History Files


Middle East Kingdoms

Ancient Anatolia




MapPhrygia (Mušku)

The kingdom was created by Indo-Europeans who began to infiltrate into Bithynia in western Anatolia from the Balkans after about 1450 BC. Moving south and east, they settled the region a little way inland from the north-western corner of Anatolia, with Mysia and the Troad to their north-west. Linguistically, they bore some relationship with the Armenians who later occupied the mountains in the north of Mesopotamia in the kingdoms of Nairi and Urartu. The Assyrians possibly knew them as the Mušku, a name that first appeared in Assyrian records in the twelfth and eleventh centuries BC when these Mušku were penetrating into the Upper Tigris.

Along with their eastern neighbours, the Kaskans, the Phrygians seized power in Anatolia after being involved in the fall of the Hittite empire. Thereafter, they found themselves bordered to the south-west by the neo-Hittite kingdom of Maeonia, with Mysia and the rest of the Troad forming part of their territory. A recognisably unified kingdom emerged by the eighth century BC, but the list of kings predates that and is influenced by Greek legends.

(Additional information from External Link: Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, USA.)

c.1220 BC

Phineas of Thrace is rescued from an island which is apparently part of Phrygia, where he is being plagued harpies, by Jason of Iolkos during the latter's quest for the Golden Fleece.

fl c.1200 BC


His dau, Hecuba, m Priam of Troy.

In Greek mythology, Dymas marries his daughter, Hecuba, to Priam, king of Troy, while (according to Homer) his son, Asius, fights and dies in the Trojan War. Dymas and his Phrygian subjects are closely connected to the River Sangarius, which empties into the Black Sea, indicating their location in western central Anatolia.

fl c.1180s BC



c.1193 - 1183 BC

Prince Ascanius and Phorcys lead the Phrygian contingent from remote Ascania to the Trojan War on the side of Troy.

fl c.1250 BC





fl c.1190 BC

Mygdon / Migdon



Name unknown, and probably indicative of many missing names.

Gordios I

Midas I

Gordios II

Midas II

Gordios III

c.740 BC

The Great Tumulus of Gordion is long thought to be the burial mound of Midas (he of the fantastic fortune in gold). It is even called MM (Midas Mound) by the excavators who uncover it. But the dendrochronological analysis of the wooden beams used to cover the burial chamber later shows that it is constructed around 740 BC, very close to the presumed date of death of Gordios III. The tumulus contains rich finds which demonstrate the existence of contacts with Assyria, although these are not attested in written sources. In particular, the bronze vessels used for drinking wine at the deceased's funeral and subsequently buried with him attest to the shared elite culture: like privileged Assyrians all over the empire, the people of Gordion use animal-headed buckets to serve wine, and so-called omphalos bowls to drink it from, during large feasts.

738 - 695 BC

Midas III

Possessor of 'The Midas Touch'. Committed suicide.

c.730s BC

Midas conquers several fortresses in western Que. The act seems to go unpunished by the Assyrians who are Que's overlords, possibly because Tiglath-Pileser III is heavily involved in campaigns in Syria. This may be one of the earliest incidents to involve Midas as a significant nuisance factor for Assyria.

722 BC

At the time Sargon's accession as ruler of the Assyrian empire, the use of Mušku certainly refers to the Phrygians. The trade connections that are evident from the previous few decades probably continue throughout this period.

715 BC

Despite sharing culinary and aesthetic tastes, Assyria and Phrygia are on bad terms. Although there are no relevant sources prior to Sargon's reign, his own inscriptions describe Midas of Phrygia as having long been a thorn in the empire's side, having never submitted to Sargon's predecessors and refusing diplomatic contacts. Now, Sargon's army conquers some fortresses in western Que which Midas of Phrygia had taken 'very long ago', indicating that Midas must have been in power for some time. This campaign results in an Assyrian foray deep into Phrygia but does not stop Midas from his continuing intervention in Que and Tabal.

714 - 713 BC

Much to Sargon's shock, while the main Assyrian army is occupied in the east, probably in Elamite lands, Ambaris of Tabal allies himself with Midas of Phrygia and Rusa of Urartu as well as the local Tabalean rulers in an attempt to invade Que. Sargon reacts quickly, invading Tabal and capturing Ambaris, his family and the nobles of his country, all of whom are taken to Assyria. Tabal is annexed as an Assyrian province. Sargon is noted for using Cimmerians within his army on this campaign, possibly for their knowledge of the Urartuan hills as much as their ability as mounted warriors. Cimmerians have been raiding into Anatolia and Mesopotamia for decades.

711 BC

The creation of the province of Tabal has only further escalated the situation and Assyria now finds itself at war with assorted Tabalean principalities and Phrygia, and moreover increasingly on the losing side. Despite huge investments in the protection of the new border, including the fortification of Til-Garimmu (modern Gürün) and the construction of the so-called Cappadocian Wall, the province of Tabal is now lost, never to be retaken.

Bronze figurines from Phrygia or Caria
Bronze figurines from Phrygia or Caria between the eighth to sixth centuries BC, depicting western or central Anatolians of this period, from left to right, a naked man in pointed cap, and two trumpeters also in pointed caps

695 - 626 BC

Phrygia loses the territory of Pergamum to Lydia about 695 BC, seemingly upon the defeat and suicide of King Midas III. Five years later, nomadic Cimmerian warriors overrun Phrygia and sack the capital, Gordion. However, this Cimmerian sacking is also stated to be the cause of Midas committing suicide, so the situation seems to be mildly confused. Either way, Lydia becomes the dominant power in western Anatolia whilst Phrygia is eclipsed.

