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Antioch or Antioc was an ancient Greek city[1] on the eastern side of the Orontes River. Its ruins lie near the modern city of Antakya, Hatay Province in southern Turkey.

Variants of name


Antakya is located on the banks of the Orontes River (Turkish: Asi Nehri), approximately 22 km inland from the Mediterranean coast. The city is in a valley surrounded by mountains, the Nur Mountains (ancient Amanos) to the north and Mount Keldağ (Jebel Akra) to the south, with the 440 m high Mount Habib-i Neccar (the ancient Mount Silpius) forming its eastern limits. The mountains are a source of a green marble. Antakya is at the northern edge of the Dead Sea Rift and vulnerable to earthquakes.


The King of Macedon Alexander the Great, after defeating the Persians in the Battle of Issus in 333 BC, followed the Orontes south into Syria and occupied the area. The city of Antioch was founded in 300 BC, after the death of Alexander, by the Hellenistic Seleucid King Seleucus I Nicator. It played an important role as one of the largest cities in the Hellenistic Seleucid Kingdom, in the Roman Empire and in the Byzantium, and it was a key city during the early years of Christianity, and of the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Antiochian Orthodox Church, and also since the 7th c. AD with the rise of Islam, and after the 10th c. AD with the Crusades.

Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch's geographic, military and economic location, particularly the spice trade, the Silk Road, the Persian Royal Road, benefited its occupants, and eventually it rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the Near East and as the main center of Hellenistic Judaism at the end of the Second Temple period.

As a result of its longevity and the pivotal role it played in the emergence of both Hellenistic Judaism and Early Christianity, Antioch was called "the cradle of Christianity."[2]

It was one of the four cities of the Syrian tetrapolis. Its residents are known as Antiochenes. Once a great metropolis of half a million people, it declined to insignificance during the Middle Ages because of warfare, repeated earthquakes and a change in trade routes following the Mongol conquests, which then no longer passed through Antioch from the far east.

Parthian Stations by Isidore of Charax[3], is an account of the overland trade route between the Levant and India, in the 1st century BCE, The Greek text with a translation and commentary by Wilfred H. Schoff. Transcribed from the Original London Edition, 1914.

The Parthian Stations of Isidore of Charax, fragmentary as it is, is one of the very few records of the overland trade-route in the period of struggle between Parthia and Rome. As the title indicates, it gives an itinerary of the caravan trail from Antioch to the borders of India, naming the supply stations, or, as they would now be called, the caravanserais maintained by the Parthian Government for the convenience of merchants.

Jat History

Bhim Singh Dahiya[4] writes that Asoka spread the name and religion of India from Antioch and Macedon to Cape Comorin and Ceylon".[5]

It is confirmed by different historical and geographical works, as cited by Maulana Mubarakpuri that Jats had settled in large number in Antioc and coastal town of Syria under the patronage of the pious and Umayyad caliphate (Khilafat-e-Rashidah and Banu Umayyab) [6], [7]

Prof. Abdul Ali[8]tells us that The Jats continued to enjoy all the rights and privileges given to them by Caliph 'Umar in the Umayyad period also as long as they remained neutral in the internal Arab domestic wars. Although earlier they had shown their loyalty to Hadrat Ali, no damage was officially done to them by the early Umayyad rulers, the bitter opponents of the Alids, by defeating whom they had captured power. The only thing done by Amir Mu'awiyah, founder of the Umayyad dynasty was that when he became the ruler; he shifted some of the Jats settled in Basra and got them settled in Antioch in modern Palestine, following which there developed a locality which became known to fame as the Zutt (Jat) locality.[9]

But later, when the Jats fought on the side of 'Abd al-Rahman Ibn Muhammad Ibn al-Ash' ath, a scion of a noble Kindi family of Hadramawt and governor of Sijistan, who led a frightful insurrection against al-Hajjaj, the governor of Abdul Malik Bin Marwan, during 700-704 AD, the tables were turned against them. Their participation and active involvement in the revolt against the government proved suicidal for them. That also marked the beginning of their downfall as a strong, prosperous community in the Arab world. As soon as al-Hajjaj subdued the rebellion, he embarked upon punishing the Jats by demolishing their houses, discontinuing their stipends and sending into exile large numbers of their people. He also called them violators of the treaty agreed upon by them to remain neutral in internal Arab dissensions.[10]

The Jats, Vol. 2: End of p.19

Prof. Abdul Ali[11]tells us that when Muhammad Bin Qasim conquered Sind in 711 AD, thousands of Jats were shiploaded by him along with as many buffaloes to Hajjaj Bin Yusuf, who sent them to his caliph Abdul Malik in Syria. Later, they were transported by caliph al-Walid Bin Abdul Malik to Antioch where some Jats had already been rehabilitated. It is also recorded that when al-Walid became the ruler, it was brought to his notice that the path between Antioch and Massisah in Greater Syria was a lion-fested area where lions used to pounce upon humans. On hearing that, the caliph immediately sent there four thousand buffaloes out of the several thousands of them which Muhammad Bin Qasim had earlier shipload to Iraq and Syria. An idea of the large numbers of buffaloes sent from Sind to the Arab lands may be derived from the fact that at Massisah alone they counted about nine thousand. As regards the buffaloes of Antioch, they had been brought there originally by the Jats themselves. In addition to the above, thousands of buffaloes were set free in the jungles of Kaskar- Basra.[12]


विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[13] ने लेख किया है ...अंताखी (AS, p.4) सिरिया या शाम देश में स्थित ऐंटिओकस नामक स्थान का प्राचीन संस्कृत रूप जिसका उल्लेख महाभारत में है-'अंताखी चैव रोमां च यवनानां पुरं तथा, द्तैरेव वशंचक्रे करं चैनानदापयत्' सभा0 31,72; अर्थात् सहदेव ने अपनी दिग्विजय-यात्रा में अंताखी, रोम और यवनपुर के शासकों को केवल दूत भेज कर ही वश में कर लिया और उन पर कर लगाया। (टि. इस श्लोक का पाठांतर- 'अटवीं च पुरीं रम्यां यवनानां पुरंतथा' है)

External links


  1. Sacks, David; Oswyn Murray (2005). Lisa R. Brody, ed. Encyclopedia of the Ancient Greek World (Facts on File Library of World History). Facts on File Inc. p. 32. ISBN 978-0816057221.
  2. "The mixture of Roman, Greek, and Jewish elements admirably adapted Antioch for the great part it played in the early history of Christianity. The city was the cradle of the church." — "Antioch," Encyclopaedia Biblica, Vol. I, p. 186 (p. 125 of
  3. Parthian stations
  4. Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/Porus and the Mauryas,p.138
  5. R C Dutt, A History of Civilization in Ancient India, Vol. II,pp. 36-37
  6. Qazi Athar, pp, 66-67
  7. Zafarul Islam: Qazi Athar Mubarakpuri’s Studies on Jats, The Jats, Vol. II, Ed. Dr Vir Singh, Delhi, 2006. p. 27
  8. The Jats, Vol. 2: Socio-Political and Military Role of Jats in West Asia as Gleaned from Arabic Sources, p.19
  9. Futuh al-Buldan, Op.cit., p. 221.
  10. Futuh al-Buldan, Op.cit., p. 521.
  11. The Jats, Vol. 2: Socio-Political and Military Role of Jats in West Asia as Gleaned from Arabic Sources, p.20
  12. Futuh al-Buldan, Op.cit., pp.229-30.
  13. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.4-5

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