History Files
 

 

Middle East Kingdoms

Ancient Anatolia

 

 

 

MapPaphlagonia

This was an ancient region on the Black Sea coast in northern Anatolia. It was relatively unimportant in its level of participation in historical events. Much of the country is rugged and mountainous, with occasional fertile valley regions, and its inhabitants were often regarded as ungovernable barbarians. Strabo mentioned that the region's western limits were formed by the River Parthenius (the modern Bartın, with its source in the Ilgaz Mountains), whilst an eastern border was supplied by the River Halys (the modern Kızılırmak, which the Hittites called the Maraššantiya).

Paphlagonia emerged at the end of the second millennium BC during the Bronze Age collapse, with Luwian-speaking Indo-Europeans apparently migrating into what had recently been Kaskan territory. The Kaskans themselves were non-Indo-Europeans who had seemingly only recently migrated into the region to take over territory around the indigenous city of Zalpa, and it seems that they may have been bumped further eastwards by the arrival of the Luwian speakers. The Luwians came from the south, from neighbouring Tabal (later known as Cappadocia) as part of a general colonisation of southern Anatolia and expansion northwards.

In Classical times Paphlagonia was located between Bithynia to the west and Pontus to the east. Phrygia lay to the south-west but was separated from it by a mountain range called the Bithynian Olympus. Homer sets out a basic framework for Paphlagonia's initial settlement by Trojans, and Strabo makes it clear that nothing has changed in the meantime, including the names and the people. Its largely independent princes seemingly termed themselves pylaimenes as a symbol of their claimed descent from Pylaemenes of the Eneti, supposedly the chief of the Paphlagonians during the early twelfth century BC (and who is mentioned in the Illiad). Towards the end of the Classical period Phrygia was invaded and taken over by Celts who founded a kingdom that became known as Galatia. However, the kingdom only partially infiltrated into Paphlagonia.

(Additional information from A Geographical and Historical Description of Asia Minor, John Anthony Cramer, and from External Link: Encyclopaedia Britannia, 11th Edition.)

c.1500 BC

According to Greek legend, Phineas is the son of Agenor, king of Tyre. He and his four brothers, Cadmus, Cilix, Phoenix, and Thasus have all departed their Phoenician home in search of their sister, Europa, who had been abducted by Zeus. Phineas gives up his search in eastern Thrace, where he settles on the western shores of the Black Sea and rules a city state of his own.

Phineas and the harpies
There are two kings of early Thrace named Phineas, the first of whom was a Phoenician while the second was rescued by Jason from harpies, and it is the latter who is shown here

 

Phineas becomes the father to Bithynus, Mariandynus, Paphlagonus, and Thynus (Bithynus and Thynus are adopted from one Odrysus, the eponymous namesake of the later Thracian kingdom). The four each found kingdoms along the shores of the Black Sea; Bithynia, Mariandyne, Paphlagonia, and Thynia.

fl c.1480 BC

Paphlagonus

Son of Phineas of Thrace.

c.1180s BC

Pylaemenes of the Eneti

The Eneti (Heneti) was a Thracian tribe. Killed at Troy.

c.1180s BC

Harpalion of the Eneti

Son. Killed at Troy.

c.1193 - 1183 BC

Pylaemenes of the shaggy breast leads the Paphlagonian force to the Trojan War on the side of Troy, which includes his son Harpalion, and contingents from Aegialus, Cromna, Cytorus, Erythini, Sesamus, and from along the River Parthenius. A contingent of Halizones which also fights for Troy could be from Paphlagonia. Homer calls Odius the chief of the Paphlagonians, placing them in north-eastern Anatolia. It seems likely that the Halizones move into the region at the same time that Paphlagonia emerges, displacing or subsuming the Kaskans here.

c.1180s BC

Odius

Son of Mecisteus of the Halizones. Chief of the Paphlagonians?

c.630 BC

Greek settlers from Miletus in Caria refound the city of Sinope in Paphlagonia. The city seems previously to have been a Hittite port named Sinuwa until the dark age collapse of that state. The city becomes an important link in a regional trade route and in time founds its own colonies.

c.585 BC

Alyattes of II Lydia loses the Battle of the Eclipse to Media in a fifteen year war which is otherwise relatively evenly matched. Lydia expands in his reign to form an empire that covers all of western Anatolia and includes Paphlagonia. The end of the war signals the start of closer ties between the two kingdoms. Alyattes gives his daughter in marriage to Astyages, son of Cyaxares.

549 - 546 BC

The Persian defeat of the Medes opens the floodgates for Cyrus with a wave of conquests, beginning with Cilicia in 549 BC. Harpagus, a Median of the royal house and the main cause of the defeat of the Medes, commands Cyrus' army in Anatolia, conquering it between 547-546 BC. Taken during this campaign are Caria, Lycia, Lydia, Paphlagonia, Phrygia, and Tabal (Cappadocia). Harpagus and his descendants reign thereafter in Caria and Lycia as satraps of the empire, normally within the satrapy of Caria. Paphlagonia appears to be granted special status, perhaps due to the ungovernable nature of the land. The natives retain their own princes who rule independently of neighbouring satraps.

