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The Byzantine Fortifications of Amastris in Paphlagonia

  • James Crow and Stephen Hill

Extract

This article is chiefly concerned with the chronology of the Byzantine fortifications of Amastris, which are the subject of current research by the authors, but, in order to set the settlement at Amasra and its fortifications into their context in the Black Sea area, the present study must commence with a brief account of some aspects of the monuments and history of the city in the Hellenistic and Classical periods.

The present Turkish town of Amasra on the south coast of the Black Sea (Fig. 1; Pl. XXXVII a) occupies the site of the ancient city of Amastris which has a long history extending as least as far back as the period of Milesian colonisation in the Black Sea zone from the seventh century B.C. Like the more famous city of Sinope to the east, the settlement at Amasra stood on the isthmus of a peninsula projecting into the Black Sea. At Amasra the isthmus leads to the upstanding promontory rock, Zindan Kalesi (Dungeon Castle) on which part of the Byzantine fortification stands, and which protects the east harbour. The whole site is further protected by the closely adjacent island of Boz Tepe which encloses the northern side of the west harbour. The site was doubtless chosen for settlement because of its good natural harbours which, as will be seen, have been of central importance throughout the history of Amasra.

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1 The authors are pleased to acknowledge the financial support of the British Academy, the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, the Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies, and the Universities of Warwick and Newcastle upon Tyne. B. Williams has served as draughtsman at Amasra, and the coins in the Amasra museum were studied by S. Ireland. We would also like to express our personal thanks to Michael Carey. For an earlier preliminary account of the work at Amasra see Crow, J. and Hill, S., “Amasra, a Byzantine and Genoese Fortress on the Black Sea”, Fortress 2 (1990), 315.

2 Recent publications on the Classical remains at Amastris are Marek, Ch., “Katalog der Inscriften im Museum von Amasra”, Epigraphica Anatolica 6 (1985), 133–56, plates 13–19; Marek, Ch., “Amastris, Geschichte, Topographie, Archäologische Reste”, Istanbuler Mitteilungen 39 (1989), 373–89, plate 36; Marek, Ch., Stadt Ära, und Territorium in Pontus-Bithynien und Nord-Galatia, Istanbuler Forschungen 39 (Tübingen, 1983); Kalkan, H., “Eine Inschrift aus Amasra (Amastris): Statuenstiftung des Gaius zu Ehren des Antoninus Pius”, Epigraphica Anatolica 18 (1991), 97–8, plate 1b. For general accounts of the history of Amasra and its monuments see Sakaoğlu, N., Amasra'nın Üç Bin Yılı, Zonguldak Valiği Yayınları 2 (Zonguldak, 1987), and Eyice, S.Küçük Amasra tarihi ve eski eserler kilavuzu (Ankara, 1965).

3 Ščeglov, A. N., “Les amphores timbrées d'Amastris”, in Empereur, J.-Y. and Garlan, Y., Récherches sur les amphores grecques, Bulletin de correspondence Hellénique. Supplement 13 (1986), 365–73; Doğer, E., Antik Çağda Amphoralar (İzmir, 1990), 119–20).

4 Robert, L., À travers L'Asie Mineure (Paris, 1980), 417; (or Ireland, S., “Ancient Coins of Amasra Museum”, in Ashton, R., Turkish Coin Hoards 2 (forthcoming).

5 Hoffman, A., “Zum ‘Bedesten’ in Amastris. Ein römischer Marktbau?”, Istanbuler Mitteilungen 39 (1989), 197210, plate 21.

6 Bryer, A. A. M. and Winfield, D., The Byzantine Monuments of the Pontos (Washington DC, 1985), 7988.

7 For the use of opus reticulatum in the eastern provinces see Ward-Perkins, J. B., Roman Architecture (London, 1979), 159.

8 Lucian, , Alexander the False Prophet, 57.

9 Lucian, , Toxaris, 5760.

10 Williams, W., Pliny the Younger, Correspondence with Trajan from Bithynia (Epistles X) (Warminster, 1990).

11 Eusebius, , Historia Ecclesiastica, 4, 23, 6; 5, 23, 3.

12 Crow, J. and Hill, S., “Amasra, a Byzantine and Genoese Fortress on the Black Sea”, Fortress 2 (1990), 7.

13 Hasluck, F. W., “Genoese Inscriptions and Heraldry at Amastra”, Annual of the British School at Athens 17 (1910/1911), 132–44; Dull, S., “Das Wappenbild als Geschichtsquelle. Florentiner Kaufleute in der Genuesenfestung Samastri am Schwarzen Meer”, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Instituts in Florenz, 33 (1989), 369–77.

14 For a description of the churches see Eyice, S., “Deux anciennes églises byzantines”, Cahiers Archéologiques, 8 (1954), 97105, plates 37–8.

