“Central Anatolia” encompasses here the historical regions of Galatia, Phrygia, and Cappadocia as they were defined in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. In the Bronze Age, the area was within the heartland of the Hittite empire of the fourteenth and thirteenth centuries B.C.E. The former Hittite capital Ḫattuša (modern Boğazkale) continued as a small Hellenistic fortified settlement in the area of the Celtic Trocmi. The section on Galatia focuses on the area of the territory of Galatia proper, that is, the territories of the three Galatian tribal states of the Tolistobogii, the Tectsagen, and the Trocmi, in central Anatolia.


First a region of central Anatolia, Galatia comprises approximately the twenty-first-century provinces of Ankara and Kırıkale and the western part of the province of Yozgat. It was also the name of the Roman province that included the major part of modern central Anatolia. The region was of great importance because of its agriculture and communication lines for traffic and commerce.

Hellenistic Galatia.

The settlement and state formation of the Celtic tribal groups of the Tolistobogii, Tectosages, and Trocmi in central Anatolia, in former parts of Phrygia, Cappadocia, and southern Paphlagonia, was an extraordinary historical process which left its marks on the language and ethnic identity of the people in the area for around eight centuries. The term “Galatians” was used in antiquity by the Greeks for the Celts, as the term “Gauls” (Galli) was used by the Romans. In Asia Minor the denominations Galatians and Galatia were used for the three Celtic peoples and their tribal states.

The Romans called the Galatians Gallograeci or Anatolians who pretended to be Gauls because they had totally integrated into the world of Hellenistic Asia Minor while preserving their specific linguistic and ethnic identity. They did not merge into a single people but were assembled around three identity-bearing tribal core groups, and after settling in Anatolia, their subdivisions were finally organized in 12 tetrarchies, each under its own tetrarch or quarter-ruler (Strabo, Geogr. 12.5.1). Several names of such subtribes are known: Voturi, Ambitouti, Tosiopae, and Toutobodiaci. There was a representative council of the 12 tetrarchies with 300 delegates, 100 from each of the three tribes, for settling central questions or bloody strife between the 183 populi, as Pliny the Elder called them, meaning kinship groups or “clans,” led by aristocratic noblemen. They were able to integrate the much more numerous non-Galatian populations of the occupied territories into their ethnic tradition and clan-based social system and to implement their Galatian identity and their language in only two to three generations. The continental Celtic language of the Galatians as a common mother tongue is still attested in the middle of the sixth century C.E., and in the late fourth century C.E. it was even the common language in Ancyra (modern Ankara), the metropolis of Roman central Anatolia. One can speak of a “Galatization” in this part of central Anatolia.

In summer 279 B.C.E. migrating tribal groups of the Tolistobiogii and Trocmi—Polybius (in Livy, History of Rome 38.16.2) says 20,000 people, including 10,000 warriors—marched from the area of what in the twenty-first century is northern Serbia to Thrace to conquer land and settle there. Their leaders were Leonnorius and Lutarius together with 17 chieftains of the migrating warrior bands, tribal splinter groups, and clan or family groups. During the winter of 279–278 B.C.E. they were hired as symmachoi (allies) to act as mercenaries against the Seleucids by Nicomedes I, king of Bithynia (r. ca. 280­–255 B.C.E.), and his allies, including Byzantium, Chalcedon, Heraclea Pontica, and the kings of Pontus. The long-term treaty of symmachy concluded in 278 B.C.E. offered them payment, booty, and the promise of land to settle. From 277 to 275 B.C.E. the Celts fought with great success for their partners in Asia Minor, mostly in actions of their own. In 277 B.C.E. they were reinforced by a group of the Tectosages who had taken part in the unsuccessful raid of Brennus against central Greece and Delphi.

When fighting was interrupted in 275–274 B.C.E. Nicomedes I gave parts of the occupied territories to the Celts. These were the parts of later Galatia west of the Halys, twenty-first-century Kızıl Irmak, with the old Phrygian center and now small Hellenistic town of Gordion. In the west they bordered the temple-state of Pessinus and in the north, the territories of the Paphlagonian dynasts. Most likely in 274/73 B.C.E. they successfully fought for Mithradates I (r. ca. 302–266 B.C.E.) of Pontus and his son in a conflict with Heraclea, which had the support of a Ptolemaic fleet. Therefore, Mithradates gave them the border zone to Greater Cappadocia and the Seleucid power, which became the territory of the Trocmi east of the Halys with the old Anatolian urban center of Tawinija/Tavium. The Tolistobogians took over the western part of the territories together with the city of Gordion, which had been rebuilt in early Hellenistic times under Antigonus the One-Eyed or Lysimachus. The Tectosages settled in the middle region from southern Paphlagonia to the Great Salt Sea. The old Phrygian center of Ancyra remained an independent, small city-state within the territories of the Galatians and was used as a marketplace by all three tribes. It was only given to the tetrarchs of the Tectosages by Pompey in 65/64 B.C.E.

