Corycus (Greek: Κώρυκος; also transliterated Corycos or Korykos; Armenian: Կոռիկոս, romanizedKoṙikos; Turkish: Kız Kalesi, lit. "maiden castle") was an ancient city in Cilicia Trachaea, Anatolia, located at the mouth of the valley called Şeytan deresi; the site is now occupied by the town of Kızkalesi (formerly Ghorgos), Mersin Province, Turkey.

Fortress of Corycus
Corycus is located in Turkey
Shown within Turkey
LocationMersin Province, Turkey
Coordinates36°27′55″N 34°9′15″E / 36.46528°N 34.15417°ECoordinates: 36°27′55″N 34°9′15″E / 36.46528°N 34.15417°E

The city

Strabo does not mention a town of Corycus, but reports a promontory so called at the location, but a town Corycus is mentioned by Livy (xxxiii. 20), and by Pliny (v. 27), and Pomponius Mela (i. 13), and Stephanus of Byzantium (s. v. Κώρυκος). In antiquity, Corycus was an important harbor and commercial town. It was the port of Seleucia, where, in 191 BCE, the fleet of Antiochus the Great was defeated by the Romans. In the Roman times it preserved its ancient laws; the emperors usually kept a fleet there to watch over the pirates. Corycus was also a mint in antiquity and some of its coins survive.

Corycus was controlled by the Byzantine Empire.[1] Justinian I restored the public baths and a hospital. The admiral Eustathios Kymineianos re-fortified the island on the orders of Alexios I Komnenos at the beginning of the 12th century, adding a supplementary castle on a small island. This castle was later called "maidens castle", because it was told that a king held his daughter here in captivity until she was killed by a venomous snake. It was prophesied she would die by a snake bite. So she was taken to the sea castle to protect her, but a serpent was taken by basket to the castle, she was bitten and died. Corycus was conquered by the Armenians soon after it was rebuilt by the Byzantines.

Until the mid-14th century the Armenians held both the mainland and island castles, which guarded this strategic port for the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia. Simon, the Baron of Koŕikos, attended the coronation of King Levon I in 1198/99. Subsequent Armenian nobles maintained authority in the area (with a few brief interruptions) until 1360, when Peter I, the King of Cyprus, removed the Mamelukes and assumed suzerainty. In the late 14th century it fell again to the Turks. From 1448 or 1454 it belonged alternately to the Karamanids, the Egyptians, the Karamanids a second time, and finally to the Ottoman Empire.

Archaeological surveys published in 1982 and 1987 found that the Armenians maintained (with occasional repairs) the mainland castle’s simple Byzantine plan with its rectangular double walls, square towers, and two chapels, all of which were built with masonry taken from the nearby late antique city. The only original Armenian construction is one small chapel.[2][3] Kizkalesi (castle) on the island has the extensive remains of Armenian rebuilding. The island was once connected to the mainland fort by a breakwater.

Views of the Fortress and ruins of the town (c. 1860)

The ruins of the city are extensive. Among them are a triumphal arch, a necropolis with a beautiful Christian tomb, sarcophagi, etc. The two medieval castles, one on the shore, the other in an islet, connected by a ruined pier, are partially preserved; the former was reputed impregnable. The walls of the castle on the mainland contain many pieces of columns; and a mole of great unhewn rocks projects from one angle of the fortress about a hundred yards across the bay. Three churches are also found, one decorated with frescoes. The walls of the ancient city may still be traced, and there appear to be sufficient remains to invite a careful examination of the spot.

The city figures in the Synecdemus of Hierocles, and in a Notitia Episcopatuum of about 840.[4] The bishopric of Corycus was a suffragan of Tarsus, the capital of the Roman province of Cilicia Prima, to which Corycus belonged. Of the bishops of the see, Germanus was at the First Council of Constantinople in 381; Sallustius took part in the Council of Ephesus in 431 and a synod held in Tarsus in 434, and was represented at the Council of Chalcedon by his metropolitan bishop Theodorus, who signed the acts of the council on his behalf; Archelaus went to a synod called by Patriarch Menas of Constantinople in 536; Cyprianus was at the Second Council of Constantinople in 553; and Ioannes participated in the Third Council of Constantinople in 680 and the Trullan Council in 692. In the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade, Corycus became the seat of Latin Church bishops, one of whom, named Gerardus, took part in a council at Antioch in 1136.[5][6][7][8] No longer a residential bishopric, Corycus is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.[9]

