Anatolia is that region lying to the south of the Black Sea, to the east of the Aegean Sea, north of the eastern Mediterranean Sea and, inland, the Fertile Crescent, and west of the Caucasus-Azerbaijani districts. A very roughly hewn upland region for the most part, it has been both a home and a highway for a bewildering variety of peoples for as long as there have been humans.

Presently this covers: Acroenus, Afyon, Ainos, Akhlat, Amida, Antioch, Aram-Nahara'im, Aravelian, Armenia (Lesser), Arzawa, Arzinjan, Atarneus, Aydin, Baluni, Barbaron, Biai-Nili, Birecik, Bithynia, Byzantium, Caesaria (Kayseri), Cappadocia, Caria, Chamchwilde, Cilicia (incl. Armenia Minor), Commagene, Dardania, Denizli, Dimakseani, Divrigi, Diyarbakr, Edessa, Ephesus, Erzerum, Galata, Galatia, Gallipoli, Gerger, Gordyene, Gurgum, Hanzith, Harran, Heraclea Pontica, Hilakku, Hisn Kayfa, Hittites, Ilium (Ilos, Wilusa), Izmir, Jandar, Kamsarakan, Kars, Kashka, Katpatuka, Kenuni, Khartpert, Khorkhoruni, Khoros, Kios, Kizzuwadna, Kolonae, Korduk, Kummuhu, Lampron, Laodicea, Lukka, Lycia, Lydia, Lyrnessos, Malatya, Manisa (Ancient), Manisa (Magnesia), Marash, Marida, Melitene, Milas, Miletus, Milid, the Moschii, Moxoene, Mysia, Nicaea, Osroene, the Ottoman Grand Viziers, the Ottoman Sultans, Pamphylia, Paphlagonia, Pergamum, Phrygia, Pontoiraklia, Pontus, Qaraman, Qaraman-Oghlu, Que, Raban, Rshtuniq, Sam'al, the Great Seljuqs and the Rum Seljuqs, Sinope, Sivas, Smyrna, Sophene (Tsopk), Tabal, Tarhuntassa, Taron, Tefrica, Tekke, Thracian Chersonessos, Trabizond, Troy, Urartu, Urfa, Vaspurakan, Xanthus, Yadiya, and Zeleia

ANATOLIA (General Survey) The following list will give a brief overview of Anatolian chronology from the earliest times to the present. It does not pretend to be complete in any sense; Anatolia is a very large area, and though there have been times, like the present, when it has been completely unified, there have also been many times when fragmented local nations were the rule. In such instances, I have either listed the most significant among local conditions, or simply indicated a general period of local conditions. Even during times of union with large empires, very often outlying districts were partially or completely autonomous; read Xenophon's Persian Expedition for an insight into conditions obtaining in the Anatolian highlands of the Persian Empire, during the winter of 401/400 BCE. The era from c. 1200 BCE to 546 BCE is characterized by four primary groups; the Kingdom of Phrygia (central), the Kingdom of Lydia (western), the People of the Sea (southern and southwest) , and Urartu (east).

OTTOMAN EMPIRE The ancestors of the Ottomans (Osmanli, Uthmanli) were Oghuz Turks who followed the victorious Seljuqs into Anatolia in the 11th century. The Ottoman state began as a Ghazi Kingdom based in old Bithynia, on the fringes of the Mongol dominated regions of central Anatolia. As Ilkhanate authority waned, Ottoman power grew and, successfully vanquishing other Ghazi domains, they became the new Power of the region. For any visiting this section from other pages in this archive, here is an express back to where you were before...