The Galatians were defeated by the Seleucid king Antiochus I (r. 281–261 B.C.E.) in the so-called Battle of the Elephants around 268 B.C.E. Their territory was now fixed, and they became important allies of the Seleucids in Asia Minor. Attalus I (r. 241–197 B.C.E.) of Pergamum defeated the Galatians twice, in 238 and ca. 230 B.C.E., as part of his war against the Seleucids. He emphasized these victories as being the rescue of the civilized world of the Greeks against the barbarian danger to legitimate his new royal title and his expansive and aggressive policy. The Roman consul Gnaeus Manlius Vulso attacked the Galatians because of their alliance with Antiochus III (r. 223–187 B.C.E.) in 189 B.C.E. He destroyed Gordion and defeated the Galatians twice, first the Tolistobogians on Mount Olympus near Gordion and second the Tectosages and Trocmi together with their Paphlagonian and Cappadocian allies at Mount Magaba near Ancyra. The Galatians revolted against the Pergamenian rule in 168–166 B.C.E. Only after a deep military crisis did Eumenes II (r. 197–158 B.C.E.) succeed in defeating the Galatians; however, the Romans declared the Galatians to be free, and they became loyal allies of Rome.

The Galatian culture is not characterized by La Tène traditions; the elites of the Galatian tribes were early hellenized but maintained their ethnic and linguistic identity, although Greek was used for writing and outer communication. In the second century B.C.E. the tetrarchic aristocracy started to build residential fortresses in Hellenistic style. The culture of the villages shows a clear continuity of the pre-Galatian traditions. The Galatians adopted the Hellenistic, Phrygian, and Luwian gods, especially Cybele, Artemis, and Zeus Tavianus, the Greek name of the Hittite–Luwian Tarhuntas in Tavium. However, there is the tradition of human sacrifice documented in Gordion until the city was destroyed in 189 B.C.E. and still during the fighting against Eumenes II.

Mithradates VI Eupator, king of Pontus (r. 120–63 B.C.E.), occupied Galatia 88 B.C.E. and detained most of the tetrarchic aristocracy in Pergamum because of their close relation to Rome. He ordered them killed in 86 B.C.E. Only a few members of the tetrarchic aristocracy survived and organized a resistance against the Pontic king in alliance with the Romans. The only tetrarch of the Tolistobogians was now Deiotarus I (r. 64–40 B.C.E.), the son of Sinorix, as ruthless as his father in his policy to gain control over all three Galatian peoples. Pompey recognized the four ruling tetrarchs in his reorganization of Asia Minor in 65/64 B.C.E. Deiotarus I ruled over the Tolistobogians, the elder Castor and Domnilaus over the Tectosagen, and Brogitarus over the Trocmi, whose territory was enlarged in the area of modern Alaca. Domnilaus died in the Battle of Pharsalus, and Deiotarus killed Castor and Brogitarus, although they were his sons-in-law. Thus, he became sole tetrarch of all Galatians in 44 B.C.E. Deiotarus died after his son Deiotarus II in 40 B.C.E.

Amyntas, the former secretary of Deiotarus, was first installed as king in Pisidia (including Isauria, Phrygia Paroreius, and Pamphylia) in 39 B.C.E. by Marcus Antonius and then, in 37/36 B.C.E., after the death of the younger Castor, as tetrarch of all Galatians. To enforce his rule in the mountainous south he had to fight a long-lasting war in Pisidia and Isauria, where he was killed by the Homonadeis in 25 B.C.E. Although there were sons of the king, evidently of minor age, Augustus (r. 43 B.C.E.–14 C.E.) decided to annex the kingdom of Amyntas with all its territories and to organize it in the new Roman province of Galatia in 25/24 B.C.E. when the provincial era starts. Ancyra and Pessinus were granted the status of an autonomous polis, which Tavium received later (21/20 B.C.E.). The former territories of the three Galatian tribal states were incorporated into these new city-states (Sebasteni Tectosages Ancyrani, Sebasteni Tolistobogii Pessinuntii, Sebasteni Trocmi Taviani). They formed the koinon (league) of the Galatians responsible for the cult of loyalty at the temple of Roma and Augustus in Ancyra, which became the capital of the koinon and the metropolis of the Roman province.


