: Eth. Σελγεύς
), an important city in Pisidia, on the southern slope of Mount Taurus, at the part where the river Eurymedon forces its way through the mountains towards the south.
The town was believed to be a Greek colony, for Strabo (xii. p.520
) states that it was founded by Lacedaemonians, but adds the somewhat unintelligible remark that previously it had been founded by Calchas (Comp. Plb. 5.76
; Steph. B. sub voce
Dion. Per. 858).
The acropolis of Selge bore the name of Cesbedium (Κεσβέδιον;
) The district in which the town was situated was extremely fertile, producing abundance of oil and wine, but the town itself was difficult of access, being surrounded by precipices and beds of torrents flowing towards the Eurymedon and Cestrus, and requiring bridges to make them passable.
In consequence of its excellent laws and political constitution, Selge rose to the rank of the most powerful and populous city of Pisidia, and at one time was able to send an army of 20,000 men into the field. Owing to these circumstances, and the valour of its inhabitants, for which they were regarded as worthy kinsmen of the Lacedaemonians, the Selgians were never subject to any foreign power, but remained in the enjoyment of their own freedom and independence. When Alexander the Great passed through Pisidia, the Selgians sent an embassy to him and gained his favour and friendship. (Arrian, Arr. Anab. 1.28
At that time they were at war with the Telmissians.
At the period when Achaeus had made himself master of Western Asia, the Selgians were at war with Pednelissus, which was besieged by them; and Achaeus, on the invitation of Pednelissus, sent a large force against Selge.
After a long and vigorous siege, the Selgians, being betrayed and despairing of resisting Achaeus any longer, sent deputies to sue for peace, which was granted to them on the following terms: they agreed to pay immediately 400 talents, to restore the prisoners of Pednelissus, and after a time to pay 300 talents in addition. (Plb. 5.72
.) We now have for a long time no particulars about the history of Selge; in the fifth century of our era Zosimus (5.15) calls it indeed a little town, but it was still strong enough to repel a body of Goths.
It is strange that Pliny does not notice Selge, for we know from its coins that it was still a flourishing town in the time of Hadrian; and it is also mentioned in Ptolemy (5.5.8
) and Hierocles (p. 681). Independently of wine and oil, the country about Selge was rich in timber, and a variety of trees, among which the storax was much valued from its yielding a strong perfume. Selge was also celebrated for an ointment prepared from the iris root. (Strab. l.c.; Plin. Nat. 12.55
; comp. Liv. 35.13
.) Sir C. Fellows (Asia Minor,
p. 171, foll.) thinks that he has discovered the ruins of Selge about 10 miles to the north-east of the village of Booják.
They are seen on a lofty promontory “now presenting magnificent wrecks of grandeur.” “I rode,” says Sir Charles, “at least 3 miles through a part of the city, which was one pile of temples, theatres, and buildings, vying with each other in splendour. . . . .
The material of these ruins had suffered much from the exposure to the elements, being grey with a lichen which has eaten into the marble, and entirely destroyed the surface and inscriptions; but the scale, the simple grandeur, and the uniform beauty of style bespoke its date to be the early Greek.
The sculptured cornices frequently contain groups of figures fighting, wearing helmets and body-armour, with shields and long spears; from the ill-proportioned figures and general appearance, they must rank in date with the Aegina marbles.
The ruins are so thickly strewn, that little cultivation is practicable; but in the areas of theatres, cellas of temples, and any space where a plough can be used, the wheat is springing up.
The general style of the temples is Corinthian, but not so florid as in less ancient towns.
The tombs are scattered for a mile from the town, and are of many kinds, some cut in chambers in face of the rock, others sarcophagi of the heaviest form; they have had inscriptions, and the ornaments are almost all martial; several seats remain among the tombs. I can scarcely guess the number of temples or columned buildings in the town, but I certainly traced fifty or sixty.... Although apparently unnecessary for defence, the town has had strong walls, partly built with large stones in the Cyclopean mode.... I never conceived so high an idea of the works of the ancients as from my visit to this place, standing as it does in a situation, as it were, above the world.” It is to be regretted that it was impossible by means of inscriptions or coins to identify this place with the ancient Selge more satisfactorily. (Comp. Von Hammer, in the Wiener Jahrbücher,
vol. cvi. p. 92.)
|COIN OF SELGE.|
] [p. 2.956]