Achaea, Aegina, Aegion, Aetolia, Albania, Algeria, Andros, Arcadia, Armenia, Argos, Arta, Athens, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Chechnya, Corfu, Corinth, Cos, Crete, Cyprus, Dagestan, Delphi, Durres, Elea, Epirus, Euboea, Georgia, Greece, Hercegovina, Ioannina, Ipati, Israel, Jordan, Karystos, Lemnos, Lesbos, Libya, Macedonia, Maina, Megalopolis, Megara, Mesopotamia, Messinia, Milos, Moldavia, Moldova,Morea, Naxos, Pheres, Phokis, Phthia, Pylos, Rhodes, Salamis, Samos, Serbia, Sparta, The Sporades, Syria, Syros, Thebes, Thera, Thessalonika, Thessaly, Tinos-Mykonos, Troy, Tunisia, Vodonitsa, Wallachia.

Anatolian Provincial States...

AFYON (Acroënus, Afyon Qarahisar) A city in west-central Turkey, 150 miles (240 km.) southwest of Ankara, 65 miles (105 km.) southeast of Kütahya. It's Seljuq conquerors changed the name to Qara Hisar (Black Fortress), but in later times it took on the name of Afyon (Opium), from the poppy farms in the area.

AINOS (Ĉnus, Enez) Now a coastal village on the east bank of the estuary of the Meriç (Hebros) River, which forms the frontier between modern Turkey and Greece; formerly it was a strategically placed city-state which saw much transshipment of goods between Greece and Asia Minor.

AMIDA (Diyarbakir) An important town in southeastern Anatolia, about 60 miles north of the Syrian frontier.

ANTIOCH (Antakya) Located at the northeast corner of the Mediterranean Sea, at the point where the coast abruptly turns south towards Sinai. Founded in 300 BCE, it became the capital of the Seleucids. In later times, it continued to be a significant provincial city. See also, the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs, the Jacobite Patriarchs , and the Melkite Patriarchs of Antioch.

ARAVELIAN A principality within the ancient Kingdom of Armenia, in northeastern Anatolia. It was largely autonomous between 400 and 800 CE.

ARMENIA MINOR (Lesser Armenia) Armenia west of the Euphrates; a Hellenized Armenian kingdom in eastern Anatolia, with  its center at Nicopolis. Note well! Do not confuse with the Mediaeval Armenian kingdom in Cilicia, which bore the same name.

ARZAWA An ancient state, located in western Anatolia. The exact location is unknown, but it was probably located in the vicinity of Ephesus. The populations was Luwian, and spoke an Indo-European language related to Hittite.

ATARNEUS An ephemeral Greek statelet in Asia Minor, centered around the polis of Assos in the Troad.

AYDIN A small Ghazi state in western Anatolia, on the Aegean coast near Smyrna (mod. Izmir).

BALUNI A principality of Armenia, in northeastern Anatolia, autonomous from around 400-800 CE

BIRECIK a town in southern Anatolia, on the Upper Euphrates about 10 miles (16 km.) from the Syrian frontier and 45 miles (72 km.) west of Urfa (Edessa).

BITHYNIA A people of Thracian origin, their pugnacity was legendary. They successfully repelled both Persian and Macedonian advances, but under a series of inept kings, they slowly fell under Roman sway. At a much later era, Bithynia was the heartland of Byzantine opposition to the Latin Empire in the 13th century (see Nicaea), and the cradle of Ottoman power, during the 14th century CE.

BYZANTIUM (Byzantion, Nova Roma, Constantinople, Istanbul) It may seem peculiar to provide a separate listing for the capital of both the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, but this city - one of the truly great cities of the world - is historically interesting in it's own right.

CAPPADOCIA Central Anatolia. With the Taurus Mountains astride its southern perimeter, Cappadocia was a bulwark of the Byzantine Empire's efforts to contain Islam, and a prime recruiting ground for the army until the Seljuq victory at Manzikert in 1071.

CARIA Extreme southwestern Anatolia, opposite the Isle of Rhodes. In ancient times, this place held one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the tomb of the eleventh listed ruler, which construction gave its name to all succeeding constructions of like nature: Mausoleum. Like many impoverished mountain countries, its best-known export in ancient times were its young men, as mercenaries. See also, Miletus.

CHAMCHWILDE An autonomous Armenian principality.