The international cult center of Cybele in Pessinus started only in Hellenistic times, and the famous temple was built by the Pergamenian kings after 188 B.C.E. The temple-state of Pessinus was a creation of the early Hellenistic period, under Antigonus the One-Eyed or more probably under Lysimachus, as were the reorganization of the cult and the transfer of the holy stone from the older cult center in the nearby area of modern Tekören to Pessinus. The temple-state with its well-known cult of Cybele had close relations with the Seleucid Empire and after 189/88 B.C.E. with the Pergamenian kings. From 205 B.C.E. Pessinus had good relations with Rome. The position of Pessinus was strengthened because the cult of Cybele gained importance also for the neighboring Tolistobogians. Members of the leading Tolistobogian aristocracy entered the priesthood probably in the late third century B.C.E. In the years 163 to 158/56 B.C.E. a tetrarchic prince of the Tolistobogians was the ruling high priest of Pessinus under the cultic name Attis. However, Pessinus remained an independent state after the creation of the Roman province of Asia in 133 B.C.E.

During his reorganization of Asia Minor in 65/64 B.C.E. Pompey gave control over Pessinus to Deiotarus I, who installed the high priest there. Only between 58 and 56 B.C.E. was Pessinus given Brogitarus, the tetrarch of the Trocmi, who had paid a great deal of money to Publius Clodius Pulcher. After the annexation of the former kingdom of Amyntas by Augustus, Pessinus received the status of an autonomous city and became the center of the Tolistobogians; the remaining southern part of the former Tolistobogian territory was united with the territory of Pessinus. The name of the autonomous city on coins and inscriptions was Galatai Tolistobogioi Pessinountioi or Sebastenoi Tolistobogioi Pessinountioi in honor of Augustus. The city of Pessinus became identified with the ethnic and historical tradition of the Tolistobogians. Probably under Augustus but at the latest under Claudius (r. 41–54 C.E.) the priesthood of Cybele in Pessinus was reorganized: one high priest and 10 priests, five of Phrygian and five of Galatian descent.

The Roman province.

While the former territories of the Tectosages and Trocmi remained untouched, the northern part of the territory of the Tolistobogians was lost during the provincial reorganization of Augustus in 24/22 B.C.E. One part was taken for the new Roman colony of Germa, and another part came to the province of Bithynia. The rest was incorporated into the territory of the city of Ancyra, which included all the land of the Tectosages. In 6/5 B.C.E. the kingdom of Paphlagonia was annexed to the provincial complex of Galatia, which also included Phrygia Paroreius (with Pisidian Antioch), Lycaonia, Isauria, Pisidia, and Pamphylia, later in 3/2 B.C.E. also the area of the district of Pontus Galaticus and in 64/65 C.E. the district of Pontus Polemoniacus on the Black Sea. Pamphylia and most of Pisidia were lost in 43 C.E., and Pontus Galatius and Pontus Polemoniacus were lost in 113 C.E. Diocletian (r. 284–305 C.E.) created the new provinces of Paphlagonia and Lycaonia. In the fourth century C.E. Galatia was divided into Galatia Prima (capital Ancyra) and Galatia Secunda (capital Pessinus).


The central evidence of early Christian communities in Galatia proper is Paul’s letter to the Galatians. An earlier letter to the Galatian communities (1 Cor 16:1) is lost. Because the denomination “Galatians” was clearly defined as the name of the ethnic Galatians, of the population of the Galatian tribes, in Hellenistic and Roman times, it is not possible to interpret it as used by Paul, born in Tarsus, as an address to the people in the south of the Roman province of Galatia and therefore to the communities in Pisidia. The different ethnic denominations within this huge provincial complex were well known and still in use in Late Antiquity, especially for the Galatians (Ammianus, Rerum gestarum libri 22:7, 8). In 2 Timothy 4:10 and 1 Peter 1:1 the denomination “Galatia” is used in its specific sense, known all over the Hellenistic world, too. Acts (2:10, 13:14, 14:6, 14:24, 16:6, 18:23) clearly differentiated between Galatia and Lycaonia or Pisidia, Phrygia, Lydia, and Caria, not using the names of the Roman provinces. Paul must have been in Galatia proper during his second and third missionary voyages in Asia Minor; the letter is not addressed to an urban Christian community, as the other letters of Paul, but to the communities of Galatia as a collective. That means that Paul was not active in the cities of the Galatian koinon but traveled preaching (Gal 4:13–14) through the rural parts of the country on his way to the Troad, later to Ephesus (Acts 16:1–5, 18:22–23, 19:1).

