Pessinus (Greek: Πεσσινούς or Πισσινούς) was an Ancient city and archbishopric in Asia Minor, a geographical area roughly covering modern Anatolia (Asian Turkey) on the upper course of the river Sangarios (Sakarya River), remaining a Catholic (formerly double) titular see.
Pessinus, the present modern Turkish village of Ballıhisar, is centred 13 km from Sivrihisar a small town on the Ankara-Eskişehir road at the junction with the Afyon-İzmir road, 120 km southwest of Ankara. The village is on the high Anatolian plateau at ca. 950 m above sea level. Its clustered centre is in a tributary valley of the Sakarya.
Shown within Turkey
|Location||Ballıhisar, Eskişehir Province, Turkey|
|Periods||Hellenistic to Medieval|
The mythological King Midas (738-696 BC?) is said to have ruled a greater Phrygian realm from Pessinus, but archaeological research since 1967 showed that the city developed around 400 BC at the earliest, which contradicts any historical claim of early Phrygian roots.
According to ancient tradition, Pessinous was the principal cult centre of the cult of Cybele/Kybele. The Graeco-Phrygian Cybele is rooted in the old Anatolian goddess Kubaba, whose cult spread over Anatolia during the second millennium BC. Tradition situates the cult of Cybele in the early Phrygian period (8th century BC) and associates the erection of her first "costly" temple and even the founding of the city with king Midas (738-696 BC?). However, the Phrygian past of Pessinus is still obscure, both historically as archaeologically. For example, the geographer Strabo (12.5.3) writes that the priests were potentates in "ancient times", but it is unclear whether Pessinus was already a temple state ruled by "dynastai" in the Phrygian period. According to Cicero (Har. Resp. 8.28) the Seleucid kings held deep devotion for the shrine, which indicates the sanctuary was still much revered in this period.
By the 3rd century BC at the latest, Pessinus had become a temple state ruled by a clerical oligarchy consisting of Galloi, eunuch priests of the Mother Goddess. After the arrival of Celtic tribes in Asia Minor in 278/277 BC, and their defeat at the hand of Antiochus I during the so-called 'Battle of the Elephants' (likely 268 BC), the Celts settled in the north-central region of Anatolia which became known as Galatia. The tribe of the Tolistobogi occupied the Phrygian territory between Gordium and Pessinus. It is doubtful that the temple state actually stood under Galatian control at this early stage.
Roman involvement in Pessinus however has early roots. In 205/204 BC, alarmed by a number of meteor showers during the ongoing Second Punic War, the Romans, after consulting the Sibylline Books, decided to introduce the cult of the Great Mother of Ida (Magna Mater Idaea, also known as Cybele) to the city. They sought the aid of their ally Attalus I (241-197 BC), and following his instructions, they went to Pessinus and removed the goddess' most important image, a large black stone that was said to have fallen from the sky, to Rome (Livy 10.4-11.18).
Pergamum seems to have gained some control over Pessinus by the end of the third century BC. Pessinus was bequeathed a sanctuary by the Attalid kings, perhaps after 183 BC, when Galatia was subject to Pergamene rule. The first century BC was a very unstable period for Pessinus with many rulers reigning over central Anatolia. According to Strabo (12.5.3) the priests gradually lost their privileges. The Mithridatic Wars (89-85 BC; 83-81 BC; 73-63 BC) caused political and economic turmoil throughout the region. When Deiotaros, tetrarch of the Tolistobogi and loyal vassal of Rome, became king of Galatia in 67/66 BC or 63 BC, Pessinus lost its status as an independent sacred principality.
In 36 BC, rule over Galatia was transferred to king Amyntas by Marc Anthony. At the death of the monarch, under Emperor Augustus the empire of the Galatians was annexed by the Imperium Romanum as the province of Galatia. Pessinus became the administrative capital of the Galatian tribe of the Tolistobogi and soon developed into a genuinely Graeco-Roman polis with a large number of monumental buildings, such as a colonnaded street and a Temple of the Imperial Cult.
The priest list on the left hand anta of the temple of Augustus and Roma in Ankara reveals that by the end of Tiberius' principate two citizens of Pessinus held the chief priesthood of the provincial imperial cult in Ancyra: M. Lollius in AD 31/32 and Q. Gallius Pulcher in AD 35/36. Strabo called Pessinus an 'emporion,' a trading centre, the largest west of the Halys river. It may be assumed that products from the Anatolian highlands were traded, especially grain and wool. A stamped handle of a wine amphora from Thasos, probably dating from the first quarter of the 3rd century BC, is proof of this trade and is at the same time the earliest written document discovered at Pessinus.
