Settlements > Zeugma



Zeugma, meaning "bridge" or "crossing point" in Greek, was an ancient city located in present-day Turkey, near the modern town of Belkis. While Zeugma's history predates the time of Alexander the Great, it's important to understand the broader context of his conquests and their influence on the region.

Foundation and Early History:

Zeugma was founded in the 3rd century BCE by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals and the founder of the Seleucid Empire. It served as a military colony and strategic outpost along the eastern frontier of the empire. The city's location on the banks of the Euphrates River made it an important center for trade and commerce between the Mediterranean world and the civilizations of Mesopotamia and Persia.

Alexander the Great:

Alexander the Great's conquests in the 4th century BCE brought significant changes to the region where Zeugma was situated. After defeating the Persian Empire, Alexander expanded his empire into Asia, reaching as far as the borders of India. While there is no direct evidence of Alexander visiting Zeugma himself, his campaigns laid the groundwork for the Hellenistic kingdoms that emerged in the wake of his conquests, including the Seleucid Empire, which controlled Zeugma.

Hellenistic Period:

Following Alexander's death in 323 BCE, his empire was divided among his generals, with Seleucus I Nicator establishing the Seleucid dynasty in the eastern territories. Under Seleucid rule, Zeugma flourished as a Hellenistic city, with Greek culture, language, and architecture blending with indigenous Mesopotamian and Persian traditions.

Roman Period:

In 64 BCE, Zeugma came under Roman control when it was annexed by Pompey the Great as part of the Roman Republic's expansion into the eastern Mediterranean. During the Roman period, Zeugma continued to prosper as a key center of trade and commerce, benefiting from its location on the Euphrates River and its position along the Silk Road.

Decline and Abandonment:

Zeugma experienced periods of decline and upheaval throughout its history, including invasions by Parthian and Sassanian forces in the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE. The city was ultimately abandoned and fell into ruin, with its once-magnificent buildings and monuments left to decay over the centuries.

Archaeological Rediscovery:

In the 20th century, Zeugma captured the attention of archaeologists when the construction of a dam threatened to flood the site.Extensive excavations uncovered a wealth of artifacts, including mosaics, sculptures, and architectural remains, shedding light on Zeugma's rich history and its importance as a cultural crossroads in the ancient world.


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