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A titular see in Asia Minor. The city was founded by Alexander the Great under the name of Nicephorium, and restored by Seleucus Callinicus, King of Syria (246-225 B.C.), who gave his name to it. In the fifth century of our era it was refortified by Emperor Leo I, after which it was commonly known to Byzantine geographers as Callinicus or Leontopolis, being mentioned by Hierocles and Georgius Cyprius among others. Two famous battles were fought on the broad surrounding plain, one in 531 between Belisarius and the Persians, the other in 583 between the Persians and Mauritius. Callinicus was a suffragan of Edessa, the metropolis of Osrhoene. Four bishops are mentioned by Lequien (II, 696); Paul, deposed in 519 as a Monophysite, translated into Syriac so many Greek works that he is called by the Jacobites "the interpreter of books". The patriarch Michael the Syrian mentions twenty Jacobite bishops of Callinicus from the eighth to the thirteenth century (Revue de l'Orient chrétien, VI, 1901, 193). Eubel (I, 333, note 2) mentions a Latin titular in 1369. Callinicus is to-day Raqqah (Rakka), nine miles west of the confluence of the rivers Belik (Bilichus) and Euphrates, the centre of a caza in the vilayet of Aleppo, the population consisting chiefly of wandering tribes. It contains about 2000 tents. On its rich plain are pastured many camels and Arab thoroughbred horses, but the vicinity is not very safe.
SMITH, Dict. of Greek and Roman Geography (London, 1878), s.v. Nicephorium, II, 424.