History Of Country Region
I. City. Emesa modern Homs, Hims, on the right side of the Orontes river in a fertile plane, was a crossroads on the passage from the sea to the interior and Palmyra, as well as a strategic point between Damascus, Aleppo and Palmyra. It was part of the Roman province of Syria, coming under indirect Roman control at the time of Pompey and governed by a vassal king. It was named Emesa under Domitian 8196, when it came under direct Roman control.
It also became a Roman colony with the typical structures of a city. Under Theodosius it was attached to the province of Lebanese Phoenicia, of which it was the capital. It was the birthplace of Julia Domna, wife of the emperor Septimius Severus, Julia Mammaea, and of the emperors Heliogabalus 218222 and Alexander Severus 222235, under both of whom the city experienced significant development in the first half of the 3rd c. The god Ba’al Helios-Baal, of whom the emperor Heliogabalus was a priest, was worshiped there under the form of a black rock; the cult spread due to the favor of the imperial family, a temple being built on the Palatine at Rome. We know nothing of the Christian origins in Emesa, although the Liber Pontificalis p. 134 says that Pope Anicetus 154166 was born there.
We know of the teacher Julian who lived at the time of the emperor Numerian 283284; during Diocletian’s persecution there were some martyrs, including Sylvanus, whom Eusebius of Caesarea describes as bishop of the churches around Emesa Eusebius, HE 8,13,3, and whose episcopate lasted 40 years Eusebius, HE 9,6,1. Bishop Anatolius was present at the councils of Nicaea 325 and Antioch 341. During the Arian controversy the bishop was Eusebius died before 359, a writer praised by Jerome for his style De vir. ill. 91. Bishop Mark, Lahore Map under the emperor Julian d. 363, destroyed a pagan temple and was imprisoned and tortured because he would not rebuild it; the church was turned into a temple of Bacchus Theodoret, HE 3,7; Chronicon Pasch.: PG 92, 741B.
The city was praised by Julian for its paganism Misopogon 7,28. In the late 4th c. the bishop was Nemesius, an important theologian. Also born there was the Byzantine hymnographer Romanus Melodus d. after 555, who then moved to Constantinople. Simeon the Holy Fool was born and lived at Emesa in the 6th c.; Leontius of Neapolis wrote his life. The episcopal see depended on the metropolitan of Damascus. When the head of John the Baptist was found in a nearby cave 452 and was carried into the city, Lahore Map Emesa became an autocephalous ecclesiastical metropolis. After the Council of Chalcedon 451, there were two Christian communities at Emesa: one Melkite and the other monophysite. Lahore Map The Anonymous Piacentine writes: We arrived at Emesa, where there is the head of St. John the Baptist in a glass container 46,7. In 969 the head was taken to Constantinople. Emesa was conquered by the Arabs in 637, who turned the church of St. John the Baptist into a mosque, which it still is today. In 1099 it was occupied by the Crusaders.
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