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Amorium 1987: A Preliminary Survey

  • R. M. Harrison

Extract

Amorium is in eastern Phrygia, 170 km. south-west of Ankara, 70 km. north-east of Afyon, 12 km. east of the town of Emirdaǧ, and near the source of the Sakarya (Sangarius) (Fig. 1). It lies on the north-facing lower slopes of the mountains of Emirdaǧ (the Turkish town, previously called Aziziye, has the same name), and the ancient site of Amorium lies within the relatively recent village of Hisarköy. The mountain of Emirdaǧ gives rise to various streams which flow into a tributary of the Sakarya, and at Amorium the view to the north extends over some 50 km., showing, in the middle distance, the tree-lined course of the river, and the mountains of Sivrihisar beyond. The ancient town (which includes a large prehistoric hüyük) was mentioned by Strabo, and indeed the name of Amorium appeared earlier on coins, in the second or first century B.C. The site was rediscovered by W. J. Hamilton in 1836.

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1 It has been proposed that the site of classical Amorium was previously the Hittite town of Aura (Garstang, J. and Gurney, O. R., The Geography of the Hittite Empire (London, 1959), 91, 94, and 100).

2 Strabo, 12.8.13.

3 BMC Phrygia XXVII–XXIX, 4757, pls. VII–VIII.

4 Hamilton, W. J., Asia Minor (1842), 448–55. He visited “the ruins of Hergan Kaléh, as they are called by the Turcomans, but Assar Kieui by the Turks”.

5 See note 3.

6 Broughton, T. R. S., Asia Minor (in, ed. Frank, T., An Economic Survey of Ancient Rome, Vol. IV, Baltimore, 1938), 703, 772.

7 MAMA VII (1954), 6468; Waelkens, M., Die Kleinasiatischen Türstein (1986), 205–14; Tuǧrul, L., “Votive Steles found at Emirdaǧ,” IAMY 13–14 (1967), 175185, pls. VIII–XIII (cf. Asgari, N. et al. , The Anatolian Civilisations II: Greek/Roman/Byzantine (Istanbul, 1983), nos. 334–38); Vermeule, C. C., Roman Imperial Art in Greece and Asia Minor (Cambridge, Mass., 1968), 470 (statue base to Commodus: IGRR IV, no. 550).

8 Magie, D., Roman Rule in Asia Minor (1950), map facing p. 1616.

9 Ramsay, W. M., Historical Geography of Asia Minor (1890), 221–41; Darrouzès, J., Notitiae Episcopatuum Ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae (Paris, 1981).

10 George Cedrenus I, 615.

11 Ibn-Khordadhbeh.

12 Pertusi, A., Constantino Porfirogenito de Thematibus (1952), 6063.

13 E.g., Theodore of Sykeon (ed. A. J. Festugière, Brussels, 1970), chap. 105–9.

14 TIB 4 (1984), 122–5; Canard, M., “‘Ammuriye,” in Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.) 1 (1960), 462.

15 Tabari, 30.

16 Bury, J. B., A History of the Eastern Roman Empire (1912), 259–72.

17 Masudi, 68.

18 Acta 42 martyrum Amoriensium, ed. Vasilievsky, V. G. and Nikitin, P., Mém. Acad. Imp. des Sciences de St. Pét., VIII ser., VII, 2 (1905).

19 TIB 4 (1984), 122–5.

20 E.g., Comnena, Anna, Alexiad III (ed. Leib, B., Paris, 1945), 199, 201.

21 The staff was Dr. H. Dodge (archaeologist), Mrs. E. A. Harrison (photographer), Prof. R. M. Harrison (director), Mr. G. R. J. Lawson (architect), Mr. Tahsin Sezer (Turkish official representative, from the Istanbul Museum), and Mr. H. G. Welfare (surveyor, from the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England)). The first season was from 11th to 31st August 1987, and we stayed in Amorium in the village (Hisarköy), in an empty mud-brick house. Dr. Nurettin Yardımcı, the Director-General of Archaeology and Museums in Ankara, was very helpful. We are grateful, too, to the Director of the Afyon Museum (Mr. Ahmet Topbaş), the Kaymakam of Emirdaǧ (Mr. Ali Çaǧlan), and the Muhtar of Hisarköy (Mr. Ismail Özcan), and Dr. N. Asgari, Dr. M. Ballance, and Prof. C. Mango gave us considerable help. Funds were provided by the Craven Committee of the University of Oxford, the Society of Antiquaries of London, and the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara.

22 Hamilton, op. cit., 449: “We reached the deserted and dreary site of what was once a populous city, and seldom have I witnessed a more striking scene of solitude and desolation”.

23 Mr. Ballance visited Amorium on 7th October, 1955; his doctoral thesis (Edinburgh University, 1961) is “Reassessment of the Archaeology of Central Asia Minor from Alexander the Great to the Turkish Conquest”. Mr. N. Purcell kindly helped me about the quadragesima portuum Asiae.

24 I am grateful for advice by Dr. Ballance, Mr. P. M. Fraser, Prof. Mango, and Dr. S. Price.

25 The late Dr. N. Fıratlı visited Amorium at various times, and Miss I. Fıratlı, his daughter, kindly lent me her father's collection of archaeological photographs. They were taken from 1949–69, and there is clear evidence of recent damage.

26 See note 7 above.

27 Ibn-Khordadhbeh (ca. 840) recorded that in his time there were only five cities in Asia Minor, to wit Ephesus, Nicaea, Amorium, Ancyra, and Samala (?), in addition to a considerable number of fortresses (Mango, C., Byzantium (London, 1980), 7173).

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Amorium 1987: A Preliminary Survey

  • R. M. Harrison

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