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Seleucia

SELEUCIA

SELEUCIA , name of two cities.

(1) City in Gaulanitis, S.E. of Lake Ḥuleh. Seleucia was among the numerous cities and fortresses captured by Alexander Yannai during his campaign in Transjordan. With the outbreak of the war against Rome (66 c.e.), Seleucia was fortified by Josephus, who describes the area as having very strong natural defenses. Early in the revolt, however, Seleucia was induced by Agrippa ii to come to terms with the Romans (Jos., Wars, 1:105; 2:574; Life, 187, 398). See Schuerer, Hist, 89f., in connection with the cities of Gadara and Abila.

(2) City on the west bank of the Tigris (south of modern Baghdad), founded by Seleucus i Nicator (312–280 b.c.e.). During the Parthian period the city was inhabited mainly by Greeks and Syrians, and Pliny gives its population as 600,000 (Natural History, 6:122). Relations between the two elements were strained, and conditions were exacerbated when, in the first century c.e., a large number of Jews took refuge in Seleucia, after the defeat of the Jewish leader *Anilaeus (c. 35). At first the Jews joined with the Syrians but this alliance was successfully broken up by the Greek party. Subsequently there developed a common enmity toward the Jews, and in a sudden attack upon the community over 50,000 Jews were said to have been slain. The surviving Jews eventually fled to *Nehardea and *Nisibis, both beyond the Seleucid sphere of influence.

bibliography:

Pauly-Wissowa, 2nd series, 3 (1921), 1177f., s.v.Seleukeia (am Tigris); Neusner, Babylonia, index in every vol., s.v.

[Isaiah Gafni]

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