Various locations ANTIOCHIA (Ancient city) TURKEY - GTP - Greek Travel Pages

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Ancient place-names


Daphne, a celebrated grove and sanctuary of Apollo, near Antioch in Syria. Both locally and historically it was so closely connected with the Syrian metropolis, that we can hardly consider the one without the other. We have seen that Antioch was frequently called A. epi Daphei and he pros Daphnen, and conversely we find Daphne entitled D. he pros Antiocheian. (Joseph. B. J. i. 12. § 5.) Though really distant a few miles from Antioch, it was called one of its suburbs. If Antioch has been compared to Paris, Daphne may be called its Versailles.
  It was situated to the west, or rather to the south-west, of Antioch, at a distance of about 5 miles, or 40 stadia, and on higher ground than the metropolis itself (huperkeitai tettarakonta stadious he Daphne, Strab. xvi.). The place was naturally of extreme beauty, with perennial fountains, and abundant wood.Here a sanctuary was established, with the privileges of asylum (2 Macc. iv. 33; Polyaen. viii. 50), which became famous throughout the heathen world, and remained for centuries a place of pilgrimage, and the scene of an almost perpetual festival of vice. The zeal with which Gibbon has described it, in his twenty-third chapter, is well known.
  Daphne, like Antioch, owed its origin to Seleucus Nicator; and, as in the case of his metropolis, so he associated the religious suburb with mythological traditions, which were intended to glorify his family. The fame of Apollo was connected with his own. The fable of the river Peneus was appropriated; and the tree was even shown into which the nymph Daphne was transformed.1 One of the fountains received the name of the Castalian spring, and the chief honours of the new sanctuary were borrowed from Delphi. In the midst of a rich and deep grove of bay trees and cypresses (Procop. B. Pers. ii. 14), with baths, gardens, and colonnades on every side, Seleucus built the temple of Apollo and Diana. The statue of the god was colossal: its material was partly marble, and partly wood; the artist was Bryaxis the Athenian, whose works were long celebrated at Rhodes and elsewhere. (Clem. Alex. Protr. § 47.) It is described at length by Libanius (Monod. de Daphnaeo Templo, iii. 334), who states that the god was represented with a harp, and as if in the act of singing (eoikei aidonti melos). With the worship of Apollo Antiochus Epiphanes associated that of Jupiter in the sanctuary of Daphne. This monarch erected here, in honour of that divinity (with whom he was singularly fond of identifying himself), a colossal statue of ivory and gold, resembling that of Phidias at Olympia. Games also. were established in his honour, as may be seen by extant coins of Antioch. (See Muller's Antiq. Antiochenae, p. 64, note 12.) The games of Daphne are described in Athenaeus. (Ibid. note 13.) What has been said may be enough to give the reader some notion of this celebrated place in the time of the Seleucidae, and in its relation to the Oriental Greeks before the Roman occupation of Syria. It ought to be added, that the road between Antioch and Daphne, which passed through the intermediate suburb of Heracleia, was bordered by gardens, fountains, and splendid buildings, suitable to the gay processions that thronged from the city gate to the scene of consecrated pleasure.
  The celebrity of Daphne continued unimpaired for a long period under the Romans, from Pompey to Constantine. It seems to have been Pompey who enlarged the dimensions of the sacred enclosure to the circumference of 80 stadia, or 10 miles, mentioned by Strabo (l. c.; see Eutrop. vi. 14). Some of the aqueducts erected for the use of Antioch by the Roman emperors were connected with the springs of Daphne. (Malala, pp. 243; 278.) The reign of Trajan was remarkable in the annals of the place for the restoration of the buildings destroyed by an earthquake. That of Commodus was still more memorable on account of the establishment (or rather the re-establishment) of periodical Olympian games at Antioch; for the stadium of Daphne was the scene of the festive contests. This was the time of that corruption of manners (the Daphnici mores of Marcus Antoninus) under which Roman soldiers and Roman emperors suffered so seriously in the Syrian metropolis.
  The decay of Daphne must be dated from the reign of Julian, when the struggle between Heathenism and Christianity was decided in favour of the latter. Constantine erected a statue of Helena within the ancient sanctuary of Apollo and Jupiter, and the great church at Antioch was roofed with cypresswood from Daphne; which, about the reign of Zeno, fell into the condition of an ordinary Syrian town.
  It is needless to pursue the history further. Among modern travellers, Pococke and Richter have fixed the site of Daphne at Beit-el-Maa, the distance of which from Antakia agrees with the ancient measurement, and where some poor remains are found near a number of abundant fountains. Forbiger (Alte Geographie, vol. ii. p. 657) thinks with Kinneir that the true position is at Babyla; but, though the apparent connection of this name with that of the martyr Babylas gives some ground for this opinion, the distance from Antioch is too great; and the former view is probably correct. No detailed account of the remains has been given. Poujoulat says (Corr. d'Orient. viii. 38), A cote de la plus profonde fontaine de Beit-el-moie, on remarque des debris massifs appartenant a un edifice des ages recules: si jetais antiquaire et savant, je pourrais peut etre prouver que ces restes sont ceux du Temple d'Apollon.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited July 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Orontes river

