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Kilikia (Cilicia) - Region 18

Cities / Mints

1 - Adana
2 - Aigeai (Aegeae)
3 - Alexandreia ad Issos (Alexandria ad Issum)
4 - Anazarbos (Anazarbus)
5 - Anemurion (Anemurium)
6 - Antiocheia ad Kragos (Antiochia ad Cragum)
7 - Augusta
8 - Diokaisareia (Diocaesarea)
9 - Elaiousa-Sebaste
10 - Epiphaneia (Epiphania)
11 - Eirenopolis-Neronias (Irenopolis)
12 - Flaviopolis
13 - Germanikopolis (Germanicopolis)
14 - Hieropolis-Kastabala (Castaballa)
15 - Holmoi (Holmi)
16 - Iotape
17 - Isaura
18 - Issos (Issus)
19 - Karallia (Carallia)
20 - Kasai (Casae)
21 - Kelenderis (Celenderis)
22 - Kestros (Cestrus)
23 - Kolybrassos (Colybrassus)
24 - Korykos (Corycus)
25 - Kibyra Minor (Cibyra)
26 - Korakesion (Coracesium)
27 - Koropissos (Coropissus)
28 - Laertes
29 - Lakanatis
30 - Lalassis
31 - Lamos (Lamus)
32 - Lyrbe
33 - Mallos (Mallus)
34 - Mopsos (Mopsus)
35 - Myriandros (Myriandrus)


36 - Nagidos (Nagidus)
37 - Ninika-Klaudiopolis (Ninica-Claudiopolis)
38 - Olba
39 - Philadelphia
40 - Rhosos (Rhosus)
41 - Seleukeia (Seleucia)
42 - Selinos (Selinus)
43 - Soloi-Pompeiopolis (Soli)
44 - Syedra
45 - Tarsos (Tarsus)
46 - Titiopolis
47 - Zephyrion (Zephyrium)

48 - Kilikia Uncertain



- Syennesis III
- Tiribazos
- Pharnabazos
- Datames
- Mazaios
- Balakros


- Tarkondimotos I (39-31 BC)
- Philopator
(20 BC-17 AD)

49 - Satraps and Kings


None known

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Kilikia (Cilicia in Latin) in the south-east of Asia Minor consists of two parts: the inaccessible western area of the Taurus mountains, also known as "rough Kilikia", and the eastern plains (modern Çukurova), which are dominated by the rivers Kydnos, Saros and Pyramis. The Anti-Taurus is the region's northern border, which contains the Kilikian gate, a pass that connects the plain with Kappadokia in the north. From times immemorial, the two areas belong together. In the second half of the the second millennium BC, the entire region, known as Kizzuwatna, was part of the Hethitian empire. Contemporary sources mention the two main cities on the plains: the residence Tarša (better known as Tarsos) and Adanija (Adana). The most important language was Luwian. After the fall of the Hethitian empire (after 1215 BC), the two areas were included in a new kingdom called Tarhuntassa, which had its capital in Pamphylia. When the Assyrians discovered the region in the ninth century BC, they called the fertile eastern area Que (its capital was Adana), and the western area Hilakku; from this word Kilikia is derived.

In 612 BC, the Babylonians and Medes captured the Assyrian capital Nineveh. Hilakku survived the collapse of Assyria, and a new kingdom came into being, in which both areas were united. The Greeks rendered the title of its kings, suuannassai, as syennesis, and the name of the country as Kilikia. It is certain that in 547/546 BC, the Persian king Cyrus the Great campaigned in the countries west of the Tigris. It must have been at this stage that he added Kilikia to the Achaemenid empire, making the syennesis a vassal king. Its capital was Tarsos, where the loyal syennesis had its residence. It had to pay tribute: 360 horses and 500 talents of silver, according to Herodotos. There were several important sanctuaries, and the oracle at Mallos.

At the end of the fifth century BC, the third known and probably last syennesis was ruling Kilikia. He became involved in a civil war between Artaxerxes II and his brother Cyrus the Younger. When the latter approached the Kilikian gate, the syennesis was forced to side with him. However, after the defeat of Cyrus at Cunaxa near Babylon, the syennesis' position was difficult and he was dethroned. This marked the end of the independence of Kilikia. After 400 BC, it became an ordinary satrapy. One of its satraps was the Babylonian Mazaios (361-336 BC), who was an important Persian official and ruled not only Kilikia, but beyond (some say even Jerusalem). His successor was expelled by Alexander the Great, who conquered Kilikia in the summer of 333 BC, along his tour of Asia Minor. Alexander appointed a new satrap of Kilikia, Balakros.

After the death of Alexander III (323 BC), Kilikia was first part of the kingdom of Antigonos Monophthalmos, who had been appointed as satrap of Phrygia. When he was defeated at Ipsos (301 BC), Kilikia was divided by Seleukos and Ptolemy I Soter, two former friends of Alexander. From now on, the coastal towns belonged to the Ptolemaic empire, and the interior was part of the Seleukid empire. Twice, the region was contested: in the Second Syrian war (260-253 BC), the Ptolemaeans gained ground, but in the Fifth Syrian war (202-198 BC), all of Kilikia became Seleukid. It remained so for a century, and was thoroughly hellenized. New cities were founded, and the old Luwian language was gradually superseded by Greek. However, after ca. 110 BC, the Seleukid power was waning, and the inhabitants of "rough Kilikia", which had always retained some of their independence, started to behave as pirates. Both the Seleukid and Roman authorities sometimes launched expeditions against the Kilikian pirates, but were not greatly successful.

It was only after 80 BC, when it became clear to the Romans that the Seleukid empire was disintegrating and a power vacuum was growing, that the legions intervened. In 78-74 BC, Publius Servilius Vatia subdued western Kilikia. To commemorate his victory, he received the surname Isauricus. Eastern Kilikia became part of the empire of the Armenian king Tigranes. However, the Kilikian pirates remained dangerous, until Pompey the Great attacked them. He settled them in towns and gave them land (67 BC). This turned out to be an excellent settlement. The last Kilikian war was conducted by Marcus Tullius Cicero (51-50 BC), who defeated the last independent Kilikians.

During the next decade, the Romans were unable to establish their power, because they were involved in two civil wars. When Octavian became sole ruler (after 30 BC), Kilikia was finally pacified. Parts were given to vassal kings, and the remainder became an appendix to the province Syria. Although the governor of Syria sometimes had to fight against the mountain tribes, Kilikia was now a quiet part of the Roman world. The emperor Vespasian reunited Kilikia in 72 AD. More than two centuries later, it was divided into two parts by Diocletian: the mountainous west became known as Isauria, and the plains retained the name Kilikia. In the late fourth or early fifth century AD, the remainder of Kilikia was again divided into two parts, simply called Kilikia I (Tarsus and environs) and Kilikia II (the eastern plains). [Based on article by Jona Lendering - Livius.org]

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