15 SirRamsay, W. M. and Bell, G. M. L., The Thousand and One Churches (London, 1909), 176–8.

16 Mijatev, K., Angelov, D., Georgieva, S., Gerrassimov, T., Carevgrad Tarnov, le palais des rois Bulgars pendant le deuxième royaume Bulgare (Sophia, 1973), vol. I, 50–1, plate VI shows glazed examples with saucers, also fig. 66, p. 122. The authors have seen similar terracotta rosettes in the Varna museum and at Amasya and Tokat.

17 de Clavijo, Ruy Gonzales, Embassy to Tamerlane (1403–1406), translated by Le Strange, G. (London, 1928), 105.

18 Ahrweiler, H., Byzance et la Mer (Pariss, 1966), 110–11.

19 Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De Adminstrando Imperii, edited and translated by Moravcsik, G. and Jenkins, R. J. H. (Washington DC, 1967), 42.

20 Ahrweiler, H., Byzance et la Mer, (Paris, 1966), 111; Schlumberger, G., La sigillographie de l'Empire byzantin (Paris, 1884), 297: see also the detailed account of the history of Byzantine Amastris in K. Belke, Tabula Imperii Byzantini (Paphlagonia) (forthcoming).

21 Vita Georgii ep. Amastridos, ed. Vasil'evskij, V. G., Russko-Vizantiiskie Issledovanija (St. Petersburg, 1893), 193. On dating see Sevcenko, I., “Hagiography of the Iconoclast Period”, in Bryer, A. A. M. and Herrin, J. (editors), Iconoclasm (Birmingham, 1977), 113–31, especially 121–7. See also Ruggieri, V., Byzantine Religious Architecture (582–867): its History and Structural Elements, Orientalia Christiana Analecta 237 (Rome, 1991), 91–2.

22 Da Costa-Louillet, G., “Saints de Constantinople au VIIIe, IXe et Xe siècles”, Byzantion 24 (1954), 230–40, 479–92. Kazdhan, A. et al. , Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford, 1991, II 837.

23 Vita Georgii ep. Amastridos, ed. Vasil'evskij, V. G., Russko-Vizantiiskie Issledovanija (St. Petersburg, 1893), 23–5.

24 Brandes, W., Die Städte Kleinasiens im 7. und 8. Jahrhundert (Amsterdam, 1989), 69.

25 Nicetae Paphlagonis Oratio XIX in Laudem S. Hyacinthi Amastreni, Patrologia Graeca, 105, 417–40.

26 Vita Georgii ep. Amastridos, ed. Vasil'evskij, V. G., Russko-Vizantiiskie Issledovanija (St. Petersburg, 1893), 64; Sevcenko, I. “Hagiography of the Iconoclast Period”, in Bryer, A. A. M. and Herrin, J. (editors), Iconoclasm (Birmingham, 1977), 122.

27 Foss, C., Survey of Medieval Castles of Anatolia, I Kütahya, British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara Monograph 7 (Oxford, 1985), 80–1, plan 2, fig. A.

28 Hill, S., “A Preliminary Report on the Monuments at Dağ Pazarı”, Yayla 2 (1978), 814.

29 Bryer, A. A. M. and Winfield, D., 1985, The Byzantine Monuments of the Pontos (Washington DC, 1985), 77–9. The date suggested for the towers at Sinop is probably too early.

30 Foss, C., “Byzantine Malagina and the lower Sangarius”, Anatolian Studies 40 (1990), 161–83, especially 171, plate XXIV b, c.

31 Foss, C. and Winfield, D., Byzantine Fortifications: an Introduction (Pretoria, 1986), 132.

32 Cresswell, K. A. C., “Fortification in Islam before A.D. 1250”, Proceedings of the British Academy 38 (1952), 99108.

33 Crow, J., “Alexios Komnenos and Kastamonu: castles and settlements in middle Byzantine Paphlagonia”, in Mullet, M. E. (ed.), Alexios Komnenos, Belfast Byzantine Colloquia (1995), 1133.

34 Foss, C., and Winfield, D., Byzantine Fortifications: an Introduction (Pretoria, 1986), 133–5.

35 For photographs of the theatre and the Karanlık Kapı see Marek, Ch., Stadt, Ära, und Territorium in Pontus-Bithynien und Nord-Galatia, Instanbuler Forschungen 39 (Tübingen, 1993), plates 20, 4 and 23, 1.

36 Meyer-Platt, B. and Schneider, A. M., Die Landmauer von Konstantinopel II (Berlin, 1943), plates 27, 28i.

37 Schneider, A. M., Die Stadtmauer von Iznik (Nicaea), Istanbuler Forschungen 9 (Berlin, 1938), plate 35.

38 Robert, L., Études Anatoliennes (Paris, 1937), plate XIV 3.

39 See also comparative plans in Müller-Wiener, W., “Von der Polis zum Kastron”, Gymnasium 93 (1986), 435–75.

The Byzantine Fortifications of Amastris in Paphlagonia

  • James Crow and Stephen Hill

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