The description of Cilicia is difficult; but the best way of understanding the character of this country is by following Strabo's description. Strabo calls Cilicia, which lies along the coast of the Mediterranean, “Cilicia outside of the Taurus” (ἡ ἔξω τοῦ Ταύρου
), for there was a country called Cilicia which was within (ἐντός
) the Taurus; which district he has described under Cappadocia. [CAPPADOCIA
] Cilicia Proper was bounded on the west by Pamphylia, on the north by Lycaonia and Cappadocia, and on the east by the range of Amanus, which extends from the interior to the shore of the Mediterranean at the gulf of Issus.
The southern boundary is the Mediterranean. Cilicia is naturally divided into two parts.
The western and mountainous part was called Cilicia the Rough (Τραχεῖα, Τραχειῶτις
: Eth. Τραχειώτης
The eastern part contains a considerable extent of plain country, and was called Cilicia the Plain or Campestris (Πεδιάς
Cilicia Trachea presents to the sea a convex outline, with a narrow tract along the coast, as Strabo describes it, and it has little or no plain country. Strabo makes Coracesium (Alaya
) the boundary between Pamphylia and Cilicia. Pliny places the boundary at the river Melas (Manavgat
) 26 miles west of Coracesium. Mela (1.13) makes Anemurium, Cape Anamour,
the boundary between Cilicia and Pamphylia. Anemurium is the most southern point of this mountainous coast, and the most southern point of the peninsula of Asia Minor; but it is above 50 miles east of Strabo's boundary. Ptolemy does not seem consistent with himself, for under Pamphylia (5.5) he makes Side the last town in Pamphylia, his description proceeding from west to east; and he immediately after enumerates Coracesium and Syedra as coast towns of Cilicia Trachea.
But under Cilicia (5.8) he mentions Syedra as a city of Pamphylia, and he makes Cilicia Trachea commence east of Syedra.
The coast of Cilicia Trachea presents a rude outline, backed by high mountains from Coracesium to Cape Cavaliere,
a distance of above 140 miles. To the east of Cape Cavaliere
the high mountains recede from the coast, and the appearance of the country, as seen from the sea, alters materially. (Beaufort, Karamania,
p. 219). But Strabo extends the eastern limit of Cilicia Trachea to the river Lamus (Lamas
), which is between the island Elaeussa and Soli. “Here,” observes Beaufort, “the rocky coast finally terminates, being succeeded by a gravelly beach and broad plains, which extend inland to the foot of the mountains.” Strabo reckons the distance along the coast from Coracesium to Anemurium to be 820 stadia; and the distance from Anemurium to Soli at about 500 stadia.
The distance from Coracesium to Anemurium is 68 English miles; and Strabo's distance is too great.
The distance from Anemurium to Soli, afterwards Pompeiopolis, is about 149 miles; and here Strabo's error is very great, or at least the error in his present text.
A branch of the great mountain mass of Taurus runs direct from Coracesium (Alaya
) towards Anemurium, but it is interrupted off Karadran
]. From Charadrus eastward the mountains still run near the shore; and there are no large rivers on the coast of Cilicia till we come to the Calycadnus. [CALYCADNUS
] This river is represented as rising in the range of Taurus, east of Coracesium, and as having a general eastern course to Seleuceia, below which it enters the sea.
The basin of the Calycadnus is separated from the coast by a rough mountain tract, which some geographers have identified with the Imbarus of Pliny (5.27
The northern boundary of the basin of the Calycadnus and of Cilicia Trachea is the Taurus; from which a considerable stream flows southward, and joins the Calycadnus on the left bank, a little below Mout,
supposed to be on the site of Claudiopolis.
A district named Lalassis by Ptolemy (5.8
) was probably contained in the upper and western part of the basin of the Calycadnus; and Ptolemy's Cetis may have comprehended the middle and lower basin of the same river,--the only level tract in this rugged country. Ptolemy, however, includes in Cetis, both Anemurium, Arsinoe, Celenderis, and other places on the coast.
The route from Laranda (Karaman
), on the north side of the Taurus, through Mout
to Celenderis, is described in Leake's Asia Minor,
It is one of the few passes through the Cilician mountains. Ptolemy also mentions a district Lamotis, so named from a town Lamus, which was also the name of the river that was the boundary between the Trachea and the Campestris.
