City on the isthmus
of a peninsula in the middle of the S coast of the Black
Sea, W of the mouth of the Halys, the earliest colony
that Miletos founded in the Pontos (Xen., An
; Strab. 12.545
). Eusebios (Chron
records that Sinope was twice colonized, in 756 and 630
B.C., but 8th c. Greek colonization in the Pontos is unlikely. The oldest find is an aryballos of Middle Corinthian type of the beginning of the 6th c. or ca. 600 B.C.
at the earliest, suggesting that the second date, 630 B.C.,
may be accepted. Excavations in other Greek cities of
the Pontos, such as Olbia (Borysthenes), Istria, and
Apollonia Pontica, have yielded nothing earlier than the
last quarter of the 7th c., and it has also been pointed
out that the Greeks were first in a position to colonize
the Black Sea about 700, when they began to build
The excavations also yielded Phrygian vases of the
late type, dating from the second quarter of the 6th c.,
indicating that when the Greeks came to Sinope they
found native peoples (Paphlagonians?) at least partly
mixed with Phrygians. There is, however, no evidence
of Assyrian colonization (Ps. Skymnos 94ff) or Kimmerian occupation (Hdt. 4.12
A large number of 6th-4th c. Greek vases from the
necropolis are now in the museums of Ankara, Kastamonu, and Sinop, and much of the Achaemenid metalwork
on the black market seems to have come from there.
Late archaic gravestones have also been found, and the
remains of a Hellenistic temple with altar and surrounding colonnades.
Sinope flourished as the port of a caravan route (Hdt.
; 2.34) between the Euphrates and the Black Sea
from the 6th to the 4th c., and issued its own coinage
as early as the 6th c. Kotyora, Kerasos, and Trapezos
were its colonies, and among its exports was red sulfate
of arsenic from Cappadocia, called Sinopic red earth
). It escaped Persian domination until
the early 4th c., and in 183 B.C. it was captured by
Pharnakes I and became capital of the Pontic kingdom.
It was conquered by Lucullus in 70 B.C., and Julius Caesar established a Roman colony, Colonia Julia Felix, in
47. Mithradates Eupator was born and buried here, and
it was the birthplace of Diogenes, of Diphilos, poet and
actor of the New Attic comedy, and of the historian Baton.
D. Robinson, Ancient Sinope
III A 1 (1927) 252-55; L. Robert, Etudes
(1937) 259-300; R. M. Cook, JHS
(1946) 76ff; R. Carpenter, “The Greek Penetration of the
Black Sea,” AJA
52 (1948) 1-10; E. Akurgal, “Zwei
Grabstelen vor klassischer Zeit aus Sinope,” 111 Winckelmanns-Programm
(1955); id. & L. Budde, Vorläufiger
Bericht über die Ausgrabungen in Sinope
“Eine Tierkampfgruppe aus Sinope,” Antike Plastik