THE HELLENISTIC ERA: SELEUCIA PIERIA
Al-Mina, which had great importance for history for 500 years, lost its importance with the foundation of Seleucia City at the feet of Musa Mountain in 300 BC. which is now called as Çevlik. After this period, Seleucia Harbour became very important for about 800 years. But now, lets deal with the political events of 500 years in Middle east and Anatolia when Al-Mina had a great importance before the foundation of Seleucia.
The Akkads, who were the successors of Assyrians, were one of the eldest civilisations of Mesopotamia. The success of the Assyrians who captured Syria, Palestine and Egypt in the 7th Century BC, could not last for a long time. Because of the attacks of the Medes who came from Persia and the inner riots, the Assyria Empire collapsed.(605 BC) The Babylon Empire, who founded a great civilisation in the old ages and who were then under control of various clans again became a huge political power. The Babylons captured Syria, Palestine, and Phoneicia. They ruled this region for about 90 years and then they were collapsed by Acamenyd State.(538 BC.)
In these years, there were two rival political groups in Persia. The Persians, who first became a political power in 588 BC. collapsed the Median Empire in 550 BC. The Persians, who quickly spread, captured whole Anatolia, Thrace and some parts of Greece in a short time. Then they captured some parts of Middle Asia, Syria, Palestine and Egypt.
Anatolia was under the rule of the Persians for about 200 years. During these years, the Persians ruled whole Anatolia in political sense. Anatolia was divided into satraps (satraplar????), but the districts governed by beys and the city-states were living independently.
At the end of the Persian era, the Macedonians, who first founded a political community in history, developed rapidly and they condemned in Hellenistic Era (333-30 BC) so that they spread out from Greece to India and from Black Sea to Egypt.
Meanwhile, the Greeks, who were very good at science and philosophy, first dealt with free thought and opened many schools. The Greeks, who founded Democracy (508BC), also constituted History, Philosophy, Astronomy, Physics, Geometry and Mathematics, which was very important for the world civilisation. Tales predicted the lunar eclipse which would happen on the 28th of May, 585BC. Atom, which meant the nucleus of the matter, was first used in these eras. Hypocrites searched for the real reasons for the illness with the same free thought and became the founder of the modern medicine. Socrates, who said, I know only one thing that I dont know anything. Herodotus, who was the father of the history and many other well-known philosophers lived in this era.
During Philip II Era, who was the father of Alexander, the Macedonians developed rapidly. They used a Greek Dialect that the Helens couldnt understand. Philip II, who was well educated, founded a well-discilipined army, captured most of Greece. While Philip II was preparing to attack the Persians who ruled whole Anatolia and some parts of Greece in those days, he was killed in his daughters wedding.(336 BC). Alexander ascended the throne after him when he was 20 years old.
Alexander had a good education in Greece. Especially Arisrotales, who was his teachers for three years, influenced him too much. Not only did Aristotales educate him, but he also inspired him the love of Greek Civilisation.
In such a situation, Alexander went to Anatolia with a small army (40 000 soldiers) and he easily captured most parts of Greece in Anatolia except for two cities. One year later he continued his attacks to Anatolia and he had a war with a big Persian Army commanded by Daraios III (Dara) in İSOS in 333 BC. The Persian army was defeated. Dara left everything there, escaped and then he wanted to sign a piece treaty on the condition that they would surrender without any demands. When Parmenion, who was his fathers friend and a talented commander, learned the piece terms, he said If I were Alexander, I would accept. But Alexander was ambitious and his youth and successes had given him some courage, so he answered like that: If I were Parmenion, I would too.
The Macedonian Army rapidly captured Syria, Palestine and Egypt. With his continuous captures, Alexander reached India. When his commanders and the soldiers refused to go further, they returned to Babylon. (325 BC). He was killed by malaria two years later when he was preparing for a new attack. He was 33 when he died.
Alexander aimed to combine the traditions of the east and the west at the places he captured. He used inter-raced marriages to mix Greeks and the Persians. He even made 10.000 Greek Soldier marry the Persian girls in a day. He himself married two Persian princesses.
After Alexanders death in 323 BC, there were some confusions about the direction of the lands. Because Alexander had no inheritors. His wife, Roxana, was pregnant and Alexander had died before he saw his child.
The commanders met at Babylon and decided to declare both his son, who was born three months before, and Philippos, who was his step brother as the kings. In order to prevent the corruption of the country, it was divided into many satraps???. Each commander of Alexander started to rule one satrap. Nothing was given to Seleucos at first, but then he became the ruler of the Babylon satrap. The Egyptian Satrap was given to Ptolemaios. Many other regions were divided into satraps, too.
But after some time, the commanders of each satrap started to behave on their own and each believed that he had to be the inheritor of the throne. The commander of Egypt, Ptolemaois (Ptoleme), took the dead body of Alexander which was in a golden coffin, to Egypt. He buried it in a marble tomb in İskenderiye. By doing so, he tried to show that Alexander was the real Pharaoh of Egypt and he, himself was the inheritor of him. After some time, Egypt would get wider and The Mediterranean would be the ruler of Greek and East Mediterranean Commerce.
