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ANEMURIUM (Eski Anamur) later ISAURIA Rough Cilicia, Turkey.

On the E flank of Cape Anamur, southernmost point of Asia Minor, a mere 64 km from Cyprus. Historical references are few but its existence in Hellenistic times is certain (Livy 33.20). Tacitus mentions an abortive siege in A.D. 52 by the native Cietae (Ann. 12.55.2), and a similar threat from inland Isaurians probably accounts for the restoration of the seawall by Matronianus, Comes Isauriae in A.D. 382, mentioned in an inscription. A significant road station and port of call, Anemurium appears constantly in topographic works from Skylax to mediaeval portolans, which refer to it as Stallimur. The coin series extends from Antiochos IV of Commagene to Valerian, but the city's prosperity continued till the mid 7th c. when it was largely, if not wholly, abandoned, probably as a result of the Arab occupation of Cyprus. Sometime in the 12th c. the site was in part reoccupied and the citadel rebuilt as a stronghold of little Armenia, but evidence of a subsequent Seljuk or Ottoman presence is lacking.

The city is divided into an upper citadel and a lower town. The former occupies the actual cape, protected on three sides by steep cliffs and on the landward side by a wall with towers and zigzag reentrants. Both the fortifications and the structures within are of mediaeval date, but masonry of Hellenistic character is visible in places. Covering an area at least 1500 m long from N to S and 400 m wide, the lower town is bounded on the S by the fortification wall of the citadel, on the E by a seawall, still standing in places, and on the W by the higher of two aqueducts constructed on the slopes of the promontory. Only to the N, where the ruins lie buried in sand dunes, are the limits uncertain.

The most striking feature is the necropolis rising up the hillside in the NW quarter of the site. It consists of some 350 individual numbered tombs, dating from the 1st c. A.D. to the early 4th c. They were built in fairly coarse manner of local gray limestone; the interiors were decorated with painted plaster and mosaic. The simplest examples consist of barrel-vaulted chambers on stone platforms with arcosolia along three walls, but other types have developed well beyond this nucleus to incorporate anterooms, side-halls for funerary banquets, second stories, and small courtyards.

In the city proper the principal monuments still recognizable above ground are mainly at the S end of the city and include a large theater, an odeon-bouleuterion, an apsed exedra, perhaps belonging to a basilica, three large baths, and traces of a colonnaded street traversing the city from N to S. Since 1965 two of the baths and the odeon have been cleared and restored. Fine mosaic floors have appeared in both buildings and, most recently, in a palaestra attached to the largest baths. This consists of an open piazza almost 1000 sq m in extent, floored entirely with mosaic of geometric design. None of the structures so far studied in the city appears earlier than the late 2d c. A.D. Buildings of later date include several churches and a small, but well-preserved, bath with mosaic floor of complex design. Finds, for the most part Late Roman or Early Byzantine, are deposited in the Alanya Museum.


Annual reports in TürkArkDerg from 1965; E. Rosenbaum et al., A Survey of Coastal Cities in Western Cilicia (1967)MPI; E. Alföldi-Rosenbaum, The Necropolis of Anemurium (1971).


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  • Cross-references from this page (1):
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 33, 20
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