Seleucia on the Euphrates

Seleucia on the Euphrates: Hellenistic town in ancient Iraq.

BCHP 11: Ptolemy III Chronicle (BM 34428 obv)
BCHP 11: Ptolemy III Chronicle (BM 34428 obv)

A Seleucia on the banks of the river Euphrates is mentioned in several cuneiform texts of the Hellenistic Period. The obvious interpretation is that it is Zeugma, which for a while used this name. However, this identification is impossible, although it is reasonable to assume that it was northwest of Babylon, because it is mentioned in the Ptolemy III Chronicle (BCHP 11) as a town along the road from Syria to Babylon.

The Seleucid Accessions Chronicle (BCHP 10) suggests that the city was "on the Euphrates and the Royal Canal". This make Sippar and Nehardea likely candidates, unless this is a scribal error, and in fact "Tigris and Royal Canal" is meant (and therefore, Seleucia on the Tigris).

The Astronomical Diary of 106/105 BCE mentions the town as residence of a satrap. In that same year, according to the same source, the city's territory was attacked by Arabs. The Diary of 94/93 BCE records that a new branch of the Royal Canal was being dug, "above Seleucia on the mountain side".

This page was created in 2009; last modified on 14 August 2020.