Sunday, September 9, 2007


For millions of years,
the mighty volcanoes of the Central Anatolian Plateau erupted and spewed
their contents across the land that would become the cradle of civilization.
Blessed with a moderate climate and fertile soil, one of the world's earliest known communities was founded 10,000 years ago at Catalhoyuk along the river banks of the Casambasuyu near Konya. Mankind's first nature painting was found here and it portrays the most recent eruption of Hasan Dagi almost 9000 years ago. Today, its snow capped peaks dominate the Konya plain, awash in golden hues where vast wheat fields blend subtly with the ochre colored soil and the monochromatic palette is interrupted only where rivers flow and tall poplars flaunt their greenery.

The central Asian province known as Cappadocia was rich in history, being the original home of the ancient Hittite culture. It was an inland territory, bordering several eastern provinces such as Armenia in the east, Mesopotamia, Cilicia and Syria to the south, Galatia to the west and Pontus to the north. The eastern region was largely mountainous, heavily influenced by volcanic activity, and consisted of flatter plains in the west, though situated on high plateaus.
After the fall of the Hittite empire around 1750 BC, Cappadocia was ruled by various invading factions, such as the Phyrgians and Cimmerians. The Persians came to power in the mid 6th century BC and ruled for over 200 years, establishing a more permanent government system, entrusting it mostly to local nobles. The Persians also allowed the Cappadocians more freedom in cultural practice, allowing them to worship their fire god and hold the volcanoes of the region as sacred. It was the Persian word Katpatuka or "land of the well bred horses" that eventually came to identify the region, but they allowed the locals to practice their own languages freely. The enmity between the Macedonian king Alexander the Great and the Persian King Darius would eventually unravel eastern control of the territory, as Alexander spread Hellenistic control. Alexander never visited Cappadocia in any official capacity, satisfied with tributary allegiance and free to continue his eastern march.After the death of Alexander in 323 BC, administration of Cappadocia fell to the dynasty of Ariarathes. His family line would rule the kingdom until 93 BC, and were responsible for the establishment of positive relations with Rome.
Under Ariarathes IV, Cappadocia supported Rome in the early 2nd century BC against Perseus of Macedonia, son of Philip V. Having won the faith of the growing power of Rome, the Cappadocians remained on favorable terms with independent status for the next two centuries.They aided Rome against the Seleucids of Syria and later took part in a great defeat against Aristonicus of Pergamum. Instability in the region, and the rise of Mithridates of Pontus, brought war to the entire Asian world, and the Cappadocians fought valiantly in defense of their own independence. Pompey's final victory established new independence for Cappadocia in 63 BC under a new dynastic King, started by Ariobarzanes.
In the civil wars that ended the Roman Republic, the Cappadocians played a dangerous game with the powers that were in Rome. At first, they understandably supported their benefactor Pompey against Caesar. After his victory at Pharsalus, they switched sides in support of Caesar and maintained their own autonomy. In the civil war that erupted between Caesar's assassins, Antony and Octavian, they first supported Brutus and Cassius who held firm control of the eastern provinces. After their defeat, their allegiance went over to Antony and finally to Octavian after he came to dominant the entire Roman world. Cappadocia maintained independence as a client state until 17 AD, when the Emperor Tiberius formally incorporated it into an official province of the Empire.
During the course of the Roman Imperial period, Cappadocia maintained itself as a largely peaceful and uneventful place on the interior, but also served as an important border with eastern enemies.
Under Vespasian and continuing well into the Byzantine years, Legio XII Fulminata was garrisoned at Melitene, which became an early bastion of Christianity. Legio XV Apollinaris was stationed at Satala along the border with Armenia and Legio XVI Flamia Firma guarded Samosata on the border with Mesopotamia and the Euphrates River. Also of military importance in the province was the presence of the eastern Black Sea naval base at Trapezus. Though smaller in stature than other Imperial naval bases, this one formed the eastern most facility of note in the Empire.

