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Cilicia () was an early
Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Roman Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire. Each province was ruled ...
, located on what is today the southern (Mediterranean) coast of
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
.
Cilicia Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the litera ...

Cilicia
was annexed to the Roman Republic in 64 BC by
Pompey Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a leading Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization f ...
, as a consequence of its military presence in the east, after pursuing victory in the
Third Mithridatic War The Third Mithridatic War (73–63 BC), the last and longest of the three Mithridatic Wars The Mithridatic Wars were three conflicts fought by Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder ...
. It was subdivided by
Diocletian Diocletian (; la, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus; born Diocles; 22 December c. 244 – 3 December 311) was from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in , Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become a commander of ...
in around 297, and it remained under Roman rule for several centuries, until falling to the
Islamic conquests The early Muslim conquests ( ar, الفتوحات الإسلامية, ''al-Futūḥāt al-Islāmiyya''), also referred to as the Arab conquests and the early Islamic conquests began with the Islamic prophet Muhammad ) , birth_date ...
.


First contact and establishment of the province (103–47 BC)

The area was a haven for pirates that profited from the slave trade with the Romans. When the Cilician pirates began to attack Roman shipping and towns, the Roman senate decided to send various commanders to deal with the threat. It was during the course of these interventions that the province of Cilicia came into being. Parts of Cilicia Pedias became Roman territory in 103 BC, during
Marcus Antonius Orator Marcus Antonius (143–87 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the ...
’s first campaign against the pirates. While the entire area of "Cilicia" was his “province”, or more correctly, his area of ''
imperium In ancient Rome, ''imperium'' was a form of authority held by a Roman citizenship, citizen to control a military or governmental entity. It is distinct from ''auctoritas'' and ''potestas'', different and generally inferior types of power in t ...

imperium
'' during his
propraetor In ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian i ...
ial command, only a small portion of that region was made a Roman province at that time. In 96 BC,
Lucius Cornelius Sulla Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (; 138–78 BC), commonly known as Sulla, was a Ancient Romans, Roman List of Roman generals, general and Politician, statesman. He won the first large-scale civil war in Roman history, and became the first man of Rom ...
was appointed the propraetorial governor of Cilicia, during which time he stopped an invasion by
Mithridates II of Parthia Mithridates II (also spelled Mithradates II or Mihrdad II; xpr, 𐭌𐭄𐭓𐭃𐭕 ''Mihrdāt'') was king of the Parthian Empire from 124 to 91 BC. Considered one of the greatest of his dynasty to ever rule, he was known as Mithridates the Great ...
. In 80 BC, the governor of Cilicia was
Gnaeus Cornelius Dolabella Gnaeus Cornelius Dolabella was a consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area aroun ...
, who was later convicted of illegally plundering the province. His replacement in 78 BC was
Publius Servilius Vatia Isauricus Publius Servilius Vatia Isauricus (c. 130 BC – 44 BC), was a Roman politician and general of the First Century BC. He was elected one of the two consuls A consul is an official representative of the government of one Sovereign state, state i ...
. He was given the responsibility of clearing out the pirates, and his posting lasted until 74 BC. From 77 to 76 BC, he achieved a number of naval victories against the pirates off the Cilician coast, and was able to occupy the
Lycia Lycia ( Lycian: 𐊗𐊕𐊐𐊎𐊆𐊖 ''Trm̃mis''; el, Λυκία, ; tr, Likya) was a geopolitical region in Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula ...
n and
Pamphylia Pamphylia ( grc, Παμφυλία, ''Pamphylía'', modern pronunciation ''Pamfylía'' ) was a region in the south of Asia Minor, between Lycia and Cilicia, extending from the Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean to Mount Taurus (all in modern-day Anta ...
n coasts. After the pirates fled to their fortified strongholds, Vatia Isauricus began attacking their coastal fortresses. He captured the town of
Olympos Olympus or Olympos ( grc, Ὄλυμπος) may refer to: Mountains In antiquity Greece * Mount Olympus in Thessaly, northern Greece, the home of the twelve gods of Olympus in Greek mythology * Mount Olympus (Lesvos), located in Lesbos * Moun ...
before going on to capture
Phaselis Phaselis ( grc, Φασηλίς) was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. It ...

