APAMEA. On the River Orontes, in W Syria Syria Secunda. Pharnake was the first name of this very ancient center, which seems to have been inhabited in prehistoric times 4000 BC. Populated by Macedonian colonists, the city took the name of Pella in memory of Alexander’s homeland 4th c. BC. Seleucus I Nicator 281 BC later called it Apamea in honor of his wife Apama, and still later Claudia Apamea. This urban center constituted a tetrapolis with Antioch
, Laodicea and Seleucia, and was chosen as the headquarters of the Seleucid monarchy, with military training schools. When Pompey annexed Syria to the Roman Empire 64 BC, the city put up a futile resistance. Apamea was a massive city, as is shown by the census ordered by Publius Sulpicius Quirinius, governor of Syria AD 6; an inscription confirms that only the city’s free men were included, numbering 117,000. The overall population could thus be estimated at approximately 500,000, including women, children, slaves and foreigners. In the conflict that opposed Zenobia of Palmyra to the Aurelian emperor 271, the city sided with the latter. Repeatedly devastated by earthquakes, in 540 Apamea suffered the invasion of Chosroes. It seems, however, that the invasion was not particularly destructive, since the author of the Antonine Itinerary, visiting the city ca. 560570, spoke of it as a very splendid city, where all the Syrian nobility lives 46,8. From 813 816 it fell again into Persian hands, followed by Arab domination. The name Apamea remains linked to some of its most illustrious citizens. The earliest was the Stoic philosopher Posidonius 140130 5150 BC. A man of encyclopedic knowledge, he combined Stoic thought with the scientific advances of his time. He taught at Rhodes, where Cicero was among his students. Also native to Apamea was Numenius, a neo-Pythagorean philosopher who lived during the second half of the 2nd c.; Origen mentions him respectfully C. Cels. IV 51. Among the city’s pagan thinkers was the Neoplatonic philosopher Iamblichus, who, though born at Chalcedon ca. 250, taught for many years at Apamea. The Christian presence in this important center is historically verified from the first years of the 3rd c. A group of Elkesaites seems to have lived at Apamea. Faithful to the Mosaic law and circumcised, they opposed Paul and considered Christ to be a common person, born like everyone else. Because of the metempsychosis professed by the sect, they claimed that Christ would make himself present in every era. The presence of an episcopal see at Apamea is attested by the lists of bishops present at the synods of Neocaesarea 314 and Nicaea 325. In both, the Christian community seems to be led by Alphaeus. Iamblichus’s theurgical doctrine must have been widely approved at Apamea, since it became the center of a hardened theurgical and anti-Christian Neoplatonism. Mosaics have been found under the cathedral which suggest that Iamblichus’s school was there; the mosaics’ motifs are inspired by Julian, with a didactic program impregnated with wisdom and moderation, but opposed to Christianity. In the 4th c. the increasing tension between Christians and pagans erupted in violence: the destruction of the citizen temple of Jupiter by the Christians was followed by the murder of Bishop Marcellus. Among his successors was Polychromius d. 430, brother of the great Theodore of Mopsuestia and like him one of the most important exegetes of the Antiochene school. Under Theodosius II 408 450 Apamea assumed the rank of metropolitan see. Bishop Photius, according to the inscription with the names of the presbyter and some deacons, in a nearby village, Huarte, had a large basilica built, its floor covered with mosaics. The inscription recording the execution of the central mosaic in 383 is preserved, with two other inscriptions marking the lateral mosaics 484 and 485. The church was built over a 4th-c. church. There was also a church dedicated to St. Michael its mosaic dating from 487 with a baptistery nearby. The conspicuous presence of monks and hermits in the surrounding area lent importance to the see: we are told of them by Theodoret of Cyrrhus History of the Monks III 4, who himself became a monk 423 and was later recalled to occupy the episcopal see of Cyrrhus. An important monastery was built near Apamea in the mid-5th c., dedicated to the hermit Maro. The monks who lived there, called Maronites, were among the most vigorous 6th-c. defenders of the definition of Chalcedon. With the onset of the Arab invasions they settled in Lebanon, where, from 939, they established their spiritual center. Even today the remains of ancient Apamea, under continual restoration, speak to us of the city’s glorious past. The city’s cardo, 1,850 m long with a large colonnade, partially reconstructed, is worth mentioning; along side it were businesses, shops and public buildings. The cathedral and episcopal residence were SE of the city. Probably built as a martyrium, the church, with a double-quatrefoil plan with ambulatory, became the cathedral before 540; a relic of the cross is supposed to have been kept there. The museum, at the foot of the city, has collected many mosaics from the churches of the region. J. and J.Ch. 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1984, 167-176; P. Canivet – M.T. Canivet, Huarte, sanctuaire chrtien d’Apam¨ne IV-VI s., Paris 1987; P. Canivet, Le christianisme en Syrie des origines l’av¨nement de l’islam, in Archologie et histoire de la Syrie, II, Saarbr¼cken 1989, 117-146; B. Brenk, Die Umwandlung der Synagoge von Apamea in eine Kirche: eine mentalit¤tsgeschichtliche Studie, in Tesserae: Festschrift J. Engemann, M¼nster 1991, 1-25; L. Padovese, Guida alla Siria, Casale Monferrato 1994, 37-42; A. Agosti, The Poikilia of Paul the Bishop: ZPE 116 1997 31-38; I. Pe±a, Lieux de p¨lerinage en Syrie, Milan 2000; J.Ch. Balty, Claudia Apamea: donnes nouvelles sur la topographie et l’histoire d’Apame: CRAI 1 2000 459-481; Fedalto 775-776.