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PHARNA´CIA (Φαρνακία: Eth. Φαρνακεύς), an important city on the coast of Pontus Polemoniacus, was by sea 150 stadia distant from cape Zephyrium (Arrian, Peripl. Pont. Eux. p. 17; Anonym. Peripl. P. E. p. 12), but by land 24 miles. According to Pliny (6.4) it was 80 (180?) miles east of Amisus, and 95 or 100 miles west of Trapezus. (Comp. Tab. Peut., where it is called Carnassus for Cerasus, this latter city being confounded with Pharnacia.) It was evidently founded by one Pharnaces, probably the grandfather of Mithridates the Great; and the latter during his wars with the Romans kept his harem at Pharnacia. Its inhabitants were taken from the neighbouring Cotyura, and the town was strongly fortified. (Strab. xi. p.548; Plut. Luc. 18.) The place acquired great prosperity through its commerce and navigation, and through the iron-works of the Chalybes in its vicinity. (Strab. xi. pp. 549, 551.) According to Scylax (p. 33) the site of this town had previously been occupied by a Greek colony called Choerades, of which, however, nothing is known. But that he actually conceived Choerades to have occupied the site of Pharnacia, is clear from the mention of the island of Ares (Ἄρεως νῆσος) in connection with it, for that island is known to have been situated off Pharnacia. (Arrian and Anonym. Peripl. l.c.) Arrian is the only one who affirms that Pharnacia occupied the site of Cerasus; and although he is copied in this instance by the anonymous geographer, yet that writer afterwards correctly places Cerasus 150 stadia further east (p. 13). The error probably arose from a confusion of the names Choerades and Cerasus; but in consequence of this error, the name of Cerasus was in the middle ages transferred to Pharnacia, which hence still bears the name of Kerasunt or Kerasonde. (Comp. Hamilton, Researches, i. pp. 250, 261, foll.; Cramer, Asial Minor, i. p. 281.) Pharnacia is also mentioned by Stephanus Byz. (s. v.), several times by Strabo (ii. p.126, xi. p. 499, xii. pp. 547, 549, 560, xiv. p. 677), and by Ptolemy (5.6.5). Respecting its coins, see Eckhel (Doctr. Num. vol. iii. p. 357). Another town of the same name in Phrygia is mentioned by Stephanus Byz. (s. v.).


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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 6.4
    • Plutarch, Lucullus, 18
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