From Asianic Elements in Greek Civilisation, The Gifford Lectures in the University of Edinburgh, 1915-1916, by Sir William M. Ramsay, D.C.L., LL.D., New Haven: Yale University Press, 1928; pp. 11-19.

Asianic Elements in Greek Civilisation.



Chapter II


IT is a principle in modern Anatolian land-right that there can be no property in uncultivated or unused land. The owner must make use of his land. This is certainly also ancient Anatolian custom and law. Hence mountains, where (as is usual) they are uncultivable, and waste land generally are No-man’s Land, but God’s land; and a range of mountains constitutes the best boundary. The hand of God has made a division there, and separated country from country, people from people. This is a view natural in early society. If land is desert, or if people see that no use is made of it, primitive man justly considers that there is a right of way all over it. The distinction of “the Desert and the Sown” exists in all lands where there is not a modern civilisation that has created artificial distinctions and consecrated illegally legal rights.

The Taurus has always been a boundary: cis Taurum and ultra Taurum are traditional terms. Part of the Taurus, a ridge snow-clad till late in the summer, is still called Allah-Dagh, the Mount of Allah;1 it is prominent in the view from north of Konia; south of Konia it is mostly hidden by the lower front range of Taurus. It forms the southern boundary of Isaurica,2 i.e. the northern slopes 12 and broken country of the main plateau of Taurus, for Taurus is not a single ridge of mountains, but an elevated, generally rugged plateau, often eighty or more miles in breadth, and sometimes rising very steep from the central plateau on the north or from the sea coast on the south, sometimes having a mass of foot-hills intervening. Isaurica is a mass of foot-hills of the character described. The hills between Tarsus and the Cilician Gates are of the same type.

The nature of the lofty Taurus plateau as the “Mount of God” and the division between two different countries is most clearly apparent in regard to the two roads which lead between Cilicia and Cappadocia. The best road is that of the Cilician Gates, a narrow gap winding among lofty mountains and opening to the south on the foot-hills about Mopsou-krene, the Fountain of Mopsus, a splendid spring near Mazar-Oluk. On the northern side you are in Cappadocia, a land of the plateau; on the southern side you are in fertile foot-hills and the lowlands of Cilicia. The character of Taurus as a boundary is marked by the names of the frontier towns on each side of Taurus proper both in this and in the other road by Adana to Mallos. The two roads both pass through the little Vale of Bozanti (Podandos).

It formerly seemed to me probable that from Cilicia, the earlier line of communication with Cappadocia was Mallos-Mopsouestia-Adana-Podandos; and that later (but long before the fifth century B.C. began) the cutting of the Cilician Gates and the formation of a wagon-road made the line Tarsus-Mopsoukrene-Cilician Gates-Podandos better than the older path, so that Mallos lost its pre-eminence (see Cities of St. Paul, pp. 112 ff.). Mallos, originally Marlos, had an earlier coinage than Tarsus. Hence I formerly called it the older foundation. Now, however, I am doubtful on this point and incline to think that Tarsus (Tarshish) was very old, 13 founded by Perseus, and named Tarsos-Tersos, the dry land, and becoming important after its refoundation by joint Old-Ionians and original Anatolians (ἐπίκτισις). Perseus is really the hero-founder of Tersos (still called Tersous) and the names are connected.

At any rate these two lines of communication were both used from an early time: each crosses the dividing mountains of Taurus, the “No-man’s Land”; and each descends on the northern side into a deep little oval glen among the outer Taurus mountains, in which lies a small town or village, called now Bozanti, Byzantine Podandos. There are various possible forks in the road. Below Taurus on the southern foot-hills these are frequent. From the Vale of Bozanti a difficult path leads direct north to a plain beside a lake, with Zengibar-Kale towering on the left, the old Kizistra (Djosastaroun, ἐγγὺς  ἀστέρων), whose ruins are still so conspicuous. The wagon-road goes W. and N.W. to Takhta-Keupreu, where a side road forks up a stream with frequent fords (Strabo, p. 587) to Tyana. The wagon-road continues W. to Ovajik and Ulu-Kishla; here at Loulon-Halala it forks N. to Tyana and W. to Kybistra.

