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ANAZARBOS Cilicia Campestris, Turkey.

On the right bank of the Sumbas Çay, a tributary of the Ceyhan (Pyramos), ca. 40 km NE of Adana. Probably subject earlier in the 1st c. B.C. to the dynasty of Tarcondimotos, who ruled from Hieropolis Castabala, the city was refounded in 19 B.C., following a visit by Augustus, as Caesarea by Anazarbos. Such was its importance and subsequent prosperity that during the 3d c. it was the keen rival of Tarsus, the provincial metropolis, and it claimed the same grandiloquent honorific titles, even to the extent of naming Elagabalos in 221 as deiniurgus of the city. By way of revenge, Tarsus later chose Alexander Severus to hold the same office there. During the reorganization of the provinces under Diocletian, Anazarbos was confirmed as metropolis of Cilicia Secunda; but after a devastating earthquake in the 6th c. it was again refounded, this time as Justinianopolis. After its capture and occupation by the Arabs, Anazarbos (now renamed 'Ayn Zarba) was fortified in 796 by Harun-ar-Rashid; but the city was conquered for Byzantium by Nikephoros Phokas in his campaign of 962. Later, in the 12th c., the place was the temporary capital of the Kingdom of Little Armenia, and its life ended only with its fall to the Mainelukes in 1375.

The acropolis of Anazarbos, an imposing limestone outcrop ca. 200 m high, rises like an island out of the surrounding plain, and it was immediately at the foot of its precipitous W face that the walled city was founded. The lower Roman courses of these walls and their later mediaeval accretions are visible to this day. Outside the city, and less than a km S of it, is the elliptical amphitheater (part freestanding and part backing onto the crag), in which, according to the circumstantial and topographically accurate account in Acta Sanctorum, Tarachus, Probus, and Andronicus were martyred in the persecutions. NE of this amphitheater is the stadium with a central concrete spina and rock-cut terraces for spectators, a theater with a wide vista W over the plain, and an extensive necropolis. From behind the theater a rock stairway gives access to the summit of the crag on which stands the massively imposing fortress, nearly 1 km long from N to S, where the Byzantine and Armenian ramparts and military quarters stand in part on Roman foundations. Zeus, as the Storm-god, was certainly worshiped at Anazarbos; and as city coins exist with the god's bust against a fortress-crowned rock, a castle must have existed on the crag from Roman times at least. At the S end of the main street, which was flanked by continuous colonnades, is a magnificent triumphal arch of probable Severan date. On its S facade, each of three openings was emphasized by a pair of black granite columns, above which was a frieze of “peopled” acanthus scroll-work. To either side of the high central arch on the N facade was a niche for statuary.

N of the triumphal arch, the cardo is traceable for just under 1 km where it crosses the line of the probable decumanus, another street flanked by columns of reddish conglomerate. As in other Cilician and Syrian cities, some of the columns carry brackets, probably to support statuary. Some 220 m NW of the street crossing is a bath building of concrete faced with brick. From 450 m N of the probable limit of the mediaeval city wall, a fine aqueduct dedicated in A.D. 90 to Domitian by the people of Caesarea (Anazarbos) runs NW over the plain to the headwaters of the Sumbas Çay. E of arches farthest S is evidence of a huge decastyle Corinthian temple, very possibly the one featured on an Anazarbene coin of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus.


A. Wilhelm & R. Heberdey, JOAI (1915) 55-58; A.H.M. Jones, Cities of the Eastern Roman Provinces (2d ed. 1971); E. H. King, Journal Royal Central Asian Soc. 24 (1937) 234-36; M. Gough, “Anazarbus,” AnatSt. 2 (1952) 85-160; P. Verzone, “Anazarbus,” Palladio 1 (1957) 9-25.


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