existence, the Arsacid court adopted elements of Greek culture, though it saw a gradual revival of Iranian traditions.
The Arsacid rulers were titled the "King of Kings", as a claim to be the heirs to the Achaemenid Empire. The court did appoint a small number of satraps outside Iran, but these satrapies were smaller and less powerful than the Achaemenid potentates. With the expansion of Arsacid power, the seat of central government shifted from Nisa to Ctesiphon along the Tigris, although several other sites served as capitals; the earliest enemies of the Parthians were the Scythians in the east. However, as Parthia expanded westward, they came into conflict with the Kingdom of Armenia, the late Roman Republic. Rome and Parthia competed with each other to establish the kings of Armenia as their subordinate clients; the Parthians soundly defeated Marcus Licinius Crassus at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC, in 40–39 BC, Parthian forces captured the whole of the Levant except Tyre from the Romans. However, Mark Antony led a counterattack against Parthia, although his successes were achieved in his absence, under the leadership of his lieutenant Ventidius.
Various Roman emperors or their appointed generals invaded Mesopotamia in the course of the ensuing Roman–Parthian Wars of the next few centuries. The Romans captured the cities of Seleucia and Ctesiphon on multiple occasions during these conflicts, but were never able to hold on to them. Frequent civil wars between Parthian contenders to the throne proved more dangerous to the Empire's stability than foreign invasion, Parthian power evaporated when Ardashir I, ruler of Istakhr in Persis, revolted against the Arsacids and killed their last ruler, Artabanus V, in 224 AD. Ardashir established the Sassanid Empire, which ruled Iran and much of the Near East until the Muslim conquests of the 7th century AD, although the Arsacid dynasty lived on through the Arsacid Dynasty of Armenia, the Arsacid dynasty of Iberia, the Arsacid Dynasty of Caucasian Albania. Native Parthian sources, written in Parthian and other languages, are scarce when compared to Sassanid and earlier Achaemenid sources. Aside from scattered cuneiform tablets, fragmentary ostraca, rock inscriptions, drachma coins, the chance survival of some parchment documents, much of Parthian history is only known through external sources.
These include Greek and Roman histories, but Chinese histories, prompted by the Han Chinese desire to form alliances against the Xiongnu. Parthian artwork is viewed by historians as a valid source for understanding aspects of society and culture that are otherwise absent in textual sources. Before Arsaces I of Parthia founded the Arsacid Dynasty, he was chieftain of the Parni, an ancient Central-Asian tribe of Iranian peoples and one of several nomadic tribes within the confederation of the Dahae; the Parni most spoke an eastern Iranian language, in contrast to the northwestern Iranian language spoken at the time in Parthia. The latter was a northeastern province, first under the Achaemenid, the Seleucid empires. After conquering the region, the Parni adopted Parthian as the official court language, speaking it alongside Middle Persian, Greek, Babylonian and other languages in the multilingual territories they would conquer. Why the Arsacid court retroactively chose 247 BC as the first year of the Arsacid era is uncertain.
A. D. H. Bivar concludes that this was the year the Seleucids lost control of Parthia to Andragoras, the appointed satrap who rebelled against them. Hence, Arsaces I "backdated his regnal years" to the moment when Seleucid control over Parthia ceased. However, Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis asserts that this was the year Arsaces was made chief of the Parni tribe. Homa Katouzian and Gene Ralph Garthwaite claim it was the year Arsaces conquered Parthia and expelled the Seleucid authorities, yet Curtis and Maria Brosius state that Andragoras was not overthrown by the Arsacids until 238 BC, it is unclear who succeeded Arsaces I. Bivar and Katouzian affirm that it was his brother Tiridates I of Parthia, who in turn was succeeded by his son Arsaces II of Parthia in 211 BC, yet Curtis and Brosius state that Arsaces II was the immediate successor of Arsaces I, with Curtis claiming the succession took place in 211 BC, Brosius in 217 BC. Bivar insists that 138 BC, the last regnal year of Mithridates I, is "the first established regnal date of Parthian history."
