Arsamosata (Middle Persian *Aršāmšād; Old Persian *Ṛšāma-šiyāti-, Ancient Greek: Ἀρσαμόσατα, Armenian: Արշամաշատ, romanizedAršamašat) was an ancient city situated on the bank of the Murat River, near the present-day city of Elâzığ. It was founded in c. 240 BC by Arsames I,[1] the Orontid king of Sophene, Commagene and possibly Armenia.[2] The city served as a central center and royal residence of the Orontids of Sophene. The origin of its name was Persian, meaning "Joy of Arsames".[1] Naming cities such the "joy of" or "happiness of" was a Orontid (and later Artaxiad) practice that recalled the Achaemenid royal discourse.[3]

It was left and destroyed in the 1st century BC. In the Middle Ages it was called Ashmushat. In Roman and Byzantine times, it bore the names Armosota (Ἀρμόσοτα)[4] and Arsamosota (Ἀρσαμόσοτα).[5]

The conjectured location of the city is somewhere between Kharput (Xarberd) and Palu (Balu). It has also been identified as the abandoned settlement site known as Haraba, located some 60 km east of Elazig,[6] which is where modern scholars locate it.[7][8]

Much of that site now lies submerged under the waters of the Keban dam. It is not to be confused with Samosata.


No longer a residential bishopric, Arsamosata is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.[9][10]


  1. ^ a b Canepa 2018, p. 110.
  2. ^ Marciak 2017, p. 123.
  3. ^ Canepa 2021, p. 82.
  4. ^ Polybius. The Histories. Vol. 8.25.
  5. ^ Ptolemy. The Geography. Vol. 5.13.
  6. ^ T. A. Sinclair, "Eastern Turkey, an Architectural and Archaeological survey, volume 3, pages 112-115.
  7. ^ Lund University. Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire.
  8. ^ Richard Talbert, ed. (2000). Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World. Princeton University Press. p. 89, and directory notes accompanying.
  9. ^ Titular Episcopal See of Arsamosata,
  10. ^ [1],


  • Canepa, Matthew (2021). "Commagene Before and Beyond Antiochos I: Dynastic Identity, Topographies of Power and Persian Spectacular Religion". Common Dwelling Place of all the Gods: Commagene in its Local, Regional, and Global Context. Franz Steiner Verlag. pp. 71–103. ISBN 978-3515129251.
  • Canepa, Matthew (2018). The Iranian Expanse: Transforming Royal Identity Through Architecture, Landscape, and the Built Environment, 550 BCE–642 CE. Oakland: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520379206.
  • Marciak, Michał (2017). Sophene, Gordyene, and Adiabene: Three Regna Minora of Northern Mesopotamia Between East and West. BRILL. ISBN 9789004350724.
  • Michels, Christoph (2021). "'Achaemenid' and 'Hellenistic' Strands of Representation in the Minor Kingdoms of Asia Minor". Common Dwelling Place of all the Gods: Commagene in its Local, Regional, and Global Context. Franz Steiner Verlag. pp. 475–496. ISBN 978-3515129251.

  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Armosota". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.

Coordinates: 38°39′39″N 39°30′39″E / 38.6609°N 39.5109°E / 38.6609; 39.5109