: Eth. Ἰκονιεύς
, or Koniyeh
), was regarded in the time of Xenophon (Xen. Anab. 1.2.19
) as the easternmost town of Phrygia, while all later authorities describe it as the principal city of Lycaonia. (Cic. Fam. 3.6
.) Strabo (xii. p.568
) calls it a πολίχνιον,
whence we must infer that it was then still a small place; but he adds that it was well peopled, and was situated in a fertile district of Lycaonia. Pliny (5.27
), however, and the Acts of the Apostles, describe it as a very populous city, inhabited by Greeks and Jews. Hence it would appear that, within a short period, the place had greatly risen in importance. In Pliny's time the territory of Iconium formed a tetrarchy comprising 14 towns, of which Iconium was the capital. On coins belonging to the reign of the emperor Gailienus, the town is called a Roman colony, which was, probably, only an assumed title, as no author speaks of it as a colony. Under the Byzantine emperors it was the metropolis of Lycaonia, and is frequently mentioned (Hierocl. p. 675); but it was wrested from them first by the Saracens, and afterwards by the Turks, who made it the capital of an empire, the sovereigns of which took the title of Sultans of Iconium. Under the Turkish dominion, and during the period of the Crusades, Iconium acquired its greatest celebrity.
It is still a large and populous town, and the residence of a pasha.
The place contains some architectural remains and inscriptions, but they appear almost all to belong to the Byzantine period. (Comp. Amm. Marc. 14.2
; Steph. B. sub voce Ptol. 5.6.16
; Leake, Asia Minor,
p. 48; Hamilton, Researches,
vol. ii. p. 205, fol. ; Eckhel, vol. iii. p. 31; Sestini, Geo. Num.
The name Iconium led the ancients to derive it from εἰκών,
which gave rise to the fable that the city derived its name from an image of Medusa, brought thither by Perseus (Eustath. ad Dionys. Per. 856
) ; hence Stephanus B. maintains that the name ought to be spelt Εἰκόνιον,
a form actually adopted by Eustathius and the Byzantine writers, and also found on some coins.