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SAMOSATA (Σαμόσατα), a strongly fortified city of Syria, placed by Ptolemy (5.15.11) and Strabo in the district of Commagene. It contained the royal residence, and was a province in the time of Strabo, surrounded by a small but very rich country, and situated at the bridge of the Euphrates, (Strab. 16.2.3, p. 749.) Its distance from the borders of Cappadocia in the vicinity of Tomisa across Mount Taurus was 450 stadia. (Ib. 14.2.29, p. 664.) It was besieged and taken by Mark Antony during his campaign in Syria. (J. AJ 14.15.8.) Its strategic importance is intimated by Caesennius Paetus, prefect of Syria under Vespasian, who, having represented that Antiochus, king of Commagene, was meditating an alliance with the Parthians to enable him to throw off the Roman yoke, warned his imperial master “that Samosata, the largest city of Commagene, was situated on the Euphrates, and would therefore secure the Parthians an easy passage [p. 2.901]of the river and a safe asylum on the western side.” The legate was therefore instructed to seize and hold possession of Samosata. (B. J. 7.7.1.) This town gave birth to Lucian, and became infamous in the third century in connection with the heretical bishop “Paul of Samosata,” who first broached the heresy of the simple humanity of our Lord; and was condemned in a council assembled at Antioch (A.D. 272, Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 7.27, 28). The modern name of the town is Sempsat or Samisat, about 40 miles S. of the cataracts of the Euphrates, where it passes Mount Taurus, but Pococke could hear of no ruins there. (Observations on Syria, vol. ii. pt. l, p. 156.)



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    • Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 14.15.8
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