Ancyra had a vivid Christian community in the second half of the second century C.E. but developed also into a center of Montanism (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 5.16.4–5) with Montanist bishops. Ancyra and Galatia were centers of heretic beliefs in the fourth century C.E. (Jerome, Comm. Gal. 2.3; Gregory of Nazianzus, Or. Bas. 22.12). There is only one pre-Constantinian Christian inscription in Galatia, an epitaph showing the Christian family of an imperial freedman in Ancyra (Mitchell and French, 2012, no. 68) in the mid-third century C.E. The orthodox bishop of Ancyra took part in the Council of Nicaea in 325. However, the urban elite of Ancyra represented their pagan culture still in the mid-fourth century C.E.


Phrygia encompasses the region from the coast of the Propontis (Marmara Sea), Bithynia, and Paphlagonia in the north to Pisidia and Lycaonia in the south, from Lydia in the west to the Halys (today Kızıl Irmak) in the east. In Persian and Hellenistic times it was divided into Hellespontic Phrygia, also called Phrygia Minor, which extended from the Propontis to the Halys and into Greater Phrygia south of it. Residences of the Persian satraps were located in Dascylaeum, south of Bandırma, and in Celaenae (later Apamea, today Dinar) in southwestern Phrygia.

The Phrygian language is a separate branch of the Indo-European language family. In prehistoric times, probably before the third millennium B.C.E., there were linguistic relations with early Greek and other languages on the Balkan, thus the Macedonian, but no connections with the Thracian language. The linguistic development of the Phrygian language continued during Hellenistic and Roman times into Late Antiquity, although Greek was the language used for documents and inscriptions. However, the Phrygian language was used in Christian liturgy of heretic churches in Phrygia and was still in use in the fifth century C.E. as shown in the Historia ecclesiastica (5:23) of Socrates of Constantinople, finished ca. 443 C.E. It only vanished during the sixth or even seventh century C.E. The Old-Phrygian alphabetic script (earliest examples from Gordion in the ninth century B.C.E.) developed independently out of the taking over of the Old-Aramaic script and its vowelization in Cilicia and northern Syria.

Early history.

The traditional theory that the Phrygians entered Asia Minor at the end of the Bronze Age must be relinquished. The people speaking the Phrygian language must have been the inhabitants of northwestern Anatolia at least since the later Early Bronze Age in the third millennium B.C.E. In the Late Bronze Age they inhabited the area of later Bithynia and the southern Propontis to the Troas and the upper Sangarios (today Sakarya), an area called by the Hittites the “Land of Masa.” In the Early Iron Age the Phrygian lands comprised the area from the Propontis to later central Phrygia.

Already sometime before the middle of the eleventh century B.C.E. the first political center was established by the founder of the dynasty bearing the Luwian name Mita, in Greek Midas, in the old Bronze-Age capital of the Hittite land of Hapalla, which was now named after this first king and was known in Greek and Roman times as Midaion. A second center, a royal citadel, was built by Gordios, the Greek version of the Luwian name Kurti(s), son of Midas, in Gordion, named after him, farther to the east on the Sangarios in the second half of the eleventh century B.C.E. The kingdom of the dynasty of Gordion probably developed out of the conquest of the Land of Masa, in this occasion the regions of the upper and middle Sangarios, around 1100 B.C.E. by the “great king” Hartapu, the last known king of the central Hittite dynasty. The Hittite Empire was not destroyed by invasions as often thought but disintegrated during and after the reign of Suppiluliuma II at the end of the thirteenth and during the early twelfth centuries B.C.E. The early Phrygian kingdom and its culture were part of the Late-Hittite world of Anatolia and northern Syria. The dynasty of Gordion gained a great empire, dominating western and central Anatolia as far as the Assyrian possessions in southwestern Anatolia in the ninth and eighth centuries B.C.E. After a devastating fire in the royal citadel of Gordion in the outgoing ninth century, a new and much more impressive citadel was built; and the whole city of Gordion was rebuilt with a huge city wall in the earlier eighth century B.C.E. With its outer town Gordion was the greatest city in Anatolia at that time.

