Sillyon (Greek: Σίλλυον), also Sylleion (Σύλλειον), in Byzantine times Syllaeum or Syllaion (Συλλαῖον), was an important fortress and city near Attaleia in Pamphylia, on the southern coast of modern Turkey. The native Greco-Pamphylian form was Selyniys, possibly deriving from the original Hittite Sallawassi. Its modern Turkish names are Yanköy Hisarı or Asar Köy.[1]

City gates at Sillyon
Sillyon is located in Turkey
Shown within Turkey
LocationAntalya Province, Turkey
Coordinates36°59′33″N 30°59′23″E / 36.99250°N 30.98972°ECoordinates: 36°59′33″N 30°59′23″E / 36.99250°N 30.98972°E
Site notes
ConditionIn ruins


Throughout Antiquity, the city was relatively unimportant. According to one legend, the city was founded as a colony from Argos, while another holds that it was founded, along with Side and Aspendos, by the seers Mopsos, Calchas and Amphilochus after the Trojan War.[2] The city is first mentioned in c. 500 BC by Pseudo-Scylax (polis Sylleion). From 469 BC, the city (as Sillyon) became part of the Athenian-led Delian League. It is mentioned in the Athenian tribute lists in c. 450 BC and again in 425 BC, and then disappears again from the historical record until 333 BC, when Alexander the Great is said to have unsuccessfully besieged it. According to Arrian (Anabasis Alexandri I. 26), the site (recorded as Syllion) was well-fortified and had a strong garrison of mercenaries and "native barbarians", so that Alexander, pressed for time, had to abandon the siege after the first attempt at storming it failed.[2]

The city was extensively rebuilt under the Seleucids, especially its theatre. In later times, when most of western Asia Minor fell to the Kingdom of Pergamon, Sillyon remained a free city by a decision of the Roman Senate.[2]

Gallienus Sillyum
O: radiate bust of Gallienus confronting bust of Salonina


R: Tyche holding rudder and cornucopia


Bronze coin struck by Gallienus in Sillyon 254-268 AD.


The city has an attested continuous tradition of minting its own coins from the early 3rd century BC up to the reign of the Roman emperor Aurelian in the 270s.[1] Silver tetradrachms of the Alexandrian and Lysimachian types were minted between 281 and 190 BC, but other than that, the city's coinage is in bronze. 3rd-century BC coins feature a bearded head or a standing figure, possibly identifiable with Apollo, or a lightning and the inscription ΣΕΛΥΝΙΥΣ (the native Pamphylian name). Coinage under Roman suzerainty featured the same motifs, but with the inscription hellenized to ϹΙΛΛΥΕΩΝ ("of the Sillyeans").[1] Epiphania was a city in Cilicia Secunda (Cilicia Trachea), in Anatolia.

Byzantine period

Remains of a Byzantine-era structure on the acropolis of Syllaion

Under the Byzantine Empire, the city rose to relative prominence. It is mentioned as the site of the destruction of an Arab fleet by storm in late 677 or 678, following the unsuccessful Arab Siege of Constantinople.[3] As one of the major fortified sites of the area, it became the seat of an imperial representative (ek prosōpou), complementing the stratēgos of the naval theme of the Kibyrrhaiotai.[3] Syllaeum was also located at the start of the great public road that linked the southern coast, via Amorium and Nicaea, with Bithynia and the capital Constantinople. In this position, it began to eclipse the traditional local metropolis of Perge, and sometime between 787 and 815, the local bishop's seat was transferred to Syllaeum.[3] Together with the wider area of Pamphylia, the city fell to the Seljuks in 1207.

Notable people

Archaeological remains

The ruins of Sillyon/Syllaion date from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and partly Seljuk eras. Among these are remains of city gates, a stadium, an amphitheatre and an odeon (some of which have tumbled because of a landslide), a temple, a cistern and a gymnasium. Much of it is threatened by landslide, since the city is located atop a rocky plateau.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Gernot (2003), p. 439
  2. ^ a b c d Gernot (2003), p. 442
  3. ^ a b c d e f Kazhdan (1991), p. 1980


  • Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991). Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford University Press. p. 1980. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6.
  • Lang, Gernot (2003). Klassische antike Stätten Anatoliens, Band II: Larissa-Zeleia. Books on Demand GmbH. pp. 439–443. ISBN 978-3-8330-0068-3.
  • Niewöhner, Philipp (2007). "Archäologie und die "Dunklen Jahrhunderte" im byzantinischen Anatolien". In Henning, Joachim (ed.). Post-Roman Towns, Trade and Settlement in Europe and Byzantium, Vol. 2: Byzantium, Pliska, and the Balkans. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 130–131. ISBN 978-3-11-018358-0.

External links


Year 678 (DCLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 678 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Antalya Province

Antalya Province (Turkish: Antalya ili) is located on the Mediterranean coast of south-west Turkey, between the Taurus Mountains and the Mediterranean sea.