Two Armenian inscriptions that were discovered at the castles of Korykos were credited to its construction to Levon I and then to Hetum I.[10]

Corycian Cave

In the Corycian Cave (now Cennet ve Cehennem), 20 stadia inland, says Strabo, the best crocus (saffron) grows. He describes this cave as a great hollow, of a circular form, surrounded by a margin of rock, on all sides of a considerable height; on descending into this cavity, the ground is found to be uneven and generally rocky, and it is filled with shrubs, both evergreen and cultivated; in some parts the saffron is cultivated: there is also a cave here which contains a large source, which pours forth a river of pure, pellucid water, but it immediately sinks into the earth, and flowing underground enters the sea: they call it the Bitter Water. Pomponius Mela (i.13) has a long description of the same place apparently from the same authority that Strabo followed, but more embellished. This place is probably on the top of the mountain above Corycus.

This place is famed in Greek mythology. It is the Cilician cave of Pindar (Pythian Ode i. 31), and of Aeschylus (Prom. Vinct. 350), and it is the lair of Zeus' fiercest opponent, the monster Typhon or Typhoeus.

See also


Korykos Land Castle 1011

Land castle of Korykos Southwest front

Korykos Land Castle 6959 panorama

Land castle of Korykos Southwest and southeast front

Korykos Land Castle 6961

Land castle of Korykos Southwest and southeast front

Korykos Land Castle 3255

Land castle of Korykos View from necropolis across the road

Korykos Land Castle 1119

Land castle of Korykos Northwest front

Korykos Land Castle 1129

Land castle of Korykos Northeast side

Korykos Land Castle 1144

Land castle of Korykos Channel along Northeast side

Korykos Land Castle 1148

Land castle of Korykos Spolia

Korykos Land Castle 3229

Land castle of Korykos View northeast with possible harbour entrance

Korykos Land Castle 2184

Land castle of Korykos Channel along Northeast side

Korykos Land Castle 1154

Land castle of Korykos Southeast side

Korykos Land Castle 1112

Land castle of Korykos Southeast front

Korykos Land Castle 1169

Land castle of Korykos Inside southeast walls

Korykos Land Castle 1172

Land castle of Korykos Interior looking northeast

Korykos Land Castle 3238

Land castle of Korykos Interior

Korykon Necropoli and churches 6987

Korykon Soldier's grave

Korykon Necropoli and churches 6997

Korykon Necropolis and castles

Korykon Necropoli and churches 7001

Korykon Sarcophagus

Korykon Necropoli and churches 3270

Korykon Sarcophagi and church

Korykos Necropoli and churches 3870

Korykon Church

Korykon Necropoli and churches 3872

Korykon Church

Korykon Necropoli and churches 3275

Korykon Church

Korykon Necropoli and churches 1247

Korykon Church

Korykon Necropoli and churches 1242

Korykon Church

Korykon Necropoli and churches 1219

Korykon Church

Korykon Necropoli and churches 7036

Korykon Church


  1. ^ Edwards, Robert W., "Korykos" (2016). The Eerdmans Encyclopedia of Early Christian Art and Archaeology, ed., Paul Corby Finney. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 27–29. ISBN 978-0-8028-9017-7.
  2. ^ Edwards, Robert W. (1987). The Fortifications of Armenian Cilicia: Dumbarton Oaks Studies XXIII. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University. pp. 161–67, 284, pls.123a–128b, 296b–296c. ISBN 0-88402-163-7.
  3. ^ Edwards, Robert W., “Ecclesiastical Architecture in the Fortifications of Armenian Cilicia: First Report, Dumbarton Oaks Papers 36, 1982, pp.173-75, pls.38-42.
  4. ^ Siméon Vailhé, "Corycus" in Catholic Encyclopedia (New York 1908)
  5. ^ Michel Lequien, Oriens christianus in quatuor Patriarchatus digestus, Paris 1740, Vol. II, coll. 879-882
  6. ^ Pius Bonifacius Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae Catholicae, Leipzig 1931, p. 435
  7. ^ Konrad Eubel, Hierarchia Catholica Medii Aevi, vol. 1, p. 210; vol. 6, pp. 184–185
  8. ^ H. Rudt de Collenberg Wipertus, Le royaume et l'Église de Chypre face au Grand Schisme (1378-1417) d'après les Registres des Archives du Vatican, in Mélanges de l'École française de Rome, t. 94, n° 2, 1982, pp. 638 e 652
  9. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 874
  10. ^ Langlois, op. cit (supra, note 21), 48.