Cilicia Western interest in the mountainous and coastal region of modern Turkey came with the conflicts between the Hellenistic World and the Persian Empire. Alexander the Great first brought western influence with his conquest in 333 BC but while this influence was lasting, Macedonian control was not. Upon Alexander's death 10 years later in 323 BC, the Macedonian conquests disintegrated into factional kingdoms under the rule of his generals, and Cilicia was no different.
At first, the area was under the dominion of Antigonus Monopthalmus, but conflict between Macedonian rivals soon brought the situation to a head. In 301 BC, Monopthalmus was defeated by former Alexandrian generals Seleucus and Ptolemy, and Cilicia was divided between the two of them.
Seleucus rules in Syria while Ptolemy controlled Egypt.
This arrangement, though disputed over the next century would last until approximately 198 BC, when the Seleucids conquered Ptolemean concerns in the territory. Despite Roman victories over the Seleucid King Antiochus III, Cilicia remained a part of his kingdom for at least another century.
Over this next century, Hellenistic influence was remarkable and even native languages were superseded by Greek. However, the rough Tarsus mountain regions and the people who occupied them were never truly brought under control and they remained virtually independent of Seleucid authority. As the dynasty waned in direct relation to the rise of Roman influence, these Isaurii peoples began to develop their own culture based on piracy. While both Roman and Seleucid governments tried to suppress some pirate activity, some trade was necessary to allow for slave trafficking, a vital component of the ancient economy. By the early 1st century BC, however, piracy was out of control on the Mediterranean, and as Roman power pushed east from Macedonia, conflict was inevitable.

Moderate excursions were made against the pirates in 102 BC by Marcus Antonius (grandfather of Marc Antony), and later by his son of the same name (Antony's father) in the mid 70's BC. Julius Caesar also had personal experience with the pirates in 79 BC when he was captured for ransom on a trip to Rhodes. Upon buying his freedom he returned with a fleet, then captured and crucified his captors, but the pirate menace continued. As the Seleucid kingdom broke apart in the 80's and 70's BC in the wake of Mithridates' wars, the pirates grew more brazen. Rome's attempts to eliminate them had to grow more serious. Publius Servilius Vatia was appointed to command the coming attack and he made considerable gains against them. As he limited pirate attacks to local shores, as they were less capable of long distance attacks, it gave the impression that the pirates were winning. Attacking the coasts of Italy actually expedited their own permanent defeat with the emergence of Pompey.

Pompey the Great or Pompey the Triumvir [1] (Classical Latin abbreviation: CN·POMPEIVS·CN·F·SEX·N·MAGNVS[2], Gnaeus or Cnaeus Pompeius Magnus) (September 29, 106 BCSeptember 28, 48 BC), was a distinguished military and political leader of the late Roman Republic. Hailing from an Italian provincial background, after military triumphs he established a place for himself in the ranks of Roman nobility, and was given the cognomen of Magnusthe Great—by Lucius Cornelius Sulla.

Pompey was a rival of Marcus Licinius Crassus and an ally to Gaius Julius Caesar. The three politicians would dominate the Late Roman republic through a political alliance called the First Triumvirate. After the death of Crassus, Pompey and Caesar became rivals, disputing the leadership of the entire Roman state in what is now called Caesar's civil war. Pompey fought on the side of the Optimates, the conservative traditionalist faction in the Roman Senate, and was ultimately defeated by Caesar. He sought refuge in Egypt and was assassinated there.

Pompey arrived in Cilicia in 67 BC with tremendous power to act in any jurisdiction against the Cilicians. With an enormous fleet, Pompey swiftly completed the progress of Vatia (who was later awarded the cognomen Isauricus for his work there) and within 40 days, the pirate threat was virtually wiped out. Pompey immediately took the task of reorganizing the surviving pirates into productive Roman subjects. He established inland towns with fertile land for farming and the former pirates soon abandoned their old ways. Though the complete pacification of the area would take another 30 years, mainly due to the Roman civil wars of Caesar, Pompey, Octavian and Antony, Cilicia quickly settled into a peaceful and productive eastern province.

from Wikipedia After Octavian's victory and ascension to the title of Augustus, parts of the province were broken up under various client kings and the rest fell under the jurisdiction of the governor of Syria, but this arrangement didn't last particularly long. By the reign of Vespasian, Cilicia was re-formed as a single complete province in 72 AD. Cilicia remained in this basic provincial structure until the territorial reforms of Diocletia, but the region as a whole remained relatively unchanged for the next few hundred years.
After its initial conquests, the territory was such an ideal province that permanent legionary garrisons were never required. The neighboring provinces of Cappadocia and Syria, with the several legions stationed there, were more than adequate to provide protection and peacekeeping for Cilicia. The province was an important provider of iron from the Tarsus Mountains as well as limited, but high quality silver ore.

The plains area was ideal for various forms of agriculture including grains, olives and grapes.

Cilicia essentially remained a part of the Roman, then Byzantine (Romanion) Empire until the 14th century. A brief period of Arab rule came in the 8th century, but Byzantine power was re-established 200 years later. In the heart of the crusades, Cilicia eventually passed into Ottoman control but maintained a rich heritage of Hellenistic
(from Persian: Katpatuka meaning "the land of beautiful horses"
[citation needed]
Greek: Καππαδοκία

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