Marpessos (Ancient Greek: Μάρπησσος) was a settlement in the middle Skamander valley of the Troad region of Anatolia. The settlement's name is also spelled Μαρμησσός, Μαρμισσός, Μερμησσός in ancient sources. It was known in Classical antiquity primarily as the birthplace of the Hellespontine Sibyl Herophile. Its site has been located at Dam Dere approximately 2 km SE of the village of Zerdalilik in the Bayramiç district of Çanakkale Province in Turkey.[1] Despite the similarity of its name and its location on Mount Ida, the settlement is apparently unrelated to the mythological figure Marpessa and her husband Idas. It should likewise not be confused with the Mount Marpessa on Paros.[2]

Marpessos is located in Turkey
Shown within Turkey
LocationZerdalilik, Çanakkale Province, Turkey
Coordinates39°52′49″N 26°31′13″E / 39.88028°N 26.52028°ECoordinates: 39°52′49″N 26°31′13″E / 39.88028°N 26.52028°E


Several sources whose information derives from the 4th century BCE philosopher Heraclides Ponticus (see below) refer to Marpessos as a village (Latin vicus, Ancient Greek κώμη) in the territory of Gergis. Demetrius of Scepsis (as preserved by Pausanias: see below) refers to it as a former polis which in his day (the mid-2nd century BCE) was reduced to a population of 60 inhabitants.[3] It is unlikely that Marpessos was ever an independent polis, and so here the word is probably being used in the sense of 'town, urban settlement'.[4] Gergis advertised its connection to the Sibyl by displaying her head on its coinage in the 4th and 3rd century BCE.[5] Marpessos probably became part of the territory of Ilion when Gergis was incorporated into Ilion after the Treaty of Apamea in 188 BCE.[6]

The Sibyl at Marpessos

There are two distinct traditions concerning the Sibyl of Marpessos. The first originates with the Peripatetic philosopher Heraclides Ponticus (ca. 390 - ca. 310 BCE) and is preserved in a series of sources from Late Antiquity and the early and middle Byzantine periods which list the ten Sibyls as set out by the Roman grammarian Varro.[7] In this tradition, the Sibyl (here termed the Hellespontine Sibyl) is said to have been born in the village of Marmessos in the Troad in the time of Solon and Cyrus (early 6th century BCE).

The second tradition originates with Demetrius of Scepsis, a grammarian who wrote on Homer and whose hometown was less than 18 km from the site of Marpessos.[8] His account is primarily preserved in the work of the 2nd century CE geographer Pausanias, and it is difficult to tell to what extent the well-traveled Pausanias (a native of Lydia) supplemented Demetrios' account with his own personal experience. The detailed narrative which Pausanias preserves relates that the Sibyl was born at Marpessos prior to the Trojan War and that her mother was a nymph from Mount Ida and her father a mortal.[9] Demetrios gleaned this information from one of her oracles which he preserves:

εἰμὶ δ᾽ ἐγὼ γεγαυῖα μέσον θνητοῦ τε θεᾶς τε,
νύμφης δ᾽ ἀθανάτης, πατρὸς δ᾽ αὖ κητοφάγοιο,
μητρόθεν Ἰδογενής, πατρὶς δέ μοί ἐστιν ἐρυθρή
Μάρπησσος, μητρὸς ἱερή, ποταμός τ᾽ Ἀιδωνεύς.
I am by birth half mortal, half divine;
An immortal nymph was my mother, my father an eater of corn;
On my mother's side of Idaean birth, but my fatherland was red
Marpessos, sacred to the Mother, and the river Aidoneus.[10]

The reference to Marpessos being "sacred to the Mother" indicates that there was a cult of Cybele at the settlement, a goddess traditionally thought to have resided on Mount Ida.[11] This passage, with its references to Mount Ida, the red soil of Marpessos, and the river Aidoneus, has also allowed scholars to locate the ancient remains of Marpessos.[12] Two important divergences from the Heraclides tradition are, firstly, that she is thought to have lived before the Trojan Wars, not in the early 6th century BCE and, secondly, that she is named Herophile, which in the Heraclides tradition is instead the name attributed to the Cumaean Sibyl in Italy. Demetrios also relates that the inhabitants of Alexandria Troas had a local tradition in which they claimed that towards the end of her life Herophile had become a neokoros (temple warden) at the sanctuary of Apollo Smintheus in the territory of Alexandria Troas, and displayed a funerary epitaph for her to prove that she had been buried in the sanctuary:

ἅδ᾽ ἐγὼ ἁ Φοίβοιο σαφηγορίς εἰμι Σίβυλλα
τῷδ᾽ ὑπὸ λαϊνέῳ σάματι κευθομένα,
παρθένος αὐδάεσσα τὸ πρίν, νῦν δ᾽ αἰὲν ἄναυδος,
μοίρᾳ ὑπὸ στιβαρᾷ τάνδε λαχοῦσα πέδαν.
ἀλλὰ πέλας Νύμφαισι καὶ Ἑρμῇ τῷδ᾽ ὑπόκειμαι,
μοῖραν ἔχοισα κάτω τᾶς τότ᾽ ἀνακτορίας.
Here I am, the plain-speaking Sibyl of Phoebus,
Hidden beneath this stone tomb.
A maiden once gifted with voice, but now for ever voiceless,
By hard fate doomed to this fetter.
But I am buried near the nymphs and this Hermes,
Enjoying in the world below a part of the kingdom I had then.[13]