External links


Casystes or Kasystes (Ancient Greek: Κασύστης) was a port town of ancient Ionia, near Erythrae. Strabo, whose description proceeds from south to north, after describing Teos, says, "before you come to Erythrae, first is Erae, a small city of the Teians, then Corycus, a lofty mountain, and a harbour under it, Casystes; and another harbour called Erythras." It is probably the Cyssus of Livy, the port to which the fleet of Antiochus III sailed (191 BCE) before the naval engagement in which the king was defeated by Eumenes II and the Romans.

Its site is tentatively located near the modern Kırkdilim Limanı, Asiatic Turkey.

Constantine IV, King of Armenia

Constantine IV (also Constantine VI; Armenian: Կոստանդին, Western Armenian transliteration: Gosdantin or Kostantine; died 1373) was the King of Armenian Cilicia from 1362 until his death. He was the son of Hethum of Neghir, a nephew of Hethum I of Armenia. Constantine came to the throne on the death of his cousin Constantine III, whose widow, Maria, daughter of Oshin of Corycos, he married.

Constantine formed an alliance with Peter I of Cyprus, offering him the port and castle of Corycus. On Peter's death in 1369, Constantine looked for a treaty with the Sultan of Egypt. The barons were unhappy with this policy, fearing annexation by the sultan, and in 1373 Constantine was murdered. Upon his death he was succeeded by his distant cousin Leo V, one of the Poitiers-Lusignan dynasty, who would become the last king of Cilician Armenia.

Corycus (Crete)

Corycus or Korykos (Ancient Greek: Κώρυκος) was a town in the northwestern part of ancient Crete on the peninsula of the same name mentioned by Ptolemy. There is a passage in which Juvenal mentions a Corycian vessel which evidently belonged to this Cretan town. When the Florentine traveller Cristoforo Buondelmonti visited Crete in 1415, he found remains existing.

Corycus (Lycia)

Corycus (Ancient Greek: Κώρυκος, romanized: Korykos) was a Greek port city in ancient Lycia. The location of the city has not been determined with certainty. The Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World places the city at 36°26′10.1″N 30°28′42.8″E. This is a short distance north of the modern town Çıralı in the Kumluca district of Antalya Province, Turkey.

The city is mentioned by the Stadiasmus Patarensis and the Stadiasmus Maris Magni. Mustafa Adak has argued that the name of Corycus was eventually changed to Olympos, after the original city of Olympus had been destroyed by the Roman Republic. According to him Olympus was initially founded on Mount Olympus, which he identifies as Musa Dağı instead of Tahtalı Dağı. After the destruction the population would have moved to Corycus. The name change might have happened when Hadrian visited the city in 131 AD.

Corycus (Pamphylia)

Corycus (Ancient Greek: Κώρυκος, romanized: Korykos) was a Greek town in ancient Pamphylia, near Attaleia. Strabo mention that Attalus II Philadelphus, who had also founded the city of Attaleia, sent a colony to Corycus and surrounded it with a greater circuit-wall.The location of the town has not been determined with certainty.

