Selge (Greek: Σέλγη) was an important city in ancient Pisidia and later in Pamphylia, on the southern slope of Mount Taurus, modern Antalya Province, Turkey, at the part where the river Eurymedon River (Turkish: Köprüçay)forces its way through the mountains towards the south.

Roman theatre of Selge
Selge is located in Turkey
Shown within Turkey
LocationAntalya Province, Turkey
Coordinates37°13′46″N 31°07′38″E / 37.22944°N 31.12722°ECoordinates: 37°13′46″N 31°07′38″E / 37.22944°N 31.12722°E
CulturesGreek, Roman
Site notes
ConditionIn ruins


The town was believed to be a Greek colony, for Strabo[1] states that it was founded by Spartans, but adds the somewhat unintelligible remark that previously it had been founded by Calchas. Stephanus of Byzantium at the Ethnica, also, write that the city was a Lacedaemon colony.[2] The acropolis of Selge bore the name of Kesbedion.[3] The district in which the town was situated was extremely fertile, producing abundance of oil and wine, but the town itself was difficult of access, being surrounded by precipices and beds of torrents flowing towards the Eurymedon and Cestrus (today Aksu), and requiring bridges to make them passable. In consequence of its excellent laws and political constitution, Selge rose to the rank of the most powerful and populous city of Pisidia, and at one time was able to send an army of 20,000 men into the field. Owing to these circumstances, and the valour of its inhabitants, for which they were regarded as worthy kinsmen of the Spartans, the Selgians were never subject to any foreign power, but remained in the enjoyment of their own freedom and independence. When Alexander the Great passed through Pisidia (333 BC), Selge sent an embassy to him and gained his favour and friendship.[4] At that time they were at war with Termessos.

Eurymedon Bridge, Selge, Turkey. Pic 05
The Roman Eurymedon Bridge near Selge

At the period when Achaeus had made himself master of Western Asia, Selge were at war with Pednelissus, which was besieged by them; and Achaeus, on the invitation of Pednelissus, sent a large force against Selge (218 BC). After a long and vigorous siege, the Selgians, being betrayed and despairing of resisting Achaeus any longer, sent deputies to sue for peace, which was granted to them on the following terms: they agreed to pay immediately 400 talents, to restore the prisoners of Pednelissus, and after a time to pay 300 talents in addition.[5] We now have for a long time no particulars about the history of Selge; in the 5th century AD Zosimus[6] calls it indeed a little town, but it was still strong enough to repel a body of Goths. It is strange that Pliny does not notice Selge, for we know from its coins that it was still a flourishing town in the time of Hadrian; and it is also mentioned in Ptolemy[7] and Hierocles. Independently of wine and oil, the country about Selge was rich in timber, and a variety of trees, among which the storax was much valued from its yielding a strong perfume. Selge was also celebrated for an ointment prepared from the iris root.[8]


The remains of the city consist mainly of parts of the encircling wall and of the acropolis. A few traces have survived of the gymnasium, the stoa, the stadium and the basilica. There are also the outlines of two temples, but the best conserved monument is the theater, restored in the 3rd century AD. Selge was the seat of a bishop; it remains a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church.[9]

Selge panorama

Selge Theatre and surroundings panorama

Selge Theatre from far 5088

Selge Theatre from far

Selge Theatre from side 5101

Selge Theatre from side

Selge Theatre Inside 5112

Selge Theatre Inside

Selge Theatre Inside 5113

Selge Theatre Inside

Selge Theatre and countryside 5114

Selge Theatre and countryside

Selge Unknown structure 5128

Selge Unknown structure

Selge Unknown structure 5134

Selge Unknown structure

Selge Rubble 5117

Selge Rubble

Selge Aquaduct 5150

Selge Aquaduct


Halfway on the road to Selge from the Pamphylian coastal plain, a well-preserved Roman Bridge crosses the deep Eurymedon valley.

See also



  1. ^ Strabo, Geographia, xii. 7
  3. ^ Polybius, Histories, v. 76
  4. ^ Arrian, Anabasis Alexandri, i. 28
  5. ^ Polybius, v. 72-77
  6. ^ Zosimus, Historia Nova, v. 15
  7. ^ Ptolemy, Geographia, v. 5
  8. ^ Strabo, ibid.; Pliny, Naturalis Historia, xii. 5, xxi. 19
  9. ^ Catholic Hierarchy

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Selge". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.

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