Demetrios also relates that the Erythraeans instead claimed that Herophile was born to a nymph and a mortal not on Mount Ida, but in a cave in their own city's territory. According to Demetrios, the Erythraeans suppressed the last line of the oracle which mentions Marpessos and the river Aidoneus, so that the third line of the epigram would instead read: "On my mother's side of Idaean birth, but my fatherland was Erythre (i.e. the proper noun Erythrae rather than the adjective 'red')".[14] We cannot tell whether the Erythraeans really did excise a line from the oracle, or whether Demetrios instead added one, since being able to claim possession of an oracle was a matter of great prestige for Greek poleis, and so both parties had a vested interest in manipulating the historical record.


  • R. Kiepert, 'Gergis und Marpessos in der Troas' Klio 9 (1909) 10-13.
  • J. M. Cook, The Troad: An Archaeological and Topographical Study (Oxford, 1973) 280-2.
  • S. Mitchell, 'Pre-Hellenistic settlements not attested as poleis' in M.H. Hansen and T.H. Nielsen (eds.), An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis (Oxford, 2004) 1001-2.


  1. ^ Cook (1973) 280-2.
  2. ^ Stephanus of Byzantium s.v. Μάρπησσα.
  3. ^ Pausanias 10.12.4.
  4. ^ Mitchell (2004) 1001.
  5. ^ B. V. Head, Historia Nummorum, 2nd ed. (London, 1911) 545-6. The identification is secured by the testimony of Phlegon of Tralles, Brill's New Jacoby 257 F 2.
  6. ^ Cook (1973) 281-2.
  7. ^ Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 1.6.8, scholion ad Plato, Phaedrus 244b, Photios, Epistulae et Amphilochia 150, Suda s.v. Σίβυλλα Χαλδαία (Σ 361).
  8. ^ Pausanias 10.12.2-7, Stephanus of Byzantium s.v. Μερμησσός.
  9. ^ Pausanias 10.12.2.
  10. ^ Pausanias 10.12.3.
  11. ^ See (e.g.) Catullus Poem 63.
  12. ^ Cook (1973) 280-2.
  13. ^ Pausanias 10.12.5.
  14. ^ Pausanias 10.12.7.

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).


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.


Cidyessus (Κιδύησσος) was a city of some importance, west of Ammonia in west-central Phrygia, in the territory of the Setchanli Ova, or Mouse Plain; this large and fertile valley projects far into Phrygia Salutaris, but the city was in Phrygia Pacatiana.Its site has been determined by an inscription to be modern Küçükhüyük in Turkey, west of Afyonkarahisar. The old native name may have been Kydessos, though it is Kidyessos on its coins.


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


Cyaneae (Ancient Greek: Κυανέαι; also spelt Kyaneai or Cyanae) was a town of ancient Lycia, or perhaps three towns known collectively by the name, on what is now the southern coast of Turkey. William Martin Leake says that its remains were discovered west of Andriaca. The place, which is at the head of Port Tristomo, was determined by an inscription. Leake observes that in some copies of Pliny it is written Cyane; in Hierocles and the Notitiae Episcopatuum it is Cyaneae. To Spratt and Forbes, Cyaneae appeared to be a city ranking in importance with Phellus and Candyba, but in a better state of preservation. No longer a residential bishopric, Cyanae is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.


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.

Hellespontine Sibyl

The Hellespontine Sibyl was the priestess presiding over the Apollonian oracle at Dardania. The Sibyl is sometimes referred to as the Trojan Sibyl. The word Sibyl comes (via Latin) from the ancient Latin word sibylla, meaning prophetess or oracle. The Hellespontine Sibyl was known, particularly in the late Roman Imperial period and the early Middle Ages, for a claim she that predicted the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This claim comes from the Sibylline Oracles, which are not the be confused with the Sibylline Books.

The Hellespontian Sibyl was born in the village of Marpessos near the small town of Gergis, during the lifetimes of Solon and Cyrus the Great. According to Heraclides of Pontus, Marpessus was formerly within the boundaries of the Troad.

The sibylline collection at Gergis was attributed to the Hellespontine Sibyl and preserved in the temple of Apollo at Gergis. Later it passed to Erythrae, where it became famous.


Hisarlik (Turkish: Hisarlık, "Place of Fortresses"), often spelled Hissarlik, is the modern name for an ancient city in modern day located in what is now Turkey (historically Anatolia) near to the modern city of Çanakkale. The unoccupied archaeological site lies approximately 6.5 km from the Aegean Sea and about the same distance from the Dardanelles. The archaeological site of Hisarlik is known in archaeological circles as a tell. A tell is an artificial hill, built up over centuries and millennia of occupation from its original site on a bedrock knob.

