Antioch was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey. Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the Near East and was a cradle of Gentile Christianity. It was one of the four cities of the Syrian tetrapolis. Its residents are known as Antiochenes. Once a great metropolis of a half million people, it declined to insignificance during the Middle Ages because of repeated earthquakes, the Crusaders' invasions, and a change in trade routes, following the Mongol conquests, which then no longer passed through Antioch from the far east.
The settlement of Meroe pre-dated Antioch. A shrine of Anat, called by the Greeks the "Persian Artemis," was located here. This site was included in the eastern suburbs of Antioch. There was a village on the spur of Mount Silpius named Io, or Iopolis. This name was always adduced as evidence by Antiochenes (e.g. Libanius) anxious to affiliate themselves to the Attic Ionians - an eagerness which is illustrated by the Athenian types used on the city's coins. Io may have been a small early colony of trading Greeks (Javan). John Malalas mentions also an archaic village, Bottia, in the plain by the river.
Alexander the Great is said to have camped on the site of Antioch, and dedicated an altar to Zeus Bottiaeus, it lay in the northwest of the future city. This account is found only in the writings of Libanius, a 4th century orator from Antioch, and may be legend intended to enhance Antioch's status. But the story is not unlikely in itself.
After Alexander's death in 323 BC, his generals divided up the territory he had conquered. Seleucus I Nicator won the territory of Syria, and he proceeded to found four "sister cities" in northwestern Syria, one of which was Antioch. Like the other three, Antioch was named by Seleucus for a member of his family. He is reputed to have built sixteen Antiochs.
Seleucus founded Antioch on a site chosen through ritual means. An eagle, the bird of Zeus, had been given a piece of sacrificial meat and the city was founded on the site to which the eagle carried the offering. He did this in the twelfth year of his reign. Antioch soon rose above Seleucia Pieria to become the Syrian capital.
The original city of Seleucus was laid out in imitation of the grid plan of Alexandria by the architect Xenarius. Libanius describes the first building and arrangement of this city (i. p. 300. 17). The citadel was on Mt. Silpius and the city lay mainly on the low ground to the north, fringing the river.
Two great colonnaded streets intersected in the centre. Shortly afterwards a second quarter was laid out, probably on the east and by Antiochus I, which, from an expression of Strabo, appears to have been the native, as contrasted with the Greek, town. It was enclosed by a wall of its own.
In the Orontes, north of the city, lay a large island, and on this Seleucus II Callinicus began a third walled "city," which was finished by Antiochus III. A fourth and last quarter was added by Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 BC); and thenceforth Antioch was known as Tetrapolis. From west to east the whole was about 6 km in diameter and little less from north to south, this area including many large gardens.
The new city was populated by a mix of local settlers that Athenians brought from the nearby city of Antigonia, Macedonians, and Jews (who were given full status from the beginning). The total free population of Antioch at its foundation has been estimated at between 17,000 and 25,000, not including slaves and native settlers. During the late Hellenistic period and Early Roman period, Antioch population reached its peak of over 500,000 inhabitants (estimates vary from 400,000 to 600,000) and was the third largest city in the world after Rome and Alexandria. By the 4th century, Antioch's declining population was about 200,000 according to Chrysostom, a figure which again does not include slaves.
About 6 km west and beyond the suburb Heraclea lay the paradise of Daphne, a park of woods and waters, in the midst of which rose a great temple to the Pythian Apollo, also founded by Seleucus I and enriched with a cult-statue of the god, as Musagetes, by Bryaxis. A companion sanctuary of Hecate was constructed underground by Diocletian. The beauty and the lax morals of Daphne were celebrated all over the western world; and indeed Antioch as a whole shared in both these titles to fame. Its amenities awoke both the enthusiasm and the scorn of many writers of antiquity.
Antioch became the capital and court-city of the western Seleucid empire under Antiochus I, its counterpart in the east being Seleucia on the Tigris; but its paramount importance dates from the battle of Ancyra (240 BC), which shifted the Seleucid centre of gravity from Asia Minor, and led indirectly to the rise of Pergamum.
