Ancient Cilician City
Anemurium (Ἀνεμούριον, Anemourion), is an ancient city whose ruins, now called old Anamur or Anemuryum, are close to the modern Turkish city of Anamur. It was in the Roman province of Cilicia, later Isauria, and was situated near a high promontory (Cape Anamur) that marks the southernmost point of Asia Minor, only 64 km from Cyprus. In the Middle Ages, it was called Stallimur.
Category: Ancient City
Civilisation: Cilicia / Roman
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Anemurium was already in existence in the Hellenistic period. In AD 52, it was besieged by a local tribe, known as the Clietae, led by Troxobor, but Antiochus IV of Commagene broke the siege and after executing Troxobor and a few of the leading chieftains, pardoned and gave mercy to the rest. It was under threat from a similar quarter in 382.
Coins from its mint survive from the time of Antiochus IV of Commagene (38–72) to Valerian (253–259). In 260, it was captured by the Sasanians, an event that sent Anemurium into decline for many decades, but it continued to be prosperous until the mid-7th century when it was more or less completely abandoned, probably because the Arab occupation of Cyprus made the coast unsafe.
Anthiokhus IV of Commagene
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Iacobus, bishop of Anemurium, took part in the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Euphronius was a signatory of the letter by which the bishops of the Roman province of Isauria, to which Anemurium belonged, protested to Byzantine Emperor Leo I the Thracian in 458 about the killing of Proterius of Alexandria. Ioannes was deposed by the Emperor Justin I in 518 for supporting the views of Severus of Antioch. Mamas was at the Trullan Council of 692.
No longer a residential bishopric, Anemurium is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.
The Anemurium Basilica measures 21 x 45 m. The most striking part of the basilica is its south-facing semicircular apse. The apse was built on the fortification wall and stands up to the roof height (8.50 m). The floors of the rooms on both sides of the apse are decorated with mosaics. As a result of the researches carried out in the building, the stylobate part that separates the naves from each other and where the columns sit was determined. Also, on the basis of the structure’s proximity to the Odeon, some ideas were put forward that it could be a civilian basilica. The basilica was built in the 3rd century AD and the mosaics on its floor were made in the 4th century AD.
Anemurium Necropolis Church
The Necropolis Church, located in the necropolis area at the north of the ancient city, was built in a basilical plan with three naves and in the east-west direction. As a result of the studies, it was understood that the church had 5 different phases and the floors of many rooms were covered with mosaics. The floor mosaics in question are generally decorated with geometric motifs and there are sections (tabula ansata) on which the names of the benefactors who donated to the church are mentioned. The most striking of these is the mosaic in the bema where a leopard and a capricorn figure standing on both sides of the palm tree are depicted. The depiction on this mosaic, which is exhibited in the Anamur Museum today, has been associated with the “Kingdom of Peace”. As a result of the studies carried out, it is stated that the church was built in the 5th century AD, and it was severely damaged after the great earthquake in 580 AD. Therefore, it is assumed that the building may have lost its church character since this date. However, some data obtained as a result of excavations showed that the church continued to be used as a cemetery after the 7th century AD.
The Central Church was built at a point that can be regarded as the center of the city, close to the Central Bath and the Treasury Church. The building was built in a basilical plan with three naves and in an east-west direction. Entrance to the church was provided through the doors in the west. There are the narthex in the west, pastophorion (small rooms) rooms on both sides of the apse, and the rooms in the north, apparently added in later periods. There are three rows of columns in the church that separate the middle and side aisles from each other. The side naves of the church coated with square floor tiles. The Central Church must have served the people of Anemurium between the 5th and 6th centuries AD
The frescoes are part of a group in the tomb labeled BI16 in Elisabeth Alfoeldi's publication of the necropolis at Anemurum. Others in the tomb include a dining couple and the god Hermes as well as servants carrying food on trays." and "There are no frescoes remaining in the church and the mosaics were covered to protect them. A scene of the Peaceable Kingdom was lifted and is now in the museum at Anamur.