Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Suburbs

Not much focus is given to the suburbs of Antioch. We have mentioned elsewhere the Fuller's Canal which was on the other side of the river from the city. This seemed to include an industrial zone. Libanius makes reference to the suburbs that can be seen from the palace looking across the river. There is a reference though in Procopius De Aedificiis, lib v, cap.5.

"Via, quae ex urbe Antiochia, iam dicta Theopoli, in Cilîciam ducit, adiacet suburbano, cui nomen Platanon". This makes reference to the suburb across the main bridge being called Platanôn.

We have not seen this fact mentioned anywhere else. No effort has been made to
excavate this area. Neither is this one of the areas with a ban of development, as theoretically exists on the Right Bank.

Ernest Renan in the work "The Apostles" makes the following statement while speaking of the ethnic mix at Antioch:

"Besides the Greek population, in fact, which was nowhere in the East (if Alexandria be excepted) so dense as here, Antioch still counted a considerable number of Syrian natives, speaking Syriac. These natives constituted a low class, inhabiting the suburbs of the great city and the populous villages which formed .a vast urban area around it— Charandama, Ghisira, Gandigura, and Apate (Syriac names for the most part)".

Whether these are the names of the suburbs or the villages is not clear and where he sourced this information is not given.

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