Due to these and other discrepancies
The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. Ruled by emperors, it had large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome; the Roman Empire was ruled by multiple emperors and divided in a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and Ravenna, an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus after capturing Ravenna and the Roman Senate sent the imperial regalia to Constantinople; the fall of the Western Roman Empire to barbarian kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages. The previous Republic, which had replaced Rome's monarchy in the 6th century BC, became destabilized in a series of civil wars and political conflict.
In the mid-1st century BC Julius Caesar was appointed as perpetual dictator and assassinated in 44 BC. Civil wars and proscriptions continued, culminating in the victory of Octavian, Caesar's adopted son, over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC; the following year Octavian conquered Ptolemaic Egypt, ending the Hellenistic period that had begun with the conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedon in the 4th century BC. Octavian's power was unassailable and in 27 BC the Roman Senate formally granted him overarching power and the new title Augustus making him the first emperor; the first two centuries of the Empire were a period of unprecedented stability and prosperity known as the Pax Romana. It reached its greatest territorial expanse during the reign of Trajan. A period of increasing trouble and decline began with the reign of Commodus. In the 3rd century, the Empire underwent a crisis that threatened its existence, but was reunified under Aurelian. In an effort to stabilize the Empire, Diocletian set up two different imperial courts in the Greek East and Latin West.
Christians rose to power in the 4th century following the Edict of Milan in 313 and the Edict of Thessalonica in 380. Shortly after, the Migration Period involving large invasions by Germanic peoples and the Huns of Attila led to the decline of the Western Roman Empire. With the fall of Ravenna to the Germanic Herulians and the deposition of Romulus Augustulus in 476 AD by Odoacer, the Western Roman Empire collapsed and it was formally abolished by emperor Zeno in 480 AD; the Eastern Roman Empire, known in the post-Roman West as the Byzantine Empire, collapsed when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks of Mehmed II in 1453. Due to the Roman Empire's vast extent and long endurance, the institutions and culture of Rome had a profound and lasting influence on the development of language, architecture, philosophy and forms of government in the territory it governed Europe; the Latin language of the Romans evolved into the Romance languages of the medieval and modern world, while Medieval Greek became the language of the Eastern Roman Empire.
Its adoption of Christianity led to the formation of Christendom during the Middle Ages. Greek and Roman art had a profound impact on the late medieval Italian Renaissance, while Rome's republican institutions influenced the political development of republics such as the United States and France; the corpus of Roman law has its descendants in many legal systems of the world today, such as the Napoleonic Code. Rome's architectural tradition served as the basis for Neoclassical architecture. Rome had begun expanding shortly after the founding of the republic in the 6th century BC, though it did not expand outside the Italian peninsula until the 3rd century BC, it was an "empire" long before it had an emperor. The Roman Republic was not a nation-state in the modern sense, but a network of towns left to rule themselves and provinces administered by military commanders, it was ruled, not by annually elected magistrates in conjunction with the senate. For various reasons, the 1st century BC was a time of political and military upheaval, which led to rule by emperors.
The consuls' military power rested in the Roman legal concept of imperium, which means "command". Successful consuls were given the honorary title imperator, this is the origin of the word emperor since this title was always bestowed to the early emperors upon their accession. Rome suffered a long series of internal conflicts and civil wars from the late second century BC onward, while extending its power beyond Italy; this was the period of the Crisis of the Roman Republic. Towards the end of this era, in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was perpetual dictator before being assassinated; the faction of his assassins was driven from Rome and defeated at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC by an army led by Mark Antony and Caesar's adopted son Octavian. Antony and Octavian's division of the Roman world between themselves did not last and Octavian's forces defeated those of Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, ending the Final War of the Roman Republic. In 27 BC the Senate and People of Rome made Octavian princeps ("first citi
Zeugma is an ancient city of Commagene. It was named for zeugma, that crossed the Euphrates river at that location; the ancient city of Zeugma was founded as a Greek settlement by Seleucus I Nicator, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, in 300 BC. The city was called "Zeugma", because of the bridge across the Euphrates River, made of pontoons, thus connecting the two banks of the river. In Greek, "zeugma" means “bridge” or “crossing”; the ancient term Zeugma referred to the twin cities on the opposing banks of the river. Today the name Zeugma is understood to refer to the settlement on the west bank, called Seleucia on the Euphrates after the founder, while the one on the East bank was called Apamea after his Persian wife Apama; the population of the city at its peak was 80,000. In 64 BC the city was ruled by the Roman Empire. During Roman rule, the city became one of the attractions in the region, due to its commercial potential originating from its geo-strategic location because the city was on the Silk Road connecting Antioch to China via a bridge of pontoons across the river Euphrates, which defined the border with the Persian Empire until the late 2nd century.