Phaselis
and subduing
Corycus Corycus ( el, Κώρυκος; also transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing system, based on a repertoire of specific elements ...
and a number of minor pirate strongholds.Smith, pg. 1233 Then in 75 BC Vatia Isauricus advanced across the
Taurus Mountains The Taurus Mountains (Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Gr ...
(the first time the Roman army had crossed these mountains) and succeeded in defeating the Isauri along the northern slopes. He laid siege to their principal town, Isaura, and managed to capture it after diverting the course of a river, thereby depriving the defenders in the town from their only source of water, after which they soon surrendered. By 74 BC, Vatia Isauricus had organized the territory he had conquered and incorporated it into the province of Cilicia. Nevertheless, much of Cilicia Pedias was still held by
Tigranes the Great Tigranes II, more commonly known as Tigranes the Great ( hy, Տիգրան Մեծ, ''Tigran Mets''; grc, Τιγράνης ὁ Μέγας ''Tigránes ho Mégas''; la, Tigranes Magnus) (140 – 55 BC) was King of Kingdom of Armenia (ant ...
and belonged to the kingdom of
Armenia Armenia (; hy, Հայաստան, translit=Hayastan, ), officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is ...
., while Cilicia Trachea was still under the domination of the pirates. Vatia Isauricus was succeeded as proconsul of Cilicia by Lucius Licinius Lucullus who used Isauricus' veterans and fleet to fight in the war against Mithridates IV of Pontus (see:
Third Mithridatic War The Third Mithridatic War (73–63 BC), the last and longest of the three Mithridatic Wars The Mithridatic Wars were three conflicts fought by Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder ...
). Since Tigranes was Mithridates' ally Lucullus eventually moved against his possessions in Cilicia Pedias and added them to the Roman province of Cilicia. It was not until
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a leading Roman Republic, Roman general and statesman. He played a significant role in the transformation of ...
was granted his extraordinary command against the pirates in 67 BC, and the decisive
Battle of Korakesion The Battle of Korakesion, also known as the Battle of Coracaesium, was a naval battle fought in 67 BC between the Cilician Pirates Cilician pirates dominated the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by ...
(in modern
Alanya Alanya (; ), formerly Alaiye, is a beach resort town, resort city and a district of Antalya Province on the southern coast of Turkey, in the country's Mediterranean Region, Turkey, Mediterranean Region, east of the city of Antalya. As of Turkey' ...

Alanya
), that the pirates were finally driven out and subdued, and Cilicia Trachea was brought under Roman control. After Pompey was granted command of the
Third Mithridatic War The Third Mithridatic War (73–63 BC), the last and longest of the three Mithridatic Wars The Mithridatic Wars were three conflicts fought by Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder ...
, he forced the surrender of King Triganes and proceeded to strip off of the king the parts of Cilicia Pedias that Triganes still possessed. By 64 BC, Pompey had organized the new province, adding all of his recent conquests to the original province of Cilicia, and made
Tarsus Tarsus may refer to: Biology *Tarsus (skeleton), a cluster of articulating bones in each foot *Tarsus (eyelids), elongated plate of dense connective tissue in each eyelid *The distal segment of an Arthropod leg#Tarsus, arthropod leg *The lower le ...
the capital of the new province. Pompey's reorganized Cilicia had six parts: Cilicia Campestris, Cilicia Aspera,
Pamphylia Pamphylia ( grc, Παμφυλία, ''Pamphylía'', modern pronunciation ''Pamfylía'' ) was a region in the south of Asia Minor, between Lycia and Cilicia, extending from the Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean to Mount Taurus (all in modern-day Anta ...
,
Pisidia Pisidia (; el, Πισιδία, ''Pisidía''; tr, Pisidya) was a region of ancient Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeni ...
,
Isauria Isauria ( or ; grc, Ἰσαυρία), in ancient geography, is a rugged isolated district in the interior of Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula ...
, and
Lycaonia Lycaonia (; el, Λυκαονία, ''Lykaonia'', tr, Likaonya) was a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, ...
; with the largest part of
Phrygia In classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related ...
, including the ''
Conventus iuridicus In Ancient Rome territorial organization, a ''conventus iuridicus'' was the capital city of a subdivision of some Roman province, provinces (Dalmatia (Roman province), Dalmatia, Hispania, Asia (Roman province), Asia) with functions of seat of a di ...
'' of Laodicea, Apamea, and Synnada. To the east of Cilicia Campestris, Pompey left a local dynast, Tarcondimotus, in control of Anazarbos and Mount Amanus. The Tarcondimotid dynasty would continue to hold the region as loyal allies of Rome until the reign of Tiberius. In 58 BC, the island of
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or poli ...

