A Greek city on the
N coast of the Black Sea, 5 km NE of Kerch. It was
founded by Ionian colonists in the mid 6th c. B.C. (Strab.
; Plin. HN
4.86-87; Ptol. Geog
. 6.1). In the 5th
c. the city issued its own coins, and a sanctuary temple
of Demeter dates to the 5th-4th c.
In 480 B.C. it became part of the monarchy of
Archeanaktides. In the 4th c. B.C. when the city was at
the height of its prosperity, it acquired a rampart and
its houses were built of stone and brick (remains of
monumental architecture, paved streets, water pipes).
Several great wine-making establishments flourished in
the 4th-3d c. B.C. Among the traces that have been uncovered are large cisterns, and stamped amphorae from
Rhodes, Sinope, Chidos, Chersonesus, and Thasos. Attic
wares predominate from the 4th B.C. on (red-figured
bowls, West Slope, etc.), the pottery of Rhodes,
Alexandria, and Pergamon being the most plentiful in
the Hellenistic period. Terracottas were imported mainly
from Myrina and Amissos; here the figures of Demeter
and Kybele and the great masks of Dionysos are most
frequently found. The coins are predominantly Bosporan.
From the 3d c. B.C. on the city declined, reviving only
in the Early Roman period; it never regained its former
prosperity. Its final decline dates from the end of the
1st B.C., and it was laid waste by the Huns in the 4th c.
Among the most noteworthy finds are a terracotta
statuette of Kybele (0.58 m) and a marble Roman
sarcophagus with scenes from the legend of Achilles
found near the city. The Hermitage Museum and the
Warsaw National Museum contain material from the
V. F. Gaidukevich, “Bosporskie goroda
Tiritaka i Mirmekii na Kerchenskom poluostrove (Po
raskopkam 1932-1936 gg.),” VDI
(1937) 1.216-39; id.
et al., “Raskopki severnoi i zapadnoi chastei Mirmekiia
v 1934 g.,” Arkheologicheskie pamiatniki Bospora
[Materialy i issledovaniia po arkheologii
SSSR, No. 4] (1941) 110-48; id. & M. I. Maksimova,
eds., Bosporskie goroda
, I: Itogi arkheologicheskikh issledovanii Tiritaki i Mirmekiia v 1935-1940 gg
. [Materialy i issledovaniia po arkheologii SSSR, No. 25]
(1952); id., “Raskopki Tiritaki i Mirmekiia v 1946-1952
gg.,” Bosporskie goroda
, II [Materialy i issledovaniia po
arkheologii SSSR, No. 85] (1958) 185-218; A. L.
Mongait, Archaeology in the USSR
, tr. M. W. Thompson (1961) 193-94; id., “Mirmekiiskie zol'niki-eskhary,”
103 (1965) 28-37; C. M. Danoff, Pontos
(1962) 1124-26 = RE
Suppl. IX; E. Belin de
Ballu, L'Histoire des Colonies grecques du Littoral nord
de la Mer Noire
(1965) 132-34; I. B. Brašinskij,
“Recherches soviétiques sur les monuments antiques des
régions de la Mer Noire,” Eirene
7 (1968) 99.
M. L. BERNHARD & Z. SZTETYŁŁO