The mountains at the back of the coast of Cilicia Trachea contain timber trees; and Strabo mentions Hamaxia, which is between Coracesium and Selinus, as a station to which shiptimber was brought down,--chiefly cedar, which was abundant; and he adds that M. Antonius gave these parts to Cleopatra, because they were suited for the equipment of a navy.
From the Lamus the coast of Cilicia Campestris runs NE. beyond Soli, and then has an ESE. course to Cape Karadash
(the ancient Magarsus).
These two coast-lines form a considerable bay.
A long straight beach extends from the Lamus to Soli; and as we advance eastward from the Lamus the mountains recede further from the shores, and leave a greater breadth of level country.
The mountains that bound this plain on the north have their peaks covered with snow in June. (Beaufort.)
The first river within Cilicia Campestris, which, by its direction from north to south and the length of its courses [p. 1.618]
indicates the commencement of the Cilician plain, is the Cydnus, which flows past Tarsus (Tersoos
). Nearly due north of Tarsus is a gorge in the limestone rock of the mountains, through which the Cydnus flows from the high range of the Taurus.
This difficult pass, which the Turks call Gölek Bógház,
is that by which the younger Cyrus passed from Dana or Tyana, in Cappadocia, to Tarsus; and it is clearly described by Xenophon (Xen. Anab. 1.2.21
This was also the pass by which Alexander entered Cilicia, and the pass which Niger attempted to defend against Septimius Severus, who was marching against him from Cappadocia. (Herodian, 3.8, &c.)
But there was another pass between that of Laranda and the Pylae Ciliciae, which is mentioned by Xenophon (Xen. Anab. 1.2.19
). Cyrus was accompanied in his march from Iconium through Lycaonia by the Cilician queen Epyaxa; and on his route through Lycaonia, he sent her with an escort into Cilicia, by the pass between Laranda and the Ciliciae Pylae.
This is the pass which “leads by Kizil Chesmeh and Alan Buzuk, Karahisar and Mezetli, to Soli or Pompeiopolis, and to Tarsus.” (Ainsworth, Travels in the Track, &c.,
After passing through the Ciliciae Pylae, Cyrus and his army descended into the Level Cilicia, which Xenophon describes as a large, beautiful, well-watered plain, full of all kinds of forest trees and vines.
It produced sesame, panic, millet, wheat, and barley,--which are cultivated there at the present day,--with rice, cotton, and the sugar-cane; the date tree is indigenous. (Ainsworth,) Xenophon describes the plain as surrounded by rugged and lofty mountains on all sides from sea to sea; by which expression we must understand that he considered the plain of Cilicia as extending eastward to the place where the Amanus runs down to the sea, and terminates in Cape Hynzyr,
as it is sometimes called.
(Magarsus) is a white cliff, about 130 feet high, and is the first interruption of that low sandy beach, which commences near the river Lamas.
This point may be considered as the commencement of the deep bay of Issus, now the gulf of Iskenderun;
the corresponding point on the opposite side is Cape Hynzyr.
The coast of this bay east of Karadash has first a general eastern, and then a north-eastern direction, to the head of the gulf of Issus. “Eastward of Karadash, the same dreary waste of sand, interspersed with partial inundations of water, again recurs, and extends to the river Jyhoon or Jyhan, the ancient Pyramus.” (Beaufort.) Immediately north of the outlet of the Pyramus is the bay of Ayas
], the northern part of which is “a level plain of firm soil, from ten to twenty feet above the sea.” (Beaufort.) From the head or most northern part of the gulf of Issus, the coast has a general south direction, nearly as far as Alexandria (Iskenderun
); and from Iskenderun
to Cape Hynzyr,
the direction of the coast is south-west, being nearly parallel to the coast on the opposite side of the bay.
The form of the eastern coast is determined by the eastern or Syrian range of Amanus, which has a general southern direction as far as the latitude of Iskenderun,
and then a SW. direction to Cape Hynzyr.
There is only a very narrow tract between these mountains and the sea from Cape Hynzyr
to the head of the gulf of Issus.
The level land at the head of the gulf is the plain of Issus, which is bounded on the north and north-west by the other range of Amanus, which descends in a SW. direction as far as the lower course of the Pyramus.
This range is crossed in going from Mopsuestia (Misis
) to the gulf of Iskenderun;
and the high lands, in fact, descend to the shore of the gulf of Issus, at a place called Matakh.
