Ctesiphon

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Coordinates: 33°05′37″N 44°34′50″E / 33.09361°N 44.58056°E / 33.09361; 44.58056

Ctesiphon, the imperial capital of the Parthian Arsacids and of the Persian Sassanids, was one of the great cities of ancient Mesopotamia. In the 6th century, Ctesiphon was the largest city in the world.[1]

The ruins of the city are located on the east bank of the Tigris, across the river from the Hellenistic city of Seleucia. Today, the remains of both cities lie in Iraq, approximately 35 km south of the city of Baghdad.

Contents

Names

The Latin name Ctesiphon or Ctesifon (pronounced /ˈtɛsɨfɒn/) derives from Greek Ktēsiphōn (Κτησιφῶν), a Hellenized form of a local name that has been reconstructed as Tosfōn or Tosbōn.[2] In Iranian sources of the Sassanid period it is attested in Manichean Parthian, in Sassanid Middle Persian and in Christian Sogdian as Pahlavi tyspwn, continuing in New Persian as Tisfun (تيسفون). In medieval Arabic texts the name is usually Ṭaysafūn (طيسفون) or Qaṭaysfūn (قطيسفون), in Modern Arabic al-Mada'in (المدائن). "According to Yāqūt [...], quoting Ḥamza, the original form was Ṭūsfūn or Tūsfūn, which was arabicized as Ṭaysafūn."[3] The Armenian name of the city was Tizbon (Տիզբոն). Ctesiphon is first mentioned in the Book of Ezra of the Old Testament as Kasfia/Casphia (a derivative of the ethnic name, Cas, and a cognate of Caspian and Qazvin).

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