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Paphlagonia

Paphlagonia (Greek: Παφλαγονία): area in northern Anatolia, on the southern shore of the Black Sea.

Paphlagonia is an area in the north of what is now called Turkey, along the southern shore of the Black Sea. According to the Graeco-Roman geographer Strabo of Amasia, the Halys formed the eastern border, while the western border was the river Parthenius.note Between these rivers is Sinope (modern Sinop), a colony of the Greek city of Miletus, famous for the export of arsenic sulfide. In the mountaineous interior, Gangra (modern Çankırı), was an important town.

In the second half of the seventh century BCE, the region was raided by the Cimmerians, who captured newly founded Sinope. Later, Paphlagonia was conquered by the Lydians; according to the Greek researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus, it belonged to the kingdom of Croesus.note When Lydia was conquered by the Persian king Cyrus the Great (after 547 BCE), it was included in the same satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire as Phrygia and Mysia, Phrygia.note

A description of the interior is offered by the Greek author Xenophon, who passed through Paphlagonia on his way back from Babylonia, early in the year 400 BCE. The are surrendered to Alexander the Great in the winter of 334/333 and was later, after Alexander's death, awarded to Eumenes, who was made satrap of Cappadocia and Paphlagonia (text).

In the mid-second century BCE, the Paphlagonian ruler Pylaemenes to bequeath his realm to king Mithridates V Euergetes of Pontus (r.152/151-120). He transferred his residence to Sinope, which became home to a hellenistic court: Mithridates presented himself to the Greek world as the champion of Greek civilization in Anatolia.

As part of Pontus, Paphlagonia became part of the Roman Empire after the Third Mithridatic War (76-63 BCE). The area was reorganized by the emperor Augustus, who appointed Quirinius, who had just left his famous governorship in Syria, as governor of Galatia and Paphlagonia. In this age, Gangra was renamed Germanicopolis.

In the mid-second century, a prophet named Alexander brought a new god, a very large snake, to his home town Abonutichus and built a temple, which became an important oracle.

This page was created in 2018; last modified on 3 December 2018.