CILICIA The south coast of Anatolia northeast of Cyprus and northwest of Antioch. There are really two Cilicias; the east is a broad plain, quite fertile, while in the west the ramparts of the Taurus Mountains run right down to the sea, with the interior being quite rugged and underpopulated.

COMMAGENE A small territory in the interior of south Anatolia, not far from the city of Antioch.

CYZICUS (Artaki, Ertek) A city on the southern shore of the Sea of Marmara, nestled under the flank of the Kapidagi Peninsula, a rival at times to Byzantium, 75 miles (120 km.) northwest. It is perhaps best remembered as the site of the Temple of Hadrian (completed 168 CE), sometimes included as a Wonder of the Ancient World.

DARDANIA The region on the Asian side of the Hellespont, opposite Gallipoli and near the ancient site of Troy. Like the Trojans, the Dardanii were probably a mixture of Achaean, Luvian, and Hittite influences. According to Greek and Roman sources, Dardania was a client-state to Troy, whose royal family went on to build the foundations of Rome after their exile from Anatolia.

DENIZLI (Diospolis, Laodicea [ad Lycum], Ladika, Eski Hisar) A town in southwestern Anatolia, near the northeastern frontier of ancient Caria, famed for the very soft, coal-black wool of it's sheep. There have been three different establkishments here - the original town of Diospolis was supplanted by Laodicea a little distance away, which in turn devolved into a minor village during the Middle Ages and was replaced by the current town of Denizli.

DIMAKSEANI An Armenian principality in northeastern Anatolia, autonomous roughly 400-800 CE.

A town in east-central Anatolia, 65 miles (104 km.) east-southeast of Sivas.

EPHESUS Located on the western coast of Turkey near the modern city of Selcuk. The site has been almost continuously settled for the past 5000 years and was an early center of worship for Kybyle, the Anatolian mother-goddess who evolved into the Greek Artemis. A bustling commercial port in antiquity, the coastline has receded and it is now about 6 miles (10 km.) inland. Among its famous sites in ancient times were the great Temple of Artemis (Diana) at Ephesus (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), the Library of Celsus (considered second only to that in Alexandria), the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist and a house reputed to be the home to which Mary retired after Jesus's crucifixion.

ERZERUM City in eastern Anatolia. Although its origins are obscure, the city was known in the 5th cent. A.D. as Theodosiopolis, an important Byzantine frontier fortress. The first Turkish Nationalist congress was held there in 1919. It is the site of Atatürk University.

GALATIA Central Anatolia, roughly the same area as occupied by the Phrygian Kingdom. In the3rd century BCE, the region was devastated by the migrational assault of three associated Celtic tribes (Tolistoboges, Tectosages and Trocmes), who moved in from central Europe via the Balkans. These tribes formed an immediate threat to every state in the region until they were defeated by Pergamum , and thereafter settled in the province which took their collective name, "Land of the Gauls".

GALLIPOLI The peninsula south of Istanbul, forming the northwestern side of the Hellespont.

GERGER (Ga(r)gar) a town in central Anatolia, on the Upper Euphrates 40 miles (64 km.) southeast of Malatya (Melitene). It comprised an ephemeral Armenian stronghold after the battle of Manzikert.

GORDYENE (Korduk) A late classical kingdom of mixed Armenian, Kurdish and Assyrian population, with a Hellenistic Armenian ruling class. It straddled the border between modern Turkey and Iran, north of Adiabene and south of Lake Van.

GRAND VIZIERS of the OTTOMAN EMPIRE (Pervane or Vizir-i-Azam) The Grand Viziers were the highest-ranking bureaucrats in the Ottoman Empire. They were the heads of the Sultan's divan, or council, and held meetings every four days to assess the state of the empire, pass legislation, and issue decrees (these meetings were only rarely attended by the Sultan). Except in rare cases of exceptionally strong-willed Sultans, the Grand Viziers were the true rulers of the Ottoman state (much as the Mayors of the Palace were the power behind the Frankish throne). Many of the Grand Viziers were commoners, and quite a few were of non-Turkish origin, a testement to the meritocratic nature of Ottoman society.

