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Category:         Ancient City / Site

Civilisation:       Pisidia

Selge  was an important city in ancient Pisidia and later in Pamphylia, on the southern slope of Mount Taurus, modern Antalya Province, Turkey, at the part where the river Eurymedon River forces its way through the mountains towards the south.
The town was believed to be a Greek colony, for Strabo states that it was founded by Spartans, but adds the somewhat unintelligible remark that previously it had been founded by Calchas. Stephanus of Byzantium at the Ethnica, also, write that the city was a Lacedaemon colony. The acropolis of Selge bore the name of Kesbedion. The district in which the town was situated was extremely fertile, producing abundance of oil and wine, but the town itself was difficult of access, being surrounded by precipices and beds of torrents flowing towards the Eurymedon and Cestrus (today Aksu), and requiring bridges to make them passable.


Selge Theater

In consequence of its excellent laws and political constitution, Selge rose to the rank of the most powerful and populous city of Pisidia, and at one time was able to send an army of 20,000 men into the field. Owing to these circumstances, and the valour of its inhabitants, for which they were regarded as worthy kinsmen of the Spartans, the Selgians were never subject to any foreign power, but remained in the enjoyment of their own freedom and independence. When Alexander the Great passed through Pisidia (333 BC), Selge sent an embassy to him and gained his favour and friendship. At that time they were at war with Termessos.


At the period when Achaeus had made himself master of Western Asia, Selge were at war with Pednelissus, which was besieged by them; and Achaeus, on the invitation of Pednelissus, sent a large force against Selge (218 BC). After a long and vigorous siege, the Selgians, being betrayed and despairing of resisting Achaeus any longer, sent deputies to sue for peace, which was granted to them on the following terms: they agreed to pay immediately 400 talents, to restore the prisoners of Pednelissus, and after a time to pay 300 talents in addition. We now have for a long time no particulars about the history of Selge; in the 5th century AD Zosimus calls it indeed a little town, but it was still strong enough to repel a body of Goths. It is strange that Pliny does not notice Selge, for we know from its coins that it was still a flourishing town in the time of Hadrian; and it is also mentioned in Ptolemy and Hierocles. Independently of wine and oil, the country about Selge was rich in timber, and a variety of trees, among which the storax was much valued from its yielding a strong perfume. Selge was also celebrated for an ointment prepared from the iris root.


The Eurymedon Bridge  is a Roman bridge over the river Eurymedon (Köprüçay River) near Selge in Pisidia in southern Turkey. It is part of the road winding up from the coastal region Pamphylia to the Pisidian hinterland. Located 5 km north of the village Beşkonak in a sparsely settled area, the bridge crosses the Eurymedon high above the valley bottom.

The excellently preserved structure is 14 m long and 3.5 m wide (with a roadway of 2.5 m). The clear span of its single arch is c. 7 m, the thickness of its voussoirs, which were set without the use of mortar, 60 cm. The building technique and the sturdy stonework point to a construction date in the 2nd century AD, a time when Selge was flourishing.

Forty-two km downstream at Aspendos, the Eurymedon is crossed by another extant old bridge. The bidge can still be used by vehicles. Above is the photo of the bridge after the retoration and below before the restoration.

Selge Eurymedon bridge

Selge Eurymedon bridge before restoration

 Selge old scetch by E.T.Daniell
Selge Aquaduct

Right next to the theater there was a stadium. Currently, its area is overbuild by modern residential buildings, and one of its sides is visible in the form of a wall extending along a road. If you look carefully, you can see a few rows of seats, but most of the auditorium of the stadium was dismantled and used for the construction of houses in the village.

On the south-wester side of the stadium there are completely ruined baths.  The larger one dates back to the 3rd century BC and was, most probably, dedicated to Zeus, and the smaller one - to Artemis.

On the other side of the hill was the acropolis, with a paved road leading up to it. There one can trace the remains of the agora and the odeon. On the same hill there are also ancient cisterns that collected water provided by the aqueduct. Below the hill stand the scanty ruins of a nymphaeum.


Coinage from Selge

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