Meanwhile, there were many intrigues and bloody struggles between the family members of Alexander. The family members were giving great harm to each other in order to be the inheritor of Alexander. This situation became so dangerous that no one remained alive in his family after 14 years. His wife and his son were also killed during these struggles.
Seleucos ascended the throne in 312 BC in Seleucia that he founded near Dicle. He first tried to consolidate his rule in eastern cities and became very successful. When he went to India in about 305 BC, he saw there that there was a strong army commanded by Çandragupta. Seleucos wisely decided to sign a piece treaty. Seleucos wanted to return as soon as possible because of the developing events in the west, so he took 500 war elephants from Çandragupta after a piece treaty. After this voyage, he was called as Nicator (Victorious)
Antigonos, who caused a great confusion in Anatolia, was killed in a struggle in İpsos (at the southern feet of Sultan Mountains near Çay Country) in 301 BC. In this fight, the war elephants, that Seleucos brought from India, had important role. After this important fight, Seleucos became the inheritor of Alexander in the region between Anatolia and India.
During Ipsos War, the capital city of Seleucos was Seleucia near Tigris (Dicle) and the capital city of Antigonos was Antigonia at 8km. north of Antakya.
After war Seleucos, who became the ruler of a very wide area, realised that Seleucia, which was founded near Dicle was not a suitable place to be a capital city.
The Seleucoslar , who was an important state in history, had to reach the coasts to widen their land, to rule their neighbours and to have the Mediterranean Commerce in their hands. So they had to carry the capital city of Seleucoss kingdom to west and found a new capital city there. Since Seleucia Pieria, which was one of the most beautiful harbours of Mediterranean, was found suitable to be the new capital because of its topography, its open location to sea and its acropolis which was very hard to capture, so Seleucia Pieria (today it is Samandağ, a country of Antakya, its previous name was Süveydiye) was founded as the capital city on April of 300 BC. The rule of the country was carried from Seleucia near Tigris (Dicle) to Seleucia near the sea.
There was an interesting mythological story about the foundation of the city. According to Malalas, Seleucos NicatorI went to Casius Mountain (Kel Dağı) and he sacrificed for Zeus to send him a sign to determine the location of the new capital city. An eagle seized the sacrificed meat, it flew for a long time and released the meat. So it was believed that the location of Seleucia Pieria was determined by Zeus. They suddenly built a tomb and its domination was given to Zeus.
The information about the foundation of Seleucia differ from each other in a few points. When Diodor dealt with the harbour cities which was founded in 305 BC, he didnt mention Seleucia. Although Seleucia was founded at the feet of Amonos Mountains, it wasnt mentioned when he dealt with the marketing place chain near the sea. This shows that the harbour was founded later. The foundation date of Seleucia was determined as 301 by Wolley and 301-300 by Malalas.
During Seleucos Era, the centre of the kingdom was carried here and Seleucia Pieria became the capital city. The inhabitants of Al-Mina and Sabuni moved here. But they soon realised that this place was not safe. Because Seleucia Pieria was founded near the sea and it was open to possible sea attacks. Also Seleucos didnt have any navy. Seleucos Nicator soon founded Antiochia (Antakya) which had the same name as his father. The capital was carried to the new city. Antiochia was a day further to Seleucia and its location was away from the coast which made it safe against the possible attacks. Seleucoslar built many new cities in order to consolidate the state order. Seleucoslar themselves founded 16 Antiochia, 9 Seleucia, 5 Laodicia and 3 Apemeia. Seleucia was his own name, Antiochia was his fathers name, Apemia (Hums) was his wifes name and Laodicia (Laskiye) was his mothers name. To separate Seleucia near Al-Mina from the others, it was named as Pieria.
THE CITY STRUCTURE OF SELEUCIA PIERIA
Because of its city structure location, Seleucia Pieria was divided into two. These parts were called as Upper City and Lower City. They show the commercial, production and settlement position of the city. The characteristics of the land where the city was founded made this classification necessary. The upper city was at the higher part of the slope of the mountain. (Today, Kapısuyu Village is founded in this area.) Many factories, temples and official buildings were founded 30-40m above the sea. The steep rocks at the south-west of the mountain divided the upper and lower city. The connection with the lower city was made with marvellous stairs which were engraved on the steep hills and where 6-7 people can walk together. (The stairs are still sturdy and they can be seen today.) On the left part before the stairs, there is a cave carved on the rocks which is supposed to be a guard room once upon a time. This place was then used as a house for the priests.
The lower city was founded around the harbour. There were bazaar, market-hall, some stores and craftsmen besides the harbour establishments. There was also a huge Turkish bath and a small theatre there. This place was the most active and colourful part of the city. Since it was an import and export centre, some big stores and a small dockyard for the repair of the ships were built there.