In 256 AD, Zeugma experienced an invasion and was destroyed by the Sassanid king, Shapur I. The damage from the invasion was so drastic. To make the situation worse, a violent earthquake buried the city beneath rubble. Indeed, during the rest of its time under Roman rule, the city never regained the prosperity it had once achieved. Zeugma and environs remained part of the Roman empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries the city was ruled by the Early Eastern Roman Empire; as a result of the ongoing Arab raids the city was abandoned once again. On, in the 10th and 12th centuries, a small Abbasid group settled in Zeugma. A village called Belkis was founded at the site in the 17th century. During the era of Imperial Rome, the Legio IV Scythica was camped in Zeugma. For about two centuries the city was home to many soldiers, high-ranking officials and officers of the Roman Empire, who transferred their cultural understanding and sophisticated lifestyle into the region; as a result, a Roman artistic character is seen in the necropolis sculpture: samples of beautiful art appear in the stelae, rock reliefs and altars.
This unique trend in sculpture and art became a well-recognized regional style. Zeugma became rich, owing to the economy created by soldiers in the legion. Moreover, a thriving trade moved across a wooden bridge connecting Zeugma to the city of Apamea on the other side of the Euphrates. Current excavations have revealed a large customs facility and indications of considerable border trade; the proof for this assumption came in the excavations carried out in “Iskele üstü”. In this site, 65,000 seal imprints in clay, known as bullae, were found in what is believed to have served as the archives for the customs of ancient Zeugma; the seal imprints used in sealing papyrus, parchment and customs bales reflect the volume of trade, the density of transportation, the communication network once established in the region. In 1987 the Gaziantep Museum excavated two tomb chambers, broken into by antiquity smugglers in the necropolis southwest of Zeugma, revealing frescos on the walls and statues on the terraces in front of the chambers.
These statues are now in the Gaziantep Museum of Archaeology. In 1992 the watchman at the site, Nusret Özdemir, reported renewed illegal activity here, a trench dug by antiquity hunters was discovered in the centre of the city. Excavations commenced on the same spot by a team from Gaziantep Museum led by director Rifat Ergeç, uncovered a Roman villa and magnificent mosaic pavements; the 1st century AD villa consisted of galleries around an atrium with eight columns and rooms behind the galleries. The mosaic that adorned the villa's gallery depicted the marriage of Dionysus, god of wine and grapes, to Ariadne. Six of the ten figures portrayed in this mosaic were stolen on 15 June 1998. In further excavations here, part of the central panel of the mosaic pavement belonging to the terrace of another villa turned out to have been stolen long since around 1965; the two figures are missing from the knees upward. The missing mosaic fragment was found to be in the Menil Collection at Rice University in the city of Houston.
The two figures seated side by side in this mosaic are the two legendary lovers and Parthenope. At the request of the Turkish Ministry of Culture, the stolen fragment was returned, now the complete mosaic may be seen in Gaziantep Museum; when mosaic fragments were discovered during construction of the Birecik Dam wall that commenced in 1996, Gaziantep Museum had the work halted while excavations were carried out that revealed a Roman bath, 36 mosaic panels which were added to the museum collection. In 1997, on the clay quarry area in front of the dam wall a large Bronze Age cemetery was discovered and excavated. Nearly eight thousand pottery vessels were found in 320 graves going back to the early Bronze Age; the museum staff worked unceasingly through the winter 1998–1999, uncovering such important and beautiful finds as the Akratos and Gypsy Girl Mosaic and 65,000 bullae in an archive room at İskeleüstü, making Gaziantep Museum possessor of the largest collection of bullae in the world. In 1999, in a building within the lower quarter of the city, mosaics depicting the head of Dionysus and Oceanus and Tethys with sea creatures were discovered.
From 1996 onward, with the threat of being submerged under the waters of the new dam, salv