Ancient Cilician City
Syedra was an ancient port city in region of ancient Cilicia, Pamphylia, or Isauria, on the southern coast of modern-day Turkey between the towns of Alanya and Gazipaşa. Syedra was settled in the 7th century BCE, and abandoned in the 13th century CE. The town had a port at sea level and an upper town 400m above. Ptolemy places it in Cilicia. Stephanus of Byzantium assigns it to Isauria. Hierocles places it in Pamphylia.
Category: Ancient City
Civilisation: Cilicia / Pamphylia
Outdoor Tracking Route
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The Roman historians Lucan and Florus both mention Syedra as where the Roman General Pompeo held his last war council in 48 BCE. The epic poet Lucan and the historian Florus mention his stop-over in Syedra, “on a lonely rock in Cilicia,” where he met with the handful of senators who still stuck by him after he was defeated by Julius Caesar in the Battle of Pharsalus. The topic of discussion was whether Pompey should go to Egypt or Parthia to seek sanctuary and support against Caesar. According to Lucan, Pompey wanted to go to Parthia, but was browbeaten by Lucius Cornelius Lentulus into going to Egypt instead and securing the aid of boy king Ptolemy XIII. When he went ashore to greet an official delegation, Pompey was killed by Lucius Septimius, a Roman officer and former colleague serving in the Egyptian army. His body was cremated by two servants, while the head was kept as evidence.
Theaatre of Olympos
The city experienced its height around the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE, and in 194 Roman Emperor Septimius Severus praised the city's resistance of ongoing Mediterranean piracy. A first century BCE inscription found in the town relates to the piracy, suggesting that the oracle, possibly of Apollo at Claros, advised the Syedrians to resist pirates with "violent battle, either driving away, or binding in unbreakable chains." In 193 Pescennius Niger made a war with Septimius Severus in order to become the Emperor. In 194 the war was over and Pescennius Niger defeated. After the war, Septimius Severus rewarded cities that supported him with new privileges and titles, while cities which went against him were punished, lost their privileges, some even became villages. Syedra supported Septimius Severus, and took privileges.
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Coins were minted in Syedra during various time periods going back to that of Roman Emperor Tiberius (r. 14 CE–37 CE). In 374 CE, the early Christian theologian Epiphanius of Salamis wrote his work Ancoratus (the well anchored man) as a reply letter to the Church at Syedra, describing it as needing to be anchored in a safe harbor.
Syedra Water Cistern
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.