HANZITH (Antzitene) An Armenian kingdom, briefly independent in the late tenth century.

HARRAN City on the border between Syria, Turkey, and Iraq, with a long and complex history. Though traditionally within the Syrian sphere of influence, it is today (just barely) inside the Turkish frontier. It should be noted here that in 53 BCE, the Roman consul Marcus Licinius Crassus was defeated and killed by the Parthians outside Harran (Carrhae to the Romans), who used horse archery to annihilate the Roman force. Only a handful of Romans escaped; Roman soldiers were believed to have been sold as slaves by the thousands as far away as India and China.

HERACLEA PONTICA (Eregli, Karadenizereglisi) Heraclea Pontica is an ancient city on the coast of Bithynia in Asia Minor, 133 miles (214 km.) east of Istanbul at the mouth of the Kilijsu River. It was founded by Megarans who subjugated the local Anatolian tribes. A local grotto is spoken of in mythology as the portal into Hades out of which Hercules dragged Cerberus, three-headed guardian hound of the Underworld.

HISN KAYFA (mod. Hasankeyf) An ancient settlement in southeastern Turkey, on the Tigris River. Located  about 48 miles (77 km.) northeast of Mardin, the site was in Mediaeval times an important capital, although it has shrunk since then to a small village.

KAMSARAKAN An Armenian principality in the provinces of Chirak and Archaruniq.

KARS A town and district in northeastern Turkey, 30 miles (48 km.) west of the Armenian border.

KASTAMONU A town in Paphlagonia, north-central Anatolia, about 40 miles (64 km.) from the Black Sea.

KEMAKH (Camacha Theodosiopolis) A town on the upper Euphrates, in northeastern Turkey, 106 miles (170 km.) south-southwest of Trabzon.

KENUNI A petty Armenian state centered around the town of Manzikert, site of the 1071 Byzantine defeat by the Seljuq Turks.

KHARTPERT A town in east-central Anatolia, a significant fortress in Mediaeval times.

KHORKHORUNI A clan-based principality of Armenia, autonomous from roughly 400-800 CE.

KHOROS A town in Commagene, central Anatolia. Briefly an Armenian Principality in the troubled 12th century.

KIOS (Cius, Gemlik) An ancient Greek town bordering the Propontis (now known as the Sea of Marmara), and had as such a long history, being mentioned by Homer, Aristotle and Strabo. An important chain in the ancient silk road, it became known as a wealthy town. There are only few remnants of the ancient town and its harbour today. Somewhat more to the west, the new Turkish town of Gemlik can be found.

KOLONAE A city in the Troad, north of Ilium. In legend, the men of Kolonae fought in the Trojan army during their war with the Achaeans.

LAMPRON (Nimroun Qala) A fortress on the Tarsus River in southern Anatolia, overlooking the Cilician Gates, a narrow pass connecting the interior highlands to the fertile plains around Adana.

LYCIA A coastal region in southwestern Anatolia, with an exceedingly rugged upland interior behind it. Located between Caria to the west and Paphlagonia to the east, the region has always had a reputation for harbouring fiercely independent inhabitants. The area is noted first as a haunt of pirates for nearly all it's recorded history, and secondly for the fact that the inhabitants of it's chief city, Xanthus, committed mass suicide on two separate occasions (546 BCE and 42 BCE) rather than be conquered by opponent armies.

LYDIA A large and important state in early Classical times, located in western Anatolia. Based on the city of Sardis (modern Salihli), it expanded to include much of Mediterranean Anatolia before succumbing in turn to Persia.

LYRNESSOS A city in the Troad, southeast of Mt. Ida. According to Homer, the feud between Agamemnon and Achilles started when the latter sacked Lyrnessos, killed its King Mynes, and took his wife Bryseis as his concubine.

MARASH A city in Commagene, on the Upper Aksu River about 112 miles (180 km.) northwest of Edessa and a similar distance north of Antioch. In the turbulent times following the Battle of Manzikert, it constituted an independent Armenian Principality which for a time included Antioch, Edessa, and southern Cilicia.