The Seleucids reigned from Antioch. We know little of it in the Hellenistic period, apart from Syria, all our information coming from authors of the late Roman time. Among its great Greek buildings we hear only of the theatre, of which substructures still remain on the flank of Silpius, and of the royal palace, probably situated on the island. It enjoyed a reputation for letters and the art; but the only names of distinction in these pursuits during the Seleucid period, that have come down to us, are Apollophanes, the Stoic, and one Phoebus, a writer on dreams. The mass of the population seems to have been only superficially Hellenic, and to have spoken Aramaic in non-official life. The nicknames which they gave to their later kings were Aramaic; and, except Apollo and Daphne, the great divinities of north Syria seem to have remained essentially native, such as the "Persian Artemis" of Meroe and Atargatis of Hierapolis Bambyce.
The epithet, "Golden," suggests that the external appearance of Antioch was impressive, but the city needed constant restoration owing to the seismic disturbances to which the district has always been subjected. The first great earthquake in recorded history was related by the native chronicler John Malalas. It occurred in 148 BC and did immense damage.
Local politics were turbulent. In the many dissensions of the Seleucid house the population took sides, and frequently rose in rebellion, for example against Alexander Balas in 147 BC, and Demetrius II in 129 BC. The latter, enlisting a body of Jews, punished his capital with fire and sword. In the last struggles of the Seleucid house, Antioch turned against its feeble rulers, invited Tigranes of Armenia to occupy the city in 83 BC, tried to unseat Antiochus XIII in 65 BC, and petitioned Rome against his restoration in the following year. Its wish prevailed, and it passed with Syria to the Roman Republic in 64 BC, but remained a civitas libera.
The Roman emperors favoured the city from the first, seeing it as a more suitable capital for the eastern part of the empire than Alexandria could be, because of the isolated position of Egypt. To a certain extent they tried to make it an eastern Rome.
Julius Caesar visited it in 47 BC, and confirmed its freedom. A great temple to Jupiter Capitolinus rose on Silpius, probably at the insistence of Octavian, whose cause the city had espoused. A forum of Roman type was laid out. Tiberius built two long colonnades on the south towards Silpius.
Agrippa and Tiberius enlarged the theatre, and Trajan finished their work. Antoninus Pius paved the great east to west artery with granite. A circus, other colonnades and great numbers of baths were built, and new aqueducts to supply them bore the names of Caesars, the finest being the work of Hadrian.
The Roman client, King Herod (most likely the great builder Herod the Great), erected a long stoa on the east, and Agrippa (c.63 BC Ğ 12 BC) encouraged the growth of a new suburb south of this.
At Antioch Germanicus died in 19 AD, and his body was burnt in the forum.
An earthquake that shook Antioch in AD 37 caused the emperor Caligula to send two senators to report on the condition of the city. Another quake followed in the next reign.
Titus set up the Cherubim, captured from the Jewish temple, over one of the gates.
In 115, during Trajan's travel there during his war against Parthia, the whole site was convulsed by an earthquake. The landscape altered, and the emperor himself was forced to take shelter in the circus for several days. He and his successor restored the city.
Commodus had Olympic games celebrated at Antioch.
Fashion was the only law, pleasure the only pursuit, and the splendor of dress and furniture was the only distinction of the citizens of Antioch. The arts of luxury were honored, the serious and manly virtues were the subject of ridicule, and the contempt for female modesty and reverent age announced the universal corruption of the capital of the East.
In 256, the town was suddenly raided by the Persians, who slew many in the theatre.
Antioch was a chief center of early Christianity. The city had a large population of Jewish origin in a quarter called the Kerateion, and so attracted the earliest missionaries. Evangelized, among others, by Peter himself, according to the tradition upon which the Antiochene patriarchate still rests its claim for primacy, and certainly later by Barnabas and Paul during Paul's first missionary journey. Its converts were the first to be called Christians. This is not to be confused with Antioch in Pisidia, to which the early missionaries later traveled.
