: Eth. Νικομηδεύς
), the capital of Bithynia, situated on the north-eastern coast of the Sinus Astacenus, a part of the Propontis.
The town of Astacus, a little to the south-east of Nicomedeia, was destroyed, or greatly damaged, by Lysimachus; and some time after, B.C. 264, Nicomedes I. built the town of Nicomedeia, to which the inhabitants of Astacus were transferred (Steph. B. sub voce Strab. xii. p.563
; Paus. 5.12.5
; Euseb. Ckron.
Ol. 129. 1).
The founder of the new city made it the capital of his kingdom, and in a short time it became one of the largest and most flourishing cities, and continued to prosper for more than six centuries. Pliny, in his letters to the emperor Trajan, mentions several public buildings of the city, such as a senate-house, an aqueduct, a forum, a temple of Cybele, &c., and speaks of a great fire, during which the place suffered much (Epist.
10.42, 46). Respecting its rivalry with Nicaea, see NICAEA
According to Pliny (5.43
), Nicomedeia was 62 1/2 miles to the south-east of Chalcedon, while according to others it was only 60 or 61 miles distant (It. Ant.
pp. 124, 140; It. Hieros.
p. 572; Tab. Peut.
) Under the Roman Empire Nicomedeia was often the residence of the emperors, such as Diocletian and Constantine, especially when they were engaged in war against the Parthians or Persians. (Aurel. Vict. de Caes.
39; Nicephor. vii. in fin.)
The city often suffered from earthquakes, but owing to the munificence of the emperors it was always restored (Amm. Marc. 17.7
; Philostorg. iv. p. 506).
It also suffered much from an invasion of the Scythians (Amm. Marc. 22.9
The orator Libanius (Orat.
62, tom. iii. p. 337, ed. Reiske) mourns the loss of its thermae, basilicae, temples, gymnasia, schools, public gardens, &c., some of which were afterwards restored by Justinian (Procop. de Aed.
5.1; comp. Ptol. 5.1.3
; Hierocl. p. 691). From inscriptions we learn that in the later
|COIN OF NICOMEDEIA.|
period of the empire Nicomedeia enjoyed the honour of a Roman colony (Orelli, Inscript.
The city is also remarkable as being the native place of Arrian, the historian of Alexander the Great, and as the place where Hannibal put an end to his chequered life. Constantine breathed his last at his villa Ancyron, near Nicomedeia (Cassiod. Chron. Const.;
Philostorg. ii. p. 484).
The modern Ismid
still contains many interesting remains of antiquity, respecting which see Pococke, vol. iii. p. 143, &c.; Description de l'Asie Mizneure,
tom. i.; comp. Rasche, Lexic. Rei Num.
3.1. p. 1435, &c.