Antalya Province is the centre of Turkey's tourism industry, attracting 30% of foreign tourists visiting Turkey. Its capital city of the same name was the world's third most visited city by number of international arrivals in 2011, displacing New York. Antalya is Turkey's biggest international sea resort. The province of Antalya corresponds to the lands of ancient Pamphylia to the east and Lycia to the west. It features a shoreline of 657 km (408 mi) with beaches, ports, and ancient cities scattered throughout, including the World Heritage Site Xanthos. The provincial capital is Antalya city with a population of 1,001,318.

Antalya is the fastest-growing province in Turkey; with a 4.17% yearly population growth rate between years 1990–2000, compared with the national rate of 1.83%. This growth is due to a fast rate of urbanization, particularly driven by tourism and other service sectors on the coast.


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).


Aspendos or Aspendus (Pamphylian: ΕΣΤϜΕΔΥΣ; Attic: Ἄσπενδος) was an ancient Greco-Roman city in Antalya province of Turkey. The site is located 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) northeast of central Serik.

Aurelia Paulina

Aurelia Paulina was a local prominent noblewoman in Anatolia who lived in the 2nd century and perhaps in the 3rd century in the Roman Empire. She was a contemporary to the rule of Roman Emperor Commodus (reigned 180–192) and the Severan dynasty.

Paulina originated from a wealthy family, although not of Senatorial rank from the province of Syria. She emigrated to Perga the capital of the Roman province of Pamphylia in Anatolia. Paulina married an Anatolian noble called Aquilus from Sillyon. Sometime after, Paulina and Aquilus received Roman citizenship from Commodus, thus receiving and adding the name Aurelius to their names.According to surviving inscriptions, it is understood that Paulina held the offices of priestess of the Goddess Artemis in Perga. Artemis was the most important Goddess in Perga. Aquilus with Paulina shared the title of as priest and priestess of the imperial cult in Perga. Inspired by the former benefactions of Plancia Magna and her family, Paulina donated to Perga a trapezoidal courtyard outside the southern city gate, constructing a large monumental nymphaeum (a monumental fountain, not much remains of the monument). The monumental fountain was originally an ancient well. Inscriptions reveal that Aurelia Paulina constructed and decorated the nymphaeum.Paulina dedicated the nymphaeum to Artemis and the reigning Roman Emperor Lucius Septimius Severus (reigned 193–211); his wife Roman Empress Julia Domna and their sons: Lucius Septimius Bassianus (Caracalla) and Publius Septimius Geta and other relatives of Julia Domna. After the nymphaeum, stand life size statues of three women. One of these statues may represent Paulina, but a fragment of the head survives.

An extant statue survives of Paulina. She is shown in Syrian dress; wearing heavy jewelry covering her chest and her long chain ending in a large shell pendant which is associated with Artemis. The extant dress of Paulina in this statue is a typical female portrait of Syrian women from this period and perhaps Paulina wants to emphasize her links with Julia Domna, who was Syrian.Over the large arch of the nymphaeum, there is a pediment with a relief of a distinctively feminine symbolism depicting the deities Eros, Artemis and Dionysus. Between the three deities depicts a priestess with a large shell pendant, perhaps resembling Paulina. Paulina commissioning to build the nymphaeum, donating a statue of her near the baths and her religious participations had brought to herself and her family great blessings and great honor to Perga, her native homeland and the Severan dynasty.


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.


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


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.


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.


Pamphylia (Ancient Greek: Παμφυλία, Pamphylía, modern pronunciation Pamfylía ) was a former region in the south of Asia Minor, between Lycia and Cilicia, extending from the Mediterranean to Mount Taurus (modern-day Antalya province, Turkey). It was bounded on the north by Pisidia and was therefore a country of small extent, having a coast-line of only about 120 km (75 miles) with a breadth of about 50 km (30 miles). Under the Roman administration the term Pamphylia was extended so as to include Pisidia and the whole tract up to the frontiers of Phrygia and Lycaonia, and in this wider sense it is employed by Ptolemy.

Pamphylian Greek

Pamphylian is a little-attested and isolated dialect of Ancient Greek that was spoken in Pamphylia, on the southern coast of Asia Minor. Its origins and relation to other Greek dialects are uncertain. A number of scholars have distinguished in Pamphylian dialect important isoglosses with Arcadocypriot which allow them to be studied together. Pamphylia means "land of all phyles (tribes)". The Achaeans may have settled the region under the leadership of Amphilochus, Calchas, and Mopsus. However, other cities in Pamphylia were established by different Greek tribes: Aspendos was a colony of Argos, Side was a colony of Aeolian Cyme, Sillyon was a colony of an unknown Greek mother city, and Perga was a colony established by a wave of Greeks from northern Anatolia. The isolation of the dialect took place even before the appearance of the Greek article. Pamphylian is the only dialect that does not use articles other than Mycenean Greek and poetic language.


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.


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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