(Trabzon) Pontus, Turkey.
the S coast of the Black Sea (Pontos Euxeinos), it was the
N terminus of a trade route leading over the Zigana
Pass from Armenia and the Euphrates, and the first
Greek city to be reached by the Ten Thousand in 400
B.C. (Xen. Anab. 5.5.10
). The foundation date given
by Eusebius, 756-755 B.C., may refer to an early emporium in Colchian territory; if so, this was subsequently
refounded (after 630 B.C.?) by Sinope, to whom Trapezous paid annual tribute. The city was added to the Pontic
kingdom by Mithridates VI Eupator, and under Polemon II, if not before, it became the depot of the royal
fleet. When the kingdom was annexed to Galatia as
Pontus Polemonianus (A.D. 64-65), Polemon's fleet became the nucleus of the Roman classis Pontica, and Trapezous assumed increasing importance as a supply port for the Euphrates frontier. It was, nevertheless, still a
harborless roadstead when visited by Hadrian (ca. A.D.
131), and it was described by Arrian at that period as
culturally backward (Perip.P.E
. 1.2 Roos). A harbor was
built by Hadrian. The city was sacked by the Goths ca.
A.D. 257 and was slow to recover. Legio I Pontica was
based there in the Late Empire. The Byzantine period
saw the old trade route regain importance, and in the
8th- 10th c. Trapezous was a major commercial center.
The Empire of Trebizond, established 1204, fell to the
Turks in 1461.
The walled city, on a coastal ridge at the foot of the
Pontic mountains (Paryadres Mons), is cut off on E
and W by two parallel steep-sided ravines. Some sectors
of the walls rest on Hellenistic masonry, but most of the
fabric is Byzantine. Below the citadel two moles of large
undressed blocks are the only traces of Hadrian's harbor. In a suburb E of the citadel and S of the modern
harbor the Church of Panaghia Theoskepastos occupies
the site of a probable mithraeum.
F. & E. Cumont, Studia Pontica
(1906) 363-71; K. Lehmann-Hartleben, “Die antiken
Hafenanlagen des Mittelmeeres,” Klio
(1923) suppl. 14
(= NF 1) 199P
D. R. WILSON