There were luxurious pavilions whose surfaces were covered with mosaics at the terraces. The harbour at the city walls was tied to sea with a channel.
The door between the upper city and the lower city was composed of two towers and a narrow passage. It is possible to predict this from the remainders of the towers. The width of the city wall was four meters. The city was surrounded by a city wall. The length of the city wall was 12.5m. Today only a small part of the wall can still be seen. Although there are still some remainders at some parts, most of the big stones of the wall had been used in the old houses, so only the traces of the wall can be seen today. The traces of the wall can be seen even from the further places. The area of the harbour in the city walls is 16 hectares. (640 acres)
The city has three big doors. The one at the south was called as the bazaar door of the city and it was used as a door of the deeper walls. The door, where the stream of the city was poured from the walls, was called as Bab el-Mina. (The door of the harbour) This door also had two towers like the bazaar door which is damaged today. At the northern part, the third tower was built and a huge building was constructed at the inner parts of the city for defence. Only one door (Bab el-hava) was built at the long wall of the upper city. The road to El Kabusiye (Kapısuyu) Village started from here.
The crosswise-shaped wall departing from the north-east walls of the city became rounded towards the inner parts of the city and ended there. The city wall reached the stream at the west, it continued from the other slope, came to the harbour and ended there. This harbour today opens to the external harbour from Minat el-Atiga (old harbour) and Minat el-Cedide (new harbour). The canal was protected by the walls of the castle at the north and the walls of the harbour at the south. Two guard houses were built at the point where the channel was opened out to sea. The guard house at the south was at the castle and it had the shape of a room of 3x122. The old harbour at the east of the harbour was determined by the traces of the walls. The row towers around the canal showed that there was a canal going from the harbour to sea. The width of the external building was determined to be 130-140m. The length of the western harbour was 100m and its width was 9m. It could protect its shape.
WAS THE FIRST DAM OF THE WORLD IN SELEUCIA?
The spring flowing through the middle of the mountain where Seleucia was founded opened three wide and deep holes. Two of them were out of the city walls. The third hole that the spring opened was in the middle of the city. The water source coming out of this hole went through the hole, passed through the tunnels and poured into the sea. Today this source is used for watering the gardens at the feet of the mountain. It was necessary to build a tunnel 1330m west of the point where there was a water source in order to prevent the damage made during the periods when the amount of water became more. The building at the upper part of the tunnel was a dam. It was built for preventing water flow during the times when the harbour was dirty. So the continuous flow of the water towards the canal was determined. The water suddenly reached Çevlik Village at the winding point at the west.
A huge canal of 130m long and 1380m width during was built during the Roman Age in order to prevent the filling of the harbour by the sands and pebbles. Its 130m part was flowing under the mountain. The stability of the harbour was important not only for Antiochia but also for the other harbour cities. It is thought that the mouth of Orontes was made suitable for the small tonnaged ships before the construction of the tunnel. Chapot thinks that this situation was put into use during the Empire Tiberius. (14-37 AC)
It was possible to pass to West Nekrapoline (the graveyard) from a bridge over the canal and from a point near the mouth of the tunnel. A long underwater tunnel curled at the mountain near this place. There were stone graves (today it is called as Beşikli Graveyard) 200m south of the mouth of the tunnel where the people belonging to the dynasty were buried. These graves were also called as king graves.
The square shaped area at 500 feet south of The Bazaar Door was like an agora. This could be a part of the harbour, too.
TWO EMPERORS WHO GAVE THEIR NAMES TO THE TUNNEL
The people who come to Samandağ to visit the Vespasianus-Titus Tunnel in Çevlik today are deeply effected by the magnificence of this building.
The oldest document in the tunnel, which was built for protecting the harbour, belonged to Vaspasianus and Titus era. (69-79,79-81 AC.) It is supposed that the construction of the tunnel started in their era. In another document, this time was supposed to belong to Empire Antonius Pius (138-161 AC.). But the time when the construction of the canal ended was not accurate. One-arched-bridge built on the canal can still be seen today and it can still be used today.
It is useful to talk about the two empires who gave their names to the mechanical magnificence.
Vesposianus was born in Sabins Country (Middle Italy) in a small village called Falacrina near Reate on 17th of November in 9 AC. When he became an emperor on 1st of July in 69, he was 60 years old. His grandmother, Tertulla took him under her protection when he was a child. He could never forget her and always visited her old house. He belonged to the Flavious family. Although this family was not well-known, they had a good name and they were respected by the others. Vespasianus had a good education. He could speak and write in Greek. He married Flavia Domitilla and had three children called Titus, Domitianus and Domitilla. His wife and daughter were dead before he became an emperor. During his emperorship, he was very successful. He tried too much to repulate the Roman Hierarchic System.