Persian Satraps of Paphlagonia

The satraps ruled the region in the name of the Persian king until invasion and conquest by Alexander the Great gave them the chance of going it alone. Typically, details of the satraps themselves in the fifth century are extremely scarce, and even immediately preceding the Greek invasion little is really known of them. If the Persians recorded the names and dates of office of their various satraps, these details rarely survived.

480 BC

Paphlagonia with its still-independent princes contributes an important, numerous contingent to the Persian army of Xerxes which invades Greece.

Southern coast of the Black Sea
Like the Kaskans before them, the Paphlagonians struggled to survive in the somewhat tough conditions of the Black Sea's southern coast

c.425 BC

By this time a dynasty of native satraps have emerged into history, governing the region (probably on the usual semi-independent basis) for the Achaemenid Persians.

c.425 - 400 BC

Corylas

Prince, or Achaemenid satrap of Paphlagonia?

c.400 - 380 BC

Cotys

Son or brother. Achaemenid satrap of Paphlagonia?

c.380 - 364 BC

Thuys

Son or brother. Achaemenid satrap of Paphlagonia?

364 BC

This seems to be the point at which the native princes of Paphlagonia are finally removed from holding any kind of office. They are replaced by various individuals from more powerful regions. By now the Greek city of Sinope has also fallen under Persian domination.

364 - 362 BC

Datames

Of Katpatuka. Achaemenid satrap of Cilicia (inc Paphlagonia).

362 - 353 BC

Sysinas

Achaemenid satrap of Paphlagonia.

353 - 334 BC

Arsites

Achaemenid satrap of Paphlagonia.

334 - 323 BC

Lydia is conquered by Alexander the Great's Greek empire, but supposedly continues to be ruled by native princes. Greek satraps hold nominal command, but often from beyond the mountain range that isolates Paphlagonia.

Argead Dynasty of Paphlagonia

The Argead were the ruling family and founders of Macedonia who reached their greatest extent under Alexander the Great and his two successors before the kingdom broke up into several Hellenic sections. Alexander's successors held no real power, being mere figureheads for the generals who really held control of Alexander's empire. In western Anatolia, various satraps were they effective ruling power, and these began with Calas.

Upon Alexander's death his two successors were retained as figureheads while the empire was governed by his powerful generals. Perdiccas, the leading cavalry commander, was the first general to rule, carrying the title 'Regent of Macedonia', initially with Meleager, head of the infantry officers, as his lieutenant, but alone after he had him murdered. Control of the empire was divided up, with Alexander's secretary, Eumenes of Cardia, gaining Cappadocia, Mysia, and Paphlagonia.

334 - 325 BC

Calas

Son of Harpalus of Elimiotis. Greek satrap of Paphlagonia.

325 - 323 BC

Demarchus

Greek satrap of Paphlagonia.

323 - 319 BC

Eumenes of Cardia

Greek satrap of Cappadocia, Mysia, and Paphlagonia.

319 - 301 BC

The death of Antipater of Greece leads to the Second War of the Diadochi. He had passed over his son, Cassander, in favour of Polyperchon as his successor (possibly to avoid claims of dynasticism) but the two rivals go to war. In the resultant shifts in power and control, Cappadocia and its surrounding regions (including Paphlagonia) become part of the Empire of Antigonus and Eumenes is killed. The kingdom of Cappadocia is subsumed by the empire until 301 BC.

Diogenes of Sinope
Diogenes of Sinope was the rather eccentric father of the Greek cynicism school of philosophy, who lived between either 412 or 404 BC and 323 BC

302 - 301 BC

Mithradates takes control of Pontus from the fragmenting Greek empire, notably thanks to the collapse of the Empire of Antigonus. He creates his own kingdom, which in 301 BC also encompasses part of Paphlagonia. This removes Cappadocian access to the Black Sea, whilst the Greek city of Sinope retains its independence under Scydrothemis.

301 - 280 BC

Scydrothemis

Greek ruler of Sinope. A king according to Tacitus.

235 BC

Antiochus Heirax, co-regent of the Seleucid empire and governor of regions in Anatolia - together with Mithradates of Pontus, continues his campaign to wrest the empire from his brother by defeating him at the battle of Ancyra in 235 BC, leaving Anatolia outside of Seleucid power. This victory is clearly also good for Pontus itself, giving it more freedom to expand its own power and territory. However, Mithradates is unable to conquer the city of Sinope in Paphlagonia.

c.200 BC

By now Galatia has been settled for almost a century around the River Halys and the Phrygian plain - the poorest parts of Anatolia. According to Pliny the Elder, it lies 'above' Phrygia and includes the greater part of the territory taken from that province, along with its former capital at Gordion (Gordium). The Gauls of Maeonia and Paphlagonia are called the Trocmi (Trocmes). Cappadocia stretches along to the north-west of Galatia, with its most fertile regions being in the possession of the Galatian Tectosages and Teutobodiaci.

183 BC

Following Roman victories over Macedonia and the Seleucids in Syria (190 BC), Pharnaces I of Pontus allies his kingdom to Rome. In 183 BC he completes the conquest of neighbouring Paphlagonia by taking Sinope. The region's history now largely follows that of Pontus and its successor, Rome. No further mention is made of independent princes and today Paphlagonia forms part of Turkey.