Hierocles places Regepodandos (regio-Podandos) in Cappadocia. The very name Regio Podandos indicates that there was no city, not even a proper town here; but a mere stretch of land, a little valley; that was the case in the early sixth century and still at the present day. It was made a bishopric by Basil the Great, bishop of Caesarea, who appointed Gregory Nazianzen its first bishop, much to the latter’s annoyance. Gregory calls Podandos a pit (ceadas), and the epithet fairly pictures this little place, now only a khan (in the years 1882, 1890, 1891, 1902) with some nomad tents in the valley (5 miles by 2 or 3) and with high steep mountains around. The boundary between Cappadocia and Cilicia changed in the later Byzantine period, and still remained at Ak-Keupreu, 6 miles farther on to N.W., at least as late as 1902 (when I was last there.)3 The 14 Seljuk and Osmanli Turks continued the Byzantine system in many matters of administration. Podandos as a bishopric was then attached to Cilicia, and hence it appears in lists of Cilician bishoprics subject to Antioch of Syria, and not among the bishoprics subject to the patriarchate of Constantinople. In all probability this change was the result of the long wars between the Arabs with their military centre at Tarsus and the Byzantine Empire; and the lists which assign Podandos to Cilicia belong to the period after 964, when Cilicia was definitely reunited to the Empire.

It appears from Xenophon’s Anabasis that Syennesis, the Cilician king, had determined to guard the heights between Bozanti and the Cilician Plain against the insurgent march of Cyrus. When Syennesis heard, however, that Menon and his troops, marching from Laranda in Lycaonia, had entered Cilicia and were in a position to threaten the Cilician capital, the king abandoned the passage of the mountains, and retreated to Tarsus. The scouts of Cyrus would learn that the summit was no longer guarded, and send word to Cyrus quickly. The Gates are a narrow pass 300 ft. or 400 ft. long cut through a mountain ridge, 500 ft. below the summit, about three miles south of Ibrahim Pasha’s Lines, at the side of a little stream 3750 ft. above sea-level (aneroid estimate: Sir C. Wilson made it 3500 ft. boiling-point calculation).

In the more precise definition of Roman government, the “bounds of the Cilicians” were fixed at the Cilician Gates, as is shown by a Roman inscription on the Gates in Greek letters.4

Podandos, in its situation in that little glen deep among the mountains, could never have been a place of any importance except in a military point of view, or as a meeting-place of roads. Here an army which was intending to force the passage of the Taurus into Cilicia must have its basis of operations, and the place was 15 known to Greek writers as the Camp of Cyrus, because here the Younger Cyrus (as the Anabasis relates) halted and made his final preparations for attacking Cilicia. A historical incident altered the name in the estimation of the outer world for a time, but to the natives of the district the old name continued always unchanged.

Strabo, p. 539 (six days from Mazaka-Caesarea), seems certainly to identify the Camp of Cyrus with the Vale of Bozanti. This shows that the Camp can hardly (as a recent German writer holds) be identified with Ovajik, the plain of Loulon-Faustinopolis, nine hours farther up the river. It is true that Xenophon’s account might easily suggest that Cyrus halted in Ovajik, one stage from Tyana (Dana); so far the German scholar has good show of right (I have lost the reference to his work); but Strabo is clear as to the locality in his time. Xenophon gives no statements of time or distance after Tyana: the advance to Podandos was slow, and there was some waiting at halts. There are only two ways from Tyana, one direct down a stream which crosses at Takhta-Keupreu (Wooden-Bridge) a tributary stream, then on to Podandos: it is called Maurianon (H.G.A.M. p. 350): the other, the Roman road and the modern wagon-road, goes through a pass and joins the main stream between Ulu-Kishla and Ovajik. The mountains forbid any third path. The former road was used in ancient times occasionally, for it is mentioned in a so-called interpolation in Strabo, p. 568. This interpolation cannot be modern or mediaeval, for no one knew about either road then. It might date from the Arab period, when the Roman road was destroyed to prevent attack from Arab or from Byzantine armies. The road from Ovajik seems never to have been restored rightly after it, along with its guardian castle Loulon-Halala, was destroyed in the frontier wars against the Arabs. When Strabo speaks of the distance between Mazaka-Caesarea and the camp of Cyrus as six days, he refers to Karydion, a direct pass from Mazaka via Kyzistra to Podandos, but high and very difficult, between Ala-Dagh (in which are Bereketli-Maden 16 silver mines) and the Eastern Taurus. Nicephorus (c. 960) had a choice between Maurianon and Karydion, and used the former in advancing, the latter in retreating.