The population was estimated by Chrysostom at about 100,000 people at the time of Theodosius I. Between 252 and 300, ten assemblies of the church were held at Antioch and it became the seat of one of the four original patriarchates, along with Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Rome.
Today Antioch remains the seat of a patriarchate of the Oriental Orthodox churches. One of the canonical Eastern Orthodox churches is still called the Antiochian Orthodox Church, although it moved its headquarters from Antioch to Damascus, Syria, several centuries ago (see list of Patriarchs of Antioch), and its prime bishop retains the title "Patriarch of Antioch," somewhat analogous to the manner in which several Popes, heads of the Roman Catholic Church remained "Bishop of Rome" even while residing in Avignon, France in the 14th century.
When the emperor Julian visited in 362 on a detour to Persia, he had high hopes for Antioch, regarding it as a rival to the imperial capital of Constantinople. Antioch had a mixed pagan and Christian population, which Ammianus Marcellinus implies lived quite harmoniously together. However Julian's visit began ominously as it coincided with a lament for Adonis, the doomed lover of Aphrodite. Thus, Ammianus wrote, the emperor and his soldiers entered the city not to the sound of cheers but to wailing and screaming.
After being advised that the bones of 3rd-century martyred bishop Babylas were suppressing the oracle of Apollo at Daphne, he made a public-relations mistake in ordering the removal of the bones from the vicinity of the temple. The result was a massive Christian procession. Shortly after that, when the temple was destroyed by fire, Julian suspected the Christians and ordered stricter investigations than usual. He also shut up the chief Christian church of the city, before the investigations proved that the fire was the result of an accident.
Julian found much else about which to criticize the Antiochenes. Julian had wanted the empire's cities to be more self-managing, as they had been some 200 years before. However Antioch's city councilmen showed themselves unwilling to shore up Antioch's food shortage with their own resources, so dependent were they on the emperor. Ammianus wrote that the councilmen shirked their duties by bribing unwitting men in the marketplace to do the job for them.
The city's impiety to the old religion was clear to Julian when he attended the city's annual feast of Apollo. To his surprise and dismay the only Antiochene present was an old priest clutching a chicken.
The Antiochenes in turn hated Julian for worsening the food shortage with the burden of his billeted troops, wrote Ammianus. The soldiers were often to be found gorged on sacrificial meat, making a drunken nuisance of themselves on the streets while Antioch's hungry citizens looked on in disgust. The Christian Antiochenes and Julian's pagan Gallic soldiers also never quite saw eye to eye.
Even Julian's piety was distasteful to the Antiochenes retaining the old faith. Julian's brand of paganism was very much unique to himself, with little support outside the most educated Neoplatonist circles. The irony of Julian's enthusiasm for large scale animal sacrifice could not have escaped the hungry Antiochenes. Julian gained no admiration for his personal involvement in the sacrifices, only the nickname axeman, wrote Ammianus.
The emperor's high-handed, severe methods and his rigid administration prompted Antiochene lampoons about, among other things, Julian's unfashionably pointed beard.
Julian's successor, Valens, who endowed Antioch with a new forum, including a statue of Valentinian on a central column, reopened the great church of Constantine, which stood till the Persian sack in 538, by Chosroes.
In 387, there was a great sedition caused by a new tax levied by order of Theodosius I, and the city was punished by the loss of its metropolitan status.
Antioch and its port, Seleucia Pieria, were severely damaged by the great earthquake of 526. Seleucia Pieria, which was already fighting a losing battle against continual silting, never recovered. Justinian I renamed Antioch Theopolis ("City of God") and restored many of its public buildings, but the destructive work was completed by the Persian king, Khosrau I, twelve years later. Antioch lost as many as 300,000 people. Justinian I made an effort to revive it, and Procopius describes his repairing of the walls; but its glory was past.
Antioch gave its name to a certain school of Christian thought, distinguished by literal interpretation of the Scriptures and insistence on the human limitations of Jesus. Diodorus of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia were the leaders of this school. The principal local saint was Simeon Stylites, who lived an extremely ascetic life atop a pillar for 40 years some 65 km east of Antioch. His body was brought to the city and buried in a building erected under the emperor Leo.
