Malagina was a place of considerable strategic importance in the Byzantine period, from the Dark Ages until the final collapse of imperial rule in Asia Minor. Frequent mentions in the sources indicate that it was a major base, a station on the route of imperial armies to the East, and the seat of the stables from which the expeditions were supplied. It had an administration of its own, and grew in importance as the Empire shrank. Although its general location, on the Sangarius river, has never been in doubt, the site has so far failed to be convincingly identified, in spite of serious attempts. Thanks to investigations in the field, it is now possible to provide Malagina with a precise location, and to identify and describe its fortress, whose remains add considerably to our knowledge of the site and its history. For the sake of completeness, these remains will be discussed in the context of what is known of the Byzantine and Ottoman history of the site.
The first appearance of Malagina is in a curious text, an apocalyptic prophecy attributed to St. Methodius, but actually dating from the late seventh century. Its chronology can be determined from its forecast that the Arabs would break into Constantinople. Although that never happened, the prophecy has reasonably been associated with the great siege of 674–8. In preparation for that attack, the Arabs would, it announces, divide their forces into three parts, of which one would winter in Ephesus, another in Pergamum, and the third in Malagina. Although this provides no specific information about the site, it shows that Malagina was then considered an important military base, a likely goal for an Arab attack. It may also indicate that the place was actually taken and occupied by the Arabs on that occasion. In any case, Malagina was in existence by the seventh century.