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CORACE´SIUM (Κορακήσιον), Strabo's boundary on the coast of Asia Minor between Pamphylia and Cilicia. [CILICIA p. 617.] At Aláya, which is the site of Coracesium, begins the mountainous coast which extends eastward to Cape Cavalière. A mountain a little east of Aláya, and near the coast, is marked 4800 feet high in Beaufort's map. “The promontory of Aláya (Coracesium) rises abruptly [p. 1.668]from a low sandy isthmus, which is separated from the mountains by a broad plain; two of its sides are cliffs of great height, and absolutely perpendicular; and the eastern side, on which the town is placed, is so steep that the houses seem to rest on each other: in short, it forms a natural fortress that might be rendered impregnable; and the numerous walls and towers prove how anxiously its former possessors laboured to make it so.” (Beaufort's Karamania, p. 172.) “The bay is open to southerly winds, the anchorage indifferent, and there is no harbour or pier.” (Beaufort.) Beaufort supposes that there may, however, have been a mole constructed here, but circumstances prevented him from examining into that matter. The cliffs at Aláya are from 500 to 600 feet above the sea, and their perpendicular direction is continued for 60 or 70 feet below it. They are of compact white limestone, “tinged by a red dross on the outside.” On the summit of the hill there are the remains of a Cyclopian wall, and a few broken columns; but no Greek inscriptions were discovered.

Strabo's brief description of Coracesium (p. 668) agrees with the facts. The natural strength of this position, a lofty and almost insulated rock, resembling Gibraltar, will explain its historical importance. Antiochus, king of Syria, was occupied with the siege of Coracesium when the Rhodians sent him the message which is mentioned by Livy (33.20). It was the only place on the Cilician coast that had not submitted to him. The rebel Tryphon afterwards maintained himself for some time at Coracesium. [CILICIA p. 621.] The pirates of Cilicia, against whom the Romans sent Cn. Pompeius, kept their plunder in the strong places of the Taurus, but their naval station was Coracesium, where with their fleet they awaited the attack of the Roman admiral, who defeated them. (Plut. Pomp. 100.28.) “In the old maps Aláya is called Castel Ubaldo, which may possibly have been the name given to it by the Venetians and Genoese, when in possession of this and other strongholds upon the Caramanian coast, but there is no recollection of the name in this country at present.” (Leake, Asia Minor, p. 126.)


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