: Eth. Μελιτηνός
), a city in the easternmost part of Cappadocia, and the capital of the district, called Melitene.
It appears that iii the time of Strabo (xii. p.537
) neither [p. 2.322]
this nor any other town existed in that district. Pliny (6.3
), on the other hand, speaks of Melitene as a town built by the fabulous queen Semiramis of Assyria; both accounts may be reconciled by the supposition that the site of the town was formerly occupied by some castle or fort, such as we know to have existed in that country from early times. (Strab. xii. p.537
The town was situated on the banks of a small tributary of the Euphrates, which was not far distant from Melitene, and in a very salubrious district. During the first century of the Christian era, the town was not of much importance (Tac. Ann. 15.26
); but Trajan raised it to the rank of a great city (Procop. de Aedif.
3.4), and thenceforth it became a central point to which several roads converged. (It. Ant.
pp. 157, 209, 211, 215.)
The emperors Anastasius and Justinian also embellished the place and surrounded it with new walls. Ever since the reign of Titus, Melitene had been the station of the famous Christian Legio xii. fulminata; and after the division of Armenia into two provinces, it became the capital of Armenia Secunda. (Hierocl. p. 703; comp. Ptol. 5.7.5
; D. C. 55.23
; Steph. B. sub voce Plin. Nat. 5.20
; Procop. de Bell. Pers.
1.17; Euseb. Hist. Eccles.
5.5.) In A.D. 577, the Romans gained a great victory over the Persian Chosroes I. near Melitene; and the place is frequently mentioned by the Byzantine writers.
But at present it is in ruins, though it still bears its ancient name in the form of Malatia.