This appears to be the station (ὕφορμος
) which Strabo mentions as belonging to the Amanides Pylae, for he describes the SW. branch of the Amanus as reaching to the sea at this place. [AMANIDES.] These two ranges of the Amanus, the eastern or Syrian, and western or Cilician, enclose the plain of Issus, and separate it from the more extensive plain to the west, which we may call the Cilician.
Strabo (p. 676) reckons it a voyage of near 1,000 stadia, direct distance from Seleuceia in Pieria, which is the first Syrian city south of Rhosus, to Soli in Cilicia.
The real distance is only about 85 English miles. Strabo further says that the south coast of Asia Minor runs eastward from the Rhodian Peraea to the mouth of the Cydnus, and that it then takes a direction nearly ESE. (ἐπὶ τὴν χειμερινὴν ἀνατολήν
) as far as Issus, and that from Issus the coast makes a bend to the south as far as Phoenice. Now, this is true of the coast as far as Cape Karadash,
but no further; and Strabo's notion of the coast east of Karadash
makes the bay of Issus disappear altogether. Therefore, the geographer has either expressed himself very inaccurately, or he was not acquainted with the form of the bay of Issus.
The lower part of the plain of Cilicia between the Sarus and the Pyramus is the Aleian (Ἀλήιον πεδίον
), which was celebrated in the mythi of the Greeks as the place of Bellerophon's wanderings (Il. 6.201
The cavalry of Alexander, in his Asiatic campaign, passed through this plain from Tarsus to the Pyramus (Arrian, Arr. Anab. 2.5.11
It is seen from the sea by those who follow the coast from the mouth of the Cydnus to Cape Karadash;
and “as far as the eye could discern, it consists entirely of dreary sandhills, interspersed with shallow lakes.” (Beaufort.)
The Cilician plain contains three large rivers. The Cydnus (Tersoos Tchy
) is described by Strabo as having its source not far above Tarsus, passing through a deep ravine, and then immediately flowing down to Tarsus; and the stream is cold and rapid.
He makes it only 120 stadia from the Cilician boundary on the north to Tarsus, and five stadia from Tarsus to the sea.
But the Ciliciae Pylae are about 25 miles NNW. of Tarsus; and the distance from Tarsus to the present outlet of the river is at least 12 miles, through a level and well cultivated country.
The best maps represent it as rising not further north than the Ciliciae Pylae, and on the south side of the range of Taurus, now called Bhulgar Dagh.
The Cydnus can now only be entered by the smallest boat, the entrance being obstructed by bars; but inside of the bar “it is deep enough, and about 160 feet wide.
It was navigable in ancient times up to Tarsus” (Plut. Ant. 100.26
); and probably much later.
It seems that the progress of the alluvium has been very rapid at the mouth of this river, and this is the only way of explaining Strabo, who says that the Cydnus, at its mouth, flows into a kind of lake, called Rhegma, which had ancient dockyards, and the lake was the port of Tarsus. Strabo's five stadia from Tarsus were probably reckoned to the Rhegma, which the alluvium has changed into a sandy plain.
But there is some error in the five stadia: the Stadiasmus makes the same distance 70 stadia.
The water of the Cydnus is [p. 1.619]
cold, but not colder “than that of the other rivers which carry down the melted snow of Mount Taurus.” (Beaufort.) Alexander, who is said to have been seized with a violent illness from bathing in it, threw himself into the water when he was in a great heat. (Arrian, Arr. Anab. 2.4.10
; Plut. Alex. 100.19
East of the river Tarsus the Stadiasmus places the mouth of the Sarus (in the Stadiasmus incorrectly written Areius), 70 stadia from the outlet of the Rhegma. The Sarus is the modern Sihun,
and the coast between the mouths of these two rivers projects in a long sandy spit.
This river is 270 feet wide at its mouth, and as difficult to enter as the river of Tarsus. The Sarus is not mentioned by Strabo in his description of Cilicia; but in his account of Cataonia [CATAONIA
] he describes the course of the Sarus as being through Comana, and through the gorges of Taurus to the Cilician plain (p. 535). The Sihun
is represented in some maps as having two sources far to the north, one of which is nearly in the parallel of 39° N. lat., and the other still further north.
The course of these two streams is south, and a long mountain tract separates the two river basins, which unite within the mountain region.