In 637, during the reign of the Byzantine emperor Heraclius, Antioch was conquered by the Arabs in the caliphate of al-Rashidun during the Battle of Iron Bridge. The city became known in Arabic as Antakiyyah). Since the Umayyad dynasty was unable to penetrate the Anatolian plateau, Antioch found itself on the frontline of the conflicts between two hostile empires during the next 350 years, so that the city went into a precipitous decline.
In 969, the city was recovered for the Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas by Michael Bourtzes and Peter the Eunuch. It soon became the seat of a doux, who commanded the forces of the local themes and was the most important officer on the Empire's eastern border, held by such men as Nikephoros Ouranos. In 1078, Philaretos Brachamios, an Armenian rebel seized power. He held the city until the Seljuk Turks captured it from him in 1084. The Sultanate of Rum held it only fourteen years before the Crusaders arrived.
The Crusaders' Siege of Antioch conquered the city in 1098. At this time, the bulk of far eastern trade travelled through Egypt, but in the second half of the 12th century Nur ed-Din and later Saladin brought order to Moslem Syria, opening up long distance trade routes, including to Antioch and on to its new port, St Symeon, which had replaced Seleucia Pieria. However, the Mongol conquests of the 13th century altered the main trade routes from the far east, as they encouraged merchants to take the overland route through Mongol territory to the Black Sea, reducing the prosperity of Antioch.
In 1100, the nephew of Bohemond I of Antioch, Tancred became the regent of Antioch after Bohemond I of Antioch was taken prisoner for three years (1100-03) by Gazi Gmshtigin of the Danishmends at the Battle of Melitene. Tancred expanded the territory of Antioch by conquering Byzantine Cilicia, Tarsus, and Adana in 1101 and founding the principality, Byzantine Latakia, in 1103.
In 1107 Bohemond enraged by an earlier defeat when he, allianced with Edessa, attacked Aleppo, and Baldwin of Bourcq and Joscelin of Courtenay (Bourcq's most powerful vassal) were briefly captured, as well as the Byzantines recapturing of Cilicia and the harbour and lower town of Lattakieh, he renamed Tancred as the regent of Antioch and sailed for Europe with the intent of gaining support for an attack against the Greeks.
In 1107-8 Bohemond led a 'crusade' against Byzantium, with the Latins crossing the Adriatic in October 1107 and laying siege to the city of Durazzo (in modern Albania), which is often regarded as the western gate of the Greek empire. Bohemond was outwitted by Alexius, who deployed his forces to cut the invaders' supply lines whilst avoiding direct confrontation.
The Latins whom were weakened by hunger and unable to break Durazzo's defences capitulated in September 1108 and Bohemond was forced to accede to a peace accord, the Treaty of Devol, by the terms of this agreement Bohemond was to hold Antioch for the remainder of his life as the emperor's subject, and the Greek patriarch was to be restored to power in the city. However Tancred refused to honor the Treaty of Devol in which Bohemond swore an oath, and it is not until 1158 that it truly became a vassal state of the Byzantine Empire. Six months after the Treaty of Devol Bohemond died, and Tancred remained regent of Antioch until his death during a typhoid epidemic in 1112.
After the death of Tancred, the principality passed to Roger of Salerno, who helped rebuild Antioch after an earthquake destroyed its foundations in 1114. With the defeat of Roger's crusading army and his death at the Battle of Ager Sanguinis in 1119 the role of regent was assumed by Baldwin II of Jerusalem, lasting until 1126, with the exception from 1123 to 1124 when he was briefly captured by the Artuqids and held captive alongside Joscelin of Courtenay. In 1126 Bohemond II arrived from Apulia in order to gain regency over Antioch. In February 1130 Bohemond was lured into an ambush by Leo I, Prince of Armenia who allied with the Danishmend Gazi Gumushtigin, and was killed in the subsequent battle, his head was then embalmed, placed in a silver box, and sent as a gift to the Abbasid caliph in Baghdad.
