Amida (Greek: Ἄμιδα) was an ancient city located where modern Diyarbakır, Turkey now stands. The Roman writers Ammianus Marcellinus and Procopius consider it a city of Mesopotamia, but it may be more properly viewed as belonging to Armenia Major.
The city was located on the right bank of the Tigris. The walls are lofty and substantial, and constructed of the ruins of ancient edifices (see Spolia). As the place is well adapted for a commercial city, it is probable that Amida was a town of considerable antiquity.
It was enlarged and strengthened by Constantius II, in whose reign it was besieged and taken after seventy-three days by the Sassanid king Shapur II (359). The Roman soldiers and a large part of the population of the town were massacred by the Persians. The historian Ammianus Marcellinus, who took part in the defence of the town, has given a minute account of the siege. In 363 Amida was re-taken by Roman Emperor Julian.
Amida was besieged by the Sassanid king Kavadh I during the Anastasian War through the autumn and winter (502-503). The siege of the city proved to be a far more difficult enterprise than Kavadh expected; the defenders, although unsupported by troops, repelled the Sassanid assaults for three months before they were finally beaten. During that same war, the Romans attempted an ultimately unsuccessful siege of the Persian-held Amida, led by generals Patricius and Hypatius. In 504, however, the Romans reconquered the city, and Justinian I repaired its walls and fortifications.
The Sassanids captured the city for a third time in 602 and held it for more than twenty years. In 628 the Roman emperor Heraclius recovered Amida.
In 1085, Seljuq Turks captured the region from Marwanids, and they settled many Turcomans in the region. However, Ayyubids received the city from Seljuqs in 1201, and the city ruled by them until Mogolian dynasty of Ilkhanate captured the city in 1259. Later the Turkmen dynasty of Artuqids received the city from Ayyubids and ruled the region till 1409. Yavuz Sultan Selim, the Ottoman Emperor received the city from the Safavids in 1515.
- Ammianus Marcellinus, xix. 1, seq.
- Greatrex-Lieu (2002), 63
- Procopius, Bellum Persicum i. 7, seq.
- Greatrex-Lieu (2002), 69-71
- Procopius, De aedificcis, ii. 3. 27.
- George Long, "Amida", in William Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, Volume 1, Walton & Maberly, 1854, p. 122.
- Greatrex, Geoffrey; Lieu, Samuel N. C. (2002). "Justinian's First Persian War and the Eternal Peace". The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars. Routledge. pp. 82–97. ISBN 0-415-14687-9.
- Matthew Bennett, "Amida", The Hutchinson dictionary of ancient & medieval warfare, Taylor & Francis, 1998, ISBN 1-57958-116-1, p. 13.