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A pentapolis, from the Greek words πέντε (pente), "five" and πόλις (polis), "city(-state)" is a geographic and/or institutional grouping of five cities. Cities in the ancient world probably formed such groups for political, commercial and military reasons, as happened later with the Cinque Ports in England.
Significant historical cases
- In the biblical Holy Land, the word, occurring in Wisdom, x, 6, designates the region where five cities — Sodom, Gomorrah, Segor (A. V., Zoar), Admah and Zeboim — united to resist the invasion of Chedorlaomer (Genesis, xiv), and of which four were shortly after utterly destroyed.
- The Philistine Pentapolis: Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, Gath, and Gaza, all combined to make Philistia.
- The Doric – or Dorian Pentapolis: Kos, on the island of the same name in the Aegean Sea; Cnidus, in Caria on the west coast of Asia Minor; Lindus, Ialysus and Camirus, all three on Rhodes.
- The Pontic Pentapolis: Apollonia, Callatis, Mesembria, Odessos, and Tomis, all on the Euxeinos Pontos.
- The Western Pentapolis: five main Greek colonies that came to be in the Roman province of Libya Superior, the western part of Cyrenaica until Diocletian's Tetrarchy reform in AD 296 (now Libya). The most important was Cyrene and its port Apollonia, Ptolemais (the next capital after Cyrene's destruction by an earthquake), Barca (the later Arab provincial capital Barka), Balagrae (by Bayda) and Berenice (modern Benghazi); also known as the Pentapolis inferior ('lower P.'). This is the Pentapolis that is referenced in the official title of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria and the Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
- In Italy there was:
- First, a Pentapolis including: Ravenna, Forlì, Forlimpopoli, Classe, Caesarea
- Second, a medieval Duchy of the Pentapolis on the Adriatic coast east of Tuscany and north of the duchy of Spoleto, including the port cities (West to East) of Rimini, Pesaro, Fano, Sinigaglia and Ancona. It was part of the core of the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna. Later, after the fall of the Exarchate, it was transformed into the March of Ancona
- The Cinque Ports in England – the five being Hastings, New Romney, Hythe, Dover, and Sandwich.
Pentapoleis of the modern world
- The Cinque Terre are five rustic coastal towns in Liguria that are now organized into the Cinque Terre National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- The National Capital Region (NCR) consists of five cities, namely, Delhi, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Noida and Faridabad.
United States of America
- The Five Towns, on the southwestern shore of New York's Long Island region, is a group of towns comprising the villages of Lawrence and Cedarhurst, the hamlets of Woodmere and Inwood, and "The Hewletts", which consist of the villages of Hewlett Bay Park, Hewlett Harbor and Hewlett Neck and the hamlet of Hewlett.
- The Five Boroughs of New York City, which were separately governed city-counties until the 1874 and 1898 annexations.
- The Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois (so named before the fifth city, Bettendorf, Iowa, grew in the mid-20th century) that share cultural institutions and infrastructure.
- There are five qsur "walled villages" (ksour) located on rocky outcrops along the Wəd Mzab collectively known as the Pentapolis. They are Ghardaïa Tagherdayt, the principal settlement today; Beni Isguen At Isjen; Melika At Mlishet; Bounoura At Bunur; and El Atteuf Tajnint. Adding the more recent settlements of Bérianne and El Guerrara, the Mzab Heptapolis is completed.
- "Pentapolis". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- Barron, James. "IF YOU'RE THINKING OF LIVING IN: FIVE TOWNS", The New York Times, July 10, 1983. Accessed May 20, 2008. "The basic five are Lawrence, Cedarhurst, Woodmere, Hewlett and Inwood. But the area also includes some unincorporated communities and two tiny villages, Hewlett Bay Park and Woodsburgh, that are not added to the final total."
- Pentapolis (North Africa)
- Monopoli (meaning only city)
- Tripolis (meaning three cities)
- Tetrapolis (meaning four cities)
- Doric Hexapolis (meaning six Doric cities in the eastern Aegean)
- Heptapolis (meaning seven cities)
- Decapolis (meaning ten cities)
Sources and references
- many occurrences in the Catholic Encyclopaedia
- Westermann Großer Atlas zur Weltgeschichte ('Great Atlas of World History', in German)