Antioch was again ruled by a regency, firstly being Baldwin II, after his daughter and Bohemond II's wife, Alice of Antioch attempted to block Baldwin from entering Antioch, but failed when Antiochene nobles such as Fulk of Jerusalem (Alice's brother-in-law) opened up the gates for representatives of Baldwin II. Alice was then expelled from Antioch.
With the death of Balwin in 1131, Alice briefly took control of Antioch and allied herself with Pons of Tripoli and Joscelin II of Edessa in an attempt to prevent Fulk, King of Jerusalem from marching north in 1132, however this attempt failed and Fulk and Pons fought a brief battle before peace was made and Alice was exiled again.
In 1133 the king chose Raymond of Poitiers as a groom for Constance of Antioch, daughter of Bohemund II of Antioch and Alice, princess of Jerusalem. The marriage took place in 1136 between the 21-year-old Raymond and the 9-year-old Constance.
Immediately after assuming control, Raymond was involved in conflicts with the Byzantine Emperor John II Comnenus who had come south to recover Cilicia from Leo of Armenia, and to reassert his rights over Antioch. The engagement lasted until 1137 when emperor John II arrived with an army before the walls of Antioch. Though the basileus did not enter the city, his banner was raised atop the citadel and Raymond was compelled to do homage.
Raymond agreed to the king that if he was capable of capturing Aleppo, Shaizar, and Homs, he would exchange Antioch for them. John went on to attack Aleppo with the aid of Antioch and Edessa, and failed to capture it, with the Franks withdrawing their support when he moved on to capture Shaizar. John returned to Antioch ahead of his army and entered Antioch, only to be forced to leave when Joscelin II, Count of Edessa rallied the citizens to oust him.
In 1142 John then returned but Raymond refused to submit and John was forced to return to Cilicia again due to the coming winter, to plan an attack the following season. However the king died on April 8, 1143.
The following year after the death of John II Comnenus, Imad ad-Din Zengi lay Siege to Edessa, the crusader capital, and with the death of Imad ad-Din Zengi in 1146, he was succeeded by his son, Nur ad-Din Zangi. Zangi attacked Antioch in both 1147 and 1148 and succeeded during the second venture in occupying most of the territory east of the Orontes including Artah, Kafar Latha, Basarfut, and Balat, but failing to capture Antioch itself.
With the Second Crusades army previously nearly entirely defeated by the Turks and by sickness, Louis VII of France arrived in Antioch on March 19, 1148 after being delayed by storms. Louis was welcomed by the uncle of his spouse Eleanor of Aquitaine, Raymond of Poitiers. Louis refused to help Antioch defend against the Turks and to lead an expedition against Aleppo, and instead decided to finish his pilgrimage to Jerusalem rather than focus on the military aspect of the Crusades. '
With Louis quickly leaving Antioch again and the Crusades returning home in 1149, Zangi launched an offensive against the territories which were dominated by the Castle of Harim, situated on the eastern bank of the Orontes, after which Zangi besieged the castle of Inag. Raymond of Poitiers quickly came to the aid of the citadel, were he was defeated and killed at the Battle of Inab, Raymond's head was then cut off and sent to Zangi, who sent it to the caliph in Baghdad. However, Zangi did not attack Antioch itself and was content with capturing all of Antiochene territory that lay east of the Orontes.
With Raymond dead and Bohemond III only five years of age, the principality came under the control of Raymond's widow Constance, however real control lay with Aimery of Limoges.
In 1152 Baldwin III of Jerusalem came of age, but from 1150 he had proposed three different but respectable suitors for Constance's hand in marriage, of which she all rejected. In 1153 however, she chose Raynald of Chtillon and married him in secret without consulting her first cousin and liege lord, Baldwin III, and neither Baldwin nor Aimery of Limoges approved of her choice.
In 1156 Raynald claimed that the Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus had reneged on his promises to pay Raynald a sum of money, and vowed to attack the island of Cyprus in revenge. However Aimery refused to finance Raynald's expedition, so in turn Raynalf had the Patriarch seized, beaten, stripped naked, covered in honey, and had him left in the burning sun on top of the citadel to be attacked by insects. When the Patriarch was released, he collapsed in exhaustion and agreed to finance Raynald's expedition.
