of the temple of Ma, in the valley of the Yeşil Irmak
(Iris fl.), 11 km upstream from Tokat on the road
to Niksar (Neocaesarea). The cult of Ma, identified with
the Roman Bellona, was derived from Comana in Cappadocia, an old Hittite sanctuary. The priest of Ma
ranked second to the king of Pontus and wore a diadem;
the temple had 6000 serfs, including sacred prostitutes.
Comana Pontica was both a trading center for goods
from Armenia and a resort. In Pompey's settlement of
Pontus (64 B.C.) Comana became an independent principality, and it so remained under a succession of Roman
nominees until it was annexed to Pontus Galaticus in
A.D. 33-34 or 34-35. Its importance as a religious center
was marked by adopting the additional name Hierocaesarea in or before the reign of Titus. Comana's territory included the plains of Kazova and Tokatovasi
(Dazimonitis) on the Yeşil Irmak as well as Artova
farther to the S. The natural center of this region is not
Comana but Tokat (Dazimon), and after Comana had
ceased to be a major religious site, with the triumph of
Christianity, it lost its ancient local importance also.
The actual site of Comana Pontica is a low natural
hill beside the bridge called Gömenek Köprüsü. The
Kazova irrigation canal cuts through the edge of this
hill. Eight columns of gray marble now supporting the
porch of the 16th c. mosque of Ali Paşa at Tokat may
well be derived from the tetrastyle temple of the goddess
Ma. The Roman bridge and post-Roman buildings recorded at Comana in the 19th c. no longer survive. A number of inscribed stones from Comana are now in
the museum at Tokat.
W. F. Hamilton, Researches in Asia
Minor, Pontus, and Armenia
(1842) I 349-50; J.G.C.
Anderson, Studia Pontica
I (1903) 63-67; F. & E. Cumont, Studia Pontica
II (1906) 248-53, pl.
XIX. D. R. WILSON