Very soon after 25 BC the urbanization and transformation of the Pessinuntian temple state into a Greek polis began. Constructions such as a Corinthian temple and a colonnaded street (cardo maximus) were erected with the marble from the quarries located at İstiklalbağı, ca. 6 km north of the city. The boundaries of Pessinus must have been fixed, as were those of the newly founded colony of Germakoloneia (near Babadat), which received part of the area inhabited by the Tolistobogioi. It has been argued that Pessinous and the other Galatian cities received a constitution based on that of the cities in Pontus-Bithynia, imposed by the lex Pompeia.
From the inscriptions it appears that Pessinus possessed several public buildings, including a gymnasium, a theatre, an archive, and baths. A system of water supply has been discovered through gutters and terracotta pipes. The most impressive public construction of the early Imperial period was the canalisation system, the earliest part of which dates from the Augustan age. It was meant to retain and carry away the waters of the Gallos, the seasonal river which traverses Pessinus and which was the main north-south artery (cardo maximus) of the city. From the 1st to the 3rd century AD the canal was continuously expanded until it finally reached a length of ca. 500 m and a width of 11 to 13 m. It is not known when exactly the large theatre, of which is preserved only the emplacement of the cavea where the spectators were seated, was constructed, but it was repaired or embellished by Hadrian.
Other monumental buildings, erected under the reign of Tiberius, included the marble peripteros temple of the provincial Imperial cult, a Sebasteion, on a hill at the north-western end of the canal, a stairway combined with a theatre in front (with an orchestra where religious and other performances such as gladiator fights took place). The colonnaded square lower down the valley was reconstructed by Verlinde. In the past, this structure was wrongly situated in the Tiberian era, but it was shown that it was a monument of the Hellenistic age (late 2nd-early 1st century BC), and contemporary with the citadel that preceded the temple complex. Christianity reached the area in the 3rd century, and at the end of the 4th century, the temple of Augustus was decommissioned. Perhaps as a sign of the rise of Christianity in Pessinus, Emperor Julian the Apostate made a pilgrimage to Pessinus and wrote an angry letter concerning the disrespect shown to the sanctuary of Cybele. In ca. 398, Pessinus was established as the capital of the newly established province of Galatia Salutaris (in the civil Diocese of Pontus), and became the seat of a Metropolitan Archbishop. The region later became part of the Byzantine Anatolic Theme.
In late 715 AD, the city of Pessinus was destroyed by an Arab raid, along with the neighboring city Orkistos. The area remained under Byzantine control until lost to the Seljuk Turks in the latter 11th century, after which Pessinus became an inconspicuous mountain village at 900m height, gradually getting depopulated since it was fully protected.
Circa AD 398, Pessinus was established as the capital of the newly established Roman province of Galatia Salutaris (=Secunda), and became the seat of a Metropolitan Archdiocese, in the sway of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Despite the Arab sack of the city in the 7th century, it has Archbishops at least until the 11th century, but ultimately was suppressed, being truly in partibus infidelium under Turkish (Seljuk, later Ottoman) Muslim rule.
It would be nominally revived in the early 20th century, both in a Latin (extant) and in an Armenian Catholic (short-lived) line of apostolic succession.
The following incumbents are historically known :
No later than 1901, the archdiocese was nominally restored when Pessinus of the Latins was as Latin Metropolitan Titular archbishopric of Pessinus (Latin) / Pessinonte (Curiate Italian) / Pessinuntin(us) (Latin)
It is vacant since decades, having had the following incumbents, so far of the fitting Metropolitan (highest) rank :
The archaeological research by Ghent University (1967–1973 under the directorship of Pieter Lambrechts; 1987–2008 under the directorship of John Devreker) of the temple area, which was discovered in 1834 by the French architect and archaeologist Charles Texier in the south of the village along the Gallos river, Angelo Verlinde's 2012 PhD dissertation, published in 2015, adds to the understanding of the temple area.
As yet, the temple area (sector B) is the only thoroughly investigated area of the city, with the exception of the so-called Acropolis (sector I) near the northern entrance of the Ballıhisar valley. Since 2009, the city is being investigated by a team of the University of Melbourne, Australia, led by Gocha Tsetskhladze.