Corycus (disambiguation)

Corycus may refer to:

Corycus (alga), a brown alga genus in the family Chordariaceae

Hayton of Corycus, medieval Armenian historianplacesCorycus, a city of Cilicia Tracheia

Corycus (Crete), a town of ancient Crete, Greece

Corycus (Ionia), a town of ancient Ionia

Corycus (Lycia), a city in Lycia

Corycus (mountain), a mountain in Lydia

Corycus (Pamphylia), a city in Pamphylia

Gramvousa island off Crete, anciently known as Corycus

Gramvousa Peninsula on Crete, anciently known as Corycus

Elaiussa Sebaste

Elaiussa Sebaste or Elaeousa Sebaste (Greek: Ελαιούσα Σεβαστή) was an ancient Roman town located 55 km (34 mi) from Mersin in the direction of Silifke in Cilicia on the southern coast of Anatolia (in modern-day Turkey). Elaiussa, meaning olive, was founded in the 2nd century B.C. on a tiny island attached to the mainland by a narrow isthmus in Mediterranean Sea.

Besides the cultivation of olives, the settlement here of the Cappadocian king Archelaus during the reign of the Roman Emperor Augustus played a role in the development of the city. Founding a new city on the isthmus, Archelaus called it Sebaste, which is the Greek equivalent word of the Latin "Augusta". The city entered a golden age when the Roman Emperor Vespasian purged Cilicia of pirates in 74 AD. Towards the end of the 3rd century AD however its importance began to wane, owing in large part to incursions by the Sassanian King Shapur I in 260 and later by the Isaurians. The ancient sources tell the history of city’s existence and how the churches and basilicas survived into the late Roman and early Byzantine periods. When its neighbor Corycus began to flourish in the 6th century AD, Elaiussa Sebaste was slowly obliterated from the stage of history.

The island that was the site of the first settlement here, where excavations have been underway since 1995 headed by Italian archeologist Eugenia Equini Schneider, is almost completely buried under sand. The original settlement, at a location that provided security for the harbors on either side, is a peninsula today. The ruins of a bath, a cistern, a defense wall and a breakwater can be seen on the side overlooking the western bay of the peninsula. But the most important remains unearthed in the city are a bath whose floor is paved with mosaics and a small basilica on a circular base.

On the opposite side of the highway D.400 that divides Elaiussa and Sebaste today stands a theater dating to the 2nd century AD, an extremely small structure with only 23 rows of seats, whose steps and decorations succumbed to centuries of plunder. Next to the theater is the agora, built in all great probability during the imperial period. At the entrance of the agora, which is surrounded by a semi-destroyed defense wall once rose two monumental fountains in the shape of lions. Inside the agora stands a large church, its floor is covered by sand to protect the mosaic pavement. Elaiussa’s only temple stands outside the city on a hill overlooking the sea. Only two of the Corinthian columns of this temple, which had 12 on the long and 6 on the short side originally, are standing today. A large bath complex among the lemon groves between the temple and the agora was built by a technique characteristic of the ancient Roman period and little used in Anatolia.

The ruins of Elaiussa Sebaste also harbor the richest and most impressive necropolis among the cities of ancient Cilicia. The "Avenue of Graves", located on a hill to the north of the city, preserves close to a hundred graves of various shapes and sizes scattered among the lemon trees. The aesthetic forms of these monumental graves of Cilicia Tracheia are remarkable.

The ancient aqueducts that carried water to the ruins from the Lamos ("Lemon") river also adorn the city’s two entrances. The aqueduct to the west of the city in particular is in relatively good condition. Centuries ago these aqueducts formed a canal system that ran all the way to Corycus.

A lidded sarcophagus lies on a small rise exactly opposite the aqueduct. Known as "the Grave of the Princess", this sarcophagus is a prime example of the Anatolian tomb tradition.


Erdemli is a town and district of Mersin Province in the Mediterranean region of Turkey, 35 km (22 mi) west of the city of Mersin.


Erythrae or Erythrai (Greek: Ἐρυθραί) later Litri, was one of the twelve Ionian cities of Asia Minor, situated 22 km north-east of the port of Cyssus (modern name: Çeşme), on a small peninsula stretching into the Bay of Erythrae, at an equal distance from the mountains Mimas and Corycus, and directly opposite the island of Chios. It is recorded that excellent wine was produced in the peninsula. Erythrae was notable for being the seat of the Erythraean Sibyl. The ruins of the city are found north of the town Ildırı in the Çeşme district of Izmir Province, Turkey.

