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SELEUCIA AD CALYCADNUM (Silifke) Rough Cilicia, Turkey.

A city founded by Seleucus Nicator, probably between 296 and 280 B.C. after his seizure of Cilicia, and for which he brought inhabitants from Holmi, a nearby port. It is said to have been known as Hyria or Olbia before Seleucus' foundation. Situated on the right bank of the Calycadnus (Gök Su), which was navigable up to the city in Strabo's time, Seleucia lies at the seaward end of a route to the interior of Asia Minor which either followed the modern car road up the Calycadnus to Claudiopolis (Mut) or led inland to Uzuncaburç and then NW and W over the mountains to Claudiopolis and thence to Laranda. The extent of its territory is unknown but must have included the rich delta of the Calycadnus. How it weathered the 3d c. Ptolemaic-Seleucid fighting is not known, or the infighting among the Seleucids in the 2d and 1st c. B.C. The city seems to have remained independent while most of the rest of Rough Cilicia was divided among Rome's protégés and client kings, before the formation of one province of Cilicia in ca. A.D. 72. In the 4th c. it was metropolis of Isauria. It dwindled from the 15th c. to the 1880s when it revived as a port and market center.

Above the city to the W is a steep conical hill crowned by a well-preserved Armenian castle built largely of ancient blocks. The few visible remains of the ancient city are scattered among the houses of the modern town, on a natural terrace which extends E from the castle hill, and below that E along the river into the plain. All the remains in situ seem to be of the Roman and Christian periods.

The theater is dug into the terrace below the citadel and faces E. Virtually all its stonework is gone, save for one entrance arch. On the terrace are a number of ancient blocks, cuttings, etc., and a large cistern, the roof originally supported on arches, probably Byzantine or Armenian. A little E of the schoolyard, in the center of the modern town, is a temple, of which one fluted column and Corinthian capital remains standing, and some of the other column bases are in place. The temple was peripteral, 8 x 14, and had a flight of stairs at its E end. Two frieze blocks carved with Nikes carrying a garland remain from it. The date appears to be the 2d c. A.D. at the earliest. On the river bank E of the temple is some of the foundation for the two sides of a stadium. In a house in the town is a late mosaic of a checkerboard pattern with animals and various objects in the squares.

The present bridge across the river was built in the 1870s to replace an earlier six-arched bridge, at least in part Roman. An inscription recording the building of the Roman bridge in A.D. 77-78 was found.

On the slopes to each side of the road leading to Mut, SE of the castle hill, is an extensive Roman necropolis of rock-cut chambers and sarcophagi, some cut in the rock and some freestanding. A large number of inscriptions has been recorded. The Christian necropolis is S of the town on the ancient paved road with steps cut in the rock which leads from the center of Silifke S to the monastery and churches of Meriamlik, a site where Thekla, a saint of the 1st c., is supposed to have lived. It was famous by the 4th c. as a pilgrimage site; the main buildings are apparently of the 5th and 6th c.

The ancient road from Seleucia to Diocaesarea (Olba), largely followed by the modern road, led across the Calycadnus and up steeply to a rocky upland slope seamed with deep ravines. Along the road and east of it from about 8 to 10 km from Seleucia are some ancient sites which may have belonged to the territory of Seleucia. On the road in the area now known as Taş evler or Kuleier are various house remains and numerous well-preserved heroa of the 2d and 3d c. A.D. These are in the form of a small temple distyle in antis, or prostyle tetrastyle, some of the latter with a basement also fronted with columns. All are Corinthian in style with Ionic for the lower story columns. All have a door from porch to cella. Ten km from Seleucia is a grave tower, square in plan, pilasters at the corners, Corinthian capitals and epistyle, and a pyramidal roof, and off the road to the W another similar tower lacking the roof, the blocks separated by earthquake. South of it is a low hill covered with the ruins of a town, ancient Imbriogōn Komē, probably an outlying possession of Seleucia, or possibly of Diocaesarea. There is no indication of what place the deceased of the heroa were citizens, although Seleucia as the closer is more likely. Well to the E of the road at a place known as Bey Ören are the remains of a basilica, and at Topalaryn Tsheshme house remains, a memorial column and two heroa. Remains of four different sites lie along or near the ravine leading SE from the Seleucia Diocaesaria road to Persenti, at the E edge of the Calycadnus delta; these may have belonged to Seleucia or Diocaesarea/Olba.

In the school and schoolyard, where several columns, perhaps from a stoa, have been re-erected, are collected various blocks with inscriptions, some statuary, capitals and other antiquities collected from Silifke and the surrounding district. At least one portrait head is in the Adana Museum.


F. Beaufort, Karamania (1818) 214-18; L. de Laborde, Voyage dans l'Asie Mineure (1838) 130fMPI; V. Langlois, Voyage dans la Cilicie (1861) 182-93; L. Duschesne, “Les Necropoles Chrétiennes de l'Isaurie, I, Selefkeh,” BCH 4 (1880) 192-202; R. Heberdey & A. Wilhelm, Reisen in Kilikien, DenkschrWien, Phil-Hist. Kl. 44, 6 (1896) 100-17; C. R. Cockerell, Travels in Southern Europe and the Levant (1903); J. Keil & A. Wilhelm, “Vorlaufiger Bericht über eine Reise in Kilikien,” JOAI 18 (1915) 19-34; id., Denkmäler aus dem Rauhen Kilikien, MAMA III (1931) 3-33; R. Paribeni & P. Romanelli, “Studii e recherche archeologiche nell'Anatolia Meridionale,” MonAnt 23 (1915) 95-99; E. Herzfeld & S. Guyer, Meriamlik und Korykos, MAMA II (1930)MPI; G. H. Forsyth, “Architectural Notes on a trip through Cilicia,” DOPapers 11 (1957) 223-25I (Meriamlik); L. Robert, Documents de l'Asie Mineure Meridionale (1966) 101-5; D. H. French, “Prehistoric Sites in the Gök Su Valley,” AnatSt 15 (1965) 181; T. S. MacKay, “Olba in Rough Cilicia,” Diss. 1968 (Univ. Microfilm)M; L. Budde, Antike Mosaiken in Kilikien II (1972) 153-62MPI; O. Feld, “Bericht über eine Reise durch Kilikien,” IstMitt 13-14 (1963-64) 88-97.


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