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ANCYRA (Ankara) Galatia, Turkey.

The chief city of the Roman province of Galatia, in central Asia Minor. Its legendary founder was King Midas, but it does not appear in the historical record until the time of Alexander the Great. Until Galatia became a Roman province in 25 B.C., Ancyra remained comparatively insignificant although its commercial importance increased as that of the old Phrygian capital, Gordion, diminished. Throughout the period of the Roman Empire the city flourished, and its importance continued during the Byzantine era when the city was strongly fortified against invasions from the East.

Most of the Roman city has been destroyed by modern Ankara, but some monuments have survived, notably the Temple of Rome and Augustus, the Roman baths and palaestra, and the “Column of Julian.”

The temple was octostyle pseudodipteral, with 15 columns down the flanks, four detached columns in front of the pronaos, and two between the antae of the opisthodomos. Only the core of the building still stands, preserved through its later use as a church when the opisthodomos was converted into an apse. The walls of the pronaos carry the Latin text of the Res Gestae Divi Augusti and the S cella wall the Greek, complete except for some areas of damage. Another important inscription, the list of high priests of the koinon of Galatia under Tiberius, stands on the left-hand anta of the pronaos. It has been maintained that the temple was originally dedicated to the god Mên and dates to the middle of the 2d c. B.C., but for both architectural and historical reasons an Augustan date is preferable.

The Roman baths lie to the W of the temple near the site of the old Turkish city gate leading to Çankiri (now destroyed). The baths stood behind a palaestra that was surrounded by a colonnaded portico. Although little of the superstructure survives, the hypocausts and much of the substructure have been excavated and restored. The baths were dated by the excavators to the time of Caracalla, and are notable for their size and for the number of hot rooms, which the city's winter climate made desirable. The palaestra serves as a depot for the inscriptions and architectural fragments from Roman and Byzantine Ancyra. Beside it is a Byzantine burial chamber, decorated with painted frescos. This was excavated near the railway station and re-erected on its present site. The “Column of Julian” stands alone between the baths and the temple. Its attribution to the reign of Julian is uncertain although it is clearly of late Roman date.

The most striking remnant of ancient Ancyra is the Byzantine citadel. The inner fortifications were possibly built ca. A.D. 630 after the city had been recaptured by the emperor Heraclius from Chosroes II. It was restored on several occasions, most notably by the emperor Michael III in A.D. 859. At some undetermined date the outer fortifications were added. The walls are largely built from the debris of the Roman city and are full of architectural pieces and inscriptions. The most impressive section is the W wall of the inner fortification where the regular, closely spaced, pentagonal towers give the profile of the blade of a giant saw.

Ancyra's archaeological museums, the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations and the Museum of the Middle East Technical University, contain little from the Roman or Byzantine period but are chiefly of interest to Classical archaeologists for their very rich collections of Phrygian material.


G. de Jerphanion, “Mélanges d'Archéologie Anatolienne,” Méanges de l'Université St-Joseph 13 (1928) ch. XII-XVPI; E. Mamboury, Ankara, Guide Touristique (1934)MP; D. Krencker & M. Schede, Der Tempel in Ankara (1936), reviewed by E. Wiegand, Gnomon 13 (1937) 414-22; N. Dolunay, “Türk Tarih Kurumu yapilan Çankirikapi hafriyati,” Belleten 5 (1941) 261-66; E. Bosch, Quellen zur Geschichte der Stadt Ankara im Altertum (1967); M. Akok, “Ankara Şehrindeki Roma hamami,” Türk Arkeoloji Dergisi 17 (1968) 537PI.


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