The stream then takes a very irregular course to Adana, a place which retains its name (Adanah
); and from Adana it has a SW. course through the Cilician pain to the sea. If the course of these two branches of the Sarus is correctly represented in Kiepert's map, it is one of the large rivers of the peninsula, and at least above 200 miles long.
There is, however, a third branch of the Sarus, the course of which is well ascertained, and it is laid down in the map which accompanies Hamilton's work (Researches,
This is the branch which rises east of Eregli
about 37 1/2° N. lat., much further to the south and west than either of the branches already mentioned, and passes through the great range of Taurus; that part of the range west of the gap is called Bulghar Dagh.
The course of this branch of the river is eastward, and the road follows the waters “for some distance amidst precipitous cliffs and wooded abutments, till they sever the main chain, which is composed of a somewhat narrow and rugged belt of limestone reposing on schistus; the pass is however wide, and would permit of the passage of three chariots abreast.” (Ainsworth.)
The road then turns up a valley to the south-west, down which flows a stream, and joins the Sarus on the right bank.
The road is over wooded rocks and hills up to the head waters of this stream, where there is an extensive flat, “at the summit of which, and at an elevation of 3812 feet, are the fortified costs of Mohammed Ali Pacha; immediately beyond which the waters again run to the S. and SE., rushing through a tremendous gap, and thence flow direct towards the Cydnus or river of Tarsus.” (Ainsworth, London Geog. Journal,
vol. x. p. 499.) Thus the road passes from the basin of this tributary of the Sihun
into the basin of the Cydnus, and it then follows the waters of the Cydnus, which “soon lead to a deep gorge or fissure in another lofty ridge of limestone rocks; this is the narrowest and most difficult portion of the pass: it is the point to which Xenophon's description applies as just broad enough for a chariot to pass, and that would be with great difficulty; this portion of the road bears evident traces of ancient chiselling.” (Ainsworth.)
It is also clearly the deep ravine which Strabo describes the river Cydnus as passing through in its course to Tarsus; and that which Niger blocked up to stop the approach of Septimius Severus. Niebuhr (Reisebeschreibung,
vol. iii. p. 108), who went through this defile, observes that this road, through the Boghaz
from the pashalik of Adanah
to that of Konie,
would be as dangerous for a hostile army as Xenophon and Curtius describe it, for it is narrow, and the rocks on both sides are steep as a wall; yet the caravan, which he accompanied in December 1766 from Adanah,
made its way through these Ciliciae Pylae without any great difficulty.
When the army of Cyrus (B.C. 401) left Tarsus, it marched to the Sarus or Psarus, as the best MSS. have it (Xenoph. Anab.
The march was ten parasangs or 300 stadia from Tarsus to the Sarus; and the width of the Sarus was estimated by Xenophon at 300 Greek feet. Mr. Ainsworth found the Sarus, at Adanah,
in the month of December, 325 feet wide at the bridge, but not fordable. Adanah,
which is on the site of the old city, is, at present, a town of some trade, and surrounded by a fertile tract of well-cultivated gardens.
From the passage of the Sarus the army of Cyrus marched five parasangs, or 150 stadia, to the Py. ramus, the width of which Xenophon estimated at 600 Greek feet (Anab.
The present passage of the Pyramus (Jihun
) is at Misis,
the site of Mopsuestia, which is on the road from Baiae (Bayas
), on the bay of Issus, to Adanah.
Mr. Ainsworth, however, gives some good reasons for supposing that Cyrus crossed the Pyramus below Mopsuestia, and much nearer the old mouth of the river. Niebuhr (A.D. 1766) found a handsome bridge at Misis,
recently built, and a hundred double steps in length. The Pyramus is the largest of the Cilician rivers, It rises in Cataonia [CATAONIA
], and consists of two main branches, one the Carmalas, flowing from the north, and the other from the east. [CARMALAS
] These two branches unite SW. of Marash,
from which point the river has a SW. course, through the Taurus.
It passes the site of Anazarbus and Misis,
and at present enters the sea a little south of the inlet, already mentioned, at the eastern extremity of which Ayas
But the old bed of the river seems to have entered the sea some distance from the present mouth, and a little west of Cape Karadash,
as Beaufort supposes; for here there is a shallow inlet of salt water, about 12 miles long.
The present outlet of the Jihun
is 23 miles east of the supposed former outlet.
