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MOPSUESTIA Cilicia Campestris, Turkey.

Some 19 km E of Adana and sited at a most important crossing of the Ceyhan (Pyramos) where the foothills of the Jebel-i-Nur most nearly approach the river. Two km NE it is dominated by the limestone outcrop crowned today by the 12th c. castle known as Yilan Kale, a fortress of the Little Armenian kingdom.

Its legendary founder Mopsos, whose wanderings in Cilicia and Syria are an early feature of Greek mythology, appears in the literary sources and may have been a historic figure. Mopsukrene, near the Cilician Gates, adds substance to the legend. The city was in Persian hands until Alexander's time, and was later renamed Seleucea on the Pyramos for Seleucus IV Epiphanes. It was issuing semiautonomous coinage by the 2d c. B.C., and in 67 B.C. adopted a new era to celebrate Pompey's conquest of the Cilician pirates and their resettlement in such established cities as Mopsuestia. It joined in the intercity rivalry of Roman Cilicia, styling itself “free” and the center of “holy, ecumenical games,” as well as “Hadriane” in honor of the emperor. Captured by the Parthians in 260, it later became a Christian bishopric, the see of the famous Theodore, declared a heretic after the Council of Chalcedon (451).

A magnificent Roman bridge, a theater, stadium, and colonnaded street still exist, while W of the city mound is a huge basilican church with mosaics (5th c?).


Theopomp. FHG 1.296; Callinus apud Strab. 14.668.

N. Hammond, CAH II 23-24; R. D. Barnett, “Mopsus,” JHS 73 (1953) 140-43; B. V. Head, Hist. Num. (2d ed. 1911) 721, 725; D. Magie, Roman Rule in Asia Minor (1950) 273, 620.


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