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Islands Off Cilicia - Elaiussa-Sebaste?

 
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 Posted 01/20/2021  10:43 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Novicius to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
This coin was listed as "Islands off Cilicia - Elaiussa-Sebaste", but I was to discover that there are no islands.

Just off the highway along Turkey's Mediterranean coast, around 34 miles west of Mersin, in the modern town of Ayas, are the ruins of the ancient city of Elaiussa-Sebaste.

The city of Elaiussa was founded in the 2nd century BC on a small island connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway. Some historians believe that the city was the gateway for the olive trade because Elaiussa (or Elaeousa) means "olive" in the old language, and the area was well known for the cultivation of olives. Elaiussa flourished under the rule of the Cappadocian king Archelaus, during the reign of the Roman emperor Augustus. Archelaus founded a new city next to Elaiussa and called it Sebaste ("Augusta") in honour of the Roman emperor.

After the region was cleared of pirates by the Roman emperor Vespasianus in 74 AD, the city prospered, but started to loose its importance towards the 3rd century AD due to incursions of the Sasanians and Isaurians.

The small island where the city was first founded is a peninsula today, and there are almost no visible ruins due to them being buried under sand deposits. However the ruins of a cistern, Roman bath, walls and a breakwater can be seen on the western side of the peninsula overlooking the bay. The floor of the bath is paved with mosaics and there is a basilica on a round base. On the opposite side of the road that divides Elaiussa and Sebaste there is a small theatre from the 2nd century AD. Next to the theatre there is an Agora surrounded by a wall, which had two lion shaped monumental fountains at the entrance. There is a large Byzantine church inside the Agora with a mosaic floor, and a pagan temple on a hill overlooking the sea outside of the city, decorated with Corinthian style columns. There is also a large Roman bath complex between the temple and the agora.

The necropolis is located on a hill to the north of the city, housing about 100 well preserved monumental tombs and sarcophagi of various shapes and sizes, and nearby are some remarkable mausoleums.

The ancient aqueducts which carried water from Lamos (lemon) river to the city can be seen at the entrances of the city, the one to the west is in relatively good condition. At the peak of the city's prosperity this water system ran all the way to Corycos.

Cilicia, Elaiussa-Sebaste, 1st cent. BC.
Obverse: Head of Zeus wearing taenia right, AP behind. Reverse: EΛAIOYΣIΩN, Nike walking left, holding wreath, A in square above TA and ΘE in left field. Bronze. Diameter: 23 mm. Weight: 6.53 gr.
Sear 5680v; Lindgren I 1651v.
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 Posted 01/20/2021  7:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bob L to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Excellent write-up, Jim, as usual. Inspired by your post, I just looked up some pics of the site: the theater, bath, aqueduct, and agora. Might not be an A-list ancient site, but looks quite nice. Neat coin. Thanks for sharing.
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 Posted 01/22/2021  8:21 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Palouche to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very nice coin and really enjoyed the write up Jim...
Great to learn something new again Thanks!

The Romans were amazing engineers!
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 Posted 01/25/2021  08:40 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Novicius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Might not be an A-list ancient site, but looks quite nice.

Definitely not in the same league as the major sites, Bob. I had expected to find some information about islands off Cilicia, but it was interesting to read about the two cities side by side, and no island.

Quote:
The Romans were amazing engineers.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Paul. From aqueducts, roads and buildings, to their magnificent statues, they were very skilled indeed.
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