Bozanti, then, was the first town of Cappadocia which the traveller reached as he went north, and it is not an unnatural supposition that it should take the name “Cappadocian-Place.” Professor Sayce informs me that Katpatu-ka5 or Katpadu-ka is the name of Cappadocia in the early Persian cuneiform inscriptions (about 500 B.C.): it was the land of the Kat, add the common Anatolian suffix and there results Katpadu-ando-s. In this long name the first syllable, which was by its nature separable, dropped, and the name became Paduandos: doubtless, Kat was a separate word, presumably a tribal name connected with such words as Kataonia. This form Paduandos is found both in Ptolemy and in the Peutinger Table, and the agreement of these two authorities proves that it was the form used in the survey of the Roman Empire, made under the orders of Agrippa and commonly dated in the years ending 12 B.C. We have then a form Paduandos, which during the Roman period changed through metathesis of “u” into Paudandos, becoming Podandos and modern Bozanti.

As the town on the north of the frontier was the Place of the Cappadocians, so the station on the south as one does down from the Gates to Taurus was also marked as a limit of population by its name, Mopsoukrene, the “fountain of Mopsos.” Mopsos and Amphilochos, the two prophets,6 mark the Old-Ionian power on the coast, as the Ionians regarded it. To the Semites this was Yavan. The situation of the fountain is certain. No one can 17 mistake that great stream of water which flows out of the hill close by the modern road at Mazar-Oluk; and here was the last station to the north held by the Old-Ionians under their divine leader Mopsos, sent forth by Apollo from Klaros. The hero Mopsos represents the extreme penetration of the Old-Ionians into Cilicia. Between Mopsoukrene and Paduandos runs the lofty ridge of Taurus N.E. to S.W. Yet certainly the ancient guard-house was at the Gates. In modern times with modern weapons the Gates could not be defended, and “Ibrahaim Pasha’s Lines,” on the summit three miles north of the Gates, were the defence about 1832-9, and would still be so.

Mopsoukrenai is mentioned in the Peutinger Table as Crunis, i.e. [a Mopsou]crunis. In Parthey-Pinder the name occurs as Mansucrinae (Jerus. Itin.) and Nampsoucrene (i.e. Mopsu-crouni, Itin. Provinc. 145). In Parthey-Pinder, App. I., it is called Mopsoucrenai, but the mediaeval change of name has been lost.

Confirmation of the import of the name Mopsoukrene is afforded by Mopsouestia at the crossing of the river Pyramos on the road from Mallos to Adana. Mallos was an early and very great centre of the Old-Ionian power in Cilicia. It was the greatest stronghold of Old-Ionian and Greek power at the beginning of recorded history in this region. Taurus, being some distance from the coast, rose later to importance in western commerce, as is proved by the coinage (details in The Cities of St. Paul, pp. 112 ff.). Perseus, the hero of the Tarsian early history and tradition, who fared west along the south coast of Karamania with his fleet of one hundred ships,7 founded Tarsos-Tersos-Tarshish, mixed with the people of Tarku in Cilicia Tracheia, where the dynasty was Aiant-Teukro, i.e. Yavan-Tarku, and so penetrated to found Iconium, where he was the hero of the foundation legend.

Mopsouestia, “the hearth of Mopsus,” sounds a rather unconvincing name, like an attempt to give Greek meaning to a native 18 name. During the Middle Ages the ending of the name appears as “stra,” not “stia,” and this is probably original. “Stra” is a common ending of town names in Anatolia, as e.g. Kybistra,8 Kyzistra, Kraonistra, Kilistra: probably also Lystra, the Greek form, Latin Lustra, should be added. Lustra was the ancient, Zoldera, i.e. Soltra, the modern by metathesis. According to Sayce the Hittite name of Lustra was Losna, as Kubisna was Hittite for Kubistra.

