city, central Syria, on the banks of the Orontes River. It was an important prehistoric settlement, becoming the kingdom of Hamath under the Aramaeans in the 11th century BC. It fell under Assyrian control in the 9th century BC, later passing under Persian, Macedonian, and Seleucid rule, the Seleucids renaming the city Epiphaneia in the 2nd century BC. During Byzantine rule it reverted to Emath, a form of its traditional name. When the Arabs took the city in the 7th century AD, they transformed the principal Christian church into a great mosque. Hamah was captured by the crusaders in 1108, retaken by the Muslims in 1115, destroyed by an earthquake in 1175, and occupied by Saladin in 1188, the Egyptian Mamluk sultans about 1300, and the Ottomans in the early 16th century. It passed to modern Syria after World War I.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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