(Ereğli) Pontus, Turkey.
A natural haven on the S coast of the Black Sea (Pontos
Euxeinos), the first of any importance E of the Bosporus.
Herakleia was a Megarian colony founded ca. 558 B.C.
in Mariandynian territory on the E margin of Bithynia.
It founded colonies of its own in the late 6th c. at Kallatis and Chersonnesos on the opposite shore of the Euxine, as well as emporia along the coast W towards the
Bosporus. In addition, it established a small land empire by reducing the Mariandynoi to helotage and subjecting the small Greek cities of Sesamos, Tios, and
Kieros. In the early 3d c. B.C. this subject territory seceded, but was restored to Herakleia ca. 278 B.C. by
Nikomedes I of Bithynia. In the early 2d c. this same
territory was lost to Prousias I of Bithynia, though
Herakleia itself was still independent when Bithynia was
annexed by Rome in 74 B.C. It proceeded to slaughter
a group of Roman publicani and submitted to Mithridates VI Eupator of Pontus, but was captured by Cotta
and devastated in 70 B.C. In Pompey's settlement of the
joint province of Bithynia-Pontus (64 B.C.), Herakleia
was transferred from the Bithynian to the Pontic portion
and was henceforth known as Herakleia in Pontus. A
colony was established there by Julius Caesar, and the
remainder of the city presented by Antony to a Galatian
prince, Adiatorix, who massacred the coloni and was
removed by Octavian. Under the Empire Herakleia became metropolis of the coastal cities of Pontus.
Herakleia's mythical founder Herakles was said to
have reached the underworld through a cavern on Baba
Burnu (Acherousia pr.), a headland 2 km NW of Ereğli.
The harbor, praised by Strabo (12.542
), lay close in
under this headland, which protected it from NE storms.
There were two moles, and the lighthouse, known from
coins, presumably stood (like its modern counterpart)
on the tip of Baba Burnu. The Greek city lay on the
flat ground beside the harbor, with a citadel rising on
the SE side. All but one short length of the walls has
disappeared, as has the Roman temple seen by Ainsworth. The area of the harbor and much of the Greek
city are made inaccessible by a Turkish naval base; and
the citadel, similarly, by a Turkish shore battery. The
modern town, on the S and W slopes of the citadel hill,
contains many Roman and Byzantine inscribed and
sculptured stones, but its walls are mediaeval. It is not
clear whether the Roman city lay here or on the site
of the original Greek colony. Farther SE another Roman
temple was visited by Ainsworth and von Diest, and an
aqueduct was visible to Perrot. The amphitheater (shown
on coins) has not been located.
W. F. Ainsworth, Travels and Researches in Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Chaldea, and Armenia
(1842) I 38-41; G. Perrot et al., Exploration Archéologique de la Galatie
. . . (1872) 15; W. von
Diest, “Von Pergamon über den Dindymos zum Pontus,”
20 (1889) suppl. vol. XX 79-81; K. Lehmann-Hartleben, “Die antiken Hafenanlagen des Mittelmeeres,”
suppl. 14 (=NF 1) (1923) 130-31; W. Hoepfner,
(1966 = Oesterr Ak. der Wiss.
, Bd. 89).
D. R. WILSON