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It was built close by the Cydnus River (modern-day Berdan River) and was an important trade center for most of its history. 64 CE) and, according to Plutarch, Cleopatra VII (l. 333-323 BCE), and afterwards divided between two of his generals who founded the Seleucid and Ptolemaic empires, until the region was taken by Rome in 103 BCE.It is best known as the birthplace of Saint Paul (also known as Saul of Tarsus l. After 64 BCE, it was the capital of the district of Cilicia Campestris and remained the capital when the area was redistricted and renamed Cilicia Prima and later passed to the control of the Byzantine Empire.

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His decree, most likely from 47 BCE, was upheld by Augustus Caesar (r. After Caesar’s assassination in 44 BCE, Mark Antony and Octavian (the future Augustus) pursued the conspirators and their forces, finally defeating them at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BCE.Antony was still in the region, at Tarsus, in 41 BCE when Queen Cleopatra of Egypt made her now-famous overture to him from her barge on the Cydnus outside the gates of Tarsus.Cydnus’ son, Parthenius, founded the city of Parthenia, which was afterwards known as Tarsus.This story is late Byzantine fiction, however, as the city first appears in Assyrian texts as having been known as Tarsisi by the Akkadians (between c.The Hittites called the region Kizzuwatna and made Tarsa their capital.

Trade flourished under the Hittite king Suppiluliuma I (r. 1344-1322 BCE) and his successors who made the city wealthy. 1276-1178 BCE, a coalition of invaders and pirates known as the Sea Peoples ravaged the Mediterranean region and are almost certainly responsible for the destruction of Tarsus.Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."Saint Paul (c.In 64 BCE, Pompey divided Cilicia into six districts and relocated a significant number of pirates to the district of Cilicia Campestris, including the city of Tarsus.The former pirates were as industrious as farmers and laborers as they had been as thieves and kidnappers and the region flourished largely through their efforts.It was taken with the rest of Cilicia by Muslim invasions c. 965 CE, and continued as an important city for commerce after it was taken by the Ottoman Empire after 1453 CE.