The Info List - Bithynia

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(/bɪˈθɪniə/; Koine Greek: Βιθυνία, Bithynía) was an ancient region, kingdom and Roman province
Roman province
in the northwest of Asia Minor, adjoining the Propontis, the Thracian
and the Euxine Sea. It bordered Mysia
to the southwest, Paphlagonia
to the northeast along the Pontic coast, and Phrygia
to the southeast towards the interior of Asia Minor. Bithynia
was an independent kingdom from the 4th century BC. Its capital Nicomedia
was rebuilt on the site of ancient Astacus in 264 BC by Nicomedes I of Bithynia. Bithynia
was bequeathed to the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
in 74 BC, and became united with the Pontus region as the province of Bithynia
et Pontus, in the 7th century incorporated into the Byzantine Opsikion
theme. It became a border region to the Seljuk Empire
Seljuk Empire
in the 13th century, and was eventually conquered by the Ottoman Turks in the between 1325 and 1333.


1 Description 2 History

2.1 Iron Age 2.2 Kingdom of Bithynia 2.3 Roman province 2.4 Byzantine province

3 Notable people 4 See also 5 References 6 Sources 7 Further reading

Description[edit] Several major cities sat on the fertile shores of the Propontis (which is now known as Sea of Marmara): Nicomedia, Chalcedon, Cius
and Apamea. Bithynia
also contained Nicaea, noted for being the birthplace of the Nicene Creed. According to Strabo, Bithynia
was bounded on the east by the river Sangarius (modern Sakarya river), but the more commonly received division extended it to the Parthenius, which river separated it from Paphlagonia, thus comprising the district inhabited by the Mariandyni. On the west and southwest it was separated from Mysia
by the river Rhyndacus
and on the south it adjoined Phrygia
and Galatia.[1] It is occupied by mountains and forests, but has valleys and coastal districts of great fertility. The most important mountain range is the (so-called) "Mysian" Olympus (8000 ft., 2500 m), which towers above Bursa and is clearly visible as far away as Istanbul
(70 miles, 113 km). Its summits are covered with snow for a great part of the year.[1] East of this the range extends for more than 100 miles (160 km), from the Sakarya to Paphlagonia. Both of these ranges are part of the border of mountains which bound the great tableland of Anatolia, Turkey. The broad tract which projects towards the west as far as the shores of the Bosporus, though hilly and covered with forests — the Turkish Ağaç Denizi, or "The Ocean of Trees" — is not traversed by any mountain chain. The west coast is indented by two deep inlets, the northernmost, the Gulf of İzmit
Gulf of İzmit
(ancient Gulf of Astacus), penetrating between 40 and 50 miles (65–80 km) into the interior as far as İzmit
(ancient Nicomedia), separated by an isthmus of only about 25 miles (40 km) from the Black Sea; and the Gulf of Mudanya or Gemlik
(Gulf of Cius), about 25 miles (40 km) long. At its extremity is situated the small town of Gemlik
(ancient Cius) at the mouth of a valley, communicating with the lake of Iznik, on which was situated Nicaea.[1] The principal rivers are the Sangarios which traverses the province from down to north; the Rhyndacus, which separated it from Mysia; and the Billaeus (Filyos), which rises in the Aladağ, about 50 miles (80 km) from the sea, and after flowing by modern Bolu
(ancient Bithynion-Claudiopolis) falls into the Euxine, close to the ruins of the ancient Tium, about 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Heraclea Pontica (the modern Karadeniz Ereğli), having a course of more than 100 miles (160 km). The Parthenius (modern Bartın), the eastern boundary of the province, is a much less considerable stream.[1] The valleys towards the Black Sea
Black Sea
abound in fruit trees of all kinds, such as oranges, while the valley of the Sangarius and the plains near Bursa and Iznik (Nicaea) are fertile and well cultivated. Extensive plantations of mulberry trees supply the silk for which Bursa has long been celebrated, and which is manufactured there on a large scale.[1] History[edit]

Bithynia and Pontus
Bithynia and Pontus
as a province of the Roman Empire, 125 AD

Photo of a 15th-century map showing Bithynia.