Orontes. The largest river of Syria, rising in the Anti-Libanus, flowing past Antioch, and falling into the sea at the foot of Mount Pieria. Its earlier name was Typhon (Strabo, p. 750).

Orontes, the most renowned river of Syria, used by the poet Juvenal for the country, in Tiberim defluxit Orontes. (Juv. iii.) Its original name, according to Strabo, was Typhon (Tuphon), and his account both of its earlier and later names, follows his description of Antioch. The river Orontes flows near the city. This river rising in Coele-Syria, then sinking beneath the earth, again issues forth, and, passing through the district of Apamea to Antiocheia, after approaching the city, runs off to the sea towards Seleuceia. It received its name from one Orontes, who built a bridge over it, having been formerly called Typhon, from a mythic dragon, who being struck with lightning, fled in quest of a hiding-place, and after marking out the course of the stream with its trail, plunged into the earth, from whence forthwith issued the fountain. He places its embouchure 40 stadia from Seleuceia. He elsewhere places the source of the river more definitely near to Libanus and the Paradise, and the Egyptian wall, by the country of Apamea. Its sources have been visited and described in later times by Mr. Barker in 1835. The river is called by the people El-A/si, "the rebel," from its refusal to water the fields without the compulsion of water-wheels, according to Abulfeda (Tab. Syr. p. 149), but according to Mr. Barker, from its occasional violence and windings, during a course of about 200 miles in a northerly direction, passing through Hems and Hamah, and finally discharging itself into the sea at Suweidiah near Antioch. (Journal of the Geog. Soc. vol. vii. p. 99.) The most remote of these sources is only a few miles north of Baalbek, near a village called Labweh, at the foot of the range of Anti-libanus on the top of a hillock, near which passes a small stream, which has its source in the adjoining mountains, and after flowing for several hours through the plain, falls into the basin from which springs the Orontes. These fountains are about 12 hours north of Labweh, near the village Kurmul, where is a remarkable monument, square, and solid, terminating above in a pyramid from 60 to 70 feet high. On the four sides hunting scenes are sculptured in relief, of which the drawing borders on the grotesque. (Robinson, Journal of Geog. Soc. vol. xxiv. p. 32.) There can be no difficulty in connecting this monument with the Paradise or hunting park mentioned by Strabo near the source of the Orontes, similar, no doubt, in origin and character, to those with which the narrative of Xenophon abounds, within the territories of the Persian monarchs. The rise and course of this river and its various tributaries has been detailed by Col. Chesney (Expedition, vol. i. pp. 394--398), and the extreme beauty of its lower course between Antioch and the sea has been described in glowing terms by Captains Irby and Mangles.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited July 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


  A small river of the plain of Antioch. (Strab. xvi. p. 751.) It runs from the north, parallel to the Arceuthus and, mixing with its waters and those of the Oenoparas coming from the east, in a small lake, they flow off in one stream and join the Orontes a little above Antioch.

Oenobaras river

  Oenobaras (Oinobaras or Oinoparas), a river of the plain of Antioch, in Syria, at which, according to Strabo (xvi. p. 751), Ptolemy Philometer, having conquered Alexander Balas in battle, died of his wounds. It has been identified with the Uphrenus, modern Aphreen, which, rising in the roots of Amanus Mons (Almadaghy), runs southward through the plain of Cyrrhestica, until it falls into the small lake, which receives also the Labotas and the Arceuthus, from which their united waters run westward to join the Orontes coming from the south. The Oenoparas is the easternmost of the three streams. It is unquestionably the Afrin of Abulfeda. (Tabula Syr., Supplementa, p. 152, ed. Koehler; Chesney, Expedition, vol. i. pp. 407, 423.)

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited September 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

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