He became ill in the summer of 79 AC. even when his illness became worse, he continued working on the works of the state while he was in bed. He fainted because of diarhea one day. He said that an emperor had to die standing and he tried to stand to still, but he fell down to the arms of the people around him. When Vespasianus died on 24 of June, 79, he was 70 years old. Many people tried commit a crime, but no one succeeded to kill him. He stated in the Parliament that his sons would be his inheritors, otherwise there would not be any inheritors. Everything was in accordance to his words, Titus took the place of his father and Vespasianus was recognized as a god.
In reality, Vespasianus and Titus had ruled the country from 71 until his death on 24th of June and after his period Titus ascended the throne alone. Domitianus did not have any right over the throne.
Titus was born in Rome on 30th of December in 41 AC. He was spiritually and bodily healthy, he was talented in all kinds of arts and he had a good memory. He fought wars in Germany and Britain as a military TRIBUN when he was very young. He was talented in this work as well. First he married a woman called Arrecina Tertulla, but after her death, he married Marcia Formilla. He had a daughter from Marcia, and then divorced her. When he ascended the throne alone, his daughter, Julia was 13 years old. Since he did not have a son, he accepted his brother, Domitianus, as the inheritor of the throne only after his death. He was admired by all of the soldiers and the people in the country. There were two disasters during his short sultanate. The first one was the explosion of Mount Vesuvius. Its lava damaged Pompeii and Herculaneum cities. The second disaster was a big fire in Rome in 80. It continued for three days. At the same time, a plague infection threatened Rome and Italy. Titus did everything he could to rebuild the buildings and to prevent the illness. He even sold many goods of his palace to pay for the expenses. Although he was admired by the people, he also faced many assassination attempts. But he forgave all the assassins. Titus saw himself as the father of the people of the country. One day, he did not do anything for the others and said My friends, I wasted my time today. Although Titus behaved well to his people, he was not so tolerant to the Jews and the Christians. When he was in military service, he came to Jerusalem and damaged the city in 70. After this event, the missionary works of Jews and suppressed Christian people in this region were propped up temporarily for some time and as a result Antiochia became the centre of the Christianity.
Since the sultanate of Titus ended in 13th of September in 81, it was very short. When he was in the country of Sabins, his temperature rose suddenly and he died at the farm house of his father. Some people found his death suspicious. People became very sad because of the death of Titus and he was suddenly recognised as a god. His brother Dominianus then ascended the throne.
SELEUCEIA AND AFTERWARDS
Seleucos was a clever, energetic and unique soldier. He took the name of Nicator (Victorious) after Eastern Cruise. He founded Seleucia near Orantes (Asi River) and the centre of country in Seleucia near Dicle to Seleucia near Orantes. He then founded Antiochia after a short time and always accepted Seleucia Pieria as the capital city.
The dynasty members after Seleucos Nicator were very weak and were too much interested in enjoyment. It was very difficult to put the warrior tribes of ÖN and Middle Asia who had different races, cultures and religions under one flag. Because of this, the dynasty founded by Seleucos I. Nicator started to break into pieces and seperate soon after his death.
According to Strabo, four big cities, founded by Seleucos, were then accepted as fratricidal cities (Polis Adelfe) in time. These cities were Antiochia (Antakya), Seleucia Pieria (Samandağ), Apemeia (Hums) and Laodicial (Laskiye). The economical role of four fratricidal cities made these cities trade centres for a long time. In those days, Antakya was a rich city. It was the third biggest city in the world. This magnificence and richness affected the other three fratricidal cities. They used the same currency between 149-128 BC. Antiochia ad Seleucia even coined their own money.
Seleucos were good at setting people in the new captured places. They were building villages at military places, they were dealing with agriculture and farming. They were regulating the cities.
The domination of the Mediterranean became the reason of any continuous struggle between Ptolemiasos and Seleucos in Egypt even after the death of Alexander. The reason of carrying the state centre of Seleucos to Antiochia was to take the country under their rule. Because of their geographical locations, Seleucia and Antiochia had advantages. Seleucia had a good location in terms of East Mediterranean commerce. Antiochia was at the intersection point of the commerce caravans coming overland route on Silk Road.
Ptolemias in Egypt took East Mediterranean region under their rule before Seleucos. There was only Egypt Dynasty against Seleucos in 280 BC and it was very easy to capture it. But there was a assassination against Seleucos in this period and this was the reason of corruption of the empire.
After Seleucos was murdered, the other emperors who ascended the throne were very weak and too much interested in enjoyment. But they took names like Victorious, Thunder, God which they did not deserve. The treacheries within the dynasty and the intrigues gave too much damage to the empire. The Seleucos, who were very busy fighting with each other and trying to suppress the rebellions, were the inheritors of not only Alexanders Empire but also the wars. They could not develop too much science and civilisation although they ruled the modern centres of of Elamians, Sumerians, Akkads, Babylonians, Asyrians, Hattis, Urartians and Persians and had relations with Middle Asia and Indian Civilisations. The Seleucos dominance which lasted 250 years was full of events that could be taken as examples. They not only had to prevents the rebellions and disorders at the places they ruled, but also had to face with the fights, treacheries and intrigues within the dynasty. The situation of Seleucos too much weakened the structure of the state. They could hardly stand still.
