Celaenae (Celænæ) or Kelainai (Greek: Κελαιναί), was an ancient city of Phrygia and capital of the Persian satrapy of Greater Phrygia,[1] near the source of the Maeander River in what is today west central Turkey (Dinar of Afyonkarahisar Province), and was situated on the great trade route to the East.


It is first mentioned by Herodotus, in Book VII of his Histories; describing the route of Xerxes on his way to invade Greece in 480 BC, he writes:

“On their way through Phrygia they reached Celaenae, where two rivers rise — the Meander and one called the Catarractes, which is just as large as the Meander. The Catarractes rises right in the main square of Celaenae and issues into the Meander. Another feature of the square of Celaenae is that the skin of Marsyas the silenus is hanging there, where it was put, according to local Phrygian legend, after Marsyas had been flayed by Apollo.”[2]

Xenophon describes it, in Book I of his Anabasis, as the place where Cyrus mustered his Greek mercenaries in 401 BC:

“From this place he marched three stages, twenty parasangs in all, to Celaenae, a populous city of Phrygia, large and prosperous. Here Cyrus owned a palace and a large park full of wild beasts, which he used to hunt on horseback, whenever he wished to give himself or his horses exercise. Through the midst of the park flows the river Maeander, the sources of which are within the palace buildings, and it flows through the city of Celaenae. The great king also has a palace in Celaenae, a strong place, on the sources of another river, the Marsyas, at the foot of the acropolis. This river also flows through the city, discharging itself into the Maeander, and is five-and-twenty feet broad. Here is the place where Apollo is said to have flayed Marsyas, when he had conquered him in the contest of skill. He hung up the skin of the conquered man, in the cavern where the spring wells forth, and hence the name of the river, Marsyas. It was on this site that Xerxes, as tradition tells, built this very palace, as well as the citadel of Celaenae itself, on his retreat from Hellas, after he had lost the famous battle.”[3]

In 394 Agesilaus II, on reaching the Meander on his march through Phrygia, consulted an oracle to determine whether he should attack Celaenae; on receiving a negative omen, he went back down the valley to Ephesus. "In reality, the omens simply confirmed a prior decision: to march against Celaenae would be terribly risky."[4]

Desssin Reddition de Célènes (-333)
Surrender of Celaenae to Alexander the Great in medieval manuscript.

In the winter of 333 BC, Alexander arrived outside the city, which "had a major Persian settlement" and was well known for its enormous park and "the great fortified estates (tetrapyrgia) immediately around the town," which "evince the richness of the agriculture and husbandry of a country 'abounding in villages rather than in cities' (Quintus Curtius III.1.11)."[5] Its acropolis long held out, and surrendered to him at last by arrangement. His successor, Eumenes, made it for some time his headquarters, as did Antigonus until 301.

From Lysimachus it passed to Seleucus I Nicator, whose son Antiochus I Soter, seeing its geographical importance, refounded it on a more open site as Apamea; Ronald Syme writes: "From a topographical point of view the change was less considerable than, for example, at Nysa, a new city constituted by the synoecism of three separate villages."[6]


  1. ^ Pierre Briant, tr. Peter T. Daniels, From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire (Eisenbrauns, 2006: ISBN 1-57506-120-1), p. 2.
  2. ^ Herodotus, The Histories, tr. Robin Waterfield (Oxford University Press, 1998: ISBN 0-19-282425-2), p. 418.
  3. ^ Xenophon, Anabasis, tr. H. G. Dakyns (Macmillan and Co., 1897), Book I.
  4. ^ Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander, p. 639.
  5. ^ Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander, p. 705.
  6. ^ Syme, Anatolica, p. 337.


  • G. Weber, Dinair Célènes-Apamée-Cibotos (46 pages with a plan and two maps) (Besançon: Delagrange Louys, 1892).
  • Ronald Syme (ed. Anthony Richard Birley), Anatolica: Studies in Strabo (Oxford University Press, 1995: ISBN 0-19-814943-3).

