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DIOCAESAREA (Uzuncaburç) Cilicia, Turkey.

Originally the hieron of Olba, the town around the temple was incorporated as a separate city, whose first known coins were minted under Domitian but whose foundation may have dated from ca. A.D. 72 when Vespasian made one province of Cilicia. The city's history, subsequent to its separation, is virtually unknown. It may also have been known by the native name of Prakana.

The temple town is located 23 km inland at a height of 1000 m on an ancient road, paved in Roman times, which led N from Seleucia ad Calycadnum, and from the temple NW to modern Mağara (Kirobaşi), thence probably W to Claudiopolis (Mut) and over the Tauros to Laranda (Karaman). There are heroa along the road, those around Imbriogōn Komē perhaps belonging to Seleucia, one grave tower at Ovacik, ca. 9 km S-SE of Uzuncaburç, probably to Olba or Diocaesarea. Guarding the road about halfway up to the temple are watch towers and behind them a fort (Meydan Kalesi), probably built in the Hellenistic period to defend the territory of Olba. Diocaesarea and Olba are connected by a road marked by Roman milestones, the earliest dating from A.D. 75-76, others from 197 and ca. 308. How the two cities were separated and what area each controlled is not known. On imperial coinage both claimed to be metropolis of the Kennateis, apparently the name of the local tribe. Both also claimed to be metropolis of Cetis, probably Rough Cilicia, referring to the time when Olba was capital of the country, then called Pirindu.

The city lies in a flat area among low hills. It was walled, its area roughly oval in shape, ca. 700 m E-W, 500 m N-S. Houses of the modern town are scattered around the site. The most conspicuous remains are those of the temple and a great tower. The priests of the Temple of Zeus at Olba claimed that the temple was founded by Ajax, the son of Teucer, the hero of the Trojan war, who founded Salamis in Cyprus. At present there is no evidence to confirm or deny early settlement of any sort in this upland area, or an early shrine on this spot. The temple, the earliest datable monument in the city, is peripteral, Corinthian in style, the stylobate 33.70 x 21.20 m, 6 x 12 columns, all of which save three are standing at least in part, four with capitals in position. The columns are faceted to about one-quarter of their height, fluted above. Nothing remains of the interior walls, although in 1958 the krepis of the temple was cleared and apparently revealed something of the interior arrangement. In Christian times the temple was converted to a church, the columns tied with a wall, and the two central columns of the E end removed to give space for an apse. A high peribolos wall of regular ashlar masonry surrounds the temple except on the E. Cuttings for the roof beams of a porch can be seen along the inner face of the W peribolos wall. Here an inscription records the repair by a later priest of the roof (or dwelling) of Zeus Olbios, first built by Seleucus Nicator. What building is referred to is not clear. A date of the early 3d c. B.C. has generally been agreed on for the temple but the mid 2d c. has been suggested on stylistic grounds. The temple was dedicated to Zeus, the Greek version of the native weather god, to whom the sanctuary was no doubt originally dedicated. A coin of Septimius Severus minted at Diocaesarea (Hill, BMCCat, Lycaonia . . . , 72, pl. 12, 14) shows a bucranium in the pediment, Nikai (?) as acroteria.

At the N edge of the city wall is a great tower of regular ashlar masonry, not quite preserved to the top, ca. 22.5 m high, about 12 x 16 m at the base, of S or 6 stories, divided into various rooms. There is a door on the S side, and on the E a window with balcony on the third floor. An inscription of the late 3d or early 2d c. B.C. records its building by the priest Teucer, son of Tarkyaris. Conspicuous inscriptions record a repair, possibly of the 3d c. A.D. Nothing more of the Hellenistic city remains in place.

In the 1st c. A.D. the main streets were colonnaded. One runs E-W along the N wall of the temple peribolos, with many of the columns still standing. Across the street just E of the temple are the remains of an ornamental gateway consisting of two parallel rows, each of six columns, supporting an entablature. Five at the S end are still standing. The central intercolumniation was spanned by an arch continuing the line of the entablature. The columns are unfluted, with Corinthian capitals, and have consoles to support statues protruding from them. At the W end of the street, near the city wall, are the remains of a tychaion. A row of six unfluted, monolithic, granite columns with Corinthian capitals, of which five still remain, stands at the E end of a long, narrow platform, at the W end of which is a square cella, open to the E, nearly 34 m away from the row of columns, which has an architrave. The inscription on it, dating to the second half of the 1st c. A.D., records the donation of the tychaion to the city. East of the tychaion a colonnaded street (no columns standing) leads N to a well preserved triple arched gate in the city wall. On this is an inscription recording a complete repair (of the wall as well as the gate?) under Arcadius and Honorius (A.D. 398-405). The gate is probably of the 2d c. A.D.

The remains of the theater are to the E of the temple, just S of the E-W street. The cavea is dug into the hill; a considerable number of seats, a diazoma, and vomitorium are preserved. No remains of the scene building are visible in place, but an architrave block probably from the proscenium has an inscription to Lucius and Marcus Verus, dated A.D. 164-65, perhaps the date of the theater. The most noteworthy of the other remains in the city is a long rectangular building of the Roman period, perhaps a gymnasium, S of the temple. Outside the city, crowning a round hill ca. 1 km to the S is a grave tower, square in plan with shallow pilasters at the corners, Doric capitals and entablature, and a stepped pyramid above. This is generally considered to be the tomb of one of the priests of the Hellenistic period.

Outside the city wall along the ancient road leading to Mağara, and along a road leading NE from the city are extensive cemeteries with rock-cut tombs and sarcophagi of the Roman and Christian periods. Besides the temple church there are the remains of two other churches, one of the 4th or 5th c.


Strab. 14.5.10; J. T. Bent, “Cilician Symbols,” CR 4 (1890) 321-22; id., “A Journey in Cilicia Tracheia,” JHS 12 (1891) 221; E. L. Hicks, “Inscriptions from Western Cilicia,” JHS 12 (1891) 262-69; R. Heberdey & A. Wilhelm, Reisen in Kilikien, DenkschrWien, Phil-Hist. Kl. 44, 6 (1896) 84-89; E. Herzfeld, AA 24 (1909) 434-50; J. Keil & A. Wilhelm, “Vorlaufiger Bericht über eine Reise in Kilikien,” JOAI 18 (1915) 34-42; id., Denkmäler aus dem Rauhen Kilikien, MAMA III (1931) 44-79MPI; Y. Voysal, Uzuncaburç ve Ura, Milli Eğitim Bakaliği, Eski Eserler ye Müzerler Genel, Müdürlüğü Yayinlardan, ser. 1 vol. 15 (1963)P; T. S. MacKay, “Olba in Rough Cilicia,” Diss. 1968MI; C. Börker, “Die Datierung des Zeus-temples von Olba-Diokaesereia,” AA 86 (1971) 37-54I.


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