Settlements > Alexandria near Issus

Alexandria near Issus

Alexander the Great - Dove Decoration


Alexander the Great founded Alexandria near Issus probably almost immediately after the Battle of Issus (November 333) on the site of the camp of Parmenion, where the advance of the Macedonian army to the battlefield had started. The site controls the coastal road and the "Syrian Gate" leading to the plain of Sochi (and beyond to the Euphrates and Mesopotamia); it also boasts an excellent harbor.The identification of this city with modern Iskenderun is certain and the oldest archaeological remains appear to date back to the last quarter of the fourth century BC. Still, it is a bit troubling that our sources do not mention that Alexander ordered the construction of this city. It may have been founded by one of the Successors.Alexandria was a successful city that soon eclipsed nearby Issus, which was abandoned before 50 BCE. The nearest remaining competitor was Seleucia, the port of Antioch; both cities were founded by Seleucus I Nicator. In the first year of the Laodicean (or Third Syrian) War (246-241), Seleucia was captured by the Ptolemaic king Ptolemy III Euergetess, while Antioch remained in Seleucid hands. This offered a boost to Alexandria, but when Seleucia was reconquered in 219 by Antiochus III the Great, it soon eclipsed its rival.A satellite photo of Iskenderun can be seen here.İskenderun preserves the name, but probably not the exact site, of Alexandria ad Issum. The settlement was founded by Alexander the Great in 333 BC to supersede Myriandrus as the key to the Syrian Gates, about 37 km (23 miles) south of the scene of his victory at the Battle of Issus. Alexander camped in the high-lands of İskenderun, around Esentepe, and then ordered the city to be established and named Alexandria. İskenderun is one of many cities founded on Alexander's orders, including Alexandria, Egypt.[citation needed]The importance of the place comes from its relation to the Syrian Gates, the easiest approach to the open ground of Hatay Province and Aleppo.Ecclesiastical historyThe bishopric of Alexandria Minor was a suffragan of Anazarbus, the capital and so also the ecclesiastical metropolis of the Roman province of Cilicia Secunda. Greek menologia speak of Saint Helenus, and the martyr saints Aristio and Theodore as early bishops of the see. But the first documented one is Hesychius, who took part in the First Council of Nicaea in 325 and in a synod at Antioch in 341. Philomusus participated in the First Council of Constantinople in 381. Baranes is mentioned in connection with a synod at Antioch in 445. At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, Julianus was represented by his metropolitan, Cyrus of Anazarbus. Basilius was at the synod in Constantinople in 459 that condemned simoniacs. In 518, Paulus was deposed by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian for supporting the Jacobite Severus of Antioch.The district center and Gulf of İskenderunNo longer a residential diocese, Alexandria Minor is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see. In that list it was long named Cambysopolis, but the Annuario Pontificio now gives the correct ancient name.

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