MARIDA (Mardin) A medium-sized town about 15 miles from the frontier with northeastern Syria.

MELITENE (Malatya) In Central-Eastern Turkey; the site of a post-Hittite Kingdom in very early times, and of a small Ghazi state during the Middle Ages.

MILETUS Ancient Greek city in Caria, southwest Anatolia. Home of Thales, the "father of philosophy," and his followers Anaximander and Anaximenes, Miletus was the intellectual and commercial center of the Greek world in the century before Athens rose to prominence. Because of its important maritime location and its proximity to the famous sanctuary of Apollo at Didyma, Miletus prospered as a trading center. During the 8th and 7th centuries BCE, Miletus established over 90 colonies including Naucratis in Egypt and Sinope, Cherson, and Tanais on the Black Sea. The city was the most important of the 12 cities in the Pan-Ionian League. It held a significant position until the Common Era, but by Byzantine times it had dwindled to insignificance owing to the harbour silting up, and the place had become entirely abandoned by the end of the 6th century - even today the full extent of the classical city is unknown.

MOXOENE (Mokq) A petty Armenian kingdom located north of Gordyene and south of Lake Van.

MOSCHII A people of unknown origin inhabiting the extreme eastern end of Anatolia and the southern Caucasus. The Moschii were known as fierce warriors. They may have been related to modern-day Georgians or Armenians. For coastal conditions adjacent to this district, see also Colchis.

NICAEA Modern Iznik, in Bithynia. This city served as the capital of Byzantine opposition to the Latin Empire established at Constantinople in 1204, and was the springboard from which the Paleologoi recaptured the Imperial City in 1261. A lesser-known but equally important role that this state played was that of containing Rum Seljuq aggression toward the Balkans for over two generations.

OSROENE (Edessa, Urfa) In southern Anatolia, astride the modern Turkish/Syrian frontier. Based on the city of Edessa (modern Urfa), The Kingdom was a significant power-broker in southern Anatolia and northwest Mesopotamia, due to its strategic location. It is notable as being perhaps the earliest state to become Christianized, apparently in the 2nd century.

PAMPHYLIA A fertile coastal region in southern Anatolia, nestled between Cilicia in the east and Lycia in the west., with the Taurus Mountains and Pisidia as a backdrop in the north.

PAPHLAGONIA District in Asia Minor, lying along the Black Sea between Bithynia and Pontus, its borders delimited according to Strabo's Geography by the river Parthenius in the west and by the Halys in the east. The coastal area was dominated by Greek city-states such as Sinope; while the Paphlagonians (possibly of Semitic, Phrygian or Paleo-Anatolian origin) proper hailed primarily from the mountaineous interior. The Paphlagonians are believed to have been descended from the Gasgans, a tribe of Zagros highlanders that attacked the Hittite and later the Assyrian empire.

PERGAMON Based in northwest Anatolia, beside the Aegean Sea opposite the Isle of Lesbos, but extending over much of western, central, southwestern, and southern Anatolia for a time.

PHRYGIA An ancient Kingdom located in much of central Anatolia. The Phrygians emerged out of northwestern Anatolia (Ilium and Bythynia - where, much much later, the Ottomans would emerge) or perhaps even further west, from Thrace, to sweep across  the northern and central hill-country following the disintegration of the Hittite state. The Phrygian Kingdom recorded here endured for centuries as a primary state on the edge of the Hellenic and Egyptian worlds. It's influence is diffuse but real - King Midas of the so well-known fables is said to have been from here (though he cannot be identified with any of the Midas' in the list); and the Phrygian commoner's hat came to be used  by later civilizations as symbol of emancipation from slavery - the Liberty Cap is still recognized today.

PONTOIRAKLIA A small town in northeastern Bithynia, beside the Black Sea.

PONTUS The northeast portion of Anatolia, alongside the Black Sea and extending into the interior. For a record of this region in mediaeval times, see Trabizond, below.