In the meantime, Reynald had allied himself with the Armenian prince, Thoros II, Prince of Armenia. In 1156 Raynald's forces attacked Cyprus, ravaging the island over a three week period, with rapine, slaughter, and plundering its citizens. After which, Manuel I Comnenus raised an army and began their march towards Syria, as a result Reynald threw himself to the mercy of the emperor who insisted on the installation of a Greek Patriarch and the surrender of the citadel in Antioch. The following spring, Manuel made a triumphant entry into the city and established himself as the unquestioned suzerain of Antioch.
In 1160 Reynald was captured by Muslims during a plundering raid against the Syrian and Armenian peasants of the neighbourhood of Marash. He was held captive for sixteen years, and as the stepfather of the Empress Maria, he was ransomed by Manuel for 120,000 gold dinars in 1176. With Raynald disposed of for a long time, the patriarch Aimery became the new regent, chosen by Baldwin III. To further consolidate his own claim over Antioch, Manuel chose Maria of Antioch as his bride, daughter of Constance of Antioch and Raymond of Poitiers. But the government of Antioch remained in crisis up until 1163, when Constance asked the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia to help maintain her rule, as a result the citizens of Antioch exiled her and installed her son Bohemond III and now brother-in-law to the emperor, as regent.
One year later, Nur ad-Din Zangi captured Bohemond III when he defeated a joint Antiochene-Tripolitan army. Bohemond III was soon released, however Harem, Syria which Reynald had recaptured in 1158, was lost again and the frontier of Antioch was permanently placed west of the Orontes. Byzantine influence remained in Antioch and in 1165, Bohemond III married a niece of the emperor, Maria of Antioch, and installed a Greek patriarch in the city, Athanasius II, Patriarch of Antioch, who remained in his position until he died in an earthquake five years later.
On October 29, 1187, Pope Gregory VIII issued the papal bull Audita tremendi, his call for the Third Crusade. Frederick I Barbarossa, Richard I of England, and Philip II of France answered this the summons. With Richard and Philip deciding to take a sea route, Frederick lacked the necessary ships and took a land route were he pushed on through Anatolia, defeating the Turks in the Battle of Inconium, however upon reaching Christian territory in Lesser Armenia (Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia) the emperor drowned in the river Saleph.
The emperor was buried at Antioch and the Germans became an insignificant contingent during the crusade. Throughout the Third Crusade Antioch remained neutral, however with the end of the Third Crusade (1192), they were included in the Treaty of Ramla between Richard and Saladin.
With no heir after the death of Raymond III, Count of Tripoli in the Battle of Hattin he left his godson, Raymond IV, Count of Tripoli, the eldest son of Bohemond III. However Bohemond installed his younger, the future prince Bohemond IV of Antioch, as count of Tripoli. Shortly after the end of the Third Crusade, Raymond IV, Count of Tripoli married Alice of Armenia, the niece of Leo II, or Leo I, King of Armenia, and a vassal to Antioch.
Alice bore Raymond IV a son in 1199, Raymond-Roupen, after which Raymond IV died in the coming months. In 1194 Leo II tricked Bohemond III making him believe that the new born prince had been captured by the Roupenians. Leo made a failed attempt at capturing Antioch believing the city would be weakened with the absence of Bohemond.
Henry II, Count of Champagne nephew to both Richard I and Philip II, travelled to Lesser Armenia and managed to persuade Leo that in exchange for Antioch, renouncing its overlordship to Lesser Armenia and to release Bohemond, who in 1201 died. With the death of Bohemond III there followed a 15 year struggle for power of Antioch, between Tripoli and Lesser Armenia.
According to the rules of primogeniture Leo's gret nephew Raymond-Roupen was the rightful heir of Antioch, and Leo's position was supported by the pope. However on the other hand, the city commune of Antioch supported Bohemond IV of Antioch, on the grounds that he was the closest blood relative to the last ruling prince, Bohemond III. In 1207 Bohemond IV installed a Greek patriarch in Antioch, despite the East-West Schism, under the help of Aleppo, Bohemond IV drove Leo out of Antioch.
