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TRA´PEZUS (Τραπεζοῦς: Eth. Τραπεζούντιος: now Tarabosan or Trebizond), an important city on the coast of Pontus, on the slope of a hill, 60 stadia to the east of Hermonassa, in the territory of the Macrones (Anon. Peripl. P. E. p. 13), was a colony founded by the Sinopians, who formed many establishments on this coast. (Xenoph. Anab. 4.8.22; Arrian, Peripl. P. E. pp. 1, 3, 6; Scylax, p. 33.) It derived its name probably from its form, being situated on an elevated platform, as it were a table above the sea; though the town of Trapezus in Arcadia pretended to be the mother-city of Trapezus in Pontus (Paus. 8.27. ¡ì 4). Trapezus was already a flourishing town when Xenophon arrived there on his memorable retreat; and he and his men were most hospitably treated by the Trapezuntians. (Xen. Anab. 5.5. 10) At that time the Colchians were still in possession of the territory, but it afterwards was occupied by the Macrones. The real greatness of Trapezus, however, seems to have commenced under the dominion of the Romans. Pliny (6.4) calls it a free city, a distinction which it had probably obtained front Pompey during his war against Mithridates. In the reign of Hadrian, when Arrian visited it, it was the most important city on the south coast of the Euxine, and Trajan had before made it the capital of Pontus Cappadocicus, and provided it with a larger and better harbour. (Arrian, Peripl. P. E. p. 17; comp. Tac. Ann. 13.39, Hist. 3.47; Pomp. Mela, 1.19; Strab. vii. pp. 309, 320, xi. p. 499, xii. p. 548; Steph. B. sub voce Henceforth it was a strongly fortified commercial town; and although in the reign of Gallienus it was sacked and burnt by the Goths (Zosim. 1.33; Eustath. ad Dion. Per. 687), it continued to be in such excellent condition, that in the reign of Justinian it required but few repairs. (Procop. de Aed. 3.7.) From the Notitia Imperil (100.27) we learn that Trapezus was the station of the first Pontian legion and its staff. Some centuries later a branch of the imperial house of the Comneni declared themselves independent of the Greek Empire, and made Trapezus the seat of their principality. This small principality maintained its independence even for some time after the fall of Constantinople; but being too weak to resist the overwhelming power of the Turks, it was obliged, in A.D. 1460, to submit to Mohammed II., and has ever since that time been a Turkish town. (Chalcond. ix. p. 263, foll.; Due. 45; comp. Gibbon, Decline, c. xlviii. foll.) The port of Trapezus, called Daphnus, was formed by the acropolis, which was built on a rock running out into the sea. (Anon. Peripl. P. E. p. 13.) The city of Trebizond is still one of the most flourishing commercial cities of Asia Minor, but it contains no ancient remains of any interest, as most of them belong to the period of the Lower Empire. (Tournefort, Voyage au Levant, iii., lettre 17, p. 79, foll; Fontanier, Voyages dans l'Orient, p. 17--23; Hamilton's Researches, i. p. 240.) The coins of Trapezus all belong to the imperial period, and extend from the reign of Trajan to that of Philip. (Eckhel, 1.2. p. 358; Sestini, p. 60.)


hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.27
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 5.5.10
    • Tacitus, Annales, 13.39
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 6.4
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