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SURA (τὰ Σοῦρα: Eth. Σουρηνός), a city of Syria, situated on the Euphrates, in the district of Palmyrene, long. 72° 40′, lat. 35° 40′ of Ptolemy, who places it between Alalis and Alamata (5.15.25); apparently the Sure of the Peutinger Table, according to which it was 105 M.P. distant from Palmyra. It is called in the Notitiae Imperil ( § 24) Flavia Turina Sura (ap. Mannert, p. 408). It is probably identical with the Ura of Pliny, where, according to him, the Euphrates turns to the east from the deserts of Palmyra (5.24. s. 87). lie, however, mentions Sura (26. s. 89) as the nearest town to Philiscum, a town of the Parthians on the Euphrates. It was 126 stadia distant from Heliopolis, which was situated in what was called “Barbaricus campus.” It was a Roman garrison of some importance in the Persian campaigns of Belisarius; and a full account is given of the circumstances under which it was taken and burned by Chosroes I. (A.D. 532), who, having marched three long days' journey from Circesium to Zenobia, along the course of the Euphrates, thence proceeded an equal distance up the river to Sura. Incidental mention of the bishop proves that it was then an episcopal see. (Procop. Bell. Pers. 1.18, 2.5.) Its walls were so weak that it did not hold out more than half an hour; but it was afterwards more substantially fortified, by order of the emperor Justinian. (Id. de Aedificiis Justiniani, 2.9.) “About 36 miles below Balls (the Alalis of Ptolemy), following the course of the river, are the ruins of Sura; and about 6 miles lower is the ford of El-Hammám,” which Col. Chesney identifies with the Zeugma of Thapsacus, where, according to local tradition, the army of Alexander crossed the Euphrates (Expedition for Survey, &c. vol. i. p. 416). In the Chart (iii.) it is called Sooreah, and marked as “brick ruins,” and it is probable that the extensive brick ruins a little below this site, between it and Phunsa (Thapsacus), may be the remains of Alamata, mentioned in connection with Sura by Ptolemy. Ainsworth is certainly wrong in identifying the modern Suriyeh with the ancient Thapsacus (p. 72).


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