previous next


PAPHLAGO´NIA (Παφλαγονία: Eth. Παφλαγών), a country in the north of Asia Minor, bordering in the west on Bithynia, in the east on Pontus, and in the south on Galatia, while the north is washed by the Euxine. The river Parthenius in the west divided it from Bithynia, the Halys in the east from Pontus, and Mount Olgassys in the south from Galatia. (Hecat. Fragm. 140; Scylax, p. 34; Strab. xii. pp. 544, 563; Agathem. 2.6.) But in the case of this, as of other countries of Asia Minor, the boundaries are somewhat fluctuating. Strabo, for example, when saying that Paphlagonia also bordered on Phrygia in the south, was most probably thinking of those earlier times when the Galatians had not yet established themselves in Phrygia. Pliny (6.2) again includes Amisus beyond the Halys in Paphlagonia, while Mela (1.19) regards Sinope, on the west of the Halys, as a city of Pontus. It is probable, however, that in early times the Paphlagonians occupied, besides Paphlagonia proper, a considerable tract of country on the east of the Halys, perhaps as far as Themiscyra or even Cape Iasonium (Xenoph. Anab. 5.6.1; Strab. xii. [p. 2.547]p. 548), and that the Halys did not become the permanent boundary until the consolidation of the kingdom of Pontus. The whole length of the country from west to east amounted to about 40 geographical miles, and its extent from north to south about 20. Paphlagonia was on the whole a some-what rough and mountainous country, Mount Olgassys sending forth its ramifications to the north, sometimes even as far as the coast of the Euxine; but the northern part nevertheless contains extensive and fertile plains. (Xenoph. Anab. 5.6.6, foll.; comp. Strab. xii. p.543; Pococke, Travels, iii. p. 138.) The Olgassys is the chief mountain of Paphlagonia. Its numerous branches are not distinguished by any special names, except the SCOROBAS and CYTORUS Its most remarkable promontories are CARAMBIS and SYRIAS; its rivers, with the exception of the Halys, are but small and have short courses, as the SESAMUS, OCHOSBANES, EVARCHUS, ZALECUS, and AMNIAS The fertility was not the same in all parts of the country, for the northern plains were not inferior in this respect to other parts of Asia Minor, and were even rich in olive plantations (Strab. xii. p.546)) but the southern, or more mountinous parts, were rough and unproductive, though distinguished for their large forests. Paphlagonian horses were celebrated in the earliest times (Hom. II. 2.281, foll.); the mules and antelopes (δορκάδες) were likewise highly prized. In some parts sheep-breeding was carried on to a considerable extent, while the chase was one of the favourite pursuits of all the Paphlagonians. (Strab. xii. p.547; Liv. 38.18.) Stories are related by the ancients according to which fish were dug out of the earth in Paphlagonia. (Strab. xii. p.562; Athen. 8.331.) The forests in the south furnished abundance of timber, and the boxus of Mount Cotyrus was celebrated. (Theophr. H. P. 3.15; Plin. Nat. 16.16; Catull. 4.13; V. Fl. 5.16.) Of mineral products we hear little except that a kind of red chalk was found in abundance.

The name Paphlagonia is derived in the legends from Paphlagon, a soil of Phineus. (Eustath. ad Hom. Il. 2.851, ad Dion. Per. 787; Steph. B. sub voce Const. Porph. de Them. 1.7.) Some modern antiquaries have had recourse to the Semitic languages to find the etymology and meaning of the name; but no certain results can be obtained. An, ancient name of the country is' said to have been Pylaemenia (Plin. Nat. 6.2; Justin, 37.4), because the Paphlagonian princes pretended to be descendants of Pylaemnenes, the leader of the Paphlagonian Heneti (Hom. II. 11.851) in the Trojan War, after whom they also called themselves Pylaemenes,

