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village in Adiyaman il (province), southeastern Turkey, on the upper Euphrates River. In antiquity Samosata was a fortified city guarding an important crossing point of the river on the east-west trade route; as such it enjoyed considerable commercial and strategic importance. Probably of Hittite origin, the city was incorporated into the Assyrian Empire in 708 BC. Later it came under the Hellenistic kingdom of Commagene and served as its capital until it was surrendered to Rome in AD 72. Captured by the Sasanian king of Persia, it fell to the invading Arabs c. 640. In the 10th century it briefly served as an administrative military district of the Byzantine Empire and was already in a state of decline when it came under the Seljuq Turks two centuries later. Samosata is also remembered as the birthplace of the writer Lucian (2nd century AD) and St. Lucian, who was martyred at Antioch in 312. Pop. (2000) 6,917.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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