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SELEUCIA or Seleucia on the Tigris (Tel Umar) Iraq.

The site covers 1.3 ha of mounds. The city was founded by Seleucus (305-281 B.C.) at the location of the BabyIonian town of Opis. Here, at the narrowest point between the Euphrates and the Tigris a canal joined the two, running just N of the site, now 3.2 km W of the Tigris. Just across the river is Ctesiphon, and Baghdad is 32 km to the N.

The Seleucid city was laid out in rectangular blocks and is said by Strabo to have had 600,000 inhabitants. Prior to the excavations visible areas included sections of its stone wall, built on foundations of baked bricks from Babylon, and its defensive ditches and canals. Excavation concentrated on the three upper levels of the city and particularly on Block B, an entire city block 150 by 72 m. Very little of Level IV, the Seleucid city, was uncovered, although coins and figurines of that period were found. That level ceased to be occupied about the time of a Parthian invasion in 143 B.C. Level III was a Greek autonomous city under Parthian suzerainty and ended about A.D. 116 with Trajan's invasion.


L. Waterman, Preliminary Report upon the Excavations at Tel Umar, Iraq (1931); id., Second Preliminary Report upon the Excavations at Tel Umar, Iraq (1933); R. H. McDowell, Coins from Seleucia on the Tigris (1935); id., Stamped and Inscribed Objects from Seleucia on the Tigris (1935); W. van Ingen, Figurines from Seleucia on the Tigris (1939); P. Jouguet, L'Impérialisme Macédonien et l'Hellénisation de l'Orient (1937) 175, 429-31.


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