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Celaenae". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Coordinates: 38°04′N 30°10′E / 38.067°N 30.167°E


Anchurus (Ancient Greek: Ἄγχουρος) was a son of Midas—the heavily mythologized but still historical king of Phrygia—in whose reign the earth opened in the area of the town of Celaenae in Phyrgia. Midas consulted the oracle about how the opening might be closed and he was commanded to throw into it the most precious thing he possessed. He accordingly threw into it a great quantity of gold and silver, but when the chasm still did not close, his son Anchurus, thinking that life was the most precious of all things, mounted his horse and leapt into the chasm, which closed immediately.

Apamea (Phrygia)

Apamea Cibotus, Apamea ad Maeandrum (on the Maeander), Apamea or Apameia (Ancient Greek: Ἀπάμεια, Ancient Greek: κιβωτός) was an ancient city in Anatolia founded in the 3rd century BC by Antiochus I Soter, who named it after his mother Apama. It was in Hellenistic Phrygia, but became part of the Roman province of Pisidia. It was near, but on lower ground than, Celaenae (Kelainai).


Ariassus or Ariassos (Ancient Greek: Άριασσός) was a town in Pisidia, Asia Minor built on a steep hillside about 50 kilometres inland from Attaleia (modern Antalya).


Atizyes was a Persian satrap of Greater Phrygia under the Achaemenids in 334 BC, when Alexander the Great began his campaign. He is not mentioned in the council of Zelea where the satrap coalition was formed against the invasion, so it is not sure whether he took part in the battle of the Granicus. After the battle, he appears to be in the capital of Greater Phrygia, Celaenae where he had a garrison force of 1,000 Carians and 100 Greek mercenaries. He himself went to Syria to join the army of Darius III and fell in the battle of Issus at 333 BC. After Phrygia fell to Alexander, he appointed his general Antigonus Monophthalmus as its satrap.

Büyük Menderes River

The Büyük Menderes River (historically the Maeander or Meander, from Ancient Greek: Μαίανδρος, Maíandros; Turkish: Büyük Menderes Irmağı), is a river in southwestern Turkey. It rises in west central Turkey near Dinar before flowing west through the Büyük Menderes graben until reaching the Aegean Sea in the proximity of the ancient Ionian city Miletus. The word "meander" is used to describe a winding pattern, after the river.


Caloe was a town in the Roman province of Asia. It is mentioned as Kaloe or Keloue in 3rd-century inscriptions, as Kalose in Hierocles's Synecdemos (660), and as Kalloe, Kaloe, and Kolone in Parthey's Notitiæ episcopatuum, in which it figures from the 6th to the 12fth or 13th century.


Cestrus was a city in the Roman province of Isauria, in Asia Minor. Its placing within Isauria is given by Hierocles, Georgius Cyprius, and Parthey's (Notitiae episcopatuum). While recognizing what the ancient sources said, Lequien supposed that the town, whose site has not been identified, took its name from the River Cestros and was thus in Pamphylia. Following Lequien's hypothesis, the 19th-century annual publication Gerarchia cattolica identified the town with "Ak-Sou", which Sophrone Pétridès called an odd mistake, since this is the name of the River Cestros, not of a city.

Charax Alexandri

Charax Alexandri (Ancient Greek: Χάραξ Αλεξάνδρου) was an place in ancient Phrygia, near Celaenae, which was famed as a camp of Alexander the Great during his progress through Asia Minor, and afterward bore his name.


Cotenna was a city in the Roman province of Pamphylia I in Asia Minor. It corresponds to modern Gödene, near Konya, Turkey.

Dinar, Afyonkarahisar

Dinar (formerly Ancient Greek: Celaenae-Apàmea, Κελαιναι-Απαμεια) is a town and large district of Afyonkarahisar Province in the Aegean region of Turkey, 106 km from the city of Afyon. The mayor is Saffet Acar (MHP).

The town is built amidst the ruins of Celaenae-Apamea, near the sources of the Büyük Menderes (Maeander) river. In ancient mythology this was the site of the musical duel between Apollo and Marsyas.

