Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum OR Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

An update on Germenicia

Back in 2012, I posted my first blog about the city of Germenicia located some one hundred kilometers north of Gaziantep in eastern Turkey (see: Ever heard of Germenicia?).

Illegal digs carried out in 2007 had revealed the presence of the Roman city of Germenicia or Germenicia Caesarea named after Emperor Caligula (in full Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus) which covered an area of 140 hectares. The terrain has been divided in 50 parcels and after almost ten years the land of 30 of them has been expropriated. Works have been ongoing since in order to register, excavate and preserve the many large Roman villas and their exquisite floor mosaics.

[Mosaic from Germanicia, at the Kahramanmaraş Museum

It appeared that these villas belonged to the local elite and military leaders and it is estimated that there are approximately one hundred such residences built on the foothill of the mountain. The mostly intact mosaics that have been unearthed so far are of the highest quality and generally date from the 4th, 5th and 6th century AD. They feature sophisticated designs using a mix of colored glass, marble and limestone tesserae, deploying even three-dimensional effects. The quality of these mosaics is unusual because of their realism and their details ranging from architectural representations to scenes of daily life.

The Romans were not the first to occupy the region. Earlier settlers were the Urartians, Assyrians, Persians, Macedonians and the Seleucids because the city was built on the crossroads of several ancient trade routes, like the Silk Road. But the wear and tear of repeated wars, landslides and fire buried the city into oblivion for almost 1,500 years.

Kahramanmaraş, the modern version of Germenicia  has a worthwhile museum of its own. It displays more than 30,000 artifacts from local excavations dating from prehistoric times, Hittite occupation, Roman and Byzantine era. Most spectacular are, of course, the mosaics recovered from the Roman villas of Germenicia  but also from other nearby sites. An adjacent room is exhibiting a number of steles, sarcophagi and marble heads of the Roman elite; another room illustrates daily life through a rich collection of tools, jewelry, armory, pottery, bronze and glass artifacts as well as coins from Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman eras.

As elsewhere, Turkey hopes to draw tourists to Germenicia, who may already be visiting the treasures of Sanliurfa (founded by Seleucos in 304 BC as Edessa) and Gaziantep (where the mosaics from Zeugma are being exhibited).

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