It is believed by many scholars to be the site of ancient Troy, also known as Ilion.

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.


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.


Phellus (Ancient Greek: Φέλλος, Turkish: Phellos) is an town of ancient Lycia, now situated on the mountainous outskirts of the small town of Kaş in the Antalya Province of Turkey. The city was first referenced as early as 7 BC by Greek geographer and philosopher Strabo in Book XII of his Geographica (which detailed settlements in the Anatolia region), alongside the port town of Antiphellus; which served as the settlement's main trade front.

Its exact location, particularly in regard to Antiphellus, was misinterpreted for many years. Strabo incorrectly designates both settlements as inland towns, closer to each other than is actually evident today. Additionally, upon its rediscovery in 1840 by Sir Charles Fellows, the settlement was located near the village of Saaret, west-northwest of Antiphellus. Verifying research into its location in ancient text proved difficult for Fellows, with illegible Greek inscriptions providing the sole written source at the site. However, Thomas Abel Brimage Spratt details in his 1847 work Travels in Lycia that validation is provided in the words of Pliny the Elder, who places Phellus north of Habessus (Antiphellus' pre-Hellenic name).


Rhodiapolis (Ancient Greek: Ῥοδιάπολις), also known as Rhodia (Ῥοδία) and Rhodiopolis (Ῥοδιόπολις), was a city in ancient Lycia. Today it is located on a hill northwest of the modern town Kumluca in Antalya Province, Turkey.

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.

Timeline of the name "Palestine"

This article presents a list of notable historical references to the name Palestine as a place name in the Middle East throughout the history of the region, including its cognates such as "Filastin" and "Palaestina".

The term "Peleset" (transliterated from hieroglyphs as P-r-s-t) is found in five inscriptions referring to a neighboring people or land starting from circa 1150 BC during the Twentieth Dynasty of Egypt. The first known mention is at the temple at Medinet Habu which refers to the Peleset among those who fought with Egypt in Ramesses III's reign, and the last known is 300 years later on Padiiset's Statue. The Assyrians called the same region "Palashtu/Palastu" or "Pilistu", beginning with Adad-nirari III in the Nimrud Slab in c. 800 BC through to an Esarhaddon treaty more than a century later. Neither the Egyptian nor the Assyrian sources provided clear regional boundaries for the term.The first appearance of the term "Palestine" was in 5th century BC Ancient Greece when Herodotus wrote of a "district of Syria, called Palaistinê" between Phoenicia and Egypt in The Histories. Herodotus was describing the coastal region, but is also considered to have applied the term to the inland region such as the Judean mountains and the Jordan Rift Valley. Later Greek writers such as Aristotle, Polemon and Pausanias also used the word, which was followed by Roman writers such as Ovid, Tibullus, Pomponius Mela, Pliny the Elder, Dio Chrysostom, Statius, Plutarch as well as Roman Judean writers Philo of Alexandria and Josephus. The word was never used in an official context during the Hellenistic period, and is not found on any Hellenistic coin or inscription, first coming into official use in the early second century AD. It has been contended that in the first century authors still associated the term with the southern coastal region.In 135 AD, the Greek "Syria Palaestina" was used in naming a new Roman province from the merger of Roman Syria and Roman Judaea after the Roman authorities crushed the Bar Kokhba Revolt. Circumstantial evidence links Hadrian to the renaming of the province, which took place around the same time as Jerusalem was refounded as Aelia Capitolina, but the precise date of the change in province name is uncertain. The common view that the name change was intended "sever the connection of the Jews to their historical homeland" is disputed.Around the year 390, during the Byzantine period, the imperial province of Syria Palaestina was reorganized into Palaestina Prima, Palaestina Secunda and Palaestina Salutaris. Following the Muslim conquest, place names that were in use by the Byzantine administration generally continued to be used in Arabic. The use of the name "Palestine" became common in Early Modern English, was used in English and Arabic during the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem. In the 20th century the name was used by the British to refer to "Mandatory Palestine", a territory from the former Ottoman Empire which had been divided in the Sykes–Picot Agreement and secured by Britain through a mandated obtained from the Society of Nations. Starting from 2013, the term was officially used in the eponymous "State of Palestine". Both incorporated geographic regions from the land commonly known as Palestine, into a new state whose territory was named Palestine.


Tyana (Ancient Greek: Τύανα; Hittite Tuwanuwa) was an ancient city in the Anatolian region of Cappadocia, in modern Kemerhisar, Niğde Province, Central Anatolia, Turkey. It was the capital of a Luwian-speaking Neo-Hittite kingdom in the 1st millennium BC.

Üçayaklı ruins

The Üçayaklı ruins are in Mersin Province, Turkey.

Black Sea
Central Anatolia
Eastern Anatolia


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