A titular see of Syria Secunda, suffragan of Apamea. Hamath was the capital of a Canaanite kingdom ( 2 Kings 23:33 ; 24:21 ) whose king, Thou, congratulated David on his victory over the king of Soba ( 2 Samuel 8:9-11 ; 1 Chronicles 13:9-11 ). Solomon, it would seem took possession of Hamath and its territory ( 1 Kings 4:21-24 ; 2 Chronicles 8:4 ). Amos (vi, 2) calls the town "Hamath the Great". The Assyrians took possession of it in the seventh century B.C. At the time of the Macedonian conquest it was given the name Epiphania, no doubt in honour of Antiochus Epiphanes. Aquila and Theodoretus call it Emath-Epiphania. It is as Epiphania that it is best known in ecclesiastical documents. Lequien (Oriens Christianus, II, 915-918) mentions nine Greek bishops of Epiphania. The first of them, whom he calls Mauritius, is the Manikeios whose signature appears in the Council of Nicaea (Gelzer, "Patrum Nicaenorum Nomina", p. lxi). Conquered by the Arabs in 639, the town regained its ancient name, and has since retained it, under the form Hamah, meaning a fortress.
Tancred took it in 1108, but in 1115 the Franks lost it definitively. The Arab geographer, Yakout (1148-1229), was born there. The modern Hamah is a town of 45,000 inhabitants, prettily situated on the Orontes. It is the residence of a Mutessarif, depending on Damascus. The main portion of the population is Mussulman ; but there are about 10,000 Christians of various rites. It has two Catholic archbishops, a Greek Melchite and a Syrian, the one residing at labroud, the other at Homs, reuniting the titles of Homs (Emesus) and Hamah (Missiones Catholicae, 781-804) The Orthodox Greeks have a bishop of their own for either see. The modern town is without interest, the main curiosity of the place being the norias used for watering the gardens.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online