Roman Provincias > Provincia Cappadocia

Provincia Cappadocia

Roman History - Pax Romana Decoration

Background

Cappadocia, also, is a country of many parts and has undergone numerous changes. However, the inhabitants who speak the same language are, generally speaking, those who are bounded on the south by the "Cilician" Taurus, as it is called, and on the east by Armenia and Colchis and by the intervening peoples who speak a different group of languages, and on the north by Euxine as far as the outlets of the Halys River, and on the west both by the tribe of the Paphlagonians and by those Galatae who settled in Phrygia and extended as far as the Lycaonians and those Cilicians who occupy Cilicia Tracheia.2

Now as for the tribes themselves which speak the same language, the ancients set one of them, the Cataonians, by themselves, contradistinguishing them from the Cappadocians, regarding the latter as a different tribe; and in their enumeration of the tribes they placed Cataonia after Cappadocia, and then placed the Euphrates and the tribes beyond it so as to include in Cataonia Melitenê, which lies between Cataonia and the Euphrates, borders on Commagenê, and, according to the division of Cappadocia into ten prefectures, is a tenth portion of the country.

Indeed, it was in this way that the kings in my time who preceded Archelaüs held their several prefectures over Cappadocia. And Cataonia, also, is a tenth portion of Cappadocia. In my time each of the two countries had its own prefect; but since, as compared with the other Cappadocians, there is no difference to be seen either in the language or in any other usages of the Cataonians, it is remarkable how utterly all signs of their being a different tribe have disappeared. At any rate, they were once a distinct tribe, but they were annexed by Ariarathes, the first man to be called king of the Cappadocians.

Cappadocia constitutes the isthmus, as it were, of a large peninsula bounded by two seas, by that of the Issian Gulf as far as Cilicia Tracheia and by that of the Euxine as far as Sinopê and the coast of the Tibareni. I mean by "peninsula" all the country which is west of Cappadocia this side the isthmus, which by Herodotus is called "the country this side the Halys River"; for this is the country which in its entirety was ruled by Croesus, whom Herodotus calls the tyrant of the tribes this side the Halys River.

However, the writers of to‑day give the name of Asia to the country this side the Taurus, applying to this country the same name as to the whole continent of Asia. This Asia comprises the first nations on the east, the Paphlagonians and Phrygians and Lycaonians, and then the Bithynians and Mysians and the Epictetus, and, besides these, the Troad and Hellespontia, and after these, on the sea, the Aeolians and Ionians, who are Greeks, and, among the rest, the Carians and Lycians, and, in the interior, the Lydians. As for the other tribes, I shall speak of them later.

Cappadocia was divided into two satrapies by the Persians at the time when it was taken over by the Macedonians; the Macedonians willingly allowed one part of the country, but unwillingly the other, to change to kingdoms instead of satrapies; and one of these kingdoms they named "Cappadocia Proper" and "Cappadocia near Taurus," and even "Greater Cappadocia," and the other they named "Pontus," though others named it Cappadocia Pontica. As for Greater Cappadocia, we at present do not yet know its administrative divisions,5 for after the death of king Archelaüs Caesar and the senate decreed that it was a Roman province.

But when, in the reign of Archelaüs and of the kings who preceded him, the country was divided into ten prefectures, those near the Taurus were reckoned as five in number, I mean Melitenê, Cataonia, Cilicia, Tyanitis, and Garsauritis; and Laviansenê, Sargarausenê, Saravenê, Chamanenê, and Morimenê as the remaining five. The Romans later assigned to the predecessors of Archelaüs an eleventh prefecture, taken from Cilicia, I mean the country round Castabala and Cybistra, extending to Derbê, which last had belonged to Antipater the pirate; and to Archelaüs they further assigned the part of Cilicia Tracheia round Elaeussa, and also all the country that had organised the business of piracy.

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Sources

Primary Sources

History Archive: Strabo, Geographica Book XII Chapter I

Secondary Sources

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