Dinar today is a small town in a rural area, with limited amenities, particularly since there was a large earthquake here in 1995, which caused many people to migrate away from the town. Dinar is a crossroads on journeys from Ankara or Istanbul to Antalya, motorists wouldn't stop here but many trucks do need to.

The folk culture of Dinar is rich, the town granted many well-known folk-songs (türkü in Turkish).


Docimium, Docimia or Docimeium (Greek: Δοκίμια and Δοκίμειον) was an ancient city of Phrygia, Asia Minor where there were famous marble quarries.


Drizipara (or Druzipara, Drousipara. Drusipara) now Karıştıran (Büyükkarıştıran) in Lüleburgaz district was a city and a residential episcopal see in the Roman province of Europa in the civil diocese of Thrace. It is now a titular see of the Catholic Church.

List of ancient settlements in Turkey

Below is the list of ancient settlements in Turkey. There are innumerable ruins of ancient settlements spread all over the country. While some ruins date back to Neolithic times, most of them were settlements of Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians, Ionians, Urartians, and so on.


In Greek mythology, Lityerses (Ancient Greek: Λιτυέρσης) was an illegitimate son of Midas (or of Comis) dwelling in Celaenae, Phrygia, and of Demeter, the ancient Greek goddess of plants, wheat and harvesting. Lityerses was a talented swordsman, and was bloodthirsty and aggressive. He challenged people to harvesting contests and beheaded those he beat, putting the rest of their bodies in the sheaves. Heracles won the contest and killed him, then threw his body into the river Maeander. He was also known as the "Reaper of Men." One source describes him as a glutton who could eat "three asses' panniers" of food and drink "a ten-amphora cask" of wine at a time.The Phrygian reapers used to celebrate his memory in a harvest-song which bore the name of Lityerses. The song for Lityerses was, according to one tradition, a comic version of the lament sung by the Black Sea people, the Mariandyni for Bormos, a son of wealthy man.Theocritus in his tenth Idyll gives a specimen of a Greek harvest-song addressed to Demeter, which is called 'the Song of the Divine Lityerses'. In this song, there is no mention of the legend; it is indeed only an ordinary reaping-song.

Lityerses appears in several of Rick Riordan's novels as a supporting character.


Lyrbe (spelled Lyrba in the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia; Ancient Greek: Λύρβη) was a city and episcopal see in the Roman province of Pamphylia Prima and is now a titular see.


In Greek mythology, the satyr Marsyas (; Greek: Μαρσύας) is a central figure in two stories involving music: in one, he picked up the double oboe (aulos) that had been abandoned by Athena and played it; in the other, he challenged Apollo to a contest of music and lost his hide and life. In antiquity, literary sources often emphasise the hubris of Marsyas and the justice of his punishment.

In one strand of modern comparative mythography, the domination of Marsyas by Apollo is regarded as an example of myth that recapitulates a supposed supplanting by the Olympian pantheon of an earlier "Pelasgian" religion of chthonic heroic ancestors and nature spirits. Marsyas was a devoté of the ancient Mother Goddess Rhea/Cybele, and his episodes are situated by the mythographers in Celaenae (or Kelainai), in Phrygia, at the main source of the Meander (the river Menderes in Turkey).


Melaenae or Melainai (Ancient Greek: Μέλαιναι) was a fortified deme of ancient Attica, on the frontier of Boeotia, celebrated in Attic mythology as the place for which Melanthus and Xanthus fought. It was sometimes called Celaenae or Kelainai (Κέλαιναι).Its site is unlocated.

Stratonicea (Lydia)

Stratonicea – (Greek: Στρατoνικεια, or Στρατονίκεια) also transliterated as Stratoniceia and Stratonikeia, earlier Indi, and later for a time Hadrianapolis – was an ancient city in the valley of the Caicus river, between Germe and Acrasus, in Lydia, Anatolia; its site is currently near the village of Siledik, in the district of Kırkağaç, Manisa Province, in the Aegean Region of Turkey.

Black Sea
Central Anatolia
Eastern Anatolia


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.