As yet, the temple area, which was excavated between 1967 and 1972, is the only well-studied area of Pessinus. It was studied thoroughly by M. Waelkens (current director of Sagalassos excavations) in the 1980s and between 2006 and 2012 by Verlinde (Ghent University), who built on the findings of the former to analyze and reconstruct the architecture of the Corinthian peripteral temple, of which only the massive foundations remain. Investigations led to several observations, such as the Tiberian date (25-35 AD) of the cult building and its identification as a temple of the imperial cult (Sebasteion). As such, it was finally established that the excavated temple could not be identified as the Temple of Cybele, as explorer Charles Texier had done when he 'discovered' the foundations of the temple in 1834. Verlinde discovered that the building was designed on the basis of a grid, and that the governing module, determining the intervals and height of the columns, was equal to the lower diameter of the columns (0.76 m). Each intercolumnar space was equal to two modules (1.52 m), which designates the temple as a 'systyle.' Furthermore, the extraordinarely large stepped podium seems to have been influenced by Hellenistic and early Imperial pseudodipteroi. Although the temple was Tiberian, the decorative sculpture was fashioned in a conservative Augustan manner, which suggests that the building may have been design in the late Augustan period (ca. 15 AD). The temple towered over the back of a theatre, which combined a central staircase with two cavea wings for spectators. It was claimed by Verlinde that this theatrical area was ritual and used for gladiatorial fights, as the theatre contained raised seats with a protective parapet, which was typical for gladiatorial theatres in the Greek east. Given that such gladiatorial combat was as a rule intertwined with the imperial cult, Verlinde argued that the epigraphically attested cult of the emperor, was once again confirmed. He also observed that there is a consistency of such theatre-temples, which were influenced by late Republican sanctuaries in Italy (e.g. the sanctuary of Hercules Victor at Tivoli), being associated with the imperial cult. The sanctuary of Augustus at Stratonicea, which was a theatre-temple as well, may have served as a model for the sanctuary in Pessinus.
The colonnaded square in front of the stairway-theatre was thought to have been part of the imperial complex. However, this was rejected by Verlinde who dated the complex to the late 2nd century BC. The architecture of the limestone complex (covered with stucco lustro) emanates the style of Hellenistic palaestrae such as the Gymnasion of Eudemos at Miletus (late 3rd century BC). Being quite similar to the latter complex, the Pessinuntian square was reconstructed by Verlinde as a 'quadriporticus' with a Rhodian peristyle, that is with a high (Ionic) colonnade to the north, and three lower wings with Doric columns. The quadriporticus was an annex of the Hellenistic citadel on the promontory to the east, which preceded the early imperial temple.
The combination of a Hellenistic palace and a gymnasium (school) was a typical phenomenon of the Greek world during the Hellenistic age. Carbondating and ceramological analysis indicates that the palaestra (sports gym) was destroyed by a fire during the late Hellenistic age, suggesting that the colonnaded square as a functional entity was short-lived. After the quadriporticus was destroyed, it was not rebuilt during the early Roman period, as the area may have been used as an unpaved arena for the gladiatorial fights of the temple. In the 3rd century AD, the area was monumentalized with a new ellipse-shaped theatre and a vast marble square with a monumental funerary crypt (a funerary Heroon). This coincided with the further monumentalization of the cardo maximus, which received monumental city gates in the form of arches at its southern and northern extremity.
Abrostola was a town of ancient Phrygia, inhabited during Roman times.Its site is unlocated but is in the vicinity of Amorium and Pessinus.Agathocles (writers)
Agathocles (Greek: Ἀγαθοκλῆς; fl. 3rd century BC) was a Greek historian who wrote a history of Cyzicus (περὶ Κυζίκου) in the Ionic dialect. He is called by Athenaeus both a Babylonian and a Cyzican. He may originally have come from Babylon, and have settled at Cyzicus. The first and third books are referred to by Athenaeus. The time at which Agathocles lived is unknown, and his work is now lost; but it seems to have been extensively read in antiquity, as it is referred to by Cicero, Pliny, and other ancient writers. Agathocles also spoke of the origin of Rome. The scholiast on Apollonius cites Memoirs (ὑπομνήματα) by an Agathocles, who is usually supposed to be the same as the above-mentioned one.There are several other writers of the same name, whose works are lost to us but are mentioned by later writers:
Agathocles of Atrax, who wrote a work on fishing.
Agathocles of Chios, who wrote a work on agriculture.
Agathocles of Miletus, who wrote a work on rivers.
Agathocles of Samos, who wrote a work on the constitution of Pessinus.Agdistis
Agdistis (Ancient Greek: Ἄγδιστις) was a deity of Greek, Roman and Anatolian mythology, possessing both male and female sexual organs. She is closely associated with the Phrygian goddess Cybele. Her androgyny was seen as symbolic of a wild and uncontrollable nature. It was this trait which was threatening to the gods and ultimately led to her destruction.Brogitarus
Brogitarus (; Classical Latin: [brɔˈɡɪtaɾʊs]) was king of Galatia in Asia Minor between 63 BC and 50 BC, reigning concurrently with his father-in-law Deiotarus Philoromaeus, who was also tetrarch of the Tolistobogii. By Deiotarus' daughter Adobogiona, Brogitarus was the father of Amyntas, tetrarch of the Trocmi and king of Galatia.
