SAMOSATA (Sa.ijao-a.ra., -aruv, Ptol. v. 15 n; Strabo xvi. 749) , called in Arabic literature Sumeisat, 1 is now represented by the village of Samsat, occupying a corner of the ancient site. On a broad plain 1500 ft. above sea-level, Samosata practically marks the place where the mountain course of the Euphrates ends (see MESOPOTAMIA). When the water is high enough it is possible to descend in a kelek in one day to Birejik. The rocky banks contain many ancient cave-dwellings.
The stele found there and published by Humann and Puchstein (Reisen in Kleinasien u. Nord-Syrien, Atlas, plate xlix. 1-3) shows that it was at an early time a Hittite centre, probably marking an important route across the Euphrates: whether or not it was the place where later the Persian " royal road " crossed the Euphrates, in Strabo's time it was connected by a bridge with a Seleucia on the Mesopotamian side, and it is now 'connected by road with Severek and Diarbekr and with Rakka, connecting further, through Edessa and Harran, with other eastward routes. The Hittite sculptured object referred to above Not 'to be confused, as Yaqut remarks, with Shamsha^, the classical Arsamosata (Ptol. v. 13).
shows influences of an Assyrian type (P. Jensen, Hittiler u. Armenier, 1898, 13) ; but no cuneiform text referring to Samosata by name seems yet to have been published. Kummukh, however, the district to which it belonged, was overrun by early Assyrian kings. In consequence of revolt it was made an Assyrian province in 708 B.C. When the Assyrian empire passed through the hands of Babylon and Persia into those of the successors of Alexander, Samosata was the capital of Kummukh, called in Greek Commagene. How soon it became a Greek city we do not know. Although its ruler Ptolemy renounced allegiance to Antiochus IV. the dynasty of Iranian origin which ruled at Samosata, described by Strabo (I.e.) as a fortified city in a very fertile if not extensive district, allied itself with the Seleucids, and bore the dynastic name of Antiochus. There, not long after the little kingdom was in A.D. 72 made a province by the Romans, and its capital received the additional name of Flavia (Suet. Vesp. 8; Eutrop. 8. 19), the celebrated Greek writer Lucian the Satirist was born in the 2nd century (see LUCIAN), and more than a century later another Lucian, known as the Martyr, and Paul called " of Samosata." The remains of a fine aqueduct that once brought water from the Kiakhta Chai, which begins some 6 m. above the town, are probably of the 3rd century A.D. (Geog. Journ. viii. 323). Under Constantine Samosata gave place as capital of Euphratensis to Hierapolis (Malal. Chron. xiii. p. 317). It was at Samosata that Julian had ships made in his expedition against Sapor, and it was a natural crossing-place in the struggle between Heraclius and Chosroes in the 7th century. Mas'udi in the 10th century says it was known also as Kal'at at-Tln (" the Clay Castle "). It was one of the strong fortresses included in the county of Edessa (q.v.). In the 13th century, according to Yaqut, one of its quarters was exclusively inhabited by Armenians. It is now a Kurdish village, which in 1894 consisted of about 100 houses, three of which were Armenian (Geog. Jown. viii. 322).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)