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Chalcedon ( or ; , sometimes transliterated as Chalkedon) was an ancient maritime town of Bithynia, in Asia Minormarker, almost directly opposite Byzantium, south of Scutarimarker (modern Üsküdar). Today, in modern Turkish, Chalcedon is called Kadıköymarker, and is a district of Istanbulmarker, Turkeymarker. The variant Calchedon ( ) is found on all the coins of Chalcedon as well as in manuscripts of Herodotus's Histories, Xenophon's Hellenica, Arrian's Anabasis and other works. Almost no vestiges of the ancient city survive above ground in Kadıköy today, although 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 Marmaramarker, near the mouth of the Bosphorusmarker. A stream, called the Chalcis or Chalcedon in antiquity and now known as the Kurbağalıdere, flows into Fenerbahçe bay. There Greek colonists from Megaramarker in Atticamarker founded the settlement of Chalcedon in 685 BC, some seventeen years before Byzantium.

The name of the mineral chalcedony is derived from that of this town.


The mound of Fikirtepe has yielded remains dating to the Chalcolithic period (5500-3500 BC) and attest to a continuous settlement since prehistoric times. Phoeniciansmarker 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 form of the harbour probably; and finally Caecorum Oppidum, or the town of the blind.

Megarian colony

Small silver jug from Chalcedon.
It was a Megarianmarker colony founded on a site that was viewed at the time as so obviously inferior to that which was within view on the opposite shore, that the Persian general Megabazus is said to have remarked that Chalcedon's founders must have been blind. Indeed, Strabo and Pliny relate that the oracle of Apollo had told the Athenians and Megarians who founded Byzantium to build their city opposite to the blind, and that the story was interpreted to mean Chalcedon, the 'City of the Blind'.

Chalcedon, however, was a flourishing town in which trade thrived. It contained many temples, including one of Apollo, which had an oracle. Chalcedonia, the territory dependent upon Chalcedon, stretched up the Anatolian bank of the Bosphorus at least as far as the temple of Zeus Urius, now the site of Yoros Castlemarker, and may have included the north bank of the Bay of Astacus which extends towards Nicomediamarker. Important villages in Chalcedonia included Chrysopolis (the modern Üsküdarmarker) and Panteicheion (Pendikmarker). Strabo notes that "a little above the sea" in Chalcedonia, there lies "the fountain Azaritia, which contains small crocodiles."

In its early history it shared the fortunes of Byzantium, was taken by the satrap Otanes, vacillated long between the Lacedaemonianmarker and the Athenianmarker interests. Darius' bridge of boats, built in 512 BC for the Scythian campaign, extended from Chalcedonia to Thrace.

Funerary stele from the 1st century BC.
Chalcedon was included within the kingdom of Bithynia, whose king Nicomedes willed Bithynia to the Romans upon his death in 74 BC.

Roman city

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 city.

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 suburb

Chalcedon suffered somewhat from its proximity to the new imperial capital at Constantinoplemarker. First the Byzantines and later the Ottoman Turks used it as a quarry for building materials for Constantinoplemarker's monumental structures. Chalcedon also fell repeatedly to armies attacking 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. The Council of Chalcedon defined the human and divine natures of Jesus and provoked the schism with the churches composing Oriental Orthodoxy.

The general Belisarius may have 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. Siege of Constantinople ). It later fell for a time to the Arabs under Yazid (cf. Siege of Constantinople ).

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.


The 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.

The last appointment to the Latin titular see of the Roman Catholic Church dates to 1967. Two seventeenth century titular bishops of Chalcedon were responsible for the Catholic Church in England (and Wales): William Bishop (1623-24) and Richard Smith (1624-32). The Armenian Catholic titular see has been suppressed. Its last occupant as also that of the Syrian Catholic titular see dates to the 1950s.

Notable people

See also


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