When the Lydian kingdom developed into the dominating power in western Anatolia in the late seventh century B.C.E., the Lydian king Alyattes conquered Gordion and all parts of the Phrygian empire up to the Halys. The Phrygian political elite built a new capital for the remaining parts of the empire east of the Halys on the Kerkenes Dağ, the huge ancient city of Pteria, and recognized the supremacy of the Median king Kyaxares of Ekbatana (today Hamadan), who had formed a federation of the Median dynasts and tribes under his leadership and had destroyed together with the Babylonians the Assyrian Empire.

After the defeat of the last Median king by Cyrus the Great (r. ca. 559–530 B.C.E.) in 550 B.C.E., the Lydian king Croesus (r. ca. 560–545/540 B.C.E.) crossed the borderline of influence, agreed between the Lydian and Median kings in 585 B.C.E., on the upper and middle Halys; he attacked the remnants of the Phrygian Empire and sacked Pteria. However, he was defeated by Cyrus the Great in the years after 545 and before 540 B.C.E., and the Lydian Empire became the western part of the Achaemenid Empire. Gordion was conquered by the Persian army and became a prosperous regional center, even a temporary residence of the satrap of Phrygia Minor, until the city was heavily damaged by a massive earthquake after 395 B.C.E.; it survived only as a provincial Phrygian settlement during the fourth century.

Phrygia in Hellenistic and Roman times.

Since late 334 B.C.E. the territories of both Phrygian satrapies were part of the empire of Alexander the Great (r. 336–323 B.C.E.), who visited Gordion in the spring of 333 B.C.E. (famous story of the Gordian knot), reunited his army there, and marched through Ancyra and western Cappadocia to the Cilician gates. After the death of Alexander in 323 B.C.E., the whole of Phrygia came under the control of Antigonus the One-Eyed and then after the battle of Ipsus in 301 B.C.E. of the empire of Lysimachus. When Lysimachus was defeated by Seleucus I (r. 306–281 B.C.E.) in 281 B.C.E. Phrygia became part of the Seleucid Empire. From 274 B.C.E. the Galatians settled in the northeastern part of Phrygia. The Hellenistic period is characterized by the urbanization of western Asia Minor and larger parts of Phrygia (Laodicaea on the Lycus [near modern Denizli], Apamea [Dinar], Hierapolis [Pamukkale], Philomelium [Akşehir], Eumeneia [near Civril in western Phrygia], Synada south of Afyon) and by a growing presence of hellenized culture where Greek was the language of writing and of the urban elites. Hierapolis was a Seleucid foundation of the third century B.C.E. Colossae was already a regional center in the Bronze Age, probably the city of Šalawašša, and an important and prosperous city in the fifth century B.C.E. (Herodotus, Hist. 7.30; Xenophon, Anab. 1.2.6) and still in the early first century C.E. (Pliny the Elder, Nat. 5.145). Laodicea was founded as a Hellenistic city and dominating regional center by the Seleucid king Antiochus II (r. 261–246 B.C.E.) and named after his wife Laodike in the mid-third century B.C.E.; the earlier settlement at this place started in the Bronze Age.

After the Roman victory over Antiochus III (r. 223–187 B.C.E.) in 190 B.C.E. and the Peace of Apamea in 188 B.C.E., Phrygia was given to the Pergamenian kings. When Attalus III (r. 138–133 B.C.E.), the last king of the Attalid dynasty, died in 133 B.C.E., Rome transformed the Pergamenian kingdom into the Roman province of Asia. However, for a short time between 129 and 120 B.C.E. Greater Phrygia was given to Mithradates V (r. ca. 150–120 B.C.E.) of Pontus, but it was reunited with the province of Asia after his death. The invasion of Parthian armies led by the former Roman general Titus Labienus into Asia Minor in 40 B.C.E. affected Phrygia too. However, the Parthians were defeated and driven out of Asia Minor and Syria by Ventidius Bassus in 39–38 B.C.E.

The reforms of the provincial administration of the Roman Empire in 27 B.C.E., when the provinces were divided into senatorial and imperial provinces, the status of the province of Asia did not change. Asia remained a province under a senatorial proconsul whose central office was in Ephesus. The province was divided into 10 juridical districts (conventus iuridicus or dioikesis); the conventus capitals in Phrygia were Apamea, Laodicea, Synada, and Philomelium. Of great economic importance were the famous marble quarries in Phrygia, especially that of Docimeium, and the related art industry (e.g., marble sarcophagi). However, the dominant economic structures of Roman Phrygia were agriculture, cattle breeding, and pasture, especially sheep in the mountainous areas. Production of textiles, viniculture, and mining of the various mineral resources were other important economic aspects.

