Seleucia And Ctesiphon, Opposite Jewels On the Banks Of The Tigris

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Taq-e Kasra at Ctesiphon, Iraq (Анастасия Смирнова/Adobe Stock)

Seleucia And Ctesiphon, Opposite Jewels On the Banks Of The Tigris

On the banks of the Tigris river, not far from the confluence of the Tigris and Diyala rivers, about 35 kilometers (21 miles) southeast of Baghdad, lie the ruins of two ancient cities, who once shimmered in their brilliance, facing each other over the river. Seleucia on the Tigris, was a significant ancient city founded by Seleucus I Nicator, one of the great generals of Alexander the Great, in the fourth century BC. Two centuries later, across the river rose Ctesiphon, founded in the late 120s BC by the Parthian King Mithridates I. Shared culture and trade bridged the two cities on the Tigris, and as they prospered their wealth gave rise to coveted ownership, thus they shared the same fate as both were conquered, raised to the ground, rebuilt and finally abandoned. Covered with the sands of time, they lay undiscovered and lost in the Fertile Crescent, until modern archaeologists unearthed the palaces from whence kings of old once ruled over mighty empires.

Postage stamp of Iraq. Shared culture and trade bridged the Tigris flowing between Seleucia and Ctesiphon  (Popova Olga/ Adobe Stock)

Postage stamp of Iraq. Shared culture and trade bridged the Tigris flowing between Seleucia and Ctesiphon  (Popova Olga/ Adobe Stock)

Seleucia, the Eastern Capital of the Seleucid Empire

After the death of Alexander in 323 BC, his empire was divided among his generals, the Diadochi, and bitter wars raged on for many years among them, until eventually, each of the chief generals established his own empire, thus dividing the great realm of late Alexander. Seleucus I Nicator took control of the eastern portion, which included the region of Mesopotamia and Persia and in 305 BC he founded Seleucia and named the city in his own honor, which was a common practice in the Hellenistic world.


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