Cyprus
was added, which the Romans had taken from the king of Egypt. This was the extent of the Roman province of Cilicia when
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
was
proconsul A proconsul was an official of ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose wo ...

proconsul
of Cilicia in 51-50 BC. The Romans had by now divided it into eight Conventus (or Fora): the Conventus of Tarsus, where the governor resided; the Forum of Iconium for
Lycaonia Lycaonia (; el, Λυκαονία, ''Lykaonia'', tr, Likaonya) was a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, ...
; the Forum Isauricum, possibly at Philornelium; the Forum Pamphylium, the place of which is unknown; the Forum Cibyraticum, at
Laodicea on the Lycus Laodicea on the Lycus ( el, Λαοδίκεια πρὸς τοῦ Λύκου ''Laodikia pros tou Lykou''; la, Laodicea ad Lycum, also transliterated as ''Laodiceia'' or ''Laodikeia'') (modern tr, Laodikeia) was an ancient city built on the river ...
; the Forum of Apamea; the Forum of Synnada; and Cyprus.


Provincial changes (47 BC – 14 AD)

The province was reorganized by
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
in 47 BC. The Forum (or Conventus) of Cibyra was attached to the
province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...
of
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...
, together with the greater part of
Pisidia Pisidia (; el, Πισιδία, ''Pisidía''; tr, Pisidya) was a region of ancient Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeni ...
, Pamphylia, as well as possibly the Conventus of Apamea and Synnada. Further changes were made by
Marcus Antonius Marcus Antonius (14 January 1 August 30 BC), commonly known in English as Mark Antony, was a Ancient Rome, Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the Crisis of the Roman Republic, transformation of the Roman Republic f ...
in 36 BC, when he gave Cyprus and Cilicia Aspera to
Cleopatra VII Cleopatra VII Philopator ( grc-gre, Κλεοπάτρα Φιλοπάτωρ}; 69 BC10 August 30 BC) was queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom The Ptolemaic Kingdom (; grc-koi, Πτολεμαϊκὴ βασιλεία, Ptolemaïkḕ basile ...
, and eastern Phrygia with Lycaonia, Isauria, and Pisidia, to king
Amyntas of Galatia Amyntas is the name of several prominent Greek and Hellenistic men. The word is derived from Greek "amyntor" meaning "defender". Kings of Macedon *Amyntas I of Macedon Amyntas I (Greek language, Greek: Ἀμύντας Aʹ; 498 BC) was king of th ...

Amyntas of Galatia
. In 27 BC, the
Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Politica ...
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
made further changes, reducing the province of Cilicia still further. Cyprus was made a separate province; and Pamphylia with Isauria and Pisidia, after the death of Amyntas in 25 BC, was also made a separate province ( the province of Galatia), to which Lycaonia was also attached. The result was that Cilicia was reduced to the original parts Campestris and Aspera, and renamed Syria-Cilicia Phoenice. Under Augustus, Cilicia was an imperial province, administered by a consular ''
Legatus Augusti pro praetore A ''legatus Augusti pro praetore'' (literally: "envoy of the emperor – acting for the praetor") was the official title of the governor A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the Executive (government), executi ...
''. As per the late Republican and early imperial methods of provincial rule, the western mountainous parts of Cilicia, which were not easy for a governor to manage, were left to the native princes. There were a total of three of these independent native dynasties. One was that of Olba, in the mountains between Soli and
Cyinda Cyinda ( el, Κὐινδα) was an ancient Cilician city, situated in Anatolia in modern Turkey. Cyinda in western Cilicia was famous as a treasure city in the wars of Eumenes of Cardia. It apparently served as a collection point where booty from t ...
, ruled by priest-dynasts. A second was Cilicia Aspera, which Marc Antony had originally given to Cleopatra. Augustus placed this territory under the rule of king
Archelaus of Cappadocia Archelaus ( el, Ἀρχέλαος; fl. 1st century BC and 1st century, died 17 AD) was a Roman client prince and the last king of Cappadocia. Family and early life Archelaus was a Cappadocian Greeks, Greek nobleman, possibly of Macedonia (Greece ...
in 25 BC. The son of Tarcondimotos in eastern Cilicia had lost his throne in 30 BC because of his father's unwavering support of Mark Antony, but the kingdom was restored in 20 BC; it was to last another 37 years before Tiberius finally abolished this client kingdom and changed it to a full province.