In 250 C.E. the new province of Phrygia and Caria is attested under an imperial governor of senatorial status. This province was divided between 301 and 305 C.E. and again Phrygia, probably under Licinius in 313/14 C.E. after the defeat of Maximinus Daia, into Phrygia Prima and Secunda (later Phrygia Pacatiana and Phrygia Salutaris).

Indigenous religion.

The traditional religion or “paganism” of Phrygia had a specific character within the religious world of Anatolia because of the dominant role of the Matar or Matar Kubileya, better known as Cybele; it also had no relation to Thracian or other Balkan religions. From here, the well-known cult of Cybele and her consort Attis, with its orgiastic aspects, ecstatic feasts, and an organized priesthood, famous for self-emasculation, spread over the Greek and Roman world. Other important gods were Zeus, venerated in many local cults in continuation of the old Anatolian sky, mountain, and weather god; Apollo; the moon god Men; and the wine god Sabazius or Dionysus. Of great importance for the Phrygian population were the gods of the “holy and just”; these cults were widespread in the countryside. There was a characteristic concern for justice, righteousness, vengeance, and strict sexual morality.

The Phrygian “mother,” at the same time a mountain and a mother goddess, cannot be identified with the Anatolian goddess Kubaba (or Kuvava, Kybebe) who stood in the center of the Lydian cult (Herodotus, Hist. 5.102). The Phrygian Matar or Matar Kubileya stands also in contrast to the “great goddess” of western and southern Anatolian tradition. Matar was originally venerated on altars and at rock-cut step monuments in plain air; the famous temple in Pessinus was only built in Hellenistic times. In Phrygian belief, the “mother” resided in mountains or rock and was present in rock-cut idols or stone idols and in the niches of the old Phrygian rock-cut facades, the most famous being located in the so-called Midas City in the central Phrygian highlands.

North of Pessinus, near the modern village of Tekören, a black volcano with a typical crater dominates the region and can be identified with the mythical mountain Agdos. Agdistis is the cult-name of Matar/Cybele in Pessinus. At the beginning, the “mother” of Pessinus was only one of several local mountain mothers; her holy mountain was the Agdos, which is also connected with the myth of Attis, the consort of the goddess. Another cult of the Phrygian “mother” as Matar Dindymene is connected with the highest mountain of the region, the Arayit Dağı east of Pessinus.

The cult of the Phrygian “mother” had reached the Greek cities in western Anatolia already in the seventh century B.C.E. and spread to the Aegean and Greece and even to southern Italy and Massalia (Marseilles). The Greeks developed an anthropomorphic iconography of the goddess, which later became dominant. In 205/04 B.C.E. the cult was transferred when the “sacred” black stone was brought to Rome under the mediation of the Pergamenian king Attalus I because of the Sibylline prophecies to give Rome the final victory in the second Punic War. Her temple on the Palatine was finished in 191 B.C.E. The Cybele cult developed within the Roman Empire into a widespread mystery religion.


Pauline tradition held that the Christian communities in Phrygia started during Paul’s second and third missionary voyages; Epaphras, Paul’s confidant, founded the communities in Hierapolis, Laodicea on the Lycus, and Colossae, 9.3 miles (15 km) east of Denizli (Col 1:2, 7; 4:12–13). The evangelist and deacon Philip played an important role in Hierapolis; he had four daughters who acted in a prophetical manner (Acts 21:8–9; Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 3.30.1, 31.3–4). Laodicea is one of the seven communities to which the Apocalypse was addressed; however, it is described rather negatively because of its richness and its compromises with pagan life (Rev 1:11, 3:14–20). The early and intensive cult of the archangel Michael in the vicinity of Colossae, based on pre-Christian traditions and still vivid in Byzantine times, was already criticized by Paul (Col 2:18). Bishop Papias of Hierapolis shows that, following Antioch, the monarchic-episcopal constitution of the church was already developed in the first half of the second century C.E. (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 2.15.2, 3.36.2, 3.39).

Early forms of regional synods developed too, based on the administrative structures of the Roman province. Eumeneia was a bishopric in the second century C.E. where the anti-Montanist bishop Thraseas was active and where 10 martyrs are known (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 5.24.5). Synada had a bishop at least since early Severan times and was the location of a synod in ca. 225/35 C.E. discussing the question of heretical baptism. The first known bishop of Apamea is the anti-Montanist Julianus in the second century B.C.E. (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 5.16.17). Laodicea’s Bishop Sagaris died as a martyr during the reign of Marcus Aurelius (r. 161–180 C.E.) between 162 and 165 C.E.; a synod was held in Laodicea in the same period to discuss the date of Easter (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 4.26.3). Bishop Apollinaris of Hierapolis, in office during the reign of Marcus Aurelius too, organized an anti-Montanist synod (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 4.26.1, 5.16.1). In contrast to Galatia, pre-Constantinian Christian and Montanist epitaphs became relatively numerous in Phrygia from the late second century C.E.

