A city situated
at the limit of navigation of the Tigris, on a bluff at
a bend of the river. Though there was an earlier settlement, the site was not important until Constantius, as
Caesar in the East, founded and fortified a large city
there to protect the Armenian satrapies between the Antitauros and Masios mountains still retained from Diodetian's conquests. It was garrisoned by Legio V Parthica.
When the Persian King Sapor II invaded, the garrison
was increased to seven legions; nevertheless the city fell
to siege in A.D. 359. Ammianus Marcellinus, a Roman
officer there, has left an eyewitness account (19.1-8).
The city was retaken by Julian and the population restored by refugees from Nisibis, ceded to the Persians by
Jovian, in A.D. 363 and the completion of rebuilding may
be recorded by an inscription of A.D. 367-75 (CIL
6730). After capture by Kobad in A.D. 503 and recapture
by Anastasius, the walls were restored again by Justinian
2.3.27). Amida changed hands several times in the Byzantine period and the walls reached
their final form by A.D. 1068. The black basalt walls seen
today at Diyarbakir are essentially built to the 4th c.
plan. The courtyard of the Ulu Cami is built of Byzantine
architectural elements. Some stray finds are in the Diyarbakir Museum.
M. Van Berchen & J. Strzygowski,
(1910); A. Gabriel, Voyages archéologiques dans
la Turquie orientale
(1940); D. Oates, Studies in the
Ancient History of N. Iraq
R. P. HARPER