Cicero claims that Brogitarus obtained his elevation to the kingship of Galatia alongside Deiotarus by bribing P. Clodius Pulcher, who was then tribune of the plebs at Rome. Brogitarus also became high priest of the Great Mother at Pessinus after the incumbent was removed through a law introduced by Clodius Pulcher. Cicero impugns not only this procedure but also Brogitarus' character, claiming that the priesthood "was sold for a large sum to Brogitarus, a profligate man, and unworthy of any such sacred character, especially as he had desired it not for the purpose of doing honour to the goddess, but only of profaning her temple." Deiotarus subsequently intervened to remove Brogitarus as high priest on the grounds that the latter had "polluted" its sacred ceremonies.The name 'Brogitarus' may be understood as brogi-taros 'border-crosser' or (less likely) brogi-taruos 'border-bull'.Claneus
Claneus or Klaneos or Klaneous (Ancient Greek: Κλάνεος or Κλανεοῦς) was an ancient city and bishopric in Asia Minor, which remains a Latin Catholic titular see.
Its site is tentatively located near Turgut, Asiatic Turkey.Dindymene
Dindymene, in ancient Phrygian mythology, is one of the names of Cybele, mother of the gods.
Temples to Dindymene were built in parts of ancient Ionia, such as Magnesia on the Maeander.
The name may have been derived from Mount Dindymus in Phrygia, on whose slopes at Pessinus a temple to Cybele Dindymene was built. Legend held that temple was built by the Argonauts. It may also have derived from Dindyme, a name of the wife of Maeon and mother of Cybele.Diocese of Germensis in Galatia
The Diocese of Germa in Galatia or Germensis in Galatia is a suppressed see and now a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church. Its seat was at Germensis in Galatia (also known as Germocolonia or Germacolonia) in the province of Galatia in the civil diocese of Pontus (present day northern central Turkey). It formed part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and was a suffragan see of the Archdiocese of Pessinus. Only one bishop of the see is known, Eustacius, who is mentioned as attending the Fourth Council of Constantinople in 879 which rehabilitated patriarch Photios I of Constantinople.Galatia (Roman province)
Galatia () was the name of a province of the Roman Empire in Anatolia (modern central Turkey). It was established by the first emperor, Augustus (sole rule 30 BC – 14 AD), in 25 BC, covering most of formerly independent Celtic Galatia, with its capital at Ancyra.
Under the tetrarchy reforms of Diocletian, its northern and southern parts were split to form the southern part of the province of Paphlagonia and the province of Lycaonia, respectively.
In c. 398 AD, during the reign of Arcadius, it was divided into the provinces of Galatia Prima and Galatia Secunda or Salutaris. Galatia Prima covered the northeastern part of the old province, retaining Ancyra as its capital and was headed by a consularis. Salutaris comprised the southwestern half of the old province and was headed by a praeses, with its seat at Pessinus. Both provinces were part of the Diocese of Pontus. The provinces were briefly reunited in 536–548 under Justinian I. Although the area was eventually incorporated in the new thema of Anatolikon in the latter half of the 7th century, traces of the old provincial administration survived until the early 8th century.Germa (Galatia)
Germa (Greek Γέρμα) or Germokoloneia (Γερμοκολώνεια, from Latin Colonia Iulia Augusta Felix Germenorum) was an ancient and Byzantine city in the Roman province of Galatia Secunda. The Byzantine writer Theophanes informs us that at a later period Germa took the name of Myriangeli. The few archaeological remains lie close to present-day Babadat in Eskişehir Province, Turkey.When between 25 and 20 BCE Augustus made Galatia a Roman province, he founded Germa as a Roman colony. The city was situated at the point where the road from Ancyra forked, one branch going to Dorylaeum, the other to Pessinus. From the time of Domitian it had a mint. Its Christian bishopric was a residential see until the 12th century and is now, as "Germa in Galatia", a titular see of the Catholic Church.Gocha R. Tsetskhladze
Gocha R. Tsetskhladze is a Georgian-born classical archaeologist who has studied in the Ukraine, Russia and England. He has taught at the University of London and Melbourne University. Tsetskhladze became director of the central Anatolian Pessinus excavation site in 2009. His area of specialization is Greek colonisation. He has previously worked on excavations of Greek colonies located along the Black Sea coasts of Georgia, Russia, and the Ukraine.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.Megalesia
The Megalesia, Megalensia, or Megalenses Ludi, was a festival celebrated in Ancient Rome from April 4 to April 10, in honour of Cybele, known to Romans as Magna Mater (Great Mother). The name of the festival derives from Greek Megale (μϵγάλη), meaning "Great". Ludi were the games or entertainments associated with religious festivals.Midaeium
Midaeium or Midaëum or Midaeion (Ancient Greek: Μιδάειον), or Midaium or Midaion (Μιδάιον), was a town in the northeast of ancient Phrygia. It was situated on the little river Bathys, on the road from Dorylaeum to Pessinus, and in Roman times belonged to the conventus of Synnada. In the Synecdemus it appears as Medaium or Medaion (Μεδάϊον). The town, as its name indicates, must have been built by one of the ancient kings of Phrygia, and has become celebrated in history from the fact that Sextus Pompeius, the son of Pompey the Great, was there taken prisoner by the generals of Marcus Antonius, and afterwards put to death. It has been supposed, with some probability, that the town of Mygdum, mentioned by Ammianus Marcellinus, is the same as Midaeium.