Erythras (Ionia)

Erythras (Ancient Greek: Ἐρυθρᾶς) was a port town of ancient Ionia, near Erythrae. Strabo, whose description proceeds from south to north, after describing Teos, says, "before you come to Erythrae, first is Erae, a small city of the Teians, then Corycus, a lofty mountain, and a harbour under it, Casystes; and another harbour called Erythras."Its site is tentatively located near the modern Sarpdere Limanı, Asiatic Turkey.

Gramvousa Peninsula

Gramvousa Peninsula (Greek: Χερσόνησος Γραμβούσας, romanized: Chersonesos Gramvousas) is a peninsula at the northwestern end of the island of Crete, Greece. Anciently it was known as Corycus or Korykos (Ancient Greek: Κώρυκος), or as Cimarus or Kimaros (Κίμαρος); although the latter is ascribed to the cape at the northern extremity of the peninsula (Cape Vouxa). Strabo states that Corycus was the point whence the distances to the several ports of Peloponnesus were measured. We learn from Pliny that the islands which lie off this promontory were called Corycae (modern Gramvousa), and that part of the mass of rock which forms this point went by the name of Mount Corycus. Ptolemy mentions a city also called Corycus, and there is a passage in which Juvenal mentions a Corycian vessel which evidently belonged to this Cretan town. When the Florentine traveller Cristoforo Buondelmonti visited the island in 1415, he found remains existing.

Hayton of Corycus

Hayton of Corycus (also Hethum, Het'um, and variants; in Armenian known as Հեթում Պատմիչ Hetʿowm Patmičʿ "Hethum the Historian" ; c.1240 - c.1310-1320) was a medieval Armenian nobleman, monk and historiographer.

Hayton is the author of La Flor des Estoires d'Orient ("Flower of the Histories of the East", in Latin Flos historiarum terre Orientis), a historiographical work about the history of Asia, especially about the Muslim conquests and the Mongol invasion, which he dictated at the request of Pope Clement V in 1307, while he was at Poitiers. The Old French original text was recorded by one Nicolas Faulcon, who also prepared a Latin translation. The work was widely disseminated in the Late Middle Ages and was influential in shaping western European views of the Orient.The work consists of four books of unequal lengths, the main part being contained in book 3, after which the entire work is sometimes referred to as the "History of the Tartars". Book 1 gives an overview of the geography and history of Asia. Book 2 gives an account of the "Lordship of the Saracens", i.e. the Muslim conquests of the 7th century and the succeeding Caliphates. Book 3 comprises the bulk of the work, giving a history of the Mongols and the Mongol invasions.

Book 4 discusses a proposed alliance of Christendom with the Mongol Empire to the end of a renewed crusade in the Holy Land.

For his history of the Mongols Hayton names an Estoires des Tartars ("History of the Tartars") as his source for the time until the reign of Möngke Khan (1250s), while for more recent events, he relies on the accounts by his great-uncle, king Hethum I, and on his own experiences. He is also informed by western sources on the history of the Crusades, and most likely draws on the travelogues of Giovanni da Pian del Carpine and Marco Polo.

John II of Cyprus

John II or III of Cyprus (16 May 1418 – 28 July 1458) was the King of Cyprus and Armenia and also titular King of Jerusalem from 1432 to 1458. He was previously a titular Prince of Antioch.

John was the son of king Janus of Cyprus and Charlotte of Bourbon; he was born and died in Nicosia. In May, sometime between 1435 and 1440, he married Aimee or Amadea Palaiologina of Monferrato (3 August 1429 – Nicosia, 13 September 1440), daughter of John Jacob Palaiologos, Marquess of Montferrat, without issue. His second wife, a distant relative of his first one, whom he married in Nicosia in 1441 or on 3 February 1442, was Helena Palaiologina (1428 – 11 April 1458), only child and daughter of Theodore II Palaiologos, Despot of the Morea and his wife Cleofa Malatesta. Theodore was a son of Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos and Helena Dragaš and the brother of the last two Byzantine emperors, John VIII Palaiologos and Constantine XI Palaiologos. By his second marriage he had two daughters:

Charlotte of Lusignan

Cleopha of Lusignan, died youngUpon the death of John II, his only surviving legitimate child Charlotte succeeded to the throne. During his rule, Corycus, the only Cypriot stronghold in mainland Anatolia was lost to the Karamanids in 1448.

