BĒṮ SELŌḴ, “house of Seleucos,” abbreviation of Karkā ḏe Bēṯ Selōḵ, “fortress of the house of Seleucos,” the capital city (modern Kirkuk) of the district of Bēṯ Garmē in Iraq. The main source for its early history is the sixth-century Syriac account of the martyrs of Karkā ḏe Bēṯ Selōḵ, according to which it was founded by the Assyrian ruler, Sardanā (Sardanapalus), and after Sargon built a palace there it was called Karkā ḏe Sargōn. The town was refounded by Seleucos Nicator or his son Antiochos (see antiochus i), who rebuilt the wall and the palace and settled five well-known families from Istakhr (Eṣṭaḵr) there, where he gave them land and vineyards, together with people from other places. There were seventy-two streets, twelve of which were named after well-known families, while others were named after crafts. During the Parthian period the city was included in the kingdom of Adiabene, and Christianity arrived there in the second century in the person of a refugee bishop called Tuqrītā (Theocritos). The ruler of this city is said to have helped Ardašīr I overthrow the Parthians, and in the twentieth year of Šāpūr I (ca. 260) two missionary disciples of Mani, Addai and Abzaḵiyā, began to make Manichean converts there. In the fourth century, conflict among Christians, Manicheans, and Zoroastrians at Karkā contributed to the persecution of Christians there and to executions by the mauhpatā (mōbad) Ādur-Gušnasp. In 558 there were a rad and a chief of the Magians (árkhōn tôn mágōn, arkhímagos) at Karkā. The Christian see (Nestorian by the sixth century) of Karkā ḏe Bēṯ Selōḵ, attested in 410, 424, 486, 497, 544, 605, 644, and ca. 740, was the metropolitan bishopric of Bēṯ Garmē.
The text of the History of Karkā ḏe Bēṯ Selōḵ is published by G. Moesinger, Monumenta Syriaca ex Romanis Codicibus Collecta II, Innsbruck, 1878, pp. 63-75; P. Bedjan, Acta Martyrum et Sanctorum II, Leipzig and Paris, 1891, pp. 507-37, from a seventh- or eighth-century ms. at Diyarbakr; and translated by G. Hoffmann, Auszüge aus syrischen Akten persischer Märtyrer, Leipzig, 1880, pp. 43-60.
“Chronica Minora I,” in CSCO, Scriptores Syri I, p. 34; II, p. 28, Louvain, 1955.
G. S. Assemani, Bibliotheca Orientalis Clementino-Vaticana III/1, Rome, 1725, p. 173; III/2, Rome, 1728, p. 733.
J.-B. Chabot, Synodicon Orientale, Paris, 1902, pp. 33, 43, 53, 59, 62, 66-68, 90, 94, 213, 272, 285, 300, 306, 310-11, 315-17, 345, 351, 478.
M. L. Chaumont, “Recherches sur quelque villes helléniques de l’Iran occidental,” Iranica Antiqua 17, 1982, pp. 157-60.
Camb. Hist. Iran III, pp. 17, 118, 460, 970, 1276.
P. Devos, “Sainte Sirin martyre sous Khosrau Ier Anosarvan,” Analecta Bollandiana 64, 1946, pp. 96-97, 120-21.
J. M. Fiey, “Vers la réhabilitation de l’histoire de Karka d’Bét Slōḫ," Analecta Bollandiana 82, 1964, pp. 189-222.
Ph. Gignoux, “Éléments de prosopographie de quelques mōbads sasanides,” JA 270, 1982, pp. 261-62.
W. G. Lukonin, Persia II, Geneva, 1967, p. 20.
Th. Nöldeke, “Die von Guidi herausgegebene syrische Chronik,” SPAW 128, no. 9, Vienna, 1893, p. 38.
N. Pigulevskaya, Les villes de l’état iranien aux époques parthe et sassanide, Paris, 1963, pp. 47, 112-13.
E. Sachau, “Die Chronik von Arbela,” APAW 6, 1915, p. 60.
Originally Published: December 15, 1989
Last Updated: December 15, 1989
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Vol. IV, Fasc. 2, p. 188