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MESE´NE (Μεσηνή, Strab. ii. p.84), a small tract of land in ancient Mesopotamia, about the exact position of which there has been much discussion, owing to the indistinct and confused accounts of it which have been preserved in ancient authors. The real cause of this would seem to be that there were two districts at no great distance one from the other, both of which, from similar reasons, bore the name of Mesene, or Middle-Land. One of these was near the mouths of the Tigris, where that river is divided into two branches, corresponding to the modern tract called Shat-al-Arab (Steph. B. sub voce Μεσηνή.) To this Mesene must be referred the passage in Philostorgius (H. E. 3.7), in which he states that the Tigris, before it reaches the sea, is divided into two great branches, forming an extensive island, which is inhabited by the Meseni. To this also belongs the Mesene, mentioned in the history of Trajan by Dio Cassius, who calls it an island in the Tigris, over which Athambilus was the ruler (68.28). The other was much higher up on the same river, and has derived its chief importance from its capital Apameia. Stephanus speaks of this tract in two places ; first (s. v. Ἀπάμεια), where he states that that city is surrounded by the Tigris, where that river is divided into two streams, of which that on the light hand is called Delas, and that on the left bears the name of Tigris; and secondly (s. v. Ὄραθα), where he asserts that Oratha is a town of Mesene, which is near the Tigris, according to Arrian, in the 16th book of his Parthica.

Pliny evidently refers to this Mesene, when he is speaking of Apameia, which town he states to have been 125 miles on this side (i.e. to the N.) of Seleuceia; the Tigris being divided into two channels, by one of which it flows to the S. and to Seleuceia, washing all along Mesene (6.27. s. 31). There might have been some doubt to which Mesene Ammianus refers; but as he mentions Teredon, which was near the mouth of the Tigris, it is probable that he is speaking of the former one (24.3). The district in the neighbourhood of the Apameian Mesene has been surveyed with great care by Lieut. Lynch; and, from his observations, it seems almost certain that the more northern Mesene was the territory now comprehended between the Dijeil and the Tigris. (Roy. Geogr. Journ. vol. ix. p. 473.)


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