Various forms occur, Mompsistea, Mampsysyta, in late documents Mamistra, Malmistra, and even Mamista (Glykas, p. 306, Anna Comnena, ii. 126, with loss of the soft Anatolian “r”: given in Parthey, App. I., as a changed name of Kastaballa, i.e. Kastabala), modern Missis (a peculiar form, perhaps assimilated to the mediaeval Sison and modern Sis). Tomaschek, Zur hist. Topogr. Von Kleinasien, p. 106, gives also Mamistria. Pliny calls it Mopsus: the ethnic is Μοψεάτης.

No local name in Anatolia appears in a more bewildering variety of forms than Mopsouestia, except Siniandos, and in both we observe the occasional presence, occasional absence, of the sound “r” which has been explained elsewhere as a semi-vocalic “r” (like the English pretty) customary in Anatolian speech, which had not the same sound as rho in Greek, and which appears and disappears in the graecisation of Anatolian names. In spite of the authorities, the accent in local pronunciation must always have fallen on the syllable -is-: hence the modern name Missis. Probably the late forms are nearer the local pronunciation, and the name was something like Mampsistra or Mopsistra.

In Malmistra it is improbable that “l” is original. It appears only in mediaeval Latin authorities. The intrusion of “l” in Malmistra is similar to the apparent intrusion of “l” in Talbonda, 19 Tumandos; the phenomenon is analogous to the variation in the use or omission of “r.”9 In both cases the “l” is probably original, and in both cases “l” comes before either “b” or “m” (Tum-Taub-Talb). The fact that the form Talbonda appears in Ptolemy suggests that it may come from the lists of Agrippa, which is the oldest authority known for the name. Late inscriptions and most Byzantine documents have forms identical with or pointing to Tumandos, but Talbonda appears in the Latin signature of a bishop who was present at the Council of Constantinople A.D. 448 (Hist. Geogr. A.M. p. 402). The bishop’s signature is in Latin and Greek, both being official records. In Greek he signs as bishop of Tumandos. Talbond, the oldest form, became Talmand and Tumand.



 1  Ala-Dagh, the spotted or variegated mountain, is also a name often confused with Allah-Dagh.

 2  Isaurica (Strabo, p. 568) has a quite different denotation from Isauria, a Roman and exotic term, applied with the usual Roman carelessness (about which Strabo elsewhere complains). Isaurica is the land of the two towns Isaura, called by the geographer villages, kômai, because they were organised on the Anatolian, not on the Hellenic system. They were not poleis, though as large as many Hellenic cities (poleis).

 3  About Ak-Keupreu (White Bridge) there might be much to say which is partly related in Journ. R.G.S., 1903, p. 390 ff.

 4  In A.A.S.S., (April 6, p. 562), the editors suggest that Polyandos Comanorum was Podandos (Padyandos); but this is hardly probable and the Greek text has Ρολυανδροῦ.

 5  Katpatuka was the form of the Anatolian name for the country: compare Benneuekê in an inscription close to the Midas-tomb, the land of Benni or Zeus Bennios or Benneus, also Isaurica, the land of the two villages Isaura.

 6  The two prophets are the two dogs of Apollo (Lycophron, 444 f.). Apollo is often represented holding up two dogs in his two hands; he was the dog-choker, the lord of the two dogs (as Hermes is called by Hipponax). Amphilochos, an unknown Anatolian name, drops out of this tradition. Mopsos, perhaps originally Moxos.

 7  See Sayce in J.H.S., 1925.

 8  In the very late Notitiae x., xiii., Κύβιστα is the form: compare Mamista. This “change of name” in Parthey, App. I.-III, must mean that in the late Middle Ages Kastabala ceased to be a Christian city and was merged ecclesiastically in Mamista (as Kolossai in Chonai).

 9  Compare Paduandos, Podandos, p. 16, in respect of the vowels. A similar example occurs in the modern Scots name Buchanan, which was originally in Celtic something like Balquhennan: the same or a similar name is the place Boquhan in the upper Forth valley. In the Celtic local name Balquhidder the sound of “l” disappears in Scots pronunciation, which is something like Bawhidder.