Under the Principate (14–297 AD)

In 72 AD, during the reign of
Vespasian Vespasian (; la, Vespasianus ; 17 November AD 9 – 23/24 June 79) was a Roman emperor who reigned from 69 to 79 AD. The fourth and last emperor who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors, he founded the Flavian dynasty that ruled the Empire ...

Vespasian
, all three remaining client kingdoms established by Augustus were disestablished, and merged with the imperial province of Cilicia. By the reign of
Caracalla Caracalla ( ; 4 April 188 – 8 April 217), formally known as Antoninus (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus), was Roman emperor from 198 to 217. He was a member of the Severan dynasty, the elder son of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna. Co-ruler ...

Caracalla
, the proconsular governor was named as a Consularis, and it contained 47 known cities.For a full list of ancient cities se
Asia Minor Coins - Killikia
/ref>


Under the late empire (297 – c. 700 AD)

Sometime during the rule of the
Diocletian Diocletian (; la, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus; born Diocles; 22 December c. 244 – 3 December 311) was from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in , Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become a commander of ...
and the
Tetrarchy The Tetrarchy was the system instituted by Roman Emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles throughout history. Often when ...
(probably around 297 AD), Cilicia was divided into three parts: Cilicia Prima, under a ''
consularis ''Consularis'' is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
'', with its capital at Tarsus; Cilicia Secunda, under a ''
praeses ''Praeses'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relatio ...
'', with its capital at Anazarbus; and Isauria (originally Cilicia Aspera), under a ''praeses'', with its capital at Seleucia. These 3 Cilician provinces, plus the Syrian, Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Libyan provinces, formed the
Diocese of the East The Diocese of the East ( la, Dioecesis Orientis; el, ) was a Roman diocese, diocese of the later Roman Empire, incorporating the provinces of the western Middle East, between the Mediterranean Sea and Mesopotamia. During late Antiquity, it was ...
(in the late 4th century the African component was split off as
Diocese of Egypt The Diocese of Egypt ( la, Dioecesis Aegypti; el, Διοίκησις Αἰγύπτου) was a Roman diocese, diocese of the later Roman Empire (from 395 the Eastern Roman Empire), incorporating the provinces of Egypt (Roman province), Egypt and ...
), part of the
praetorian prefecture of the East The praetorian prefecture of the East, or of the Orient ( la, praefectura praetorio Orientis, el, ἐπαρχότης/ὑπαρχία τῶν πραιτωρίων τῆς ἀνατολῆς) was one of four large praetorian prefecture The praetor ...
, the rich bulk of the
eastern Roman Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

eastern Roman Empire
. Cilicia proper remained under East Roman (Byzantine) control until the early 8th century, when it was conquered by the
Umayyad Caliphate The Umayyad Caliphate (661–750 CE; , ; ar, ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْأُمَوِيَّة, al-Khilāfah al-ʾUmawīyah) was the second of the four major caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under ...
and became part of the Islamic borderlands ('' thughur'') with the Romans. The region had, however, been almost completely depopulated already since the middle of the 7th century and formed a no man's land between the Romans and the Caliphate. The western parts of the old province of Cilicia remained in Roman hands and became part of the
Cibyrrhaeot Theme The Cibyrrhaeot Theme, more properly the Theme of the Cibyrrhaeots ( gr, θέμα Κιβυρραιωτῶν, thema Kibyrrhaiōtōn), was a Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the con ...
.


See also

* List of Roman governors of Cilicia


References


Sources

* Pilhofer, Philipp. 2018. ''Das frühe Christentum im kilikisch-isaurischen Bergland. Die Christen der Kalykadnos-Region in den ersten fünf Jahrhunderten'' (Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur, vol. 184). Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter (), p. 25–49. * Broughton, T. Robert S., ''The Magistrates of the Roman Republic'', Vol. I (1951) * Smith, William, ''Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology'', Vol III (1867) * Smith, William, ''Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography'' (1854) {{coord missing, Turkey Provinces of the Roman Empire Roman provinces in Anatolia Former countries in Western Asia States and territories established in the 1st century BC States and territories disestablished in the 7th century 1st-century BC establishments in the Roman Republic 1st-century BC establishments 7th-century disestablishments in the Byzantine Empire