Nicaea - Encyclopedia




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NICAEA, or Nice [mod. Isnik, i.e. cis Nocaiav] an ancient town of Asia Minor, in Bithynia, on the Lake Ascania. Antigonus built the city (316 B.C. ?) on an old deserted site, and soon afterwards Lysimachus changed its name from Antigonia to Nicaea, calling it after his wife. Under the Roman empire Nicaea and Nicomedia disputed the title of metropolis of Bithynia. Strabo describes the ancient Nicaea as built regularly, in the form of a square, with a gate in the middle of each side. From a monument in the centre of the city all the four gates were visible at the extremities of great cross-streets. After Constantinople became the capital of the empire Nicaea grew in importance, and after the conquest of Constantinople by the Crusaders became the temporary seat of the Byzantine emperor; the double line of walls with the Roman gates is still well preserved. The possession of the city was long disputed between the Greeks and the Turks. It remained an important city for some time after its final incorporation in the Ottoman empire; but became subsequently an insignificant village.

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