It was the see of a bishop in antiquity; no longer a residential bishopric, under the name Midaëum it remains a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church.Its site is located near Karahüyük, Eskişehir, Asiatic Turkey.Mount Agdistis
In ancient Greek and Anatolian mythology, Mount Agdistis also called Agdos was a sacred mountain located at Pessinus in Phrygia.
The mountain was personified as a daemon called Agdistis. Agdistis was a deity connected with the Phrygian worship of the Great Mother Cybele and her consort Attis. According to Pausanias, Attis was buried beneath Mount Agdistis.Orcistus
Orcistus or Orkistos (Ancient Greek: Ὀρκιστός) was a city originally in the northeast of ancient Phrygia and later a bishopric in the Roman province of Galatia Secunda, situated south of the town now called Ortaköy and previously Alikel Yaila.Polatlı
Polatlı (formerly Ancient Greek: Γορδιον, Gòrdion and Latin: Gordium) is a city and a district in Ankara Province in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey, 80 km west of the Turkish capital Ankara, on the road to Eskişehir. According to 2010 census, population of the district is 117,473 of which 98,605 live in the city of Polatlı. The district covers an area of 3,789 km², and the average elevation is 850 m.Sivrihisar Grand Mosque
Sivrihisar Grand Mosque (Turkish: Sivrihisar Ulu Camii) is a historical mosque in Sivrihisar, Turkey.
The mosque is located in Sivrihisar ilçe (district) of Eskişehir Province. It was built by Leşker Emir Celaleddin Ali in 1231–1232 during the reign of Anatolian Seljuk Sultan Kayqubad I (r. 1220–1237). It saw later two restorations, in 1275 by Eminüddin Mikail bin Abdullah, the regent of Kaykhusraw III (r. 1265–1284), and in 1440 by Hızır Bey, a judge in Sivrihisar and later the first judge in Istanbul. The mosque is a rare example of wooden-columned architectural technique in Anatolia together with four others.The ground area of the mosque is 1,485 m2 (15,980 sq ft). It has a rectangular plan. The outer walls are of ashlar. It has four entrances. Marble inscriptions showing the historical restoration dates are found on the northern and eastern gates. The roof is covered by tiles, which were replaced by lead sheet not long ago. The roof is carried by 67 wooden columns in the inside, of which upper parts are decorated by painted mostly in green, red and black colors engravings of traditional figures. Some columns stand on stone base having ancient column head. It is likely that the stone columns heads originate from Pessinus, an ancient city known as Ballıhisar today close to Sivrihisar. There are six naves in east-west direction. The middle naves are higher than the others resembling the historic Turkic tents used in the nomadic era the Central Asia. The mosque's minbar, the pulpit, is a masterwork made by Horasanlı İbni Mehmet in 1245, and is famous for its ornaments in geometrical and floral design engraved in walnut wood. It is believed that the minbar was brought here from the Sivrihisar Kılıç Masjid, which was demolished in 1924. The minaret was added by Osman oğlu Hacı Habib in 1409–1410 according to its inscription.Tricomia (Phrygia)
Tricomia or Trikomia (Ancient Greek: Τρικωμία) was a town in the eastern part of ancient Phrygia, inhabited during Roman and Byzantine times. It was on the road from Dorylaeum to Apamea Cibotus, and is placed by the Peutinger Table at a distance of 28 Roman miles from Midaeum and 21 from Pessinus.Its site is tentatively located near İlkburun in Asiatic Turkey, by some authors, but left unlocated by others.