Sunday, April 21, 2024

Tyana: Capital City of Cappadocia, Pt 2

 Photos by Jack A. Waldron

The picture above was taken near the ancient city center of Tyana, close to the final destination of the water carried atop the aqueduct from its beginning point at the Roman Pool.

As discussed in Tyana: Part 1, due to the abundance of water and, the sites' strategic position along the north/south route through the Cilician Gate, the settlement has a history that stretches back to prehistoric periods.

Pictured above, some earlier period pottery pieces, as well as some bronze pieces.  These items are on display at the Nigde Archeological Museum, and are unfortunately not well labelled.

The Roman aqueduct and the pool that once fed it were build around 200 CE.  Including the clay pipes that lead from the pool and the aqueduct, a distance of about 4 kilometers is covered.

Pictured above and below, some shots of the ancient aqueduct with my beautifully strong SURLY Disc Trucker leaning against some of fallen stone blocks.

The 1800 year old aqueduct dominates the ancient setting, but excavations that began in 2001are slowly revealing the buildings that were covered by more and more constructions over the centuries.

The original settlement was at Kosk Hill/Mound ('Hoyuk' in Turkish), which rises above the more modern Roman Pool.  Kosk was occupied long before any of history could be recorded in writing.

The first recorded history of the site would come from the Hittites around 1600 BCE, and it was referred to by its Bronze Age name, Tuwanuwa.

From the remnants of the mighty Hittite Empire, the Neo-Hittites would make 'Tuwana' (shortened version, as it became a Syro-Hittite kingdom) the capital of their kingdom.

Persian records have referred to the city as 'Dana', which is obviously derived from Tuwana, and which would become 'Tyana' under Roman rule.

Pictured below is an address plate, which is posted on a house along the road that follows the aqueduct from its beginning to its end.

Due to the numerous remnants of the structure, I can foresee a future of a completely restored aqueduct here in Kemerhisar.  This would certainly be one of the longest functional aqueducts around the Mediterranean, that was built during ancient times.

As the aqueduct nears the ancient city center where excavations are taking place, a proactive fence blocks entrance to the nymphaeum, as well as other structures on the site (pictured below).

The ancient city is referred to as "Eusebeia at the Taurus" by Strabo, the historian who was born in Amaseia, not too far away to the northeast in Anatolia.

The pediment pictured below is on display at the Nigde Archeological Museum, and though the exact origin is not given, it probably came from Kemerhisar.

Later under Emperor Caracalla, the son of the herein much discussed Emperor Septimius Severus, the ancient city was called "Antoniana colonia Tyana".

One of the most notable people of ancient Tyana was the philosopher Apollonius 'the miracle-worker', who was born in the 1C CE.  His most famous prediction was that Vespasian would become emperor, which he did.  Apollonius was a teacher, a Christ like figure, and later became a hero to some.

Ancient Tyana is being unearthed as I write this, and we can only see the reconstruction of various structures based on fragments that have been excavated thus far.  The Tyana Arcade and its entablature are one such structure.

As the Christian Church gained more and more influence with regard to the politics of Rome, the two power centers of Caesarea (modern day Kayseri) and Tyana (modern day Kemerhisar) presented a formidable block that could challenge decisions made by the Emperor.

As a response or counter to this center of Christian power, and more specifically to the archbishop of Caesarea, St. Basil, the Roman Emperor Valens divided Cappadocia in two, with Tyana becoming the capital of Cappadocia Minor, thus reducing the power and influence of St. Basil.

Pictured above, some exposed sections of the city center.  I took these photos from quite a distance, as the complete area was restricted from entering.  Most of the city is still buried under more modern constructions, and many of the ancient blocks have been re-purposed over the millennia, so we must wait for excavations to show us what remains.

Pictured here is a finely sculpted statue of Eros, dated to the Roman period during the 2nd century CE.  Such statues would have been displayed at citizens villas, public baths, or at or within other public or private buildings.

The ancient city of Tyana was very large and expansive, so, riding my bike from the city center to this Roman bath was quite a distance.  I say "this Roman bath", because I imagine that there are others still waiting to be exposed through excavation.

I found it interesting, that next to the station (pictured above, electric?), you can see a random marble column lying next to it.  The city is littered with such antiquities, and there is no telling what structures remain under the streets and houses?

The remains of the Roman bath pictured below is accessed by hopping over the fence of a private residence.  If there hadn't been a sign posted along the main road, I never would have known this bath existed.

It is extremely difficult to recognize the frigidarium, tepidarium, and caladium, as well as the other rooms, but be assured, they do exist within this maze of Roman blocks and brick work.

