Kerkenes-a Little-Known Anatolian City Larger than Hattusa

Everybody knows about Hattusa- the large, strongly-fortified capital of the Hittite empire:

However, quite fewer know of an Iron Age Anatolian city only 30 miles southeast of Hattusa which is, in fact, quite a bit larger than Hattusa-Kerkenes Dag:

The above screenshot of Kerkenes was taken at the same scale (11000 ft) as that of Hattusa.

The excavator identifies this city with Herodotus’s Pteria. For a description of the conclusions, see here. According to Herodotus 1:76, “Crœsus, when he had passed over with his army, came to that place in Cappadocia which is called Pteria (now Pteria is the strongest place in this country, and is situated somewhere about in a line with the city of Sinope on the Euxine). Here he encamped and ravaged the fields of the Syrians. Moreover he took the city of the Pterians, and sold the people into slavery, and he took also all the towns that lay about it; and the Syrians, who were not guilty of any wrong, he forced to remove from their homes.” Croesus was the king of the Lydians, while Cyrus was the king of the Persians. The battle is said to have taken in late 547 BC, though it could have taken place later.

According to the excavator, Kerkenes/Pteria should be considered an independent Phrygian state, rather than a Median capital. It was a single-period site (except for some possible Hittite and Byzantine remains) and was apparently founded by settlers from the West toward the end of the 7th century BC. The city was destroyed violently sometime in the 6th C BC.

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

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