The heretic Montanist church emerged out of the preaching of Montanus, a former priest of Apollo and adherent of the cult of Cybele, and the prophecies of Priscilla and Maximilla in the village Ardabau in western Phrygia. The centers of the movement were Pepuza and Tymion, both south of Uşak, where the Montanists expected the coming of the heavenly Jerusalem. The last of the three, Maximilla, died before 178 C.E. The movement started around 156/57 C.E. (Epiphanius, Pan. 48.1) and was based on the prophetic and visionary tradition of early Christianity. Montanus used the daughters of Philip as legitimating examples. Women had a strong position in the Montanist church and took part in the lower and even higher clergy. The ascetic movement demanded an open demonstration of the Christian faith up to voluntary martyrdom. It included pagan traditions of Phrygian religious thoughts, especially prophecy and ecstasy; the important role of women had parallels in the virgin priestesses of Apollo. The Montanist church, led by Montanist bishops, spread over Phrygia, other parts of the Roman provinces of Asia and Galatia, then over Cappadocia and Cilicia, and reached Rome, Gaul, and North Africa where Tertullian became a Montanist in 207/08 C.E. and a doctrinal theologian of the developed Montanism. In his writing he emphasized a strict ethic and the ideal of virginity. Montanism survived in Asia Minor until the sixth century C.E., when it was exterminated by the Orthodox church.


In the Achaemenid Empire, Katpatuka/Cappadocia was the region from the Black Sea in the north to the Cilician Taurus in the south, from the middle and lower Halys (modern Kızıl Irmak) and Cataonia, the region around Kybistra (later Heraclea, near Ereğli) in the west, to Armenia (former Urartu) in the east. It emerged out of the late Hittite states of Tabal (central area of later Cappadocia), Tuwanuwa (capital Tuwanuwa/Tyana, in Hellenistic times Eusebeia on the Taurus, modern Kemerhissar) and Melid (modern Malatya). It also incorporated the late Phrygian Empire, which remained east of the Halys after the fall of Gordion to the Lydian Empire at the end of the seventh century B.C.E. From 589–585 B.C.E. the region was under the supremacy of the Median dynasty of Ekbatana and became part of the Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus the Great between 546 and 540 B.C.E. The Old-Persian name of the satrapy, Katpatuka, derived from the Anatolian language of the Luwian-speaking population of the region.

In the reign of Artaxerxes III (r. ca. 358–338 B.C.E.), Cappadocia was divided into Cappadocia on the Pontus, later the kingdom of Pontus, in the north and Cappadocia on the Taurus, or Greater Cappadocia, in the south. Since 301 B.C.E. Greater Cappadocia was part of the Seleucid Empire; under its own dynast, Ariarathes II (r. ca. 280–255 B.C.E.), it succeeded in gaining more independence from the Seleucid power until 260 B.C.E. Under Ariarathes III (r. ca. 255–220 B.C.E.) Cappadocia finally gained the status of an independent kingdom, being in alliance with the Seleucids. It was organized in 10 strategies, and its capital was the city of Mazaka (modern Kayseri), first called Eusebeia after Ariarathes IV Eusebes (r. ca. 220–163 B.C.E.) and later Caesarea. From 96 B.C.E. the Cappadocian kings were associated with Rome, which guaranteed the independence of the kingdom against its powerful neighbors Pontus and Armenia. In 41 B.C.E. Marcus Antonius installed Archelaos as king of Cappadocia, who gained control over the kingdom only in 36 B.C.E. when Antonius killed his rival Ariarathes IX. During the battle of Actium Archelaos changed to the side of Augustus. In 20 B.C.E. southern Armenia Minor was given to him too. Because he had offended Tiberius (r. 14–37 C.E.) years before, Archelaos was invited to come to Rome; but Tiberius placed him on trial, and he died before the senate made his sentence. After the death of Archelaos in 17 C.E., Tiberius annexed the vassal kingdom.