Iron Age[edit] Bithynia
is named for the Thracian
tribe of the Bithyni, mentioned by Herodotus
(VII.75) alongside the Thyni. The "Thraco-Phrygian" migration from the Balkans to Asia Minor
Asia Minor
would have taken place at some point following the Bronze Age collapse
Bronze Age collapse
or during the early Iron Age. The Thyni
and Bithyni appear to have settled simultaneously in the adjoining parts of Asia, where they expelled or subdued the Mysians, Caucones and other minor tribes, the Mariandyni maintaining themselves in the northeast. Herodotus
mentions the Thyni
and Bithyni as settling side by side.[1] No trace of their original language has been preserved, but Herodotus
describes them as related to the tribes of Thracian
extraction like the Phrygians
and Armenians, whose languages form part of the Paleo-Balkan group. Later the Greeks established on the coast the colonies of Cius
(modern Gemlik); Chalcedon
(modern Kadıköy), at the entrance of the Bosporus, nearly opposite Byzantium
(modern Istanbul) and Heraclea Pontica (modern Karadeniz Ereğli), on the Euxine, about 120 miles (190 km) east of the Bosporus.[2] The Bithynians were incorporated by king Croesus
within the Lydian monarchy, with which they fell under the dominion of Persia (546 BC), and were included in the satrapy of Phrygia, which comprised all the countries up to the Hellespont and Bosporus.[1] Kingdom of Bithynia[edit] Further information: List of rulers of Bithynia Even before the conquest by Alexander the Bithynians appear to have asserted their independence, and successfully maintained it under two native princes, Bas and Zipoites, the latter of whom assumed the title of king (basileus) in 297 BC. His son and successor, Nicomedes I, founded Nicomedia, which soon rose to great prosperity, and during his long reign (c. 278 – c. 255 BC), as well as those of his successors, Prusias I, Prusias II and Nicomedes II (149 – 91 BC), the kingdom of Bithynia
had a considerable standing and influence among the minor monarchies of Anatolia. But the last king, Nicomedes IV, was unable to maintain himself in power against Mithridates VI of Pontus. After being restored to his throne by the Roman Senate, he bequeathed his kingdom through his will to the Roman republic (74 BC).[2] The coinage of these kings show their regal portraits, which tend to be engraved in an extremely accomplished Hellenistic style.[3] Roman province[edit] Main article: Bithynia
et Pontus As a Roman province, the boundaries of Bithynia
changed frequently. During this period, Bithynia
was commonly united for administrative purposes with the province of Pontus. This was the situation at the time of Emperor Trajan, when Pliny the Younger
Pliny the Younger
was appointed governor of the combined provinces (109/110 – 111/112), a circumstance which has provided historians with valuable information concerning the Roman provincial administration at that time. Byzantine province[edit] Under the Byzantine Empire, Bithynia
was again divided into two provinces, separated by the Sangarius. Only the area to the west of the river retained the name of Bithynia.[2] Bithynia
attracted much attention because of its roads and its strategic position between the frontiers of the Danube
in the north and the Euphrates
in the south-east. To secure communications with the eastern provinces, the monumental bridge across the river Sangarius was constructed around 562 AD. Troops frequently wintered at Nicomedia. During this time, the most important cities in Bithynia
were Nicomedia, founded by Nicomedes, and Nicaea. The two had a long rivalry with each other over which city held the rank of capital. Notable people[edit]

Hipparchus (2nd century BC) Greek astronomer, discovered precession and discovered how to predict the timing of eclipses Theodosius (2nd century BC) Greek astronomer and mathematician Antinous
(2nd century) Catamite
of the Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
Hadrian Cassius Dio (2nd-3rd centuries) Roman historian, senator, and consul Arrian
(Lucius Flavius Arrianus) Historian, c. 86-160 Helena (empress), Saint and mother of Constantine the Great c. 250 – c. 330

See also[edit]

Bithyni Thynia Thyni Thracians Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Slavs Ancient regions of Anatolia


^ a b c d e f g Chisholm 1911, p. 12. ^ a b c Chisholm 1911, p. 13. ^ Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Coins - regal Bithynian coins


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bithynia". Encyclopædia Britannica. 4 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 12–13. 

Further reading[edit]

Storey, Stanley Jonathon (1999) [1998]. Bithynia: history and administration to the time of Pliny the Younger
Pliny the Younger
(PDF). Ottawa: National Library of Canada. ISBN 0-612-34324-3. Retrieved 2007-05-21.  T. Bekker-Nielsen, Urban Life and Local Politics in Roman Bithynia: The Small World of Dion Chrysostomos, 2008.

v t e

Historical regions of Anatolia

Aeolis Bithynia Cappadocia Caria Cilicia Doris Galatia Ionia Lycaonia Lycia Lydia Mysia Pamphylia Paphlagonia Phrygia Pisidia Pontus Troad

v t e

Provinces of the early Roman Empire
Roman Empire
(117 AD)

Achaea Aegyptus Africa proconsularis Alpes Cottiae Alpes Maritimae Alpes Poeninae Arabia Petraea Armenia Asia Assyria Bithynia
and Pontus Britannia Cappadocia Cilicia Corsica
and Sardinia Crete and Cyrenaica Cyprus Dacia Dalmatia Epirus Galatia Gallia Aquitania Gallia Belgica Gallia Lugdunensis Gallia Narbonensis Germania Inferior Germania Superior Hispania Baetica Hispania Tarraconensis Italia † Iudaea Lusitania Lycia
et Pamphylia Macedonia Mauretania Caesariensis Mauretania Tingitana Mesopotamia Moesia
Inferior Moesia
Superior Noricum Pannonia Inferior Pannonia Superior Raetia Sicilia Syria Thracia

† Italy was never constituted as a province, instead retaining a special juridical status until Diocletian's reforms.

v t e

Late Roman provinces
Roman provinces
(4th–7th centuries AD)


As found in the Notitia Dignitatum. Provincial administration reformed and dioceses established by Diocletian, c. 293. Permanent praetorian prefectures established after the death of Constantine I. Empire permanently partitioned after 395. Exarchates of Ravenna and Africa established after 584. After massive territorial losses in the 7th century, the remaining provinces were superseded by the theme system in c. 640–660, although in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
and parts of Greece
they survived under the themes until the early 9th century.

