Seleucia ad Belum

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Seleucia (Greek: Σελεύκεια, Seleukeia), distinguished as Seleucia-near-Belus[1] (Greek: Σελεύκεια πρὸς Βήλῳ, Seleúkeia pròs Bḗlōi,[2] or πρὸς τῷ Βήλῳ, pròs tôi Bḗlōi;[1] Latin: Seleucia ad Belum[3] or juxta Belum[4]) and later known as Seleucobelus (Σελευκόβηλος, Seleukóbēlos)[1] or Seleucopolis,[5] was an ancient Greek and Roman city on the Orontes River. Its location remains uncertain.


The name of the settlement honored Seleucus I Nicator,[6] one of the Diadochi successors to the empire of Alexander the Great, although it may have been a foundation by his son and successor Antiochus.[1] It was distinguished from other cities named Seleucia by reference to "Belus" or "the Belus", a toponym which was variously applied to Syria's Limestone Massif, which lies to the city's north,[7] and to various rivers in Syria.[1] In this case, it appears that the name Belus was a title of the Orontes.[7]


The city was a Hellenistic foundation of the Seleucid Empire.[6] It sat on the Orontes's[6] west bank near its headwaters, positioning it to function as a depot for overland trade in the area.[citation needed] During the heyday of the Seleucid Empire, it formed a suburb of the nearby and larger settlement Apamea[6] (originally Pella),[8] which Ptolemy placed ½° to its east.[2] The entire area held over half a million people.[citation needed]

After the 2nd century, it typically appeared under the name Seleucobelus.[1]

The precise location of the settlement remains uncertain,[6] with various scholars placing it near Al-Suqaylabiyah,[9] Jisr al-Shughur or Bara.[7][citation needed]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f Cohen (2006), p. 135.
  2. ^ a b Ptolemy, Geography, Bk. 5, Ch. 14, §12.
  3. ^ Pliny, Nat. Hist., Bk. 5, §82.
  4. ^ Bingham (1834), p. 306.
  5. ^ Hazlitt (1851), p. 313.
  6. ^ a b c d e Smith & al. (1862), p. 796.
  7. ^ a b c Cohen (2006), p. 136.
  8. ^ Cohen (2006), p. 97.
  9. ^ Dodgeon & al. (1991), p. 361.