Ancient Cilician City
The city, which was included in the Pamphylia State with the narrowing of the borders of the Isauria State with the regulations in AD 370, was mentioned as a diocese center affiliated to the Pamphylia Metropolitanate during the Byzantine Period. As in the other mentioned cities, it is understood that religious buildings took an important place in Syedra, especially in the middle ages. After the Arab raids that started in the 7th century A.D, the region came under the control of the Umayyad and Abbasid states, and again under Byzantine rule in the 10th century.
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Archaeologists have discovered a 1,765-square-foot floor mosaic depicting the 12 Labours of Hercules in the Roman baths of the ancient city of Syedra on the southern coast of Turkey. It dates to the 2nd century A.D. and is unique for the life-sized dimensions of the human figures. Every one of Hercules’ contests against an assortment of man-eating creatures and enormous quantities of cow manure get a scene in the mosaic, although some parts were destroyed in antiquity. The sections that remain are in good condition.
The mosaic was first unearthed in 2019, but the excavation was not completed at that time and the art work was reburied for its protection. The excavation resumed in late 2020 and the full extent of the mosaic revealed, 26 feet in width and 72 feet in length. It fills a rectangular room with a semicircular recess at one end like an apse. This design is typical of the caldarium (the hot room) in other baths.
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In the 1990s, an excavation unearthed fragments of a stele inscribed with a letter from Septimius Severus wrote to the loyal people of Syedra in the second half of 194. Now on display in the Archaeological Museum in Alanya, the reconstructed stele reads:
Imperator Caesar Lucius Septimius Severus Pertinax Augustus, Pater Patriae, Pontifex Maximus, in the second year of his tribunician power, imperator for the fourth time, consul for the second time, proconsul, to the magistrates, council and people of the Seydrans, greetings.
How much zeal you displayed in resisting the attack of those impious and godless men who, using Super [an officer of Niger’s] as their guide to the route, turned aside to your city too, I previously learned and praised you for your perseverance. However, Super has already incurred his due punishment, having paid for the wrongs he committed against you, and the centurions who, you say, also accompanied Super will not escape unpunished either.
But it is fitting that you, since matters have gone as they have, and your fellow citizens who at that time were forcibly torn from their ancestral city [ie, conscripted into Niger’s army] but have now for the time being returned and are residing with you, should sacrifice and feast and take pride in the acts of bravery that you previously performed, reflecting that you have made yourselves more glorious by such actions, and that you have confirmed your already existing goodwill towards the Romans.