Cycling to these out of the way non-tourist antiquities is so much more satisfying than visiting the mega-tourist sites.  To the trained eye, the layout of unmarked structures can be understood for the most part.

I did visit the baths during the later part of the day, so I losing the light, and still needed to figure out where I was going to camp for the night.

Normally, I just cycle until I can't any longer, and make camp at the nearest secluded site, or, if I find the perfect spot, I may stop earlier in order to enjoy the late afternoon.

With rudimentary (yet sufficient) supports in place (or not), it seemed to me that it had been quite a while since any archeologist had taken much interest in these Roman baths.  With 99% of the upper or roof structure gone, I would say the site could remain as is.

However, since Kemerhisar does not already have an archeological museum, I would love to see the baths turned into a museum, with a glass walled covered metal beam structure, and with each room filled with antiquities from ancient Tyana.

I've seen this scenario at too many other ancient sites, where such a building is left un-utilized, forgotten, overgrown, and basically lost to visitation and exploration.  That said, in recent years there has been an effort to do exactly as I described above.  What a magnificent Kemerhisar Archaeological Museum this building would make!

"If you build it, they will come.", a quote from the film, 'Field Of Dreams'.  I curious to know if there are any mosaics hidden beneath the dirt covering within this Roman bath complex, and if they have been covered purposefully for their protection?

Pictured below, a beautiful sarcophagus fragment on display at the Nigde Archeological Museum.  Again, its place of origin is not given.

In this sculpture, we have a piece that is similar to the mosaic from Hadrian's Villa, which is on display at the Altes Museum in Berlin, Germany.  In that mosaic, we witness two Centaurs battling with three large cats of prey (a lion, a tiger, and a leopard).

In this sarcophagus fragment, we see three Centaurs battling with three large cats of prey, left to right, a lion (pictured above), a tiger (pictured below), and a leopard (pictured in the bottom photo).

In early Greek depictions of Centaurs, the common theme is of the Greeks themselves battling with the Centaurs.  However, in later Greek and/or Roman depictions, we see the Centaurs battling with beasts, in particular, large cats of prey.

These scenes of Centaurs battling large cats of prey instead of the Greek or Roman peoples, may be a reflection of how the Greeks and Romans began to or came to see themselves: as a civilized people versus wild nature?  Meaning, perhaps the Greeks and Romans previously saw themselves as wild, but as they became more civilized, related more with the Centaurs.

Pictured below, Roman glass that was excavated from around Kemerhisar on display at the Nigde Archeological Museum.

Central Cappadocia is famous for its Christian cave churches and underground cities, and the ancient cities of Caesarea and Tyana were the main hubs of the spread of this religion.

Greater western and southern Cappadocia became the frontline of the Byzantines in their efforts to protect Christian lands from the Muslim threat.

Pictured above and below, Byzantine religious artifacts from the surrounding area of Nigde and Kemerhisar on display at the Nigde Archeological Museum.

The Christian crosses pictured here survived the upheaval in Byzantine Empire during the battle between the iconoclasts and the iconolaters, between 726-842 CE.

Pictured below, more Christian iconography from the Byzantine period.  These are bone carvings, and as you can see, they range for very rudimentary pieces to much more elaborately carved pieces.

Pictured above and below, some examples of common bone carved iconography that was probably worn as jewelry.

If I am not mistaken, the depiction in the carving below is of the baby Jesus being presented at the Temple in Jerusalem in the presence of Saint John the Baptist and Saint Stephen.

Pictured below, some fragments from a Byzantine era belt-buckle that was intricately beat into shape by a master metal worker.

Both the fragment above and below are from the same belt-buckle.  I am not sure of the depiction, though absolutely Christian.  If you have some ideas or direct knowledge, please feel free to leave comments below.

As opposed to being beaten into shape (like the belt-buckle fragments above), this piece appears to have been cast, and the depiction is most certainly of a religious ceremony that took place at the Hippodrome of Constantinople.  In the depiction we can see the Serpent Column (right side), the 5C BC sacrificial tripod of Plataea that was brought from the Temple of Apollo at Delphi by order of Constantine, and which commemorated the victory of the Greeks over the Persians.

In the left side of the depiction, we see the pink granite Odbelisk of Thutmose III, brought from the Temple of Karnak in Luxor in 390 CE by Theodosius the Great.

Pictured above and below, a beautifully cast sculpture of a female figure for which no information was given at the Nigde Archeological Museum.

The sculpture is presented amongst the Byzantine collection, but in my opinion, it lacks a religious theme, and appears to more represent a nymph.

*All photos and content property of Jack A. Waldron (photos may not be used without written permission)

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