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Antioch

ANTIOCH (ăn'tĭ-ŏk, Gr. Antiocheia). 1. [[Antioch in Syria]], the capital of Syria, built in 301 b.c. by Seleucus Nicator, founder of the Seleucid Empire, which had been the Asiatic part of the vast empire of [[Alexander the Great]]. It was the greatest of sixteen Antiochs he founded in honor of his father Antiochus. It was a great commercial center. Caravan roads converged on it from the east, and its situation on the Orontes River, fifteen navigable miles (twenty-five km.) from the Mediterranean, made it readily available to ships as well. The city was set in a broad and fertile valley, shielded by majestic snow-covered mountains, and was called “Antioch the Beautiful and the Golden.” In 65 the Romans took the city and made it the capital of the Roman province of Syria. Seleucid kings and early Roman emperors extended and adorned the city until it became the third largest in the [[Roman Empire]] (after Rome and Alexandria), with a population in the first century a.d. of about 500,000.