|This rare civic coinage type, without the portrait of the Seleukid King, was only issued for one year, 150 - 149 B.C. |
Apameia was on the right bank of the Orontes River, about 55 km (34 mi) to the northwest of Hama, Syria, overlooking the Ghab valley. Originally named Pharmake, it was fortified and enlarged by Seleucus I Nicator in 300 B.C., who renamed it after his Bactrian wife, Apama. The fortress was placed upon a hill; the windings of the Orontes, with the lake and marshes, gave it a peninsular form. Seleucus had his commissariat there with 500 elephants, 30,000 mares, and 300 stallions. The pretender, Diodotus Tryphon, made Apameia the basis of his operations. Located at a strategic crossroads for Eastern commerce, the city flourished to the extent that its population eventually numbered half a million. It was one of the four cities of the Syrian tetrapolis, boasted one of the largest theaters in the Roman world, and a monumental colonnade.