The power of the dominating Cappadocian aristocracy whose castles were often built on steep rocks was based on large estates and control of the natural resources including salt production and important mining. Most of the population lived in villages based on agriculture and pasture. The urbanization of Cappadocia, based on the model of the Hellenistic polis, started late and was sporadic: Archelais (former Garsaura, later Colonia Claudia Archealis, modern Aksaray), Caesarea, and Eusebeia (Tyana). The real progress in urbanization was the result of Roman and even Late Roman times.

The Roman province.

The annexation of the former kingdom was achieved by Quintus Veranius in 18/19 C.E., and the province of Cappadocia with the metropolis Caesarea was organized. At first the province was governed by equestrian procurators. The provinces of Galatia and Cappadocia were first temporarily united during the Parthian war under Nero (r. 54–68 C.E.) and then finally early in the reign of Vespasian (r. 69–79 C.E.).

The huge provincial complex of Galatia-Cappadocia was governed by legati Augusti of consular rank. The legionary garrison of Legio XII Fulminata was installed in Melitene (modern Eski-Malatya) in 70/71 C.E. Armenia Minor was annexed in 71/72 C.E. and became part of Roman Cappadocia. From 75/76 C.E. the Legio XVI Flavia Firma garrisoned in Satala in the district of Armenia Minor. Both legionary camps were situated on the upper Euphrates. In 113 C.E. the great provincial complex of Galatia-Cappadocia was divided; Cappadocia with Armenia Minor again became a separate province under a senatorial governor; the districts of Pontus Polemoniacus and Pontus Galaticus were separated from Galatia and incorporated into the reestablished province of Cappadocia. During the Parthian war (114–117 C.E.) the governor of Cappadocia, Lucius Catilius Severus, governed the annexed kingdom of Armenia too. After the Parthian war, the province of Cappadocia, including the districts of Armenia Minor, Pontus Galaticus (now enlarged as Pontus Mediterraneus), and Pontus Polemoniacus, was reorganized. Important roads through Cappadocia led from Ancyra to Sebasteia (modern Sivas) and Armenia, from Ancyra through Caesarea to Melitene and the Euphrates, and from Ancyra through Tyana to the Cilician gates. Around 230–235 C.E. the again enlarged district of Pontus Galaticus/Mediterraneus was separated from Cappadocia and became the equestrian province of Pontus, also named Pontus et Paphlagonia (after 305/06 C.E. Diospontus, 328 C.E. Hellenopontus).

The Sassanid king Shapur I (r. 241–272 C.E.) attacked Cappadocia around Satala in 256 C.E., and in 260 C.E. Sassanid troops penetrated deep into Cappadocia and conquered the cities Caesarea, Tyana, Komana (modern Şar), Kybistra, and Sebasteia. In 275/76 C.E. Gothic and Herulian invaders on the Black Sea coast marched from Pontus through Cappadocia down to Cilicia, where they were defeated by the emperor Tacitus (r. 275–276 C.E.). Probably in 298 C.E. Pontus Polemoniacus and Armenia Minor (later Armenia Prima) became provinces of their own. Cappadocia was divided into two provinces, Cappadocia Prima with the capital Caesarea and Cappadocia Secunda with the capital Tyana in 372 C.E. In 386 C.E. the eastern part of the province of Cappadocia Prima was organized as the province Armenia Secunda.


Christianity spread early in Cappadocia. The Christian mission started from Antiochia (pseudonymous 1 Pet 1:1, address and greetings to the communities in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, around 100 C.E.; followed by Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 3.1.1). The Cappadocian church remained closely related to Antioch. The metropolitan bishop of Caesarea and the bishops of Tyana, Koloneia (Archelais, modern Aksaray), Kybistra, Komana, and Parnassos as well as four chorepiskopoi (bishops of secondary rank in rural districts) took part in the ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325 C.E. Cappadocia was a core region of Christianity and Christian theology in the fourth century (Basilius of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa). However, there is little epigraphic or archaeological evidence for the spread of Christianity until the fourth century C.E. Tertullian reported a local persecution of Christians in Cappadocia in early Severan times (Scap. 3). The grandparents of Wulfila were captured in the village of Sadagolthina near the city of Parnassus on the northwestern border of Cappadocia (Philostorgius, Ecclesiastical History 17) in 258/59 C.E. during a Gothic raid which started on the coast of Pontus. Thus, Christianity was already present in rural areas, not only in the hellenized cities of Cappadocia in the middle of the third century C.E. In the fourth century C.E. the bishop of the Cappadocian metropolis Caesarea received the title exarchos (metropolitan) and from 288 C.E. he had been the Katholikos (patriarch) of Armenia.


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Karl Strobel