John had an illegitimate son by Marietta de Patras

Jameswhom he appointed Archbishop of Nicosia at the age of 16. James did not prove ideal archbishop material, and was stripped of his title after murdering the royal chamberlain. His father eventually forgave him and restored him to the Archbishopric. James and Helena were enemies, vying for influence over John. After Helena died in 1458, it appeared that John would appoint James as his successor, but John died before he could make it so.

He was the last direct legitimate male descendant of Raymond de Poitiers of Antioch, a younger son of William IX of Aquitaine.


Kızkalesi (English: Maiden's castle) is a town in Mersin Province, Turkey. The town, known in Antiquity as Corycus or Korykos (Greek: Κώρυκος), is named after the ancient castle built on a small island just facing the town.

Limonlu River

The Limonlu River (Ancient Greek: Λάμος Lamos; Latin: Lamus), also known as Gökler Deresi, is a river of ancient Cilicia, now in Mersin Province, Turkey.

The river rises at Yüğlük Dağı in the Taurus mountains and flows through deep gorges to the southwest until it reaches the Mediterranean Sea at Limonlu (the ancient Antiochia Lamotis) in the district of Erdemli. About halfway along its course it is receives the Susama Deresi from the west as a tributary.

In the town of Limonlu, about 500 metres west of the river mouth on a flat hill on the right bank is the Medieval castle Lamos Kalesi. Below the castle a late Ottoman bridge crosses the river, probably on the site of an earlier Roman bridge. North of the town are the remains of an aqueduct, which carried water from the river west to the ancient towns of Elaiussa Sebaste and Corycus.

Mongol Armenia

Mongol Armenia or Ilkhanid Armenia refers to the period in which both Armenia (during its union with the Kingdom of Georgia) and the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia became tributary and vassal to the Mongol Empire (the later Ilkhanate) in the 1230s.

Armenia and Cilicia remained under Mongol influence until around 1335.

During the time period of the later Crusades (1250s to 1260s), there was a short-lived Armenian-Mongol alliance, engaged in some combined military operations against their common enemy, the Mameluks. They succeeded in capturing Baghdad in 1258, but suffered defeat eight years later.

The Armenian calls for a wider Christian-Mongol alliance against Mameluk Islam, advocated notably by Hayton of Corycus, were ignored by the Latin powers in the Levant, leading to the demise of the European Crusader States and the imminent failure of the Crusades as a whole.

Olympus (Lycia)

Olympus or Olympos (Ancient Greek: Ὄλυμπος, Ólympos; Latin: Olympus) was a city in ancient Lycia. It was situated in a river valley near the coast. Its ruins are located south of the modern town Çıralı in the Kumluca district of Antalya Province, Turkey. Together with the sites of the ancient cities Phaselis and Idyros it is part of the Olympos Beydaglari National Park. The perpetual gas fires at Yanartaş are found a few kilometers to the northwest of the site.


Oppian (Ancient Greek: Ὀππιανός, Oppianós; Latin: Oppianus), also known as Oppian of Anazarbus, of Corycus, or of Cilicia, was a 2nd-century Greco-Roman poet during the reign of the emperors Marcus Aurelius and Commodus.

Oshin of Korikos

Oshin of Korikos (or Corycos) (died 1329) served as regent of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia from 1320 to 1329. He was the son of the historian Hayton of Korikos. He became regent for Leo IV on the death of King Oshin in 1320, whom he was rumoured to have poisoned. Oshin was also probably responsible for the deaths of King Oshin's sister Princess Isabella of Armenia and two of her sons, in order to remove rival claimants.

Oshin married twice:

First, Margaret d'Ibelin, who bore him one daughter, Alice, who married King Leo IV of Armenia.

Second, King Oshin's widow, Jeanne of Anjou. Oshin of Korikos and Jeanne had a daughter, Marie, who consecutively married two Armenian Kings of Cilicia, Constantine V and Constantine VI.Oshin and his daughter Alice (Leo's wife) were assassinated in 1329 at the behest of Leo IV.

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