A short distance NE. of Karadash,
and near the eastern extremity of this shallow inlet, is the site of Mallus, the chief town of the Mallotis. Thus Mallus would stand on the east side of the old bed of the Pyramus, and near the mouth of the river, which is consistent with all the ancient authorities.
Strabo (p. 536) describes the Pyramus as a navigable river which rises in the middle of the plain of Cataonia.
There is a considerable channel, through which the clear water flows unseen for some distance under ground, and then rises to the surface. If a man lets down a spear from above into the channel, the force of the stream is so great that the spear is with difficulty dipped in the water.
After its re-appearance the river runs on in a broad deep stream, but on approaching the Taurus, it is wonderfully contracted. Wonderful also is the gap in the mountains through which the bed of the river passes, for as it happens in rocks which have been rent and split asunder, that the projections on one side correspond to the recesses on the other, in such wise that [p. 1.620]
they may be fitted together, so we observed that the rocks overhanging the river on each side, and rising almost up to the summits of the mountains, at a distance of two or three hundred feet, had the receding parts corresponding to the projecting parts.
The bottom between the steep sides is all rock, and has a deep and very narrow fissure in the middle, so narrow that a dog or a hare might leap over.
This is the channel of the river which is full to the brim, like a broad canal to the extent of a thousand stadia. Owing to the winding course of the stream, and the great contraction, and the depth of the chasm, the noise falls on the ear of persons even as they approach at some distance, like the sound of thunder. Passing through the mountains the river brings down so much alluvium to the sea, some from Cataonia, and some from the Cilician. plains, that a prophecy uttered about it is in vogue, to the following effect: “In time to come broad flowing Pyramus Shall push his banks to Cyprus' sacred shore.”
The same thing happens here, adds Strabo, as in Egypt, where the Nile is continually making land of the sea by its alluvium. (See the notes on this passage of Strabo about the Pyramus, in Groskurd's Transl., vol. ii. p. 450).
Mr. Ainsworth remarks, from his own observations on the plain of Cilicia, as far as the ruins of Anazarbus, that “its bed is throughout the plain deep and narrow, from the nature of the soil, which is alluvial;” and that “in its lower part it divides into several streams on arriving at its delta.” He concludes that the army of Cyrus crossed this river in the lower parts, where it is most easily forded, at which time its embouchure was probably at Karadash.
The prophecy is not yet fulfilled; but the river still brings down a great quantity of earth and sand.
This deposit has produced a plain of sand along the side of the gulf, like that formed by the Calycadnus. “The Jyhoon,
half a mile from its mouth, is 490 feet wide, and is the largest of all the rivers on the south coast of Asia Minor” (Beaufort).
It is now as shallow over its bar as the Cydnus and the Sarus; though it appears from a passage of Anna Comnena, quoted by Beaufort, that it was open for galleys even in the time of the crusades.
The remainder of Cilicia contains no large river, and is closed, as already described, by the two branches of the Amanus.
It lies around the Gulf of Issus, and the more particular description of this gulf, and the examination of the difficult question of the site of Issus, will come more appropriately in another place. [ISSUS
The extensive tract of country called Cilicia has a coast line of 430 miles, from Coracesium to Rhosus, at the southern extremity of the bay of Issus.
The direct distance from Coracesium to the Syrian Gates on the east side of the gulf of Issus is about 230 miles.
It is, aptly enough, divided into the Mountainous (ἡ ὀρεινή, Hdt. 2.34
) and the Level, and a ready communication between the extreme west and eastern parts could only be by sea.
The coast, however, of the Tracheia, or Mountainous Cilicia, nearly as far east as the outlet of the Calycadnus, though included in Cilicia by the later geographers, is really a distant country.
But the valley of the Calycadnus, which lies from west to east, may be considered one of the three, natural divisions of Cilicia; the other two being the plain of Tarsus and Adana, and the plain of Issus. Indeed, from the peninsula of Cape Cavaliere,
“the last and highest of the series of noble promontories that project from this coast” (Beaufort), the rude outline of the shore is changed, and the land communication along the coast with the eastern part of Cilicia is not difficult.
There is a road represented in the Table, all along the coast from the border of Pamphylia to Seleuceia on the Calycadnus, and thence eastward through Corycus, Soli (or Pompeiopolis), the Aleian plain, Mallus, Aegae, and Issus, to Rhosus. Alexander, after reaching Tarsus by the pass in the Taurus, led part of his army to Anchiale, and from Anchiale to Soli; and he afterwards advanced from Soli eastwards to Magarsus and Mallus, on the Pyramus.