Let us talk about some events occurred in Seleuca Pieria related to our topic before dealing with some bad examples given below.
There was not an important event in Seleucia till the Third Syria War (246-241 BC). During this war, Seleucian People supported Egypt. The Egyptians ruled Seleucia for 27 years.
During the period of Antiochos III (223-189), Seleucia was recaptured. When Antiochos ascended the throne of Antiochia, he was 12 years old. During this age, the empire became narrow and several princedoms tried to rebel. The administrators around the empire were struggling for power. Antiochos III, who ascended the throne in a very unfortunate period, became very successful and he was named Big after these successes. He first had to capture Seleucia Pieria Harbour no matter how difficult it was. Because Seleucia Pieria Harbour was one of the important points of the empire.
Polybios stated that the harbour was under the rule of the Egyptians until 219. Antiochos III took the advice of the Apolphanes, who was a doctor and who was born in Seleucia. He disconnected the harbour with the sea and the land. With the help of the men he had sent to Seleucia, he easily captured the city. Since the season was winter, he left some of his soldiers in Antiochia and spent winter in Seleucia. He signed a peace treaty with Egyptian Ambassador. During an exploration trip to Cyprus, Antiochos III was caught by a storm and lost most many of his naval forces. Then he returned to Seleucia and rebuilt his naval forces in the dockyard. Antiochos III had many successes in a short time and he reached Aegean Coast. He met Romans there. He demanded Macedonia and Greece from the Romans. He then fought with Romans and faced a big defeat. He signed a peace treaty and accepted to give many regions which had been under his rule before. (Apeme Kibotos-which is now called as Dinar Treaty, 188 BC).
After this treaty, Seleucos State squeezed between Dicle, Taurus Mountains, East Anatolia and Syria Desert. But the treacheries and intrigues within the dynasty continued. It is useful to give some interesting examples related to this topic for you to have an idea about these treacheries and intrigues.
Antiochia and Seleucia were under the rule of Alexander Bala for 5 years during Demetrius Soter era (162-150 BC). Since Demetrius was too much involved with enjoyment, he was not aware of the danger. Alexander Bala, who was supported by Roman, Egyptian and other kingdoms, defeated Demetriuss armies and took the throne of Antakya. Demetrius was killed.
Alexander Bala, who took the throne of Antakya, married Cleopatra who was the daughter of the Egyptian King, Ptolemiasos Filometer. Alexander Bala, who gave the rule of his city to his assistant, Ammonious gave too much harm to the people of the city. He tortured people and took very high taxes from them. People started to hate him.
The son of Demetrius, who had the same name as him, had escaped to Crete and had saved his life. He established an army there which was composed of soldiers employed against payment. Dimetrus II attacked Clicia with his army (148-147). Alexander Bala wanted help from his father-in-law, the Egyptian King. The Egyptian King helped him. But Ammonious, who suspected the Egyptian King, tried to murder him. But the Egyptian King became aware of this murder before and he wanted Alexander to punish him. Alexander refused to punish him, so he declared war. He reached Seleucia and and took his daughter, Cleopatra, from Seleucia. He gave the throne to Demetrius II and made him marry Cleopatra. Alexander Bala was killed by an Arabic Sheikh in West Arabia.
Demetrius II ascended his fathers throne with the name Nicator (Victorious-Triumphant). He left the works of the state to his minister, Lastenes and became too much involved with enjoyment. Lastenes took all the power. After his terrible oppression, people rebelled against the state. Demetrius II wanted help from the Jews. Seleucoses, who had prohibited Jewish religion and who had oppressed Jews for a long time became so weak that they wanted help from them. The Jewish people used this situation for their own sake and they sacked and burnt down the city. The people found Demetrius responsible for this and they started to dislike him.
At the same time Diodot, who was the Governor of Antakya, and who was called as Tryphon, benefited from this and he declared Balas son, who was only a child then, as the king in the name of Antiochos VI Teos. Demetrius II was defeated in the fight and escaped to Seleucia in Mesopotamia.
Tryphon first killed Jewish rabbi, then Antiochos whom he had given the throne with an intrigue. He declared himself as the king of Antiochia. Demetrius escaped to Mesopotamia and he was taken prisoner by the Ports in Persia in a cruise made against them.
During these disorders, Antiochos, the brother of Demetrius, went to Rhodes. When he heard that his brother was taken prisoner, he came to Antiochia. The people hated Tryphon because of his despot regime Jonathes and, so they supported Antiochos VII. Tryphon was defeated and killed in the war. Antiochos VII married Cleopatra, who had been his brothers wife. At first, he defeated the Ports three times and became powerful; but then his army was too much involved with enjoyment, so they were defeated by the Ports this time. Meanwhile, the Port King gave his daughter to Demetrius and he set him free because of the fight for throne against Antiochos. Within a short period of time, Antiochos was killed.