695 - 670 BC

Gordios IV

c.670 BC

Midas IV

c.645 - 614 BC

In conjunction with Urartu, it seems that Phrygia (or at least its Cimmerian masters) supports anti-Assyrian rebellions in northern Syria and southern Anatolia.

c.626 - 590 BC

Lydia seizes control of the kingdom.

c.590 - 570 BC

Midas V / Mita of Mishku?

Partially invented by Herodotus.

c.570 - 546 BC

Gordios V

549 - 547 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), and Harpagus and his descendants reign thereafter in Caria and Lycia as satraps of the empire, normally within the satrapy of Caria.

Pharnacid (Persian) Satraps of Phrygia

After successfully invading Anatolia and conquering Phrygia, the Persians appointed a governor (satrap) to oversee control of the territory. The name of this first satrap and his immediate successors seem to have been lost. Records only begin with the appointment of Artabazus in c.480 BC.

c.480 - 450 BC

Artabazus /Irdumazda

c.450 - 430 BC

Pharnabazus I / Parnadumazda

c.430 - 420 BC

Pharnaces / Parnaka

c.420 - 387 BC

Pharnabazus II

387 - 363 BC

Ariobarzanus / Arayabardumazda

363 BC

Ariobarzanus rebels against Persian dominance. He is betrayed by his son, Mehrdad, and is captured and executed.

363 - 353 BC


Died about 320 BC. Satrap of Bactria (329-328 BC).

353 - 333 BC


Not related to the Pharnacids.

334 BC

The region is conquered by Alexander the Great's Greek empire.

Index of Greek SatrapsArgead Dynasty in Greater Phrygia

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. Following Alexander's conquest of central and eastern Persia in 331-328 BC, the Greek empire ruled the region until Alexander's death in 323 BC and the subsequent regency period which ended in 310 BC. Alexander's successors held no real power, being mere figureheads for the generals who really held control of Alexander's empire. Following that latter period and in advance of several wars, the region was left in the hands of the Empire of Antigonus from 323 BC.

334 - 323 BC

Alexander III the Great

King of Macedonia. Conquered Persia.

323 - 317 BC

Philip III Arrhidaeus

Feeble-minded half-brother of Alexander the Great.

317 - 310 BC

Alexander IV of Macedonia

Infant son of Alexander the Great and Roxana.

323 - 306 BC

Antigonus Monophthalmos (One Eye)

Greek satrap of Greater Phrygia.

Empire of Antigonus
306 - 277 BC

Antigonus was appointed governor of Greater Phrygia upon Alexander's death, which included Canaan, Cappadocia, Harran, Lycia, Pamphylia, Paphlagonia, and Pergamum. Although Antigonus survived the first two successional wars with the other generals of Alexander's army, the Third War of the Diadochi (generals) in 314 BC resulted because Antigonus had grown too powerful in the eyes of the other generals, grabbing Babylonia, Bactria, and the Indo-Greek territories, and attempting to rebuild Alexander's empire. He was attacked by Ptolemy (Egypt), Lysimachus (Thrace), Cassander (Macedonia), and Seleucus (Babylonia) but came to terms in 311 BC after losing Babylonia to Seleucus. The Fourth War of the Diadochi ended in the death of Antigonus, but by then he had already established his kingdom in Greater Phrygia (306 BC). The other generals responded by proclaiming themselves kings the following year.

306 - 301 BC

Antigonus Monophthalmos (One Eye)

General in Alexander's army. Satrap (334-306). Raised to king.

301 BC

Following the death of Antigonus at the decisive Battle of Ipsus, Lysimachus of Thrace gains much of his territory in western Asia Minor, including Phoenicia, and Seleucus gains more of it in the east. Antigonus' son and joint ruler escapes from Ipsus with 9,000 men and manages to retain the remaining territories for himself, thanks to jealousy between the four conquering kings.

306 - 285 BC

Demetrius I Poliorcetes

Son. Captured Athens and restored democratic system.

306 BC

At the start of his co-reign as king, Demetrius I frees Athens from the rule of Cassander of Macedonia and Ptolemy of the Lysimachian empire. Governor Demetrius Phalereus is expelled and the city's democratic system is restored.

294 - 288 BC

After ousting Antipater of Macedonia, and subsequently having his brother, Alexander, assassinated, Demetrius seizes the kingdom and rules his newly extended empire from there. During that time, he besieges Thebes and conquers it at great cost to his men. Equally careless of his own life, he suffers serious injury when a bolt pierces his neck.

285 - 283 BC

After attempting to re-unify Alexander the Great's empire himself, Demetrius is chased into Asia by his rivals, the other of Alexander's generals who are united in their opposition to him, and he surrenders to Seleucus in Babylonia. He dies two years after being imprisoned.

His son, Antigonus controls no territory for two years afterwards, remaining bottled up in his capital. He marches against Ptolemy II Ceraunus of Macedonia in 283 BC but is defeated, so he returns to his reduced territory. The death of Ptolemy at the hands of invading proto-Galatian Celts in 279 BC certainly confirms his control of this territory, and now probably much of his father's former kingdom.

283 - 239 BC

Antigonus II Gonatas (Antikini)

Son. Defeated Celts. Occupied Macedonia 277 BC.

277 BC

Greece is still suffering under the invasion by Galatian Celts. Following a victory at Thermopylae, they are defeated by a force led by the Aetolians at Delphi in 278 BC, and then suffer a crushing defeat at the hands of Antigonus II in 277 BC. They retreat from Greece and pass through Thrace to enter into Asia Minor, forming a kingdom to the north-east of Phrygia. Antigonus is able to claim the throne of Macedonia, combining Thrace with the kingdom, which he is able to pass onto his son when he dies at the grand old age of eighty.