In 1213 Pope Innocent III's papal bull Quia maior called for all of Christendom to lead a new (Fifth) crusade. This strengthened the support of sultan al-Adil I, an Ayyubid-Egyptian general who supported Raymond-Roupen's claims in Antioch. In 1216 Leo installed Raymond-Roupen as prince of Antioch, and ending all military aspect of the struggle between Tripoli and Lesser Armenia, but the citizens again revolted against Raymond-Roupen in c.1219 and Bohemond of Tripoli was recognized as the fourth prince of that name.
Bohemond IV and his son Bohemond V remained neutral in the struggles of the Guelphs and Ghibellines to the south which arose when Frederich II married Isabella II, and in 1233 Bohemond IV died. From 1233 onwards Antioch declined and pretty much disappeared in history for 30 years, and in 1254 the altercations of the past between Antioch and Armenia were lay to rest when Bohemond VI of Antioch married the then 17 year old Sibylla of Armenia, and Bohemond VI became a vassal of the Armenian kingdom. Effectively, the Armenian kings ruled Antioch whilst the prince of Antioch resided in Tripoli.
The Armenians drew up a treaty with the Mongols, who were now ravaging Muslim lands, and under protection they extended their territory into the lands of the Seljuq dynasty in the north and the Aleppo territory to the south. Antioch was part of this Armeno-Mongol alliance. Bohemond VI managed to retake Lattakieh and reestablished the land bridge between Antioch and Tripoli, while the Mongols insisted he install the Greek patriarch there rather than a Latin one, due to the Mongols attempting to strengthen ties with the Byzantine Empire. This earned Bohemond the enmity of the Latins of Acre, and Bohemond was excommunicated by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Pope Urban IV., which was later suspended.
In 1259 the Mongols captured the Syrian city of Damascus, and eventually in 1260, Aleppo. The Mamluk sultan Saif ad-Din Qutuz looked to ally with the Franks, who declined. In September 1260, the Mamluks defeated the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut, shortly after Qutuz was assassinated at Al-Salihiyya, and according to various sources his successor, Baibars was involved in his murder.
In 1355 it still had a considerable population, but by 1432 there were only about 300 inhabited houses within its walls, mostly occupied by Turcomans.
Few traces of the once great Roman city are visible today aside from the massive fortification walls that snake up the mountains to the east of the modern city, several aqueducts, and the Church of St Peter (St Peter's Cave Church, Cave-Church of St. Peter), said to be a meeting place of an Early Christian community. The majority of the Roman city lies buried beneath deep sediments from the Orontes River, or has been obscured by recent construction.
Between 1932 and 1939, archaeological excavations of Antioch were undertaken under the direction of the "Committee for the Excavation of Antioch and Its Vicinity," which was made up of representatives from the Louvre Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Worcester Art Museum, Princeton University, and later (1936) also the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University and its affiliate Dumbarton Oaks.
The excavation team failed to find the major buildings they hoped to unearth, including Constantine's Great Octagonal Church or the imperial palace. However, a great accomplishment of the expedition was the discovery of high-quality Roman mosaics from villas and baths in Antioch, Daphne and Seleucia. One mosaic includes a border that depicts a walk from Antioch to Daphne, showing many ancient buildings along the way. The mosaics are now displayed in the Hatay Archaeological Museum in Antakya and in the museums of the sponsoring institutions.
A statue in the Vatican and a number of figurines and statuettes perpetuate the type of its great patron goddess and civic symbol, the Tyche (Fortune) of Antioch - a majestic seated figure, crowned with the ramparts of Antioch's walls and holding wheat stalks in her right hand, with the river Orontes as a youth swimming under her feet. According to William Robertson Smith the Tyche of Antioch was originally a young virgin sacrificed at the time of the founding of the city to ensure its continued prosperity and good fortune.
The northern edge of Antakya has been growing rapidly over recent years, and this construction has begun to expose large portions of the ancient city, which are frequently bulldozed and rarely protected by the local museum.
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