The two natural chief divisions of Cilicia, the basin of the Calycadnus and the plain country east of the Cydnus, are represented by the modern Turkish governments or pashalicks of Selefkeh
(Seleuceia on the Calycadnus) and Adanah.
It is difficult to estimate the extent of the Cilician plain, through which the Cydnus, Sarus and Pyramus flow.
The level country appears to reach somewhat north of Mopsuestia (Miss
), Adana (Adanah
), and Tarsus (Tersoos
); and in this part the plain may be between 40 and 50 miles from east to west.
The form of the coast makes the dimensions of the plain from north to south very unequal in different parts.
The widest part extends north from Cape Karadash,
and it may be above 30 miles.
The level land, that. has been named the plain of Issus, is only a narrow strip, except at the head of the gulf of Issus, when it seems to extend eight or ten miles inland. Cilicia surrounded by mountain barriers, with a long coast and numerous ports, a fertile plain, and mountains covered with forests, possessed great natural advantages. Its position between Syria on one side, and the rest of Asia Minor on the other, made it the highway from the Hellespont and the Bosporus to the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, and the middle course of the Euphrates. Its proximity to Syria invites the cupidity of any one who is master of that country; and the Greek rulers of Egypt coveted the possession of the opposite coast of Cilicia, which contains the materials for shipbuilding, which Egypt does not.
Besides the products of Cilicia mentioned above, Corycus on the coast was famed for its saffron, which was an article of export.
A cloth made of goats' hair, which the Romans called Cilicium, was the work of Cilician industry; at least the thing seems to have had its name from the Cilician article.
The Cilicians, Herodotus says (7.91), were originally named Hypachaei, and afterwards they had the name of Cilices from Cilix, the son of Agenor, a Phoenician.
According to this tradition, they were of the same stock as the Phoenicians.
It is probable that they did belong to some branch of the Aramaic nations, and the Assyrian kings seem to have extended their power to the level Cilicia. [ANCHIALE
] Cilicia had a king Syennesis, who is represented as mediating, in conjunction with a king of Babylon, to make peace between Croesus the Lydian king and the Medes, B.C. 610. (Hdt. 1.74
.) Cilicia was the fourth division in the arrangement of Darius, and it paid the king a yearly tribute of 360 white horses and 500 talents of silver (Hdt. 3.90
); of which sum 140 talents were expended on the cavalry on duty in Cilicia, and the rest came into the Persian king's treasury. Herodotus (5.52
) makes Cilicia extend north of the Taurus to the east of Cappadocia, and he makes the Euphrates the boundary between the Cilicians and the Armenians; [p. 1.621]
so that, if his statement is true, the eastern part of the later province of Cappadocia was in his time Cilician. [CAPPADOCIA
] Cilicia still had its native kings in the time of this Darius; for a Carian, Pixodarus, the son of Mausolus, was married to a daughter of the Cilician king Syennesis. (Hdt. 5.118
.) Cilicia was one of the subject states which contributed to form a navy for the Persians, and it supplied 100 ships for the great expedition of Xerxes, which were under the command of a Cilician, Syennesis, the son of Oromedon. (Hdt. 7.91
A king still called Syennesis was the husband of queen Epyaxa, who made herself a partisan of the younger Cyrus, when he was on his road through Cilicia to attack his brother Artaxerxes, and contrived to reconcile her husband to him. (Xen. Anab. 1.2. 26
The mythi of the Greeks connected the history of the people of Western Asia with Cilicia [CILICES
]; and they had stores of early settlements by their own nation on these shores. Amphilochus, the son of Amphiaraus, settled Posideium on the borders of the Cilicians and the Syrians (Hdt. 3.91
According to another story, Amphilochus, and Mopsus, the son of Apollo, came from Troy and founded Mallus; and in Strabo's time their tombs were pointed out at Magarsa, near the Pyramus.
But the Greeks do not appear to have settled in Cilicia, if we look to historical evidence, before the time of Alexander, except in a few places on the coast. Soli is said to have been colonised by Achaei and Rhodians from Lindus.
In the time of Xenophon (B.C. 401) the Cilices still appear as a distinct people.
