region in northern ancient Syria (modern south-central Turkey) bounded by Cilicia on the west and Cappadocia on the north. Its eastern boundary on the Euphrates River, at the conjunction of several routes over the Taurus Mountains, gave Commagene a strategic position between the Roman and Parthian empires. Commagene broke free from the decaying Seleucid Empire about 162 BC. Its king, Antiochus I (c. 69-c. 34 BC), by adroitly playing off Rome against Parthia, brought the kingdom to its zenith-a fact attested by the splendid mausoleum built by Antiochus to his own memory on the peak of Nimrud Dag. Commagene maintained a precarious independence until it was annexed by Rome in AD 17. After a brief restoration (38-72), it was permanently incorporated into the Roman province of Syria.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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