Chalcedon (/kælˈsiːdən/ or /ˈkælsɪdɒn/; Greek:
Χαλκηδών, sometimes transliterated as Chalkedon) was an
ancient maritime town of Bithynia, in Asia Minor. It was located
almost directly opposite Byzantium, south of Scutari (modern
Üsküdar) and it is now a district of the city of
Kadıköy. The name
Chalcedon is a variant of Calchedon, found on all
the coins of the town as well as in manuscripts of Herodotus's
Histories, Xenophon's Hellenica, Arrian's Anabasis, and other works.
Except for a tower, almost no aboveground vestiges of the ancient city
Kadıköy today; artifacts uncovered at Altıyol and other
excavation sites are on display at the
Istanbul Archaeological Museum.
The site of
Chalcedon is located on a small peninsula on the north
coast of the Sea of Marmara, near the mouth of the Bosphorus. A
stream, called the Chalcis or
Chalcedon in antiquity and now known
as the Kurbağalıdere (Turkish: stream with frogs), flows into
Fenerbahçe bay. There Greek colonists from
the settlement of
Chalcedon in 685 BC, some seventeen years before
The Greek name of the ancient town is from its Phoenician name
(Karkhēdōn), meaning "New Town", as is the name of Carthage. The
mineral chalcedony is named for where it came from outside
2 Megarian colony
3 Roman city
4 Byzantine and Ottoman suburbs
5 Ecclesiastical history
5.1 Greek and Catholic successions
6 Notable people
7 See also
9 External links
The mound of Fikirtepe has yielded remains dating to the Chalcolithic
period (5500-3500 BC) and attest to a continuous settlement since
Phoenicians were active traders in this area.
Pliny states that
Chalcedon was first named Procerastis, a name which
may be derived from a point of land near it: then it was named
Colpusa, from the harbour probably; and finally Caecorum Oppidum, or
the town of the blind.
Funerary stele from the 1st century BC.
Chalcedon originated as a Megarian colony in 685 BCE. The colonists
Megara settled on a site that was viewed in antiquity as so
obviously inferior to that visible on the opposite shore of the
Bosphorus (with its small settlements of Lygos and Semistra on
Seraglio Point), that the 6th-century BCE Persian general Megabazus
allegedly remarked that Chalcedon's founders must have been blind.
Indeed, Strabo and Pliny relate that the oracle of
Apollo told the
Athenians and Megarians who founded
Byzantium in 657 BCE to build
their city "opposite to the blind", and that they interpreted "the
blind" to mean Chalcedon, the "City of the Blind".
Nevertheless, trade thrived in Chalcedon; the town flourished and
built many temples, including one to Apollo, which had an oracle.
Chalcedonia, the territory dependent upon Chalcedon, stretched up
the Anatolian shore of the
Bosphorus at least as far as the temple of
Zeus Urius, now the site of Yoros Castle, and may have included the
north shore of the Bay of Astacus which extends towards Nicomedia.
Important villages in Chalcedonia included Chrysopolis (the modern
Üsküdar) and Panteicheion (Pendik). Strabo notes that "a little
above the sea" in Chalcedonia lies "the fountain Azaritia, which
contains small crocodiles".
In its early history
Chalcedon shared the fortunes of Byzantium.
Later, the 6th-century BCE Persian satrap
Otanes captured it. The city
vacillated for a long while between the Lacedaemonian and the Athenian
interests. Darius the Great's bridge of boats, built in 512 BC for his
Scythian campaign, extended from Chalcedonia to Thrace. Chalcedon
formed a part of the kingdom of Bithynia, whose king Nicomedes willed
Bithynia to the Romans upon his death in 74 BCE.
See also: Battle of
Chalcedon (74 BC)
The city was partly destroyed by Mithridates. The governor of
Bithynia, Cotta, had fled to
Chalcedon for safety along with thousands
of other Romans. Three thousand of them were killed, sixty ships
captured, and four ships destroyed in Mithridates' assault on the
During the Empire,
Chalcedon recovered, and was given the status of a
free city. It fell under the repeated attacks of the barbarian hordes
who crossed over after having ravaged Byzantium, including some
referred to as Scythians who attacked during the reign of Valerian and
Gallienus in the mid 3rd century.
Byzantine and Ottoman suburbs
Small silver jug from Chalcedon.
Chalcedon suffered somewhat from its proximity to the new imperial
capital at Constantinople. First the Byzantines and later the Ottoman
Turks used it as a quarry for building materials for Constantinople's
Chalcedon also fell repeatedly to armies
Constantinople from the east.
In 361 AD it was the location of the
Chalcedon tribunal, where Julian
the apostate brought his enemies to trial.
In 451 AD an ecumenical council of Christian leaders convened here.
See below for this Council of Chalcedon.
Belisarius probably spent his years of retirement on his
estate of Rufinianae in Chalcedonia.
Beginning in 616 and for at least a decade thereafter, Chalcedon
furnished an encampment to the Persians under Chosroes II (cf.