It was not till after the time of Alexander that the Greeks got a firm footing in the country, and, under Greek civilisation, Tarsus became one of the great schools of the ancient world.
The name of Seleuceia on the Calycadnus, of Antiocheia ad Cragum, and Arsinoe, on the coast of the Trachea, and other Greek names, indicate the connection of Cilicia with the Greek kings of Syria and Egypt.
The later Roman occupation of the country is indicated by the names Pompeiopolis, Claudiopolis, Trajanopolis, and others.
The native Cilicians probably disappeared from the plain country, or were mingled first with Greeks and other foreigners; but they maintained themselves in the mountains, even to Cicero's time, under the name of Eleutherocilices. Cicero, who was governor of Cilicia, describes them as a fierce and warlike race, and he took their strong town Pindenissus. (Cic. Att. 5.2. 0
) Strabo says that the Amanus, which lies above Cilicia on the east, was always governed by several kings or chiefs, who had strong places; and in his time, a man of mark was set over all of them, and called King by the Romans for his merits. His name was Tarcondimotus, a genuine free Cilician, no doubt.
Diodotus, surnamed Tryphon, made the stronghold Coracesium his head-quarters at the time that he caused Syria to revolt from the kings, as Strabo expresses it. Antiochus, the son of Demetrius, in B.C. 139 compelled Tryphon to seek refuge in a fort, where he killed himself. This Tryphon, adds Strabo, was the cause of the Cilicians commencing their piratical practices, and the feebleness of the kings who succeeded one another in the government of Syria and Cilicia. The Cilicians were encouraged to man-stealing by the great demand for slaves among the Romans after the destruction of Carthage and Corinth, and they found a ready sale at Delos for all the slaves that they took there. Pirates, pretending to be slave-dealers, soon started up, and did great mischief in these seas. The Romans were too remote to care about what was going on along the coast of Asia, though they knew that these disorders were owing to the weak government of the descendants of Seleucus Nicator.
But it was at last necessary for the Romans to make war on the pirates, for their own safety, for even the shores of Italy and the neighbourhood of Rome were not safe against these marauders. (Cic. pro Leg. Manil. ch. 1. 1
, &c.; Plut. Pomp. 100.24
, &c.) During the war with Mithridates the pirates sided with the king, and when the Romans took them in hand they had to deal with a most formidable enemy. In B.C. 103, M. Antonius had Cilicia as his “provincia,” that is, according to the proper sense of that word, for the sphere of his command as proprietor.
This was the beginning of the war against the pirates. Also in B.C. 92, L. Sulla had Cilicia for his “provincia;” but it is not correct to infer that Cilicia was then organised as a Province. In B.C. 80 and 79, Cn. Dolabella had Cilicia as his “provincia.” (Cic. Verr.
It does not appear that he had under him any part of Cilicia, properly so called; and it has been observed, that all the crimes of Verres aud Dolabella, which Cicero mentions, were committed in Lycia, Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Phrygia.
But, as he had a province in Asia Minor, and it was called Cilicia, he might, we must suppose, have gone into Cilicia, if he would or could. In B.C. 78--75, P. Servilius Isauricus was sent against the pirates in these seas.
He took several places in Lycia and Pamphylia, and Corycus in Cilicia (Eutrop. 6.3
); but he did not enter the Level Cilicia, which was held by Tigranes till B.C. 69, and perhaps even to B.C. 66. Yet, some writers state that Isauricus conquered Cilicia. (Vell. 2.19
.) Cn. Pompeius, who was appointed (B.C. 67) to command in the war against the pirates, brought Cilicia Trachea under Roman dominion; and, after the surrender of Tigranes, he took from him the Level Cilicia, with other of his acquisitions.
The province called Cilicia was now fully organised, and it comprised six parts: Cilicia Campestris, Cilicia Aspera, Pamphylia, Pisidia, Isauria, and Lycaonia; with the greatest part of Phrygia, comprehending the Conventus of Laodicea, Apamea, and Synnada. In B.C. 58 the island of Cyprus was added, which the Romans had taken from the king of Egypt.
This was the extent of the Roman province of Cilicia when Cicero was proconsul of Cilicia, B.C. 51--50.
