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Apamea (Phrygia)

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Apamea (Phrygia)

Apamea Cibotus, Apamea ad Maeandrum (on the Maeander), Apamea or Apameia (Ancient Greek: Ἀπάμεια, Ancient Greek: κιβωτός) was an ancient city in Anatolia founded in the 3rd century BC by Antiochus I Soter, who named it after his mother Apama. It was in Hellenistic Phrygia,[1] but became part of the Roman province of Pisidia.[2][3] It was near, but on lower ground than, Celaenae (Kelainai).


It overlooks the 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 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 Cibotus is enumerated by Hierocles among the episcopal cities of the Roman province of Pisidia. Lequien gives the names of nine of its bishops. The first is a Julianus of Apamea at the Maeander who, Eusebius records, was in about 253 reported by Alexander of Hierapolis (Phrygia) to have joined others in examining the claims of the Montanist Maximilla. The list of bishops from Pisidia who participated in the First Council of Nicaea (325) includes Tharsitius of Apamea. It also gives a Paulus of Apamea, but Lequien considers that in the latter case "Apamea" is a mistake for "Acmonia". A Bishop Theodulus of Apamea (who may, however, have been of Apamea in Bithynia) witnessed a will of Gregory of Nazianzus. Paulinus took part in the Council of Chalcedon (451) and was a signatory of the letter from the bishops of Pisidia to Emperor Leo I the Thracian concerning the killing in 457 of Proterius of Alexandria. In the early 6th century, Conon abandoned his bishopric of Apamea in Phrygia and became a military leader in a rebellion against Emperor Anastasius. The acts of the Second Council of Constantinople (553) were signed by "John by the mercy of God bishop of the city of Apamea in the province of Pisidia". Sisinnius of Apamea was one of the Pisidian bishops at the Second Council of Nicaea (787). The Council held at Constantinople in 879–880 was attended by two bishops of Apamea in Pisidia, one appointed by Patriarch Ignatius of Constantinople the other by Photios I of Constantinople.[2]

Since it is no longer a residential diocese, Apamea Cibotus is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.[4]


  • 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"
  • Thonemann, P., The Maeander Valley: A historical geography from Antiquity to Byzantium (Cambridge, 2011) (Greek Culture in the Roman World Series).


  1. ^ [1]Encyclopædia Britannica, "Apamea Cibotus"
  2. ^ a b Michel Lequien, Oriens christianus in quatuor Patriarchatus digestus, Paris 1740, Vol. I, coll. 1045-1046
  3. ^ Pius Bonifacius Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae Catholicae, Leipzig 1931, p. 451
  4. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 834

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