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Ancient Cappadocian City 

Comana was a city of Cappadocia (τὰ Κόμανα τῆς Καππαδοκίας) and later Cataonia frequently called Comana Chryse  or Aurea.  The Hittite toponym Kummanni is considered likely to refer to Comana, but the identification is not considered proven.  Its ruins are at the modern Turkish village of Şar, Tufanbeyli district, Adana Province.

Category:         Ancient City

Civilisation:      Cappadocia


According to ancient geographers, Comana was situated in Cappadocia. Another epithet for the city, found in inscriptions, is Hieropolis (Ἱεράπολις) 'sacred city', owing to a famous temple of the Syrian Moon goddess Enyo. Strabo and Julius Caesar visited it; the former enters into long details about its position in a deep valley on the Sarus (Seihoun) river. The temple and its fame in ancient times as the place where the rites of Ma-Enyo, a variety of the great west Asian nature-goddess, were celebrated with much solemnity. The service was carried on in a sumptuous temple with great magnificence by many thousands of hieroduli (temple slaves). To defray expenses, large estates had been set apart, which yielded a more than royal revenue. The city, a mere apanage of the temple, was governed directly by the chief priest, who was always a member of the reigning Cappadocian family, and took rank next to the king. The number of persons engaged in the service of the temple, even in Strabo's time, was upwards of 6,000, and among these, to judge by the names common on local tomb-stones, were many Persians. Under the Romans the temple was reassigned to Bellona and Lycomedes established as high priest. Emperor Caracalla made Comana a Roman colony, and the temple-city received honors from later emperors down to the official recognition of Christianity.  It was in the division which he named the Third Armenia, and which, he observes, contained Melitene, near the Euphrates.

There was a tradition that Orestes, with his sister, brought from Tauric Scythia the sacred rites of this temple, which were those of Tauropolos Artemis. Here Orestes deposited the hair that he cut from his head to commemorate the end of his sufferings ), and hence, according to a folk etymology of the Greeks, came the name of the place, Comana. 

The city minted coins in antiquity that bear the epigraphs Col. Aug. Comana, and Col. Iul. Aug. Comanenoru or Comainoru.

The site lies at Şarköy or Şar, a village in the Anti-Taurus on the upper course of the Sarus, mainly Armenian, but surrounded by later settlements of Avshar Turkomans and Circassians. The place has derived importance both in antiquity and now from its position at the eastern end of the main pass of the western Anti-Taurus range, the Kuru Çay, through which passed the road from Caesarea-Mazaca (modern Kayseri) to Melitene (modern Malatya), converted by Septimius Severus into the chief military road to the eastern frontier of the empire. The extant remains at Şar include a theatre on the left bank of the river, a fine Roman doorway and many inscriptions; but the exact site of the great temple has not been satisfactorily identified. There are many traces of Severus's road, including a bridge at Kemer, and an immense number of milestones, some in their original positions, others reused in cemeteries

theater comana

there are many milestones, about 180 rocktombs and 25 inscriptions in the ancient site. Some of the inscriptions were used by willagers at the walls of their houses.

Below are the translations of some inscriptions.

Imperator Caesar [Nerva] Traianus Augustus Germanicus, son of deified] Nerva, pontifex maximus, holder of the tribunician power, consul for the .. time, fatherof the fatherland, restored the roads 

Alıntıdır. Ferit Baz. Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. Department Member. Two New Milestones of Nerva and Trajan/Carus on the Road from Caesarea to Melitene (=Kaisareia'dan Melitene'ye Uzanan Yol üzerinde Nerva ve Traianus/Carus'a ait iki adet yeni miltaşı), Philia 6, 2020, 35-41.

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