Map of the Roman Empire - Emesa

Emesa
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Ancient Emesa Modern name is Homs or Hims. Emesa was a city in western Syria located on the eastern bank of the Orontes river. The city was incorporated into the Roman Empire after the people of Emesa helped Rome in their siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Emĕsa or Emissa (Ἔμισσα). A city of Syria on the east bank of the Orontes, the native city of Iulia Domna, Elagabalus (q.v.), and of Alexander Severus. It was the scene of the decisive battle between Aurelian and Zenobia (A.D. 273). - Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York. Harper and Brothers.

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Emesa Homs (Arabic: حمص‎, Ḥims, also spelled Hims and anciently called Emesa (Greek: ἡ Ἔμεσα) is a city in western Syria and the capital of the Hims Governorate. It is 501 metres (1,644 ft) above sea level and is located 162 kilometres (101 mi) north of Damascus. Located on the Orontes River, Hims is also the central link between the interior cities and the Mediterranean coast.

Hims did not emerge into the light of history until the 1st century BCE at the time of Seleucids. It later became the capital of a kingdom ruled by the Emesani dynasty who gave the city its name. Originally a pagan center of worship for the Sun god El-Gabal, it later gained importance in Christianity under the Byzantines.

The city of Emesa grew to prominence after the new-found wealth of the Emesani dynasty, governed first by Samsigeramus's son Iamblichus who made it the kingdom's capital. The Emesani proved their loyalty to Rome once more when they aided Julius Caesar in his siege of Alexandria in 41 BCE, by sending him army detachments. Subsequently, they became embroiled in the Roman Civil War between the rebelling Mark Antony and the pro-Caesar Octavian. King Iamblichus took the side of Octavian, and so upon encouragement from Antony, the king's brother Alexas usurped the throne and put him to death in 31 BCE. Octavian's forces prevailed in the war, however, and as a result the kingdom's throne was reverted to Iamblichus II after Alexas was executed for treason. Under his stable rule emerged a new era of peace from 20 BCE and 14 CE, known as Emesa's "golden age". In 32 CE, Heliopolis and the Bekaa Valley came under the kingdom's control.

Relations with the Roman government grew closer when King Sohaemus inherited the kingship. Under him, Emesa sent the Roman military a regular levy of archers and assisted them in their siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE. His loyalty to Rome gained the Emesani dynasty little, however; in 75 CE the Kingdom of Emesa was completely incorporated into the Roman Empire, diminishing the dynasty's autonomy. It is unclear whether King Sohaemus abdicated his throne or had died with an incapable heir, prompting the Romans to annex the territory.

Some frescoes inside the Church of Saint Elian date back to the 6th century. Under the Romans, Emesa began to show attributes of a Greek city-state and traces of Roman town planning still remain. Its transformation into a major city was completed under the reign of Antoninus Pius (138-161) when Emesa began to mint coins. By the 3rd century, it grew prosperous and well-integrated into the Roman Orient. This was partly due to the marriage of Septimus Severus to a woman from a family of notables based in Emesa. It attained the coveted status as a Roman colonia by Severus, and two other emperors of Severan Dynasty were raised in Emesa. One of them was Elagabalus who served as the high priest at the Temple of El-Gabal, the local sun god. He brought the image of this god, a conical black stone, to the Elagabalium in Rome.

Geography
The Governorate of Hims is the largest in Syria. Hims, the governorate's capital, is located in central western Syria, situated along the east bank of the Orontes River in a particularly fertile area. The city is in between the southern outliers of al-Ansariyah mountains located to its west and Mount Lebanon, overlooking the Homs Gap. Because of the gap, the area around Hims receives much more rainfall than interior regions to its north and south.[38] To the east of Homs, is the Syrian Desert. Lake Homs, impounded by a huge dam of Roman origins, is to the southwest, lying some 125 kilometers (78 mi) south of Aleppo and 34 kilometers (21 mi) south of Hama, halfway on the road between the capital Damascus and Aleppo.[5] The Orontes River splits the city into two main sections: To the east, on a flat land lies the city center and the main neighborhoods; to the west, lies the more recent and modern suburb of al-Waer. The city spans an area of 4,800 hectares (19 sq mi).[40]

Homs is located 162 kilometres (101 mi) north of Damascus, 193 kilometres (120 mi) south from Aleppo, 47 kilometres (29 mi) south Hama, and 186 kilometres (116 mi) southeast from Latakia.[2] Nearby towns and villages include al-Qusayr to the south, Fairouzeh to the southeast, Marmarita and Zweitina to the west, Qatna to the northeast and Ar-Rastan to the north. - Wikipedia

Emesa EMESA
EMESA or. EMISSA (Ἔμισσα: Eth. Ἐμισηνοί), a city of Syria, reckoned by Ptolemy to that part of the district of Apamene, on the right or eastern bank of the Orontes (5.15.19), to which Pliny assigns a desert district beyond Palmyra (5.26). It is chiefly celebrated in ancient times for its magnificent temple of the Sun; and the appointment of its young priest Bassianus, otherwise called Elagabalus or Heliogabalus, to the imperial dignity, in his fourteenth year, by the Roman legionaries of Syria (A.D. 218; Dict. of Biogr. s. v. Elagabalus). It was in the neighbourhood of Emesa that Zenobia, queen of Palmyra, was defeated by the emperor Aurelian, A.D. 272. (Vopisc. Aurel. 25.) It was originally governed by independent chiefs, of whom the names of Sampsiceramus and lamblichus are preserved. (Strab. xvi. p.753.) It was made a colony with the Jus Italicum by Caracalla (Ulpian, ap. Dig. 50. tit. 15. s. 1), and afterwards became the capital of Phoenicia Libanesia. (Hierocl.; Malal. xii. p. 296, ed. Bonn.)

There are still extant coins of Caracalla and Elagabalus, in which it is called a metropolis. On the coins of Caracalla it is called a colony, and on those of Elagabalus a metropolis, to which dignity it was no doubt elevated by the latter emperor. The annexed coin of Caracalla represents on the reverse the temple of the Sun. (Eckhel, vol.iii. p. 311.). The present name of Emesa is Hems.  - Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, William Smith, LLD, Ed. 

 

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The Roman Empire During the First Century AD

Maps are essential for any serious study, they help students of Roman history understand the geographical locations and historical backgrounds of the places mentioned in historical sources.

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