Meanwhile, there were many bloody struggles in the Egyptian Palace. Ptolemiaos VIII Everjet cut his brothers son into pieces in his mothers arms, ascended the throne, he first married Cleopatra and then divorced her to marry her daughter. Cleopatra, who was the mother-in-law of Demetrius, offered the throne of Alexandria. But the rebellion in Antiochia prevented this. Everjet sent Alexander Zabinas to Antiochia as the son of Alexander Bala who was one of the old kings and caused some disorders there. Zabinas made people like him, he defeated Demetrius II in Syria near Damascus. Demetrius II wanted to take shelter in Ptolemais (Akka) Castle where his ex-wife stayed. But Cleopatra did not stomach his marriage with the daughter of the king of Port so she did not allow his entrance to the city. So he escaped to Sina Mountain and died there (126/125).
After the refusal of his wife Cleopatra, Demetrius left the stage and Alexander Zabinas ascended the throne of Antiochia. Cleopatra wanted to rule Ptolemais (Akka) by herself.
Cleopatra had three sons two of whom belonged to Demetrius II Nicator and one belonged to Antiochos VII. She declared her eldest son as the king. But she suspected him as taking the revenge of his father, so she killed him. But the people of Akka refused the rule of an Egyptian woman in the name of Seleucoslar. Her second son, Antiochos Grypos ascended the throne (Grypos: eagle-nosed). Meanwhile, Ptolemiaos Fiskan took the throne of Egypt. With his help, he attacked Alexander Zabinas. Zabinas was defeated. He sacked the Temple of Glory in Antiochia with his soldiers. He came to Seleucia Pieria and wanted to take shelter in Seleucia Pieria. But people supported Antiochos and closed the doors of the city to Zabinas. While he was trying to escape to Greece with a small sailing boat, pirates captured him and took him to Egypt. There he was killed after the command of the king.
After this event, Seleucia Harbour was called as Is Panda Hronon Elefceriu (Always Independent). Antiochos Grypos, who took the throne from Alexander Zabinas, married Trifan who was the daughter of the Egyptian King. But Cleopatra could not stomach her sons becoming the only ruler of the state. One day, when he returned from hunting, she offered him a poisonous drink by saying that he could be thirsty. Grypon suspected his mother, and he wanted her to drink it first. They were in front of the pillars of the state, so Cleopatra did not know what to do. At last, she had to drink it and poisoned herself. She suddenly died there within a short time, Seleucia State lived a comfortable life, but when Grypons step brother grew up and started to claim rights over the throne the disputes started again. After this event, things were worse and worse. Trifon, his wife of Grypon killed Cleopatra Thea, who was the queen of Egypt, in front of a temple in Antiochia since she suspected that there was a secret treaty between herself and her husband. Cleopatra hugged the temple so strongly that the soldiers could not separate her from the temple. Trifon ordered her soldiers to cut the wrists of Cleopatra and separated her from the statue. Then they cut her into pieces and killed her.
During these events, the Romans did not interfere with Seleucoslar. Seleucoslar left no work for the Rpmans since they had already been struggling among themselves. The Romans had to wait more to damage the state of Seleucoslar.
While the internal struggles and family tragedies continued in Seleucos Kingdom, the Armenian Kingdom in West Anatolia got bigger and bigger and became powerful in this region. The Aramiler were shocked because of the endless fights of Seleucoslar and invited Tigrones, the king of Armenia to the region (95-60 BC). Tigranes willlingfully accepted this. He appointed his chief commander, Megadates to rule Syria. When their commander went to Orant clans with a huge army, all the Seleucos princes who had struggled for the thrones of Damascus and Antiochia escaped to Anatolia to Clicia became under the rule of Tigranes. After these successes, Tigranes was called as The King of the Kings. Although Tigranes captured all the ports of North Syria, Seleucia tried hard against him and did not go under his rule. The reason for this was that he did not have any navy. After these successes, Tigranes moved his capital city from Artaksata at the north of Ararat Mountain and he founded a new capital city. (Mayafarilkin at the east of Diyarbakır which is called Silvan today). He called the city as Mithiridates, the father-in-law of Tigrates, out of West Anatolia. (71 BC). Then he defeated the Armenian King, Tigranes and he sacked Tigronakerta, which was recently built and not completed. in this war, the Greeks whom Tigress had settled, helped Romans and the Roman commanders, Luckless allowed them to return to their old land. (69BC)
Seleucos People benefited from the defeat of Tigranes and they declared their independance by the help of Lucullus in Syria. But Lucullus was called back to Rome and Pompeius, the commander was sent instead of him, attack Tigranes to convert the Potos and the Armenian Kingdoms into a province of Rome. Tigranes understood that he would be defeated, he came to Roman Headquarters and gave his crown to Pompeius. Pompeius gave back the throne, but he took the captured places under his rule. His status was determined as The Friend and The Union of Rome. Tigranes exactly knew what this meant. (67 BC)
Pompeius then attacked the dynasty founded by Seleucos People in Syria. The last inheritor, Antiochos VIII claimed to be left as the king, but Pompeius rejected this since he thought that Antiochos was unable to establish piece and security in the country. Syria was convertedinto a Roman Province. (64 BC) Pompeius left the rule of Seleucia to the brave people of Seleucia. Antiochos XIII, the last inheritor of Seleucos Kingdom, continued to live his last days as an ordinary people and died in 58 BC.After this age, the region was ruled by consules sent from Rome. During the Roman Empire Augustos Age, the rule was given to the deputies of the emperor. The last remainder of İskender, The Egyptian Dynasty, was included in Roman Lands and Hellenism totally came to an end.