Western Empire (395–476)

Praetorian Prefecture of Gaul

Diocese of Gaul

Alpes Poeninae
Alpes Poeninae
et Graiae Belgica I Belgica II Germania I Germania II Lugdunensis I Lugdunensis II Lugdunensis III Lugdunensis IV Maxima Sequanorum

Diocese of Vienne1

Alpes Maritimae Aquitanica I Aquitanica II Narbonensis I Narbonensis II Novempopulania Viennensis

Diocese of Spain

Baetica Balearica Carthaginensis Gallaecia Lusitania Mauretania Tingitana Tarraconensis

Diocese of the Britains

Britannia I Britannia II Flavia Caesariensis Maxima Caesariensis Valentia (?)

Praetorian Prefecture of Italy

Diocese of Suburbicarian Italy

Apulia et Calabria Campania Corsica Lucania et Bruttii Picenum
Suburbicarium Samnium Sardinia Sicilia Tuscia et Umbria Valeria

Diocese of Annonarian Italy

Alpes Cottiae Flaminia et Picenum
Annonarium Liguria et Aemilia Raetia
I Raetia
II Venetia et Istria

Diocese of Africa2

Africa proconsularis (Zeugitana) Byzacena Mauretania Caesariensis Mauretania Sitifensis Numidia Cirtensis Numidia Militiana Tripolitania

Diocese of Pannonia3

Dalmatia Noricum
mediterraneum Noricum
ripense Pannonia I Pannonia II Savia Valeria ripensis

Eastern Empire (395–c. 640)

Praetorian prefecture of Illyricum

Diocese of Dacia

Dacia Mediterranea Dacia Ripensis Dardania Moesia
I Praevalitana

Diocese of Macedonia

Achaea Creta Epirus
Nova Epirus
Vetus Macedonia Prima Macedonia II Salutaris Thessalia

Praetorian Prefecture of the East

Diocese of Thrace5

Europa Haemimontus Moesia
II4 Rhodope Scythia4 Thracia

Diocese of Asia5

Asia Caria4 Hellespontus Insulae4 Lycaonia
(370) Lycia Lydia Pamphylia Pisidia Phrygia
Pacatiana Phrygia

Diocese of Pontus5

Armenia I5 Armenia II5 Armenia Maior5 Armenian Satrapies5 Armenia III
Armenia III
(536) Armenia IV
Armenia IV
(536) Bithynia Cappadocia
I5 Cappadocia
II5 Galatia
I5 Galatia
II Salutaris5 Helenopontus5 Honorias5 Paphlagonia5 Pontus Polemoniacus5

Diocese of the East5

Arabia Cilicia
I Cilicia
II Cyprus4 Euphratensis Isauria Mesopotamia Osroene Palaestina I Palaestina II Palaestina III Salutaris Phoenice I Phoenice II Libanensis Syria I Syria II Salutaris Theodorias (528)

Diocese of Egypt5

Aegyptus I Aegyptus II Arcadia Augustamnica I Augustamnica II Libya Superior Libya Inferior Thebais Superior Thebais Inferior

Other territories

Taurica Quaestura exercitus (536) Spania

1 Later the Septem Provinciae 2 Re-established after reconquest by the Eastern Empire in 534 as the separate Prefecture of Africa 3 Later the Diocese of Illyricum 4 Placed under the Quaestura exercitus in 536 5 Affected (i.e. boundaries modified, abolished or renamed) by Justinian I's administrative reorganization in 534–536

v t e

Ancient Kingdoms of Anatolia

Bronze Age

Ahhiyawa Arzawa Assuwa league Carchemish Colchis Hatti Hayasa-Azzi Hittite Empire Isuwa Kaskia Kizzuwatna Lukka Luwia Mitanni Pala Wilusa/Troy

Iron Age

Aeolia Caria Cimmerians Diauehi Doris Ionia Lycia Lydia Neo- Hittites
(Atuna, Carchemish, Gurgum, Hilakku, Kammanu, Kummuh, Quwê, Tabal) Phrygia Urartu

Classical Age

Antigonids Armenia Bithynia Cappadocia Cilicia Commagene Galatia Paphlagonia Pergamon Pontus

Coordinates: 40°30′N 31°00′E / 40.5°N 31.0°E