It was divided, after Roman fashion, into eight Conventus or Fora: the Conventus of Tarsus, which city was the residence of the governor; the Forum of Iconium for Lycaonia; the Forum Isauricum, conjectured to have been at Philornelium; the Forum Pamphylium, the place of which is unknown; the Forum Cibyraticum [CIBYRA
], at Laodicea, on the Lycus; the Forum of Apamea; the Forum of Synnada; and Cyprus.
A change was made shortly after this time and probably by the Dictator Caesar B.C. 47. (Bell. Alex.
66). The Forum or Conventus of Cibyra was attached to the province of Asia, together with the greater part of Pisidia, and also Pamphylia, and as it seems, the Conventus of Apamea and Synnada. M. Antonius (B.C. 36) gave Cyprus and Cilicia Aspera to Cleopatra, and eastern Phrygia with Lycaonia, Isauria, and Pisidia, to Amyntas king of Galatia. Augustus reduced the province of Cilicia still further. Cyprus was made a separate province; and Pamphylia with Isauria and Pisidia, after the [p. 1.622]
death of Amyntas, was also made a separate province. Lycaonia was attached to the province of Galatia, which was established after Amyntas' death; and thus Cilicia was reduced to the original parts Campestris and Aspera.
According to Roman fashion however (Strab. p. 671) the mountainous parts, which were not easy for a governor to manage, were left to the native princes.
There were three of these native dynasties. One was that of Olbe, in the mountains between Soli and Cyinda; perhaps the Olbasa of Ptolemy.
This was a priestly dynasty, which traced its descent from Ajax, a son of Teucer; and hence the rulers were generally called Ajax and Teucer. In B.C. 41, through the favour of M. Antonius, Polemo had the supreme power, who called himself on his coins M. Antonius Polemo, and had the title of chief priest of the Cennati, dynast of the sacred city of the Olbeis and Lalasseis.
The name Cennati appears on coins of Diocaesarea, which is called the Metropolis of the Cennati. The Lalasseis are mentioned by Pliny and Ptolemy.
As late as the reign of the emperor Claudius, there is mentioned a Polemo, king of Cilicia. Cilicia Aspera, which M. Antonius had given to Cleopatra, and which Archelaus afterwards held (Strab. p. 671), was given by Augustus after the death of Amyntas (B.C. 25) to Archelaus of Cappadocia.
He had all the Aspera, except Seleuceia, and he resided in the island Elaeussa, near the mouth of the Lamus, which was called Sebaste in honour of Augustus. And here he had a palace.
There is no island here now; “but there is a little peninsula opposite the town, covered with ruins, and connected with the beach by a low isthmus of drift sand; from whence it may be concluded that this peninsula was once the island Elaeussa, and that the isthmus has been of recent formation.” (Beaufort, Karamania,
It seems not unlikely that the family of Archelaus remained in possession of Cilicia Aspera, even after the death of Archelaus, A.D. 17, when Cappadocia was made a Roman province. Vespasian finally attached Cilicia Aspera to the province.
In the Amanus there was a King Tarcondimotus, who has been already mentioned.
He assisted Pompeius in the battle at Pharsalus, but he was pardoned by Caesar.
The king lost his life at the battle of Actium (D. C. 1. 14
). Plutarch (Plut. Ant. 61
) calls him Tarcondemus, King of Upper Cilicia. His eldest son Philopator, which is a pure Greek name, was deprived of his father's kingdom; and the younger, Tarcondimotus II., did not obtain possession of it until B.C. 20. His successor Philopator II. died A.D. 17.
Under Augustus, Cilicia was an imperial province, administered by a Legatus Aug., with the title of Propraetor. In Caracalla's time the governor was named Consularis.
In the period after Constantine, Cilicia was divided into three parts: Cilicia Prima, the chief town Tarsus, under a Consularis; Cilicia Secunda, chief town Anazarbus, under a Praeses; and Isauria, originally Cilicia Aspera, chief town Seleuceia, under a Praeses.
Six free cities under Roman dominion are mentioned in Cilicia: Tarsus, which was both Libera et Immunis; Anazarbus, called also Caesarea, which had the title of Metropolis, from the time of Caracalla; Corycus; Mopsus or Mopsuestia; Seleuceia, on the Calycadnus, which was taken from under the administration of Archelaus by Augustus, and declared free; and Aegae. Selinus, afterwards Trajanopolis, was probably a Roman colony. (Becker, Handbuch der Röm. Alter.,
continued by Marquardt.)