city, southeastern Turkey. It lies in a fertile plain and is ringed by limestone hills on three sides. The city is very old and controls a strategic pass to the south through which runs a road used since antiquity to travel between Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia. The modern name derives from the early Aramaic name, Urhai, which was changed to Edessa when the town was refounded as a military settlement in the 3rd century BC. Freeing itself from imposed Hellenism, Edessa, as capital of the principality of Osroene, was a major centre of Syrian culture; it figured prominently in the conflicts between Parthia and Rome
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