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Palace of Diocletian in Nicomedia (İzmit)

Nicomedia (Greek: Νικομήδεια, modern İzmit in Turkey) was founded by Nicomedes I of Bithynia at the head of the Gulf of Astacus which opens to the Propontis. The city was founded in 712/11 BC as a Megarian colony and, in early Antiquity, was called Astacus (lobster).[1] After being destroyed by Lysimachus,[2] it was rebuilt by Nicomedes I of Bithynia in 264 BC under the name of Nicomedia, and has ever since been one of the most important cities in northwestern Asia Minor. Hannibal came to Nicomedia in his final years and committed suicide in nearby Libyssa (Diliskelesi, Gebze). The historian Arrian was born there. Nicomedia was the metropolis of Bithynia under the Roman Empire, and Diocletian made it the eastern capital city of the Roman Empire in 286 when he introduced the Tetrarchy system. Nicomedia remained as the eastern (and most senior) capital of the Roman Empire until co-emperor Licinius was defeated by Constantine the Great at the Battle of Chrysopolis (Üsküdar) in 324. Constantine mainly resided in Nicomedia as his interim capital city for the next six years, until in 330 he declared the nearby Byzantium (which was renamed Constantinople (present-day Istanbul)) the new capital. Constantine died in a royal villa at the vicinity of Nicomedia in 337. Owing to its position at the convergence of the Asiatic roads leading to the new capital, Nicomedia retained its importance even after the foundation of Constantinople.[3]

However, a major earthquake on 24 August 358 caused extensive devastation to Nicomedia and was followed by a fire which completed the catastrophe. Nicomedia was rebuilt, but on a smaller scale.[4] In the sixth century under Emperor Justinian the city was extended with new public buildings. Situated on the roads leading to the capital, the city remained a major military center, playing an important role in the Byzantine campaigns against the Caliphate.[5]

From the 840s on, Nicomedia was the capital of the thema of the Optimatoi. By that time, most of the old, seawards city had been abandoned and is described by the Arab geographer Ibn Khurdadhbeh as lying in ruins. The settlement had obviously been restricted to the hilltop citadel.[5] In the 1080s, the city served as the main military base for Alexios I Komnenos in his campaigns against the Seljuk Turks, and the First and Second Crusades both encamped there. The city was held by the Latin Empire between 1204 and ca. 1240, when it was recovered by John III Vatatzes. It remained in Byzantine control for a further century, but following the Byzantine defeat at the Battle of Bapheus in 1302, it was threatened by the rising Ottoman beylik. The city was twice blockaded by the Ottomans (in 1304 and 1330) before finally succumbing in 1337.[5]

Notable natives and residents

See also


  1. ^ Guide to Greece By Pausanias, Peter Levi Page 232 ISBN 0140442251
  2. ^ The Hellenistic settlements in Europe, the islands, and Asia Minor By Getzel M. Cohen Page 400 ISBN 0520083296
  3. ^ See C. Texier, Asie mineure (Paris, 1839); V. Cuenet, Turquie d'Asie (Paris, 1894).
  4. ^ See Ammianus Marcellinus 17.7.1-8
  5. ^ a b c Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991), Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, pp. 1483–1484, ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6  

Coordinates: 40°46′N 29°55′E / 40.767°N 29.917°E / 40.767; 29.917


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

NICOMEDIA [mod. ], an ancient town at the head of theGulf of Astacus, which opens on the Propontis, was built in 264 B.C. by Nicomedes I. of Bithynia, and has ever since been oneof the chief towns in this part of Asia Minor. It was the metropolis of Bithynia under the Roman empire (see Nicaea), and Diocletian made it the chief city of the East. Owing to its position at the convergence of the Asiatic roads to the new capital, Nicomedia retained its importance even after the foundation of Constantinople and its own capture by the Turks (1338).

See C. Texier, Asie mineure (Paris, 1839); V. Cuenet, Turquie d'Asie (Paris, 1894).

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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

Titular see of Bithynia Prima, founded by King Zipoetes. About 264 B.C. his son Nicodemes I dedicated the city anew, gave it his name, made it his capital, and adorned it with magnificent monuments. At his court the vanquished Hannibal sought refuge. When Bithynia became a Roman province Nicomedia remained its capital. Pliny the Younger mentions, in his letters to Trajan, several public edifices of the city — a senate house, an aqueduct which he had built, a forum, the temple of Cybele, etc. He also proposed to join the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmora by a canal which should follow the river Sangarius and empty the waters of the Lake of Sabandja into the Gulf of Astacus. A fire then almost destroyed the town. From Nicomedia perhaps, he wrote to Trajan his famous letter concerning the Christians. Under Marcus Aurelius, Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, addressed a letter to his community warning them against the Marcionites (Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl.", IV, xxiii). Bishop Evander, who opposed the sect of the Ophites (P.L., LIII, 592), seems to have lived at the same time. Nicomedia was the favorite residence of Diocletian, who built there a palace, a hippodrome, a mint, and an arsenal. In 303 the edict of the tenth persecution caused rivers of blood to flow through the empire, especially in Nicomedia, where the Bishop Anthimus and a great many Christians were martyred. The city was then half Christian, the palace itself being filled with them. In 303, in the vast plain east of Nicomedia, Diocletian renounced the empire in favour of Galerius. In 311 Lucian, a priest of Antioch, delivered a discourse in the presence of the judge before he was executed. Other martyrs of the city are numbered by hundreds. Nicomedia suffered greatly during the fourth century from an invasion of the Goths and from an earthquake (24 Aug., 354), which overthrew all the public and private monuments; fire completed the catastrophe. The city was rebuilt, on a smaller scale. In the reign of Justinian new public buildings were erected, which were destroyed in the following century by the Shah Chosroes. Pope Constantine I visited the city in 711. In 1073 John Comnenus was there proclaimed emperor and shortly afterwards was compelled to abdicate. In 1328 it was captured by the Sultan Orkhan, who restored its ramparts, parts of which are still preserved.

Le Quien (Oriens Christ., I, 581-98) has drawn up a list of fifty metropolitans, which may easily be completed, for Nicomedia has never ceased to be a metropolitan see. Some Latin archbishops are also mentioned by Le Quien (III, 1017) and by Eubel (Hierarchia Catholica medii aevi, I, 381). As early as the eighth century the metropolitan See of Nicomedia had eight suffragan sees which disappeared by degrees. Among its bishops, apart from those already mentioned, were: the three Arians, Eusebius, Eudoxius, and Demophilus, who exchanged their see for that of Constantinople; St. Theophylactus, martyred by the Iconoclasts in the ninth century; George, a great preacher and a friend of Photius; Philotheus Bryennios, the present titular, who discovered and published Didache ton apostolon. To-day Nicomedia is called Ismidt, the chief town of a sanjak directly dependent on Constantinople. It has about 25,000 inhabitants, who are very poor, for the German port of Haidar Pacha has completely ruined its commerce. Since 1891 the Augustinians of the Assumption have a mission and school, and the Oblates of the Assumption, a school and a dispensary. The Latin Catholics number about 250 in the region of the mission, seventy of them living in the city. The Armenian Catholic parish numbers 120.

Portions of this entry are taken from The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907.


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