QARAMAN-OGHLU Central Turkey, capital located at modern Laranda. The Qaramanli were another Ghazi state which filled the vacuum left by the Mongol subordination of the Seljuqs.

RABAN and KAISUN Cities in Commagene, southern Anatolia, between Marash and the Euphrates.  Briefly an Armenian Principality in the troubled 12th century.

SAM'AL (Yadiya) An Aramean kingdom in the extreme north of ancient Syria, near the modern town of Zincirli Hüyük, Turkey.

The GREAT SELJUQS The original Seljuqs, who swarmed out of Central Asia in the first half of the 11th century. Note: For other Seljuq successions outside of Anatolia, look in Iran, Kerman, Aleppo, Damascus.

The RUM SELJUQS A large state taking up most of the interior of modern Turkey. The name stems from the Turkish attempt to pronounce the word "Roman", meaning the old Byzantine territories. From 1243 the Rum Seljuqs were Persian Mongol vassals.

SINOPE A port on the Black Sea coast, about midway between Istanbul and Georgia. An ancient Greek colony, it is perhaps best known as the birthplace of the philosopher Diogenes the Cynic.

SIVAS In Central-Eastern Turkey. A Ghazi state during the Middle Ages, a major rival to the Seljuqs for a time.

SMYRNA (IZMIR) City on the Aegean coast of Anatolia, just north of Ephesus. Izmir is the third largest city in Turkey. The modern city was mostly rebuilt after a 1922 fire which destoyed three quarters of it.

TARON A Mediaeval Armenian state, west of Vaspurakan and north of Amida.

TEFRICA (Arzinjan, Erzincan) A town in central Anatolia, on the upper Euphrates 90 miles (145 km.) south of Trabzon. It was briefly the chief city of an heretical sect, the Paulicians, who seized a wide territory in Anatolia before being defeated by an Orthodox Byzantine army in the battle at Bathiriacos. Two hundred years later, the district was the base for a Seljuq governorship.

TELMESSUS (Fethiye) A port in far eastern Caria, at the edge of ancient Lycia - it is about 55 miles (88 km.) east-northeast of the city of Rhodes, across the waters adjacent to the far southwestern Turkish coast that it lies on. In ancient times there was a major school divination here - it's best-known son, Aristander, had a powerful influence over Alexander the Great.

TRABIZOND A city and coastal region in northeastern Turkey, along the shores of the Black Sea; west-southwest of Georgia. At the Sack of Byzantium in 1204, and subsequent establishment of the Latin Empire by marauding Crusaders, a few members of the Imperial family escaped and established this state. Owing to a combination of the typical Byzantine policy of extensive marraige alliances together with notable difficulty of access by potential invaders, Trabizond was generally ignored or bypassed by the great conquerors of the era; Seljuqs and Mongols mainly.

TROY (Ilium) An ancient city located in far northwestern Anatolia, near the southern coast of the Hellespont. It is perhaps one of the best known Bronze-Age city states, at least in terms of name recognition, from its role in the Iliad, Homer's account of a war between Mycenaean Hellenes and the Trojans. The actual history of the place is very poorly understood, although it is known that as many as nine separate cities occupied the site between roughly 1600 BCE and about 400 CE, each being destroyed by natural disaster or warfare, and each being built anew upon the remains of the previous. The community which seems to be the one described by Homer is Troy VIIa, existing in perhaps the 13th century BCE. Wilusa A kingdom referred to in Hittite sources as a member of the Assua, a confederacy of minor states in northwest Anatolia allied with Hatti. Many scholars now believe that "Wilusa" is the Hittite version of "Ilios", or Troy.

(Lake )VANA large saltwater body of water with no outlet, located in eastern Anatolia. The district nearby has hosted a number of important polities over a very long time.

ZELEIA A town of the Troad, northeast of Troy on the Marmara coast. Zeleia was a city holy to Artemis (Kybyle) and continued to be so well into Classical times.