THE ROMAN PERIOD
Seleucia Pieria kept its importance for the Roman who ended the Seleucos Kingdom and included their lands to their empire in 64 BC. Since the harbour was very interesting, the relations with the other countries started in the Hellenistic Ages.
After the Romans captured this region, the Christianity would appear and a new religion would be shaped on earth. The Christianity was first thought as the doctrine of Jewish Religion and would be separated from Jewish Religion.
At about 43 AC, the people who were not Jewish were converted to this religion in Antiochia and very important steps were taken about this topic. When this news was heard in Jerusalem, St. Barbanas came to Seleucia from Jerusalem to look for St. Paulos who had first worked on this topic here. In Seleucİa, he got on the ship which would take him near Tarsus. Because St.Paulos was born in Tarsus, when Barbanas found Pavlos, he persuaded him to return to Antiochia.
When Paulos and Barbanas started from their missionary trip, Marcos, who would then be the secretary and the friend of Petros, was also with them. Their starting point was again Seleucia .
In the following years, Christianity would spread quickly. But 300 years had to be passed to be accepted as the state religion in Roman Empire. During this period, the people who accepted Christianity would strictly be suppressed. For example,, the great fire, which started on the 18th of July in 64 BC in Rome and which continued for nine days damaged most of the city. Empire Neron was dominating the city at that time. First people gossiped that Empire Neron put on the fire. But emperor blamed Christians for the fire since he wanted to be known as innocent. So the Christians were investigated because of this fire. They were tortured, they were eaten by savage animals in amphitheatres, they were burnt. They faced these kinds of oppressions during the following eras. But no one could prevent the spreading of Christianity.
There is no absolute information about the spreading of Christianity in Seleucia. In a writing of a religious man (187-175 BC) found in the old Hellen Pantheion of the city, Zeus Olimpius was dealt as the God, Zeus Keraunios, Apollon from Daphne (Defne:Harbiye), Zeus Nicator from Seleucia, Apollon Soter, some god-like heroes and the other kings were also mentioned. These sacred signs were pressed on the coins. There was a picture of a crowned eagle located on thunder on the coins. These signs probably belonged to Hittite God of Sky. People sacrificed and wailed many times for Teşub. The people of Seleucia worshipped both Teşub and Zeus Keraunios at the beginning, in time they combined them as a unique power and symbolised as Zeus Keraunios. People sometimes resembled Zeus Casius to the God of Sky. In time, he used power to be the God of the Harbour. Zeus Casius was the god against the spreading Christianity. During Emperor Julianus (361-363 AC), who was the last emperor visiting the Cassius Tomb, the people of Seleucos willingly worshipped for their previous god.
The name of Seleucia Pieria was not known during the good days of the Roman Empire. Although the borders of the empire widened in time, many new political powers formed and developed around it. As the time passed, The Persians from Persia (The Parts), became powerful again and they became an important power in the region. In the war between The Roman Empire and the Persians during the era of Emperior Valarian (253-260), the Roman Army was defeated and the emperor was taken as prisoner.
Şapor I, who captured Antiochia in 256, sacked the city. But it was estimated that he didnt give any harm to Antiochia. The Persians again captured and sacked Antiochia in 260. After that, Palmyra Queen Zenobia would capture the city despite the negative opinions of the divination places, but she would soon be defeated and became a prisoner by the Romans.
During the Roman Empire Diocletion (284-305) Age, people started to clean the stopped up harbour in Seleucia. The workers sacked many places throughout the end of the cleaning process to protest the bad and small amount of meal and they reached Antiochia. The people in Antiochia killed all of them as a punishment. The old emperor strongly punished the people of Seleucia and Antiochia because of this event.
Emperor Constantius II (337-361) started to rule Seleucia and too much development was seen in the cleaning process of the harbour. There was a danger of filling of the harbour, so they needed to found a new harbour between the mouth of the harbour and the previous harbours formation place. In 346, they finished the construction of the new harbour. This harbour was very important for Antiochia. It provided both travelling, communication, commercial goods transportation and it was also available for the completion of the tools. It helped the development of Antiochia and it made the city more wealthy.