The Paphlagonians, who are spoken of even in the Homeric poems (Ii. 2.851, 5.577, 13.656, 661), appear, like the Leucosyri on that coast, to have been of Syrian origin, and therefore to have belonged to the same stock as the Cappadocians. (Hdt. 1.72, 2.104 ; Plut. Luc. 23; Eustath. ad Dionys. Per. 72.) They widely differed in their language and manners from their Thracian and Celtic neighbours. Their language, of which Strabo (xii. p.552) enumerates some proper names, had to some extent been adopted by the inhabitants of the eastern bank of the Halys. Their armour consisted of a peculiar kind of helmets made of wickerwork, small shields, long, spears, javelins, and daggers. (Hdt. 7.72; Xenoph. Anab. 5.2.28, 4.13.) Their cavalry was very celebrated on account of their excellent horses. (Xenoph. Anab. 5.6.8.) The Paphlagonians are described by the ancients as a superstitious, silly, and coarse people, though this seems to apply to the inhabitants of the interior more than to those of the coast. (Xenoph. Anab. 5.9.6; Aristoph. Kn. 2, 65, 102, 110; Lucian, Alex. 9. foill.) Besides the Paphlagonians proper and the Greek colonists on the coast, we hear of the Heneti and Macrones, concerning whose nationality nothing is known: they may accordingly have been subdivisions of the Paphlagonians themselves, or they may have been foreign immigrants.

Until the time of Croesus, the country was governed by native independent princes, but that king made Paphlagonia a part of his empire. (Hdt. 1.28.) On the conquest of Lydia by Cyrus, the Paphlagonians were incorporated with the Persian empire, in which they formed a part of the third satrapy. (Hdt. 3.90.) But at that great distance from the seat of the government, the satraps found it easy to assert their independence; and independent Paphlagonian kings are accordingly mentioned as early as the time of Xenophon (Xen. Anab. 5.6.3, 9.2). In the time of Alexander the Great, whose expedition did not touch those northern parts, kings of Cappadocia and Paphlagonia are still mentioned. (Arrian, Arr. Anab. 2.4.1; 3.8.5 ; Diod. 18.16.) But this independence, though it may have been merely nominal, ceased soon after, and Paphlagonia and Cappadocia fell to the share of Eumenes. (Diod. 18.3; Justin, 13.4, 16.) After Eumenes' death, it was again governed by native princes, until in the end it was incorporated with the kingdom of Pontus by Mithridates. (Arrian, ap. Phot. p. 72, ed. Bekker; Diod. Eclog. 31.3: Justin, 37.1; Strab. xii. p.540; Appian, App. Mith. 11, 12.) Mithridates, however, soon afterwards divided Paphlagonia with his neighbour Nicomedes, who made his son, under the name of Palaemenes,, king of Paphlagonia. (Justin, 37.3, 4.) After the conquest of Mithridates, the Romans united the coast districts of Paphlagonia with Bithynia, but the interior was again governed by native princes (Strab. l.c.; Appian, App. BC 2.71; Plut. Pomp. 73); and when their race became extinct, the Romans incorporated the whole with their empire, and thence-forth Paphlagonia formed a part of the province of Galatia. (Strab. vi. p.288, xii. pp. 541, 562.) In the new division of the empire in the fourth century, Paphlagonia became a separate province, only the easternmost part being cut off and added to Pontus. (Hierocl. pp. 695, 701.) The principal coast towns were AMASTRIS, ERYTHINI, CROMNA, CYTORUS, AEGIALUS, ABONITICHOS, CIMOLIS, STEPHANE, POTAMI, ARMENE, SINOPE, and CARUSA The whole of the interior of the country was divided, according to Strabo, into nine districts, viz. Blaene, Domanetis, Pimolisene, Cimiatene, Timonitis, Gezatorigus, Marmolitis, Sanisene, and Potamia. The interior contained only few towns, such as Pompeiopolis, Gangra, and some mountain fortresses.


hide References (24 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (24):
    • Aristophanes, Knights, 110
    • Aristophanes, Knights, 102
    • Aristophanes, Knights, 2
    • Aristophanes, Knights, 65
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.28
    • Herodotus, Histories, 3.90
    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.72
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.72
    • Herodotus, Histories, 2.104
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 5.6.3
    • Appian, Mithridatic Wars, 2.11
    • Appian, Mithridatic Wars, 2.12
    • Appian, Civil Wars, 2.10.71
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 6.2
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 16.16
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 38, 18
    • C. Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica, 5.16
    • Plutarch, Lucullus, 23
    • Plutarch, Pompey, 73
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 2.4.1
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 3.8.5
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 18.16
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 18.3
    • Athenaeus, of Naucratis, Deipnosophistae, 8
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: