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NEOCAESAREA (Niksar) Pontus, Turkey.

About 103 km inland by mountain road over the coastal range (Paryadres Mons), overlooking the plain of the Kelkit Çayi (Lycus fl.). This is probably the same site as Kabeira, a treasury and hunting lodge of Mithridates VI Eupator of Pontus, where Pompey in 64 B.C. founded the city of Diospolis. This was subsequently presented by Antony to Polemon I of Pontus, whose widow and successor Pythodoris made it her capital under the name Sebaste. The later name Neocaesarea may mark a refoundation by Nero when the Pontic kingdom was annexed to Galatia in A.D. 64-65. Neocaesarea remained the chief city of the region, being metropolis first of Pontus Polemonianus and then of Pontus Mediterraneus. In Diocletian's reorganization it was metropolis of Polemoniacus.

The site is dominated by a largely mediaeval castle, which crowns a long spur projecting S from the foothills of the Paryadres. Part of the walls may be Roman or earlier; and a rock-cut tunnel-stairway, like those at Amaseia, is certainly pre-Roman. Other mediaeval walls enclose the old Turkish town, which lies below the castle on the S, perhaps on the site of the Roman city. Earthquakes in A.D. 344 and 499 may well have destroyed most of the Roman walls and buildings.


J.G.C. Anderson, Studia Pontica I (1903) 56-59; F. & E. Cumont, Studia Pontica II (1906) 259-70.


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