Especially in the 4th Century AC, when the Asi River became unavailable for the sailing of the big ships, the importance of Seleucia Pieria Harbour increased. All the stones till the feet of the mountain were broken and cleared away for the construction of the new harbour. So the flow of the garbage, coming from the mouth of the tunnel which was near the harbour, to the sea was established. They needed to build a canal of 800 meters to provide the flow of the garbage.
Valens, who was an emperor on the 4th of April in 372, went to Seleucia to control the works of the harbour.
After the division of the Roman Empire into two in 395 AC, the region belonged to East Roman (Byzantium)
THE CITY WHICH WAS DESTRUCTED BY THE NATURAL DISASTERS
We can not say that the Seleucos and the Roman Eras are comfortable for the people in Antiochia. The earthquakes, the scarcity, the rebellions and the fires were the most important events in the history of the city.
The earthquakes (148, 130, 83, 69 BC, 35, 37, 41-45, 155, 341, 365, 396, 526, 528, 531, 534, 542, 551, 557, 560, 588, 589 AC) caused huge damages in the city.
The fires, (145 BC, 23, 24, 70, 138, 161, 507, 525 AC) gave big harms to Antiochia.
Especially a few big earthquakes damaged Antiochia, Daphne and Seleucia Pieria. The one that occurred on 29th of May 526 was one of the biggest earthquakes in history. There were many visitors in Antiochia at that time for the festival. Most of the people were having dinner. So many people died. 250-300 000 were estimated to have died in this earthquake and Daphne and Seleucia Pieria were too much damaged. Two years later, another earthquake occurred in 528 and the reconstructed cities were again damaged. Justianus I (527-565) helped the people to cure themselves.
The Persian King Hüsrev I (Chasroes: Chasrow), who captured Antiochia and its surroundings in June of 540, came to Seleucia, washed in Mediterranean and worshipped for the Sun and the Persian Gods.
Seleucia had a small role in the following religious and historical traces. The Syrian Priests mixed the previous belief about the gods with the Christian Religion. Priest Barlaam became the inheritor of Casius and helped to spread Christianity in this region. But it was not easy to get rid of the powers of the previous gods. Even St. Simon (Symeon Stylites: Simon Stilit) tried so hard to get rid of the Seleucia Gods.
THE STORY OF St. SIMON
The story of the monastery, on the way which separated Değirmenbaşı and Aknehir and which was 18km. Southwest of Antakya, started throughout the middle of the 6th Century. The Christian Saint Simon, who was one of the heads of "TERK-İ DÜNYA" dervish order, worshipped for God for 30 years on a stone in the middle of the monastery without any worldly things. (48 years for some sources) The researchers call this place as "Genç Simon Manastırı" (Young Simon Monastery). Young Simon, who was believed to have miracles, lived between 521-592. There was Antakya-Samandağ Road in the north and west, Big Karaçay was in the east and Orentes River (Asi) was in the south.
The Young Simon Monastery was built 100 years later than Old Simon Castle that was located 45km east of Antakya in Syria. Its previous name was "Cebel-Mar Sem'an" or "Dar Sem'an". But today, these names are not common. The inhabitants of this region call the "monastery" as "Castle" or "Kale Semen". You can easily reach this monastery by using the stabilised road, which was built recently.
St. Simon Monastery is composed of three churches; several buildings and a baptism place in a 61x68 rectangle made up of rocks. The baptism place is combined to the northern church with an entrance.
The monastery is surrounded with a wall of 160m. in the east-west direction and of 130m. in the south-north direction. There are three entrances. To understand this monastery well, it is essential to know the life of St. Simon and the religious concepts of his dervish order.
St. Simon took the education of being a stilit at a place called as "John's Monastery" from the age of seven to twenty. According to a belief, after he became an adult, he would live the city life, go to the mountains, and continue to live without any worldly things.
The construction of St. Simon Monastery, that was not supported by the emperors of that age, was finished by the immigrants who believed that dervish order. There was not a talented architect in the construction. The ill people and their relatives who wanted to be cured and who wanted the benefit from the superpower of St. Simon came to the monastery with their food, drinks and goods and they helped the construction. St Simon, who came to the monastery in 542, dwelled on the stone which is still in the centre of the monastery today. The construction of the first part of the monastery finished in 551, ten years later than his arrival. The believers of St. Simon Stilit Dervish Order believed that the plan of the monastery was made by an angel.
Everything except the ceiling and some important tools are still in their places today. The outer and the inner walls and the sitting places around the stone where St. Simon prayed are still stable. It was possible to see some mosaic upholstery recently when the floor was digged. Unfortunately, because of the researches of the excavators, there isn't any remainder of this mosaic upholstery today. The carved figures, which have many symbols, are separated to many places.
The trace of the tomb, which was opened to surroundings, is bound to fall down. There are a few wide and deep cisterns in the north of the tomb. The stores in the south has fallen down. It was stated that the stone, where St. Simon dwelled in, was about 13m. long. This stone was damaged because of the earthquakes and natural conditions and it is possible to see its parts in separated forms today.