Constantinople (626)). It later fell for a time to the Arabs
under Yazid (cf. Siege of
Chalcedon was badly damaged during the
Fourth Crusade (1204). It came
definitively under Ottoman rule under Orhan Gazi a century before the
Ottoman conquest of Constantinople.
Nicetas of Chalcedon
Main article: Metropolis of Chalcedon
Chalcedon was an episcopal see at an early date and several Christian
martyrs are associated with Chalcedon:
The virgin St.
Euphemia and her companions in the early 4th century;
the cathedral of
Chalcedon was consecrated to her.
St. Sabel the Persian and his companions.
It was the site of various ecclesiastical councils. The Fourth
Ecumenical Council, known as 'the' Council of Chalcedon, was convened
in 451 and defined the human and divine natures of Jesus, which
provoked the schism with the churches composing Oriental Orthodoxy.
After the council,
Chalcedon became a metropolitan see, but without
suffragans. There is a list of its bishops in Le Quien, completed
by Anthimus Alexoudes, revised for the early period by
Pargoire. Among others are:
St. Adrian, a martyr;
St. John, Sts. Cosmas and Nicetas, during the Iconoclastic period;
Maris, the Arian;
Heraclianus, who wrote against the
Manichaeans and the Monophysites;
Leo, persecuted by Alexius I Comnenus.
Greek and Catholic successions
The Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of
Chalcedon holds senior rank
(currently third position) within the Greek Orthodox patriarchal synod
of Constantinople. The incumbent is Metropolitan Athanasios Papas. The
cathedral is that of St. Euphemia.
After the Great Schism, the
Latin Church retained
Chalcedon as a
titular see with archiepiscopal rank., with known incumbents since
1356. Among the titular bishops named to this see were William Bishop
(1623–1624) and Richard Smith (1624–1632), who were appointed
vicars apostolic for the pastoral care of Catholics in England at a
time when that country had no Catholic diocesan bishops. Such
appointments ceased after the Second Vatican Council, leaving the
titular see vacant since 1967.
Chalcedon has been a titular archbishopric for two
Eastern Catholic churches, dioceses:
Antiochian Rite (established in 1922; vacant since 1958)
Armenian Catholic (Armenian Rite; established 1951, after two
incumbents suppressed in 1956)
Chalcedony cameo of
Titus head, 2nd Century AD
Euphemia (3rd century AD), Christian saint and martyr, patron saint of
Boethus (2nd century BC), Greek sculptor
Herophilos (2nd century BC), Greek physician
Phaleas of Chalcedon (4th century BC), Greek statesman
Thrasymachus (5th century BC), Greek sophist
Xenocrates (4th century BC), Greek philosopher
List of traditional Greek place names
^ "Chalcedon". Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc.
(accessed: September 21, 2008).
^ William Smith, LLD, ed. (1854). Dictionary of Greek and Roman
Geography. "Chalcedon"[permanent dead link].
^ Harper, Douglas. "Chalcedony". Online Etymology Dictionary.
^ Erika Zwierlein-Diehl: Antike Gemmen und ihr Nachleben. Berlin
(Verlag Walter de Gruyter) 2007, S. 307 (online)
^ Pliny. Nat. 5.32
^ Herodotus. Histories. 4.144.
^ Strabo (p. 320).
^ Pliny. Nat. 9.15
^ Herodotus. Histories. 4.85.)
^ Xenophon, Xen. Anab. 6.6, 38-Z1.
^ Strabo 1.597.
^ Appian. Mithrid. 71; Plut. Luc. 8.
^ Zosimus 1.34.
^ Ammian. 31.1, and the notes of Valesius.
^ Gibbon. Decline, &c. 100.46.
^ Michel Le Quien, Oriens christianus, I, 599.
^ In Anatolikos Aster XXX, 108.
^ In Echos d'Orient III, 85, 204; IV, 21, 104.
^ Sophrone Pétridès, "Chalcedon" in Catholic Encyclopedia (New York
^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013,
ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 855
Chalcedon (Titular See)
This article incorporates text from a publication now in
the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "article
name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John
Coordinates: 40°59′N 29°02′E / 40.983°N 29.033°E /
Ancient settlements in Turkey
Antioch on the Maeander
Apamea in Phrygia
Apollonia in Mysia
Laodicea on the Lycus
Magnesia ad Sipylus
Magnesia on the Maeander
Nysa on the Maeander
Stratonicea in Lydia
Stratonicea in Caria
Comana in the Pontus
Apollonia on the Rhyndax
Antioch on the Orontes
Antioch of Pisidia
Antioch on the Cragus
Antioch on the Pyramis
Aphrodisias of Cilicia
Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing
Comana in Cappadocia
Dalisandus in Isauria
Dalisandus in Pamphylia
Seleucia in Pamphylia
Antioch in the